Shark fin campaign stepped up in HK

Environmental groups are to hold talks with Hong Kong’s leading hoteliers to lobby for the removal of shark’s fin from their menus following the success of a campaign that persuaded Disney to reverse its decision to serve the dish at the new theme park.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hong Kong was also seeking talks with a shark’s fin traders association at the start of what it saw as a long drive to build momentum from Disney’s climb down, the Post said.

After weeks of pressure from environmental groups, Disney announced late June that it would not serve shark’s fin at its theme park hotel, which is due to open in September.

WWF chief executive Eric Bohm conceded that Disney’s move, although symbolically important, was not likely to decrease the massive amount of shark’s fin that was imported into Hong Kong for consumption.

Up to 40 million sharks a year were harvested for their fins worldwide, most of which passed through Hong Kong, said the Post.

“We will approach the traders association and start talking to them,” said Bohm, “then we will go to the Hong Kong Hotels Association.”

Bohm said they needed to find out what the impact on the hotels would be. But he would imagine the impact on profit was probably steep because shark’s fin was an expensive proposition.

While Hong Kong’s five-star hotels have so far insisted they would not take shark’s fin off their menus, JW Marriott has agreed to examine ways of making diners think twice before ordering the dish.

“One of the suggestions I have made is that if customers order it, they should make a donation towards a conservation fund,” said Therese Necio-Ortega, Marriot’s director of communications, the Post quoted Necio-Ortega as saying.

“At the end of the day, we respect culture, but we also have to respect nature because that affects all of us,” she said.

However, she said there were no immediate plans to take shark’s fin off the hotel’s menu.

Source: China View/Shenzhen Daily