Hong Kong is a Cesspool of Illegal Shark Fin Trading

Cans shark fins for sale

Jars of shark fins, seahorses, and other sea life for sale

Hong Kong Media Report

Despite claims by the Hong Kong Shark Fin Merchants Association that the trade in shark fins is completely legal, the Hong Kong Standard newspaper has published an expose that illustrates just how dirty the market really is.

The article by journalist Sylvia Hui opens by stating that many shark fin sellers do not know the sources of their merchandise. The merchants state that "maintaining a diminishing business far outweighs saving shark from extinction."

Shark fins siezed by US government
The U.S. government siezed these shark fins which were destined for Hong Kong.

One merchant named Chou, the manager of a shark fin wholesale business on Bonham Strand West said, "Business has become better with the economic recovery, but it is never as good as before 1997. I don't think the killing of sharks is that serious a problem. They will die anyway as part of the natural cycle.''

There are about 100 wholesalers and 200 retailers in Hong Kong. The wholesalers sell to the retailers who in turn sell to the restaurants, hotels, and shops.

The shops carry an inventory ranging from tiny fins from baby sharks to rare and expensive tiger shark fins that sells for HK$8,000 (approximately USD$ $1,020.00) per kilo.

A shark fin retailer named Mak of the Fook Shing Company admits that shark finning is cruel and said, "The fish is almost certain to die after [its fins are removed], and if it doesn't it will be eaten by other fish. It's really difficult to differentiate which are ‘cruel' harvesting methods and which aren't.''

Mak puts business ahead of conservation concerns. He points out that it is the rarity of shark fins that makes them so expensive. "It's business. Hong Kong people will demand it unless it is banned. In fact, where there are Chinese, there is a demand for shark fin," he said.

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