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Hong Kong shark fin imports halved since 2007 thanks to tighter regulations and shipping bans

Hong Kong shark fin imports halved since 2007 thanks to tighter regulations and shipping bans

CENTRAL: Between 2007 and last year, re-exports also dropped by three quarters, suggesting a “declining market for shark fin in mainland China”, WWF-Hong Kong said. Two-fifths of global shark fin stocks pass through Hong Kong to other destination markets.

The group called the results compiled from government data “promising” and an indicator that environmental campaigns, including mounting pressure on shipping companies to stop carrying the fins, as well as improved monitoring of shipping documents, were paying off.

Sharks have a very important role to play in balancing the ecosystem and some species are already facing catastrophic declines,” said Dr Andy Cornish, who leads WWF’s global shark and ray initiative. “A 50 per cent drop in imports [to Hong Kong] would have been felt by shark traders around the globe, and should result in less pressure on shark populations.”

In 2007, Hong Kong imported 10,210 tonnes of shark fins as conservation efforts began to pick up pace. By 2013, the city’s annual volume dropped to 5,412 tonnes and last year it was down to 4,979 tonnes. Re-exports also fell from 5,683 tonnes in 2007 to 1,434 tonnes in 2017.

Around 100 million sharks are killed every year mostly for their fins, but increasingly, for their meat as well, according to WWF.

The group urged more companies to go fin-free and for legal agencies to tighten enforcement.