• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 8:39pm
NewsHong Kong
ENVIRONMENT

Shark fin trade from Hong Kong to China drops almost 90 per cent in one year

WWF-Hong Kong says sales to mainland down 90pc because of pressure from green groups and possibly campaign against extravagance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 6:36pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 8:50am

Trade in shark fins from Hong Kong to mainland China dropped by almost 90 per cent last year, a green group revealed.

Overall imports to Hong Kong fell 35 per cent compared with 2012, WWF-Hong Kong added.

The fall comes amid a crackdown by the central government on extravagance and corruption, and pressure by environmental groups to stamp out the trade.

The figures, drawn from government statistics, show a drop in re-export volumes of 17.5 per cent. This was driven by a 90 per cent drop in re-exports to mainland China from 1.2 million kilograms in 2012 to 113,973kg.

Mainland China, formerly Hong Kong's biggest re-export market, fell to fourth place last year after being overtaken by Vietnam for the first time since 2010.

"We were very surprised when we saw this figure as the mainland has traditionally been Hong Kong's biggest re-export market," said WWF-Hong Kong senior programme director Tracy Tsang Chui-chi.

"We do not rule out the possibility that the central government's anti-corruption measures could have played a role in the big drop in re-exports."

No explanation could be given as to why Vietnam, a country with no apparent shark fin consumption culture, could have surpassed mainland China as a re-export market.

Fin imports to Hong Kong dropped from 8,285 tonnes in 2012 to 5,412 tonnes, their lowest level in more than a decade, the group said.

WWF's Tsang said more transparency was needed to regulate the fin trade. This would include improving the city's harmonised code system to track shark fin products.

"The government should improve the existing codes, following the coding practice used for bluefin tuna, to allow for the identification of shark species that need to be tracked.

"Scientific identification, through DNA testing of randomly sampled shark fins, could also be deployed for verification purposes," Tsang said.

She called on the government to collect and release full statistics on the shark fin trade, including species, volume and country of origin.

Trade in eight shark species is now restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Ricky Leung Lak-kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Marine Products Association, said the local shark fin industry had been hit hard by the fall in demand in mainland China. The industry had suffered a 60 per cent decline in shark fin import prices and a roughly 20 to 30 per cent drop in business over the past year, he said.

Leung rejected suggestions that the local shark fin trade was hurting the environment. He said about two-thirds of Hong Kong imports were from blue sharks, which were not listed as an endangered species under CITES.

"The industry follows international law stipulated by CITES. There is a reason why it exists … I don't understand why green groups and the government keep discriminating against us."

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This article is now closed to comments

parispam
Lesson to learn! Never be too dependent on a group of people in one's business. Diversity is the key to sustainability! HK, please wake up! Let's not be too dependent on Chinese tourists alone. We need to stay international by encouraging other nationalities to visit our beautiful city!
5347e207-15fc-4700-8a27-52be0a3209cb
i will not be convinced by whatever you folks advocate. as for me, i am hoping that the price would go down until i can afford it everyday!
u guys are some what saving all the shark fins for me and those which can't afford it once.
thanks. =D
ianhuayensee
The sale of shark's fin should be banned altogether, it is cruel to the animal and we should show compassion to it. Imagine there is someone up there saying "hmmm, I like human "drumsticks", especially when they are freshly off the human body". Have compassion, be green. The karmic retribution out of being cruel and engaging in killing is unimaginable. Our food supply is so abundant nowadays that there is no shortage of food, food variety and nutrition. The consumption of shark's fin is greed and pure fad especially among the Chinese community. The lead to stop should start with government and big corporate functions, public figures and celebrities.
cathychowscmp
It's so terrible
meoii
Maybe the sharksfin are re-routed from Vietnam to China (somehow). People in China are still spending, just not in the open. Remission of brothels in China would mean men get less horny, NOT A CHANCE!
scmp04
Black money from a Black trade
53457349-70f8-47c9-b97e-52c40a3209cb
I dont believe this report for a minute...as corrupt as china is, they just arent enforcing the law anymore...you can still walk down any street in a big city in china and see shark fins in every restaurant window...this story is total BS.
53453793-84c8-487f-aa22-52bb0a3209cb
This is no doubt a powerful illustration of China's commitment to protecting the environment and promoting conservation.
pangkf
No surpirse. This day comes sooner or later.
chuchu59
The industry had been thriving for decades if not centuries. We must not let down our guard lest interest in this delicacy is reignited and sales shoot up the roof.

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