Asians against shark fin soup

Whale Shark and Shark Fin Soup, The beginning of the End with Erin Calmes from Erin N. Calmes KetaFilms on Vimeo.

This is an anti shark fin soup video.

From DPA news agency:

Shock video turns tide against shark’s fin soup

Posted: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 03:01:30 GMT

By: Simon Parry

Hong Kong – A mutilated whale shark lay helpless on a beach in the Philippines, dying slowly as fishermen and tourists strolled by.

Its fins had been hacked off by hunters who had then dumped it in the sea to die. For the Pacific fishermen who towed it to shore to give it a quicker death, it was a tragically common sight.

This death was different, however. It was recorded by a group of Hong Kong tourists, whose three-minute video may have done more for the campaign against shark’s fin consumption than any costly PR exercise.

The video became an internet sensation, watched by tens of thousands online and triggering a popular Facebook campaign to cut gift money for Hong Kong couples who serve shark‘s fin at their wedding banquets.

Nearly 19,000 people have signed up for the Chinese-language Facebook page titled Say No to Shark’s Fin Soup.

Six months after the video clip began circulating, there are signs of a sea-change in opinion over the shark’s fin traded in Hong Kong.

The demand is driven by the tradition of serving gelatinous, flavourless shark’s fin soup at wedding banquets and functions as a display of generosity.

The practice has until now been impervious to the cries of environmentalists that it is jeopardizing shark populations.

But as far as newly-wed Constance Ching was concerned, the traditional delicacy was never even a consideration when it came to choosing the menu for her wedding in June.

“We didn’t want to contribute to the killing of sharks because of the effect it has on the eco-system,” said Constance, 34.

“There has definitely been a change in people’s opinions. It used to be a staple on any wedding banquet menu but not anymore. I went to the weddings of two friends in July and neither served shark’s fin soup.

“If I went to a wedding now and shark’s fin was served, I would certainly say something about it to them.”

Nearly 80 per cent of people in Hong Kong had eaten the soup, the Word Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found when it launched a campaign against the practice three years ago.

The organization has signed up 18 hotels and restaurants including some of the most prestigious establishments such as the Excelsior Hotel and the Hong Kong Jockey Club to offer banquet menus free of shark‘s fin.

A total of 114 shark species – more than a fifth of the total – were listed as being threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, largely because of the demand for shark’s fin, and the trade was growing at 5 per cent a year.

Hong Kong, the WWF says, is at the centre of the global trade, handling at least half of the estimated 10,000 tons of fins cut from 73 million sharks, which are either for domestic consumption or to sell on to China where demand is booming along with prosperity.

Vicky Wong, who has campaigned with the Hong Kong Shark Foundation for two years against the practice, says the impact of the video cannot be underestimated.

Her uncle made a speech at the family table and swore never to touch shark’s fin again, she said. Several friends had also renounced the delicacy, she added.

“Getting people so worked up about something is rare in Hong Kong. It was the power of the images – the cruelty of it all – that forced people to see the truth.”

Attitudes have since changed significantly, Wong believes. “We feel we have hit the tipping point now,” she said.

The impact of changing attitudes in recent months and years is difficult to gauge. Import and sales figures are jealously guarded and while some traders admit demand has fallen, they will not quantify the decline.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that the popularity of shark’s fin is falling. Wong’s most personal experience came at a banquet to celebrate her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary last year.

“When I began campaigning against shark’s fin soup, my mother didn’t understand what I was getting worked up about and she said to me ‘Oh let me eat it – I’m old’,” she recalled.

“Then at their anniversary banquet they served up broth without the shark’s fin, which tastes just as good because shark’s fin has no taste. I think they did it for my benefit – but I was very proud of them.”

Activists push to ban shark-fin soup in Hong Kong: here.

A whale sharks eats by filtering over 162,000 gallons of water AN HOUR: here.

Whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish, could be even bigger than previously recorded, a new study reveals: here.

Sharks are not to blame for increases in California Sea Otter deaths: here.

