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Thursday, May 06, 2010

WWF - Restaurants and hotels respond positively to growing concerns about Hong Kong’s role in fuelling shark population crashes

via WWF-Hong Kong
12 hotels and restaurants today joined hands with WWF to step forwards in response to growing concerns about Hong Kong’s role in fuelling shark population crashes, by introducing shark-free banquet menus. It marks the first major step for local caterers in joining shark conservation efforts.WWF has been promoting and educating the public on sustainable seafood, and engaging caterers and corporations in Hong Kong in not serving or consuming shark fin soup respectively. Recently, Hong Kong has seen a surge in online and offline discussions around the need for banquet menus to remove shark fin. WWF today launches the “Alternative Shark-free Menu Programme”, partnering with caterers across Hong Kong to offer alternative shark-free banquet menus, in addition to existing menus.“A lot of individual voices have suddenly made themselves heard in the past few months. WWF is delighted to see the shark issue going mainstream; we’re reaching a tipping-point in attitudes to shark fin soup. We’ve heard of countless battles by individuals who’ve struggled to find shark-free banquets in recent years, and the moves highlighted today are a response to those desires for consumer options. Offering alternatives to shark fin banquet menus is a significant step forwards to reducing Hong Kong’s impact on many shark populations worldwide, and I congratulate these industry leaders,” said Dr Andy Cornish, Director, Conservation, WWF-Hong Kong.12 hotels and Chinese restaurants have already joined the “Alternative Shark-free Menu Programme” and WWF expects more local caterers to join the force. In the future, consumers can visit WWF’s website: wwf.org.hk/sharkfree to look for hotels or Chinese restaurants which provide shark fin free menus. “Introducing shark fin free banquet menus is an immediate and important first step to cater to the increasingly environmentally conscious public. Hong Kong people care about the future of these magnificent creatures. WWF will work closely with the participating hotels and restaurants to drive sustainable seafood catering and consumption practice in Hong Kong,” added Dr Cornish.The sustainability of consuming shark products, such as shark fin, has long been of global concern and Hong Kong is one of the greatest consumers of shark fin worldwide. Hong Kong is the shark fin capital of the world and handles 50-80% of the global shark fin trade. In 2009, over 9,300 tonnes of shark fin was imported in Hong Kong. Unfortunately WWF is not aware of any shark fisheries that could be considered sustainable from a full ecosystem-perspective, and given the dire situation facing sharks, we are asking the public to stop eating shark fin and reduce demand for their fins.At the press conference today, local artist Ms Miriam Yeung announced her pledge of not serving shark fin soup at her wedding banquet later this year. She called for more wedding couples to join her and take actions to conserve shark species.WWF is grateful to Posto Pubblico for sponsoring the venue for the press conference today.

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