Quantcast
Latest Stories

Hotel group strikes shark fin off menu

By

HONG KONG—One of Asia’s most prestigious hotel chains said Monday it would stop selling shark fin from January, in a move hailed as a historic breakthrough by campaigners to protect the threatened predators.

The owner of the Peninsula Hotels group said the decision was made “in recognition of the threat facing the global shark population and in line with the company’s sustainability vision.”

“The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd., parent company of The Peninsula Hotels, today announced that it will stop serving shark fin at all its group operations, effective 1 January 2012,” the company said in a statement.

The company will honor banquet bookings involving shark fin products made prior to November 21, it added. Shark fin soup is an expensive staple at wedding parties and business banquets in the Hong Kong hotel.

Peninsula operates nine hotels including in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and New York.

Chief executive officer Clement Kwok said: “By removing shark fin from our menus, we hope that our decision can contribute to preserving the marine ecosystem for the world’s future generations.

“As Asia’s oldest hotel company, we also hope that our decision will inspire other hospitality companies to do the same and that our industry will play a role in helping to preserve the biodiversity of our oceans.”

Environmental activists have long campaigned for governments to ban or severely restrict the sale of shark fin, commonly used in soup which is regarded as a delicacy and health tonic across much of Asia, especially China.

WWF-Hong Kong says the consumption of shark fins is a driving factor behind the threat to shark populations, with more than 180 species considered threatened in 2010 compared to only 15 in 1996.

An individual serving of shark fin soup includes about 30 grams (one ounce) of fin, and a 12-person bowl sells for HK$1,080 (about $140).

A kilogram (two pounds) of premium dried fin can fetch up to HK$10,000 on the street in Hong Kong, or as little as HK$200 for fins of lesser quality.

The demand is such that Hong Kong is the global focus of the shark fin trade, with WWF estimating that around half of the world’s fin catch passes through the city.

“Hong Kong is the global shark fin capital,” WWF shark conservation program officer Silvy Pun said, adding that this made Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ decision all the more important.

“We think that this is a very brave act and it can inspire others to follow,” she said.

Claire Nouvian, founder of the Bloom Association for marine conservation, said: “I view this as a historical tipping point in Hong Kong and sure hope it will spur change amongst other leading hotels in Hong Kong and its vicinity.”

About 73 million sharks are killed every year, with Hong Kong importing about 10,000 tons of fins annually for the past decade, WWF said.

Shark fin soup is regarded as an important status symbol for hosts wanting to demonstrate their wealth in Chinese banquets, and is believed to have various health benefits in traditional medicine.

A Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels spokeswoman would not comment on how much shark fin the chain sold in a normal month. She said commercial considerations were not central to the decision to the ban.

“Shark fin is only a small part of the food and beverage selection that we offer to our guests,” she told AFP, asking not to be named.

“Obviously the adoption of this policy will have some revenue implications but this is a challenge and we are happy to acknowledge that we are doing the best thing for the environment.”

November to January is seen as the peak season for shark fin consumption in Hong Kong, because of end-of-year office parties and a number of “lucky days” which are popular wedding dates.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: China , environment , food , Hong Kong , hotel , Peninsula Hotels , shark fin soup

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FOU3WGXHUDUDFG4JR7FZMJMAAU Great Gramo

    I must admit, they are tasty, but kudos to the Shangrila group for this move.

  • Anonymous

    This is good news!

  • Ken Chan

    Dear editor or Steven Coates/Agence-france-presse,
    The peak season for shark fin soup in Chinese community is about a month before the Chinese New Year which will mean late December to all January in 2012. Lucky days really depend on what’s said in the lunar calendar. It’s absolutely wrong to say that November to January are seen as lucky days. Thumbs up to this ground breaking move by the Peninsula.
    Regards,-kc



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace