New restrictions bite Hong Kong shark fin traders
HONG KONG (AFP) - A conservation victory restricting global trade in more shark species will take a fresh bite at Hong Kong's market in fins, which has already been hit hard by persistent attacks from anti-fin campaigners.
Defiant fin merchants insisted the impact of the restrictions would be minimal as they would continue to import other species not covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreement. And a local anti-fin lobby group warned the measures, which aim to protect the oceanic whitetip shark, the porbeagle and three types of hammerhead, would be hard to enforce.
But traders in the southern Chinese city, one of the world's biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make an expensive gelatinous soup, have already suffered from successful environmental campaigning.
New figures show shark fin imports dropped off dramatically last year to 3,351 tonnes from 10,340 tonnes in 2011, after some prominent Hong Kong hotels and restaurants struck it from their menus.