Sharks photographed eating a whale: here.

UAE: Dwindling shark population causing mayhem in food chain: here.

They grow to over a meter in length, can weigh up to twelve kilos and each summer they swarm into the shallow waters of the Irish east coast. Despite this, the starry smooth-hound has remained Ireland’s least well known shark species. However, thanks to scientists at University College Dublin, whose work is now reported in the Journal of Fish Biology, this appears to be about to change: here.

Study suggests a third of shark and ray species are threatened – more needs to be done: here.

Huge Fish, Tiny Food: How Do They Do It? New Study Reveals Unique Feeding Mechanisms In Whale Sharks: here.

World’s biggest fish (whale shark) lives on…. tiny worms? Here.

Fisherman accused of using whale sharks as tuna lures: here.

The ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes) are an order of cartilaginous fish which includes the hammerhead sharks, cat sharks and requiem sharks. This is the biggest order of sharks, and they are found in marine, brackish and freshwater: here.

Whale sharks in Indonesia: here.

8 thoughts on “Asians against shark fin soup

  1. Products from at-risk sharks for sale in B.C.

    DNA tests reveal fins from vulnerable species in local stores

    By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun October 25, 2010

    Imperilled wild animals from around the world are making their way into Canada’s Asian markets due to lack of strong international regulations governing the trade in wildlife.

    To determine exactly which wildlife species are being traded, The Vancouver Sun obtained shark fins, as well as reptiles such as snakes, from the Chinese community in Vancouver and Richmond.

    Bob Hanner, associate director for the Canadian Barcode of Life at the University of Guelph in Ontario, arranged for DNA testing of samples of the wildlife as part of a joint project with The Sun.

    The results prove that sharks globally at risk are finding their way into Canada — all quite legally.

    Conservation status of the various sharks identified through the DNA tests was based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

    Four packages of shark fins purchased from Richmond retail shops, at a cost of $4.80 to $68, yielded: bigeye thresher shark (vulnerable); blacktop shark (near-threatened), not to be confused with blacktop reef shark; spinner shark (near-threatened); and longfin mako (vulnerable).

    Four samples provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where a staffer’s father works for a Vancouver Chinese restaurant, produced the following: shortfin mako (vulnerable); dusky shark (vulnerable); blue shark (near-threatened); and silky shark (near-threatened).

    Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea declined to be interviewed for The Sun’s shark series.

    Simon Fraser University’s Nick Duly, co-chair of the IUCN’s shark specialist group, explained that oceanic sharks provide about one-third of the fins sold through Hong Kong for shark-fin soup, while the rest are from “indiscriminate” coastal shark fisheries. “Nearly every fishing village in the world has someone who is trading things like shark fins.”

    Reptiles purchased by The Sun in Vancouver’s Chinatown were identified as: Shaw’s sea snake, sharp-nose viper and red-banded snake, none of which has been evaluated by IUCN.

    Other DNA samples revealed the Chinese soft-shell turtle, vulnerable in the wild and listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but also commercially farmed; and hedgehog sea horse, vulnerable and listed under Appendix II.

    Snakes and other reptiles have not received anywhere near the same conservation attention as mammals or even sharks.

    Spurred by the U.S., CITES agreed at its March convention to investigate the snake trade.

    WWF’s wildlife trade expert Ernie Cooper is working on a guide book on identification of reptile skins, especially snakes, to be made available in multiple languages to help global enforcement in the trade of species at risk.

    “It’s challenging,” Cooper said. “There are so many species of snakes, some listed [by CITES] and some not. It’s messy.”

    Reptile species are exploited for a variety of purposes, including skin for the leather trade, for the meat, and for traditional medicine, even as little is known about their status.

    “Snakes, especially Asian snakes, are heavily impacted by the trade,” said Cooper, noting their importance in controlling rodent populations. “They’re used for meat, the skin for leather goods, and medicinal.

    “In general, nobody cares about snakes, so they fly under the conservation radar.”

    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


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