WWF recommendations to Hong Kong Government to improve seafood trade monitoring systemHong Kong accounts for 50% of the global shark fin trade and we are also one of the most important consumption and trade hubs of reef food fish such as groupers. There is growing threat to the survival of both groups of species partly due to the huge demand for them from the Hong Kong and China market. WWF-Hong Kong is working closely with other local environmental NGOs to propose improvement on the existing Hong Kong Harmonized System (HKHS) codes. The HKHS codes is the system to record the import, export and re-export of a range of items into and out of Hong Kong for these highly globally traded species.
Regarding the shark fin trade, WWF recommends the Hong Kong Government to drastically expand the current trade code system to allow for the identification of shark species that need to be tracked, which includes some highly threatened species such as hammerhead sharks. We also recommend the government to allocate a separate trade category to record the trade in ray gill products, since gill rakers from rays are used to produce Chinese medicine products.
On top of shark and ray, WWF also recommends the Government to expand the trade code system to record specifically the trade in live Sabah grouper – a hybrid grouper that is becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong and China live seafood markets. Also proposed is to improve the transparency of the trade in frozen grouper, which is particularly poor at the moment. The trade records of a large number of frozen fish, including frozen groupers, are grouped under a single category, without specification on species. WWF therefore recommends the Government to allocate a specific code to record the trade in frozen grouper in order for us to quantify the overall impact of our consumption and trade of groupers.
In addition, WWF also recommends the Government to allocate a specific code to record the trade of dried fish maw – which is also perceived as a delicacy by the Chinese community (alongside abalone, sea cucumber and shark fin), and some species in the trade could be of conservation concerns.