According to a new survey by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong, in the past five years, close tp 70% of residents have reduced or stopped eating shark’s fin soup. The 1,000 people surveyed found that 92% of respondants found it acceptable to remove shark fin soup from a wedding banquet menu, versus 80% in 2009.
- use of shark’s fin at wedding banquets fell from 91% in 2009 to 72% in 2014
- consumption of shark’s fin during Chinese New Year went from 38% in 2009 to 14% in 2014.
- many said they are willing to try alternatives
- less than 1% saw shark fin as irreplaceable at banquets
- 24% of respondents said they did not eat shark fin at all in 2014 compared with 15% in 2009
- 44% had not eaten it at a restaurant for a year against 17.5% earlier
- Environmental concern was cited as the main reason why people shunned shark’s fin
Stanley Shea Kwok-ho program coordinator at Bloom Marine (the organisation funnding the survey) said people are more aware of the environmental impact of eating shark fin, and many hotels, restaurants and catering firms have helped in the fight for conservation by striking it off their menus. And many are offering alternatives to shark fin soup.
Imogen Zethoven, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts Global Shark Conservation Campaign, said she is delighted to see local support for protecting sharks growing when “we know about 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries.”
While praising the government for taking a lead in banning shark fin and bluefin tuna from official banquets in 2013, Shea said it should also discourage the consumption of all products involving endangered species.
Related to that, 84% of respondents said the government could do more to protect sharks through education and 69% that sustainable seafood should be promoted.
Hong Kong still handles about 50% of the global trade in shark fins.
(Source: HK Standard, April 17, 2015)