November 13, 2011

100 Million a year.

100 million sharks killed each year, say scientists: Protect sharks or they face possible extinction in a generation, scientists warn as they gather in Bangkok for Cites meeting (guardian.co.uk)

Update: “China Says No More Shark Fin Soup at State Banquets.” Click above photos for article.

100 Million a year.

“Shark populations have plummeted by 90% in recent decades…will be extinct in a few years.”

But a people-powered movement spreads a message of sustainability. Can our habits change quickly enough?

The Guardian reports that 2011 may be the last year that eating shark fin soup is regarded as a sign of middle class prosperity: the worldwide movement to ban this casually cruel, wasteful practice (sharks are de-finned by the hundreds, left to bleed-to-death and drown on the ocean floor) is gaining momentum even in Hong Kong.

…Several hotels offer discounts, cheaper room rates and other incentives for couples that choose not to serve shark fin at their wedding celebrations…

…Last year campaigners persuaded Citibank Hong Kong to withdraw a promotion offering new credit card holders discount on a shark fin dinner.

On the mainland Yao Ming, the Chinese NBA star, has appeared in a well-received campaign to end finning, the practice of removing a shark’s highly valued fins and dumping what is left into the sea.

But there are pockets of resistance…

…Bloom’s 2010 survey revealed that 89% of the territory’s 7 million people had eaten the dish at least once in the past year, with more than half saying they did so to observe tradition. Another poll found that only 5% of couples had opted for shark-free wedding banquets.

But 66% said they were uncomfortable with the idea of eating an endangered species, and more than three-quarters said they would not mind if it was removed from banquet menus.

Read the article here.

> Watch how sharks are hunted here. Worth the watch—this video helped tip the international movement.

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