Hong Kong’s government said Friday it would stop serving shark fin at official functions as “a good example,” following years of lobbying by conservation groups. The southern Chinese city is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fin, which is viewed by many Asians as a delicacy and is often served as a soup at expensive Chinese banquets.
Along with shark fin, bluefin tuna will also fall under the ban, which was prompted by what authorities called “conservation concerns.”
“The exclusion of these… items from official menus is a start and also serves as an example of raising public education and awareness on sustainability,” a government spokesman said in a press release.
“The government is determined to take the lead and set a good example on this front,” he said.
Trade in shark fin is not regulated in Hong Kong except for three species — basking shark, great white shark and whale shark — where the trade is restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), to which Hong Kong is a signatory.
More than 70 million sharks are killed every year, with Hong Kong importing about 10,000 tonnes annually for the past decade, according to environmental group WWF. Most of those fins are then exported to mainland China.
Shark conservationists applauded the government’s move saying it was a step towards ending the trade globally. More....