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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:59pm
NewsHong Kong

Outrage over ‘shark fin rooftop’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2013, 4:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2013, 4:30pm

Hong Kong conservationists expressed outrage on Thursday after images of a factory rooftop covered in thousands of freshly sliced shark fins emerged, as they called for curbs on the “barbaric” trade.

The 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 reporters, saying it was the first time that he has spotted such a massive hoarding of shark fins in one place in the city.

“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 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 tonnes 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.


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Yeah, I fully agree that a ban should be laid by our government to prohitbit the trade of shark fins in Hong Kong where most dried fins would be exported to Mainland China where the eating of shark fins has become popular due to her economic development and prosperity. To protect our oceans and the endangered species of sharks, banning the trade of shark fins should be enforced as soon as possible so as to protect this endangered species of our earth.Not to say the barbaric and horrific way of cutting the fins of live sharks before throwing the bodies back to the oceans ! Our government has to do something on it as now the shark fin trade has decreaed to 50%---a healthy sign indeed.Just like the ban of ivory trade in the past, now it should be the ban of shark fins trade !
The trade is disgusting and barbaric, as are the people that support the trade by consuming sharks fin. To China, Hong Kong, and other sharks fin consumers: Try not to be so greedy and ignorant and try to show some conscience and class.......if you can......,
This is one of the most evil things i have EVER seen! How the hell is this legal in anyway!!!!!!!! Human greed is a disgusting, revolting, earth destroying route of all evil quality to have. Maybe now you can understand why sharks attack humans! When we hack off their limbs and throw them back into the sea to drown! Disgusting! Just for a bowl of **** soup! I hope all the people that are involved with the slaughter of these magnificent creatures, suffer in their own life's and death.


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