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China Removes Shark Fin Soup From Official Banquet Menus

Rows of shark fins drying

According to The Times Hong Kong bureau, China is planning to stop serving shark fin soup at official banquets. Shark fin is a popular delicacy, frequently blamed for the sharp decline in global shark populations.

The ban could take up to three years to go into full effect, and it is still unclear as to how wide the orders will spread across the nation. Apparently, orders issued by Beijing are often ignored by officials in far-off areas of the country.

It’s no surprise that the decision is highly praised by environmental campaign groups and activists. The growing demand for shark fin soup over the past 20 years has been increasingly detrimental to shark populations around the world.

“This is a very positive step forward,” said Andy Cornish of WWF in Hong Kong. “It’s the first time that the Chinese central government has expressed a decision to phase out shark fin from banquets funded by taxpayers’ money.” He added that the ban would send a strong message to consumers in China, the largest market for shark fins.

Attempting to curb the demand for increasingly rare animal parts is just as important as imposing stricter regulations on trade. It’s great to see China taking a stand to protect a valuable species.

via Dot Earth, NYTimes
Photos courtesy of Shawn Heinrichs for the Pew Environment Group

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