Hong Kong shark fin imports halved over past decade

The total volume of shark fin imported into Hong Kong has halved over the past decade. Paul Hilton China News Service

The total volume of shark fin imported into Hong Kong has halved over the past decade, according to a press release published by World Wide Fund (WWF) Hong Kong on Thursday. The decline is due to shipping bans and public campaigns urging a reduction in its consumption.

According to figures from the Census and Statistics Department in Hong Kong, shark fin imports have declined from 10,210 tonnes in 2007 to 4,979 tonnes in 2017, a decrease of over 50 percent. The first major drop took place in 2011 to 2012, followed by a second drop the following year.

Tracy Tsang, WWF-Hong Kong’s senior programme officer for oceans sustainability, pointed to the actions of WWF and others in reducing shark fin consumption, as well as the introduction of airline and shipping bans.

She added that container shipping line X-Press Feeders announced a ban on shark fin carriage this month, joining the likes of shipping companies Maersk, COSCO and Hapag-Lloyd, who have also established a no shark fin carriage policy.

Last year, Air China Cargo became the first mainland airline enterprise to ban the transport of shark fins.

2007-2017 shark fin products import volume. WWF-Hong Kong

“We are now working towards making Hong Kong a shark fin free zone in the next decade or less,” states Tsang, who adds that illegally importing shark fin should be a serious crime with tougher penalties.

“The risks of trading in any fin products should be a strong incentive to all shipping companies to get out of the trade in shark fin where supply chain authenticity is often unclear,” she says.

Dr Andy Cornish, leader of WWF’s global Shark and Ray Initiative, explained that Hong Kong is the world’s largest trader of shark fin, so this decrease in imports will have been felt by shark traders around the globe, and should result in less pressure on shark populations.

Approximately one quarter of the world’s shark and related species are threatened with extinction, and nine commercially important shark species have been listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 2014.

Founded in 1981, WWF-Hong Kong is part of WWF’s global network and has been working to stop the consumption of shark fin since 2007. – GBTimes



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