By Graham Land
Despite (sometimes reluctant) steps by governments to halt the endangerment of shark species throughout the world, sharks are disappearing – and with dire consequences.
India recently banned the fishing of sharks exclusively for their fins after several shark species became endangered in Indian waters. Since sharks are difficult to identify by their fins alone an outright ban was instituted with punishments up to seven years in prison for hunting an endangered species.
Local governments have also gotten into the game with Hong Kong bending to pressure from environmental groups to ban shark fin soup. The ban is partial, but better than nothing: shark fin soup is now officially off the menu at official functions.
From the New York Times:
"Scientists estimate that as many as 100 million sharks are killed each year, mostly for their fins, which are typically served in soup. The practice is widely considered cruel and wasteful, because the sharks are often thrown overboard, finless, to die. Hong Kong is the world’s biggest trade hub for shark fins, representing about 50 percent of the trade."
Strangely enough it is official banquets or banquets involving businesses and government officials that account for a lot of shark fin soup sales in China. It is common for businesses to wine and dine officials by impressing them with the expensive dish. China’s Communist Party announced a crackdown on such practices back in December as a means of tackling corruption and waste. But the resulting drop in demand should have a strong knock on effect for shark fin harvesting. So far this has been the case. More....