Talkback

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am

Should shark's fin be dropped from all menus?

While I support the idea of not serving shark's fin as a delicacy, I know that it is impossible to expect restaurants to stop making such dishes for its customers.

Therefore, I do not think shark's fin should be dropped from all menus, but it should be excluded from as many menus as possible.

If it was banned altogether, I think it would be greeted with discontent by the many Chinese diners who are fond of eating it.

Because it is such a famous traditional Chinese dish, enjoyed by tourists and locals, restaurants and seafood shops could lose a lot of customers, if they refused to sell it.

Eating shark's fin is traditionally regarded as a symbol of wealth and superiority since shark fin is very expensive. Rich Chinese like to take it as a present to relatives and friends.

Many Chinese people believe that consuming shark's fin can be good for them, as it provides protein and helps nourish the skin.

However, given that more than 114 shark and related species face extinction, companies and organisations still serving shark's fin at functions should reconsider their position so as to prevent extinction of sharks and promote sustainable development.

These organisations should not just be thinking about profits, but should show more concern for the environment.

I was shocked to learn about the inhumane way in which shark fin is obtained. Some fishermen, after catching the shark, tear off the fins and then throw the shark back into the sea. This is extremely cruel.

Environmental group WWF has appealed for a ban on shark's fin and we should heed this call.

Chow Lai-nga, Kowloon Tong

Some shark species are on the brink of extinction because of the growing demand for shark's fin.

Because of this, some environmental groups want the consumption of shark's fin to be banned ('Companies urged to ban shark fin from banquets', December 4). However, I think there will be strong opposition to this hard line on shark's fin consumption. I am opposed to shark's fin being dropped from all menus.

Shark's fin soup is a requisite dish in Chinese feasts. If restaurants excluded it, they would lose business.

Although there are substitutes available, the real shark's fin is a symbol of honour and splendour. Catering firms would know they would lose business, and so they would oppose it. The rich will always find a way to get the product. If it was banned here, they could purchase it from another country on the internet.

I think the key to this problem is education. The government and environmentalists should address the problem at its roots. Present education on protecting endangered species is insufficient so there should be more advertisements on TV, radio and MTR billboards to arouse public awareness of the need to protect our globe.

Yoyo Li Man-yan, Kowloon Tong

The whole issue of shark's fin dishes is very controversial.

I think - given the threat to so many species of sharks - it is now appropriate to call on corporations to drop shark's fin from their banquet menus, especially when the demand for the delicacy is rising on the back of the strong economy.

The 'finning' of sharks required to make this soup is brutal and it is the main reason why so many species are under threat. As environmentalists point out, after their fins are removed the sharks are thrown back into the ocean and left to die.

The global decline of the shark has reached a stage that is alarming conservation groups.

How many species of sharks must become extinct before we stop eating shark fins?

As I said, China's booming economy is exacerbating the problem. However, people have to realise that as more sharks die, our oceans' ecosystems could be damaged.

Therefore, it is vital that we try and ensure the conservation of the shark by dropping shark's fin from all our menus.

I know that some corporations in Hong Kong have already dropped shark's fin from their menus.

One of the problems, however, is the loss of face associated with not serving shark's fin soup to your guests at a Chinese banquet. However, nowadays, restaurants are trying to provide substitutes, such as bird's nest soup and other kinds of Chinese-style soups.

Therefore, it is no longer necessary for a restaurant to serve shark's fin soup. There are other ways in which we can show our respect to guests at banquets.

We have to accept that dropping shark's fin from all menus will help to protect threatened species of sharks and the whole marine ecosystem.

The government can be a role model here for our corporations, by not serving shark's fin dishes to visiting dignitaries.

Yip On-ki, Sham Shui Po

Will you be upgrading for digital TV?

I would not upgrade my television since I think that the quality of the programmes now is already good enough.

I do not think it is necessary for me to spend extra money on a high-definition television. Besides, I think this revolution in broadcasting will cause several problems. Senior citizens will have problems. Many of them live alone and they depend on their television. However, a high-definition TV and a set-top box are costly and I do not think senior citizens can afford them. Once the digital reception is the only option available to viewers, what will elderly people do for entertainment?

I am also concerned about the environmental impact as many people will throw away their old television sets.

According to a survey, there are approximately one million families using the traditional TV sets.

It is expected that most of these people will throw out these old sets.

Presumably, these sets will end up being dumped into Hong Kong's landfills.

These sets contain material such as mercury and lead. I am concerned that such heavy metals could cause serious pollution and adversely affect people's health.

I think the trial period for digital TV should be extended and we should delay the cut-off period for the analogue signal (2012). Also, the government should provide some subsidies for the elderly to buy the new digital sets.

Television manufacturers should be willing to take the old sets and recycle them.

Most importantly, Hong Kong people should ask themselves if they really need to buy a new digital television.

Edith Chow Wing-yan, Sham Shui Po