Are the Chinese Finally Giving Up Shark Fin Soup?


Photo: Jason Robertshaw under a Creative Commons license.

A new survey has encouraging results for those concerned about the fate of world shark populations: it looks like the consumption of shark fin soup is dropping. The dish is considered a luxury status-symbol and usually served at weddings and other formal occasions. But now, of 1,000 residents of Hong Kong, 78% responded that they found it "acceptable" or "very acceptable" to leave the delicacy off the menu at a wedding.The survey was commissioned by BLOOM, a non-profit organization dedicated to marine conservation, and carried out by the University of Hong Kong Social Sciences Research Centre. And while it's a small sample of a local market, it is a good sign that international markets are also moving away from hunting the endangered species. The New York Times writes:

But the city is the main hub for the world's shark fin trade. About 9,000 tons of fins, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, are imported each year, according to government statistics. So what happens in Hong Kong matters globally.

The survey is in line with a trend that dates back to 2009. So, while the results fall far short of assuring us that the world's sharks are safe, it's definitely good news. Shark finning is a horrific process, TreeHugger Jaymi reminds us

A shark is caught, pulled onboard a boat, its fins are cut off, and the still-living shark is tossed back overboard to drown or bleed to death. The wasteful, inhumane practice is done to satisfy a demand for shark fins, which can fetch as much as $300 per pound.

With any luck, the numbers of those looking to dine on shark's fins will continue to drop, and the species will have a real chance to recover from their decimated numbers.

Read more from the New York Times.

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More on sharks and shark fin soup:
Shark Extinction Possible Simply from Too Much Soup
What Is Shark Fin Soup and Why Should it Be Banned in California and Beyond?
Hooray! Hawaii Outlaws Shark Fin Soup

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