Shark fins cut from menu at Chinese state banquets

A ban on the serving of shark fin dishes at Chinese state banquets will bring great benefits to shark species, conservationists have said.

Shark fin soup, considered a luxury by China’s wealthy, is responsible for decimating global shark numbers. Experts say that populations have plummeted by 60 to 90 per cent in just the last 15 years because of the shark fin trade.

It is also responsible for extreme suffering. An estimated 100 million sharks are caught each year and have their fin cruelly sliced off before being thrown back into the ocean to die.

Although the banquet ban is primarily a government move to tackle extravagant spending and “regulate the use of public funding on receptions”, it has been widely welcomed among marine conservation groups.

shark fins hong kong

Fins, cruelly cut from sharks, drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong in preparation for being sold to restaurants

Quoted in the South China Morning Post, Sea Shepherd’s Gary Stokes said: “The reason why they’re doing it mainly is austerity cuts but the ramifications it’s going to have on conservation to the sharks is huge.”

Alex Hofford, executive director of Hong Kong-based marine group My Ocean applauded the move as “hugely significant”.

“It’s going to have a great impact on society, because what the government does shows leadership in society and then the corporate sector will quickly follow suit,” he commented.

“It doesn’t really matter if it is for environmental reasons or for curbing official extravagance, as long as the job gets done.”

Also banned by Chinese authorities is the serving at official receptions of bird’s nest soup and wild animal products.

Originally published in Vegan Future newspaper. Read the newspaper for 18 pages of vegan news from around the world.

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