Hong Kong One Step Closer to Becoming a Shark Fin Free City | WWF Hong Kong

Hong Kong One Step Closer to Becoming a Shark Fin Free City

21 September 2018

Shark fin will not be served at any outlets operated by Maxim’s from 1 January 2020 onwards, the group has announced, in a move welcomed by WWF-Hong Kong. Maxim's joined WWF's Alternative Shark-free Menu programme in 2011 and is going to join other participants, including Peninsula Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, that have already implemented a ban at their chains.

“The demand for fins in Asia is the primary driver of unsustainable shark fishing and currently 100% of shark fins in Hong Kong come from unsustainable or untraceable sources,” said Tracy Tsang, Manager of WWF-Hong Kong’s Footprint programme. “The consumption of unsustainable shark fin is threatening species with extinction and destabilises marine ecosystems. Though Maxim’s has set a timeline to phase out shark fin, it will accommodate advanced booking commitments before 2020 and is still offering shark fin upon request before that date. WWF urges Maxim’s to stop selling shark fin on request immediately and set the standard for Chinese caterers to follow.”

Hong Kong accounts for about 40% of the global shark fin trade. With more shark species being protected nationally and internationally, tackling illegally sourced or traded shark fin products is becoming an increasing challenge. According to the government, there were 23 shark fin seizures between 2014 and 2017 without any prosecution.

With one quarter of sharks and related species threatened with extinction, it is essential that the Hong Kong government treats wildlife smuggling as a serious crime and includes it under Schedule 1 of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO), to grant power to investigators to look into areas such as money laundering associated with wildlife crime. Moreover, the government should strictly implement CITES regulations and enhance enforcement at entry/exit ports and businesses.