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Shark Fin Sales Continue to Decline in China

Shark Fin Sales Continue to Decline in China

Written by Margaret Badore.

A new report from WildAid, a non-profit dedicated to reducing the demand for wildlife products, finds that the market for shark fin has declined over the past two years. The report of slowing demand for shark fin is consistent with numbers released by Chinese officials last year.

Shark fin soup is served as a delicacy in China, where it can fetch prices as high as $100 a bowl. The practice of finning is driving several species of sharks towards extinction, and WildAid estimates that as many as 73 million sharks are killed for their fins each year. After capture, many sharks have their fins cut off while still alive, and are dumped back into the sea to bleed to death.

WildAid conducted market research by interviewing wholesale and retail vendors in the Guangzhou, China, one of the most popular trading posts for shark fin. They found a 47 percent drop in the retail price of shark fins and a 57 percent drop in wholesale prices. Vendors reported a 82 percent decline in sales and prices paid to fishermen have also declined.

Tracking this market can be a challenge, as much of the trade in shark products is unregulated and undocumented in China. Exports from Hong Kong to China, another indicator of shark fin demand, have dropped by 90 percent in just the past year, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Hong Kong operation.

There may be several reasons why demand shrank over the past two to three years. According to a consumer survey commissioned by WildAid, public awareness campaigns were cited as the most common reason responders had stopped consuming shark fin. WildAid’s celebrity campaigns featuring stars like Yao Ming, Jackie Chan and David Beckham have been particularly successful.

There may be other possible drivers as well. Matthew Zuras links the drop to the government’s efforts to cut down on corruption, including lavish gifts and banquets—where shark fin soup would likely be featured on the menu. The government banned shark fin from all state dinners in 2012, which may have contributing to raised awareness about the problems associated with overfishing sharks. Consumer fears about fake shark fin products were also mentioned in the WildAid report.

However, if China’s government were serious about protecting endangered sharks, they would ban the sale of shark products completely.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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10:33AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Well that's good. Let's see more of that as well as decline in ivory sales, dog & cat consumption.....

11:04AM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

C' est un bon début. J' espère que le massacre des requins va s' arrêter définitivement.

8:04PM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

Chinese "Communism" is actually a synonym for thoroughly capitalist and corrupt corporate police slavery. China has to change that insanity if the world is going to survive China. Not only China but most of Asia are the worst sewers of "capitalism" hell bent on destroying the earth's future for greed. Even if shark killing is going down it's still a huge blow against sharks if any percent of a one and a half billion population or any part of Asia is eating shark for their personal greed cultures.

3:56PM PDT on Aug 15, 2014

thanks

3:54PM PDT on Aug 15, 2014

Finally, it's a good start.

4:55AM PDT on Aug 14, 2014

I would like to thank all Care2 members who already signed our petition. if no, please help give an happy end to that sad story :
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Thank you for caring

6:48PM PDT on Aug 13, 2014

If only rhino horn and ivory sales would go down as well...

3:55PM PDT on Aug 13, 2014

Good.

6:52AM PDT on Aug 13, 2014

It's a start which is something!

10:26AM PDT on Aug 12, 2014

I hope and pray this practice is stopped once and for all.

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