Shark fin imports to world's biggest market drop by third
The volume of shark fin products imported into the city of Hong Kong in 2013 dropped by 34.7 percent, according to government data analysed by WWF. Statistics show that there was also a significant decline in the number of shark fins re-exported from Hong Kong to other locations.
Viet Nam overtook mainland China as the top destination for fins leaving Hong Kong, the city which accounts for over half of the global trade volume. While it is not illegal to consume shark fin in most places, many shark species are being hunted at highly unsustainable rates putting their futures at risk.
Recent trends indicate that shark fin, once perceived as a delicacy or an essential part of dinner banquets, may be no longer as socially acceptable as it once was. WWF has made significant progress in convincing caterers like hotel chains, and transporters like airlines, to stop carrying shark fins. Additionally, the Chinese government has banned shark fin at official state functions, which may be impacting demand for fins.
Famous Hong Kong wedding planner Tim Lau says, "Shark-free banquets have become more popular over the past two years. At least 20 per cent more wedding couples now choose shark-free banquets."
As of this month, 116 caterers have joined WWF's Alternative Shark Free Menu programme and168 corporations have taken the No Shark Fin Corporate Pledge.