Sharks hauled from the Persian Gulf provide fodder for shark fin soup in Hong Kong, and the endangered bluefin tuna is popular there too. But now the government has instituted a new ban that could reduce consumption of both.
Not only is it illegal to serve shark fin soup or bluefin tuna at government events in Hong Kong, but government officials are prohibited from accepting either at non-government banquets as well, according to Nature World News.
Dubai fishermen have scored devastating catches of Hammerhead and other sharks in order to supply fins to Hong Kong – a processing hub – despite numerous fishing bans and international condemnation of finning.
And scores of Mediterranean fishermen rely on the bluefin tuna trade for their livelihood, another fixture on the menu in this Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Now both have lost at least one major customer for both delicacies, which should send a strong message to other businesses, organizations and every day Chinese citizens.
“WWF-Hong Kong congratulates the HKSAR government for issuing a shark fin and bluefin tuna ban for their official dining,” the group announced in a press release.
“This is a bold and encouraging step taken by the government on the conservation of sharks and bluefin tuna.”
Other groups have boycotted shark fin soup as well – so much so that one man who has made a fortune from the delicacy during the 1980s has folded the business, but it is not yet certain how much of an impact Hong Kong’s ban will have on the overall trade.
Ng Goon Lau, who first set up his own trading company to sell shark’s fins in 1984, told the Wall Street Journal that he regularly traded one and a half tons of shark fins a year during the 1980s, but by last year he was selling one-fifth of a ton.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that of the 468 shark species, 74 are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered; the blue fin tuna is also listed as endangered on the list.
Image of Blacktip reef shark finned and left for dead, Shutterstock