Conservationists slam Hong Kong’s ‘shark fin rooftop’



Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 4 January 2013

Last update 3 January 2013 11:18 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Hong Kong: Conservationists expressed outrage yesterday after images emerged of a factory rooftop covered in thousands of freshly sliced shark fins, as they called for curbs on the “barbaric” trade.
The southern Chinese city is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets and viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy.
Activist Gary Stokes who has visited the site estimated there are 15,000 to 20,000 fins being laid to dry on the rooftop on Hong Kong island ahead of an anticipated surge in demand over Lunar New Year in February this year.
“This is shocking,” the Hong Kong coordinator for conservation group Sea Shepherd told AFP, saying it was the first time that he has spotted such a massive hoarding of shark fins in one place in the Asian financial hub.
“This is the most graphic, brutal and barbaric part of the industry — the element of chopping a shark’s fin off and throwing it back into the water is horrific and inhumane,” he added.
Stokes believed the large amount of shark fins were destined for China, and that traders moved to dry the shark fins on secluded rooftops instead of sidewalks — as they have done in the past — to avoid public anger.
Campaigns against consuming shark fins have gained ground in Hong Kong in recent years, after major hotel chains decided to drop the soup from the menus, and home carrier Cathay Pacific said in September it would stop carrying unsustainable sourced shark products on its cargo flights.
“The demand in Hong Kong is definitely decreasing but unfortunately, the demand in China is growing,” Stokes said. “As long as there is no protection for the sharks, the (demand) will just keep going on and on,” he added, urging Hong Kong authorities to ban the trade.

Environmentalists say the sustainable shark fin industry is tiny and most of the products are harvested in a way that threatens scores of shark species deemed vital for healthy oceans.
About 73 million sharks are killed every year, with Hong Kong importing about 10,000 tons annually for the past decade, according to environmental group WWF. Most of those fins are then exported to mainland China.
The number of threatened shark species has soared from 15 in 1996 to more than 180 in 2010, mainly due to the growing Chinese demand for fins.

It was not immediately clear who owns the thousands of unprocessed fins on the rooftop, which was unguarded when visited by an AFP journalist Thursday.
A spokeswoman from the government’s conservation department told AFP that authorities could not act because the fins were on private property. “This is a real disaster and it is just a tip of the iceberg,” Silvy Pun, the Hong Kong director for US-based Shark Savers said. She criticized the Hong Kong government for not acting to protect the dwindling shark population, after neighboring Taiwan banned shark finning this year while China plans to stop serving the soup at official banquets.
“Hong Kong is a major shark fin capital, the government must do something. The government is being very laid-back and trying to avoid confrontation with the shark fin traders,” Pun said. Trade in shark fins is not regulated in Hong Kong except for three species — basking shark, great white shark and whale shark — where the trade is restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which Hong Kong is a signatory. A kilogram (two pounds) of premium dried fin can fetch up to HK$10,000 ($1,290) in Hong Kong, while a bowl of the soup sells for over HK$1,000.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ABHA: Several Saudi businesswomen started traveling with a group of friends after recent regulations which allow women to travel without their mahram. These women said they find great fun to travel as a group with their friends and their children, wh...
RIYADH: The United Nations, Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council welcomed the Kingdom-led coalition’s announcement of a five-day cease-fire, that took effect at midnight on Sunday, to push humanitarian relief in war-ravaged Yemen to the beleaguer...
ALKHOBAR: Jobless Saudi women constitute 70 percent of the unemployed. The Ministry of Economy and Planning said 58 percent of the jobless have preparatory school level education. According to the statistics, the annual unemployment growth rate among...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has found traces of a civilization that was domesticating horses about 9,000 years ago, 4,000 years earlier than previously thought. The discovery has shed new light on the origin of the Arabian horse, which has remained a great...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Labor in the Makkah region found 250 laborers working on various construction projects during restricted hours of the day. Punitive measures will be taken against the employers of these workers. According to a ministerial decr...
JEDDAH: When poverty is your guest for 15 years, gardens, parks, streets and pavements become your abode under the unavoidable scorching sun. One has to face hardships of hunger and survive on breadcrumbs. This is the situation of a 60-year-old Saudi...
JEDDAH: The negative attitudes of society in dealing with harassment and abuse cases prevent victims from reporting a great number of such cases to the authorities.Despite this, about 3,982 cases reached the country's criminal courts in 1435 and 1436...
AL-QATIF: The Omani security forces have arrested a man who, they said, accidentally fired a bullet that hit a young Saudi girl in a hotel in Musandam on Saturday. Four-year-old Zainab bint Mohammed Labad of Al-Awamiyah was playing in the hotel lobby...
Ramon Corvera, deputy chief of mission at the Argentinian Embassy in Riyadh.* Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? The natural beauty of the desert.* What is your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Masha’Allah.* Which book i...
JEDDAH: The creativity and entrepreneurship community program of Umm Al-Qura University brought together 80 creative entrepreneurs to exchange their experiences and knowledge on Monday. Fawaz Saad, the dean of the institute for innovation and entrepr...
RIYADH: The August issue of ‘Nature’, the monthly magazine of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), will focus on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) corona, which has affected 1,055 people in the Kingdom since June 2012.The to...
LILLE, France: Saudi Arabia’s firm stand against the phenomenon of violence as well as religious, ethnic and cultural fanaticism came in for praise at an international symposium, which concluded here.The participants of the symposium on "Media Covera...
DAMMAM: Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association (SABSA) is participating in the 23rd World Scout Jamboree with the slogan “A Spirit of Unity,” which starts July 28 and runs until August 8 in Kirara-hama, Japan. A total of 32,000 scouts from 144 national...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor was able to increase the number of Saudi women employees from 70,000 to 428,000 during the past four years, Abdul Munim Al-Shehri, assistant undersecretary for special programs, has said . The ministry is now working on...
JEDDAH: A court issued a 10-year prison sentence against a health employee in Al-Ahsa and fined him SR1 million for getting involved in forgery and fraud as well as embezzling public funds in contracts to import medical equipment for the Children and...

Stay Connected

Facebook