Monday, November 30, 2015   

More shark species get protection

Yupina Ng

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five more species will be added to the list of protected sharks by September as Hong Kong seeks to widen the ban on popular shark fin dishes.

"We are going to add another five species of sharks because of the international law CITES," Undersecretary for the Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai told a press briefing yesterday.

"We hope this can be done later on this year."

CITES is the US-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

WWF (Hong Kong) senior program officer Tracy Tsang Chui-chi said the revised CITES will be effective in September.

"The SAR will have to follow the international law by revising the ordinance," she said.


The ordinance on protecting endangered animals and plants now covers three shark species - basking shark, great white shark and whale shark.

The five additional species will include the oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, smooth hammerhead and porbeagle.

The global campaign "I Am FINished with Fins" campaign was launched in April 2012 by the WWF, Shark Savers, WildAid and National Geographic Channel.

Speaking at the briefing, US consul general Clifford Hart admitted he had tried shark fin soup before.

"But it was already in the past tense, and I was unaware [of the shark fin campaign] at that time," he said.

Hilton Worldwide president for Asia Pacific Martin Rinck said 106 of the hotel chain's properties across the region have banned shark fin dishes since April.

"We are happy to make a decisive commitment to influence consumer demand and ensure operational compliance across our portfolio of hotels," Rinck said.

Currently, 116 Hong Kong restaurants and hotels have pledged not to serve shark fin.

Hong Kong, which is trying to shed its image as being the world's "shark fin capital," imported 5,412 tonnes of shark products, including fins, last year - a 34.7 percent drop from 2012.

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