Despite all those Discovery channel shows, sharks are still one of the most misunderstood animals in the oceans. They are magnificent creatures who's ferocity, for the most part, is exaggerated due to the media frenzy that occurs with each shark attack, which typically leads to the killing of the suspect shark at human hands. Quite sad when such a creature is simply living within Nature's guidelines.
Perhaps what's even more disturbing is how the Chinese and the Japanese systematically hunt, de-fin, and then discard live sharks. I once saw a video of this when I was in high school (you can find a similar PSA-type video here) and I will never forget the image of the blood red waters around the vessel, the writhing sharks, still alive and bleeding after the dorsal fin was cut off discarded like garbage into the ocean.
So it's encouraging to read that Yao Ming, a prominent role model to Chinese youth and Chinese society in general, has sworn off shark's fin soup and has apparently picked up a cause to help promote wildlife protection. Hopefully, this leads to a decrease in the incredibly grissly, wasteful, and disgusting practice of finning sharks.