NPR : News

Hong Kong Bans Shark Fin At Official Functions

Shark fin will no longer be included on the menus of official government functions in Hong Kong, the country said in a press release on Friday.

"No shark fin, bluefin tuna or black moss will be on the menu at official entertainment functions," the government said. "The items have aroused international and local concern because they are either captured or harvested in ecologically unfriendly or unsustainable ways, or cause other conservation concerns."

As we've reported, scientists estimate about 100 million sharks are killed each year, a number that has depleted the shark population worldwide.

The New York Times reports:

"The practice is widely considered cruel and wasteful, because the sharks are often thrown overboard, finless, to die. Hong Kong is the world's biggest trade hub for shark fins, representing about 50 percent of the trade. ...

"Last year, China said it would prohibit official banquets from serving shark fin soup, but the measure was expected to need as many as three years to take effect, and even then, compliance may be uneven.

"Conservation groups hailed Hong Kong's announcement, with Joshua S. Reichert, the executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, saying it was 'particularly significant' because of Hong Kong's role in the shark fin trade."

The AFP reports that a Hong Kong spokesman said the move will serve as "an example of raising public education and awareness on sustainability." The AFP adds:

"Marine conservationists expressed outrage in January after images emerged of a factory rooftop in Hong Kong covered in thousands of freshly sliced shark fins.

"They estimated there were 15,000 to 20,000 fins being laid to dry on the rooftop on Hong Kong island ahead of an anticipated surge in demand over Lunar New Year in the following month of February."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


Manic And Depressed, 'I Didn't Like Who I Was,' Says Comic Chris Gethard

Gethard tells stories of hitting rock bottom in his new one-man off-Broadway show, which is billed as a comedy about "suicide, depression, alcoholism and all the other funniest parts of life."

2,500 Years Ago, This Brew Was Buried With The Dead; A Brewery Has Revived It

In an ancient burial plot in what is now Germany, scientists uncovered a cauldron with remnants of an alcoholic beverage. They teamed up with a Milwaukee brewery to re-create the recipe.

White House Releases Affordable Care Act Insurance Rates

The White House released information Monday about rates and offerings for the 2017 Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment.

20 Years Later, Humans Still No Match For Computers On The Chessboard

IBM's Deep Blue beat chess great Garry Kasparov in 1997. Humans and computers play the game differently, but have computers taught humans much about the game?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.