Talking Points: should the shark fin industry be banned in Hong Kong?

Compiled by Sam Gusway

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Compiled by Sam Gusway |

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Hong Kong is a centre for shark fin trading.

Tiffany Lui, 17, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Yes absolutely! Even thought sharks are not common in our seas, Hong Kong is the centre of the shark fin trade, accounting for about half the global shark fin trade every year. Because of overhunting, some shark species already close to extinction. So, if the shark fin trade in Hong Kong is banned, the traders will lose an important marketplace, and will have to hunt fewer sharks.

Tang Pak-long, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

Shark fin should not be banned in Hong Kong, because this is a free market and an international city. Business is important. What we can do is to stop hunting sharks for new fins because there are already a lot of dried fins in the market.

Bobo Cheung Hok-yu, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Sharks are endangered animals, so we should protect them from extinction. When fishermen collect shark fins, they just cut their fins off and throw the shark back to the sea. Not being able to swim properly anymore, the sharks quickly die. Sharks play a big role in the marine ecosystem. Killing them disturbs the food chain and is very bad for the environment.

Kelly Leung, 15, Tung Chung Catholic School

I think shark fin trade should be banned in Hong Kong. Our city is known as the “shark fin capital” of the world, and about 5,500 tonnes of it was traded here last year. The Census and Statistics Department also show that the shark’s fins exported from Hong Kong have increased from 82 per cent in 2010 to 92 per cent in the previous year. Even right here at home, there are many elderly people who feel as if using shark fin is a way to show their class. If we ban it, it will help the global shark population.

Cheung Chi-hang, 16, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

It would be good for Hong Kong to ban the shark fin trade. Even though it might be harmful to local fisheries and stop people’s traditional habit of eating shark fin, it would enhance Hong Kong’s international image. Sharks are now becoming extinct, so banning shark fin would protect sharks, which is an environmental friendly choice.

Michael Poon Long-yin, 17, Munsang College

Imagine you are those poor sharks: brutally pulled up from the sea and have your fins cut off. How would you feel? You would feel frightened as you are thrown back to the ocean, unable to swim. We are all animals and have the right to live. Moreover, with the increasing rate of shark deaths, it would upset the entire ecosystem. Ban it.

Carson Cheung Ka-long, 16, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

Cutting off shark fins is not much different from chopping off human limbs! Cruelty will come to an end if we ban the trade. As we all know, there’s no way for sharks to swim normally after their fins are taken. What matters most is the ecosystem. It will be seriously affected by the decrease in the number of sharks. Is it really necessary to put a species of animal and Mother Nature at risk just to satisfy a selfish desire for taste? Some people think that it’s traditional Chinese culture to include shark fins in wedding banquets, yet there are always numerous food choices to meet the our needs. Shark fins are also high in mercury, so a high consumption is likely to damage us. It’s time for us to care more about for our planet. Laws must be established to eradicate such cruel acts.

Spencer Cheung Sing-sen, 16, Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School

Shark is a predatory marine fish which has existed for five hundred million years.

Due to the surging price of shark fins, fishermen are attracted to catching sharks.

This leads to an imbalance in marine ecology. The price of other shark parts is cheap, so they only cut off the fins and put the sharks back into the sea. It is horrifying to see these sharks when they lose their swimming abilities and eventually suffocate. In order to prevent shark extinction, we should ban the shark fin trade in Hong Kong.

Cyril Wong, 14, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

I think that shark fin trade should be banned because sharks are becoming endangered animals. If they become extinct, it will affect nature because the sea will be without sharks to control the amount of fish. Someone must protect the sharks.

Chan Wing yee,15, Tung Chung Catholic School

I think the shark fin trade should be banned in Hong Kong. People hunt sharks to make shark fin soup. We have to protect the sharks. Hong Kong has many delicious foods, so the soup can be replaced by something else.

Ady Lam, 11, Island School

It should definitely be banned. Hong Kong is one of the major smuggling ports for this food, and this problem has tarnished Hong Kong’s reputation while damaging the marine ecosystem.

Chik Yiu-kai, 15, Sing Yin Secondary School

Not just in Hong Kong. It should also be banned in China and the rest of the world. Hunting sharks for their fins is very cruel, and even though banning it will affect the world economy greatly, we should stop it. As human beings, we are considered to be the most intelligent amongst all creatures. Destroying an animal of nature is a very dumb action, but regrettably, we are actually doing it.

Poon Shun-man, 15, Tung Chung Catholic School.

The number of sharks are reduced a lot lately because lots of shark have been killed for their fins. To harvest a shark fin, fishermen first catch the shark, cut its fins off, and throw it back to the sea. This is very brutal. Hong Kong is an international ship port, so tonnes of shark fins are being traded. If Hong Kong bans the shark fin trade, fishermen might stop killing sharks. That would save these awesome creatures.

Kylie Leung Wei-nam, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Every year, millions of sharks are slaughtered cruelly for the shark fin trade, and now, about one third of all shark species risks extinction. It is unethical to cut off the fins and then just leave them to bleed to death in the sea. This is brutal, selfish, and inhumane. Besides, sharks are at the top of the food chain. If they become extinct, the marine ecosystem will be unbalanced. The number of certain sea animals will increase rapidly as there are no sharks to control their population. Moreover, shark fins are tasteless. All the soup’s flavour is from the other ingredients, not from the shark fins themselves. Why can’t we give up something unsavoury to save the marine ecosystem?

