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New restrictions hit Hong Kong Shark Fin Traders

Sharkfins in Hong Kong

Shark fins on mats to dry outside a seafood store in Hong Kong’s Western District. Photo: Sam Tsang

Hong Kong has traditionally handled around half of all global trade, exporting most fins to mainland China where they are considered a rare delicacy.
Now that trade in the the porbeagle, the oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks will be regulated by CITES, the traders fear an extra drop in the trade of shark fins, which has already been hit hard by persistent attacks from anti-fin campaigners.

Defiant fin merchants insisted the impact of the restrictions would be minimal as they would continue to import other species not covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreement.

But the traders in shark fins which are used to make an expensive gelatinous soup, keep suffering from successful environmental campaigning.

From the site of Wildaid, one of the organizations that has lead an intensive campaign:

WildAid’s campaign to reduce use of shark fin is making a huge impact in Asia by decreasing the demand for and the import-export business of shark fin. According to the South China Morning Post, the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong reported that shark fin imports have reduced from 10,292 tons to 3,087 tons from 2011 to November 2012; over a 70% decline.

Additionally, the chairman of the Hong Kong-based Shark Fin Trade Merchants Association, Ho Siu-chai, told the South China Morning Post “the whole industry has recorded a 50% decrease of sales in the last year…mainly due to the omnipresent advocacy by green groups. According to the report, “Hong kongers consume about 10 per cent of [their] imports…the rest is shipped to China, the US, Canada and Malaysia for Chinese there to consume.”

More info on:

http://www.wildaid.org/news/wildaids-campaign-helps-reduce-shark-fin-demand

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1120051/shark-fin-trade-victim-anti-chinese-conspiracy-say-traders?page=all

Let’s hope a successful combination of regulations and education can decrease the trade in shark fins even further. As long as there is still a demand for shark fin soup, the trade will continue. But we also need to educate people about fishing and sustainability, to avoid extinction of other marine species like abalone and sea cucumbers, that will be traded instead of shark fins.

Keep spreading the word, and do not forget to download our free poster at:

http://www.dutchsharksociety.org/shark-poster-premiere/

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