By Astrid Andersson
Shark fin, bluefin tuna and black moss has officially been taken off the menu at Hong Kong government official functions.
This step was taken in order to “set a good example” by going “beyond the minimum expectation as laid down in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),” a government spokesperson says.
Under CITES, four shark species are protected from the sale and possession of parts – leaving the other 300 or so open for economic exploit. The port city of Hong Kong is an epicenter for the world’s shark findustry, where it arrives and is distributed onwards to China: the market source for the valuable parts.
Shark fin soup has long been considered a delicacy consumed by elite members of Chinese society. The country’s astronomical economic development over the past 20 years has seen an increase in general wealth among its population, and a subsequent rise in fin demand. As more people can afford to demonstrate status by serving the soup at banquets, weddings and other significant events, the inhumane practice of “finning” in global oceans has reached unsustainable levels – with 30 per cent of shark species now estimated to be under threat of extinction.
But the recent move by Hong Kong’s government demonstrates hope, says Ran Elfassy, director of Hong Kong-based organization Shark Rescue.
“This is a step of mostly symbolic importance. Maybe the government parties were many and the volume was large, but on the other hand, it sent the message to the population that shark fin was no longer appropriate.” More....