Chan Chun-sing, 16, Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School

I strongly agree that the shark fin trade should be banned in Hong Kong. Nowadays, the demand for shark fin has increased and it has become a lucrative industry. The thing that I can’t stand most is the inhumane way of getting the fins. The fishermen dump the still living shark’s torso back into sea after cutting its fins off!

So Yuet-yu, 15, Tung Chung Catholic School

It should not only banned in Hong Kong, but the whole world. Imagine somebody cut your hands off and threw you into the sea. Even if you are good at swimming, you can’t swim without your hands, right? The shark fin trade is ridiculous and inhumane.

Justin Ying, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Lots of shark fins are traded in Hong Kong. Many are then sold to other places like the Mainland. If the shark fin trade is banned in Hong Kong, the demand for shark fins would be lower. Thus, fewer sharks would be killed. Let’s protect the sharks more.

Angel Leung, 15, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Having shark fin soup at weddings seems to be one of the traditions in Hong Kong, but it unnecessary. In order to protect these endangered animals, banning the trade is one of the most effective methods. It would stop people from hunting for shark fins, and therefore less people would eat it.

Dave Chen-zehua, 16, Fanling Kau Yan College

Thousands of sharks are killed for their fins. The injured sharks are then abandoned by the humans who caught them. They bleed and suffer in the sea. The process is cruel. This can be stopped by banning the shark fin trade. If it’s banned, shark hunting would decrease. People nowadays seem to neglect the essence of protecting existing species. The amount of sharks is falling rapidly and the situation is only getting worse. We should do everything to help.

Karen Ip Ka-yan, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Shark finning is a cruel, inhumane and immoral process in which the fins are removed from the shark and the remainder is discarded into the ocean. The sharks, without their fins, sink to the bottom of the ocean. They either starve to death or are eaten alive by other predators. Banning the shark fin trade in Hong Kong would discourage the development of shark finning.

Since Hong Kong is the capital of the shark fin trade, it has a significant impact on the world. Banning the trade in Hong Kong will reduce the importation of the shark fin and thus reduce shark fin consumption.

Furthermore, a ban would raise public awareness on shark finning. Due to the traditional Chinese culture, shark fins are a symbol of status in Hong Kong. During some special occasions, such as wedding banquets, shark fin soup is a must have delicacy. By banning the shark fin trade in Hong Kong, people would think twice and change their eating pattern.

All in all, while people tuck into their shark fin soups, large amounts of sharks are being killed. They are facing extinction! We must do something to stop this!

Wong Lok-tao, 15, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

The amount of sharks in the sea is getting lower and lower due to hunting. Hong Kong is the city that consumes the most shark fins. Banning shark fin trading in Hong Kong would not only reduce demand, but also set a good example to other countries.

Eunice Yung Po-yiu, 16, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

I think the shark fin trade should be banned in Hong Kong. If we continue with the shark fin trade, they will be disappear. I think we should protect sharks and not let people eat their fins.

Wong Wing-yan, 16, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

We all know that Hongkongers are into eating shark fin soup, but the process of getting the fins is inhumane and dangerous. Why? People cut the shark’s fins and abandon the remainder of the shark. Since it is unable to swim, the shark sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Apart from the brutal act of shark finning, the drastically decreasing number of sharks may also lead to an ecological imbalance. The whole ecosystem would be damaged. Therefore, we need to ban the shark fin trade in Hong Kong quickly in order to be a model to other deciding countries.

Lau Tak-chung, 16, Tung Chung Catholic School

As we know, when fishermen catch the sharks, they just hack off the fins and throw the shark back into the sea. This indirectly kills the shark because they can’t move without their fins. They can’t swim around of forage for food. If shark fin trade continues, sharks will face extinction. It is dangerous to affect the ecological balance. We shouldn’t eat shark fins. If nobody eats them, then nobody will have to catch sharks anymore.

Sunny Shum Yu-yiu, 15, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Killing sharks for their fins is horrible as we endanger their normal life. We should stop this kind of selfish deed and the trade should be prohibited too.

Chung Cheuk-kei, 16, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

In this day and age, some conservative people believe that eating shark fins can completely represent the socio-economic status of the Hong Kong people. However, this does not show the complete picture. Here’s what I think. Eating shark fin damages our ecological environment. More importantly, these shark finning acts will make the next generation of sharks be on the edge of extinction. Therefore, the government must do something about it.

Ariel Yu Wing-chi, 15, Tung Chung Catholic School

It is so inhumane and cruel towards the sharks. Shark hunters just cut the fins off and throw the sharks back into the ocean. The shark fin trade kills sharks indirectly. It will also cause an imbalance to the ecological system. If there are no sharks, the food chain breaks and this would minimise biological diversity.

Ho Cheuk-lam, 16, Tung Chung Catholic School

Shark fins are expensive and precious, but hunting for them is dangerous for sharks. Some businessmen kill them slowly and miserably. They cut their fins off and throw them right back into the sea. It’s terrible.We need to protect our environment.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss: should a chief executive – or a president – be allowed to take holidays? We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.