Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, which operates 72 luxury hotels worldwide, announced on January 17th that it would no longer serve shark fins across its portfolio of properties. Headquartered in Hong Kong, the hub of the shark fin trade, Shangri-La’s announcement comes right before New Year celebrations in China, which is said to be the main season for consuming shark fin soup.
In a statement to WildAid, Greg Dogan, President and CEO of Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd, says:
"Shangri-La has been working on a number of projects related to sustainability for many years now. ‘Sanctuary, Shangri-La’s Care for Nature’ project was launched in 2009 precisely to make a concerted effort to ensure that biodiversity conservation and habitat protection is consistent across all resorts. Some of our resorts are testimonies to the commitment we have made to marine protected areas and overall reef protection to ensure the stability of the underwater and marine life.
In December 2010 we started the first phase of our sustainable seafood campaign by taking shark fin off all our operated restaurant menus. The next step was to put logistics in place to be able to reduce and eventually eliminate stocks completely. On purpose we decided to look at a long term wider policy for not only shark fin products but also other endangered species before issuing a public commitment."
WildAid’s President Steve Trent says, “With this public commitment, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has emerged as a leader in the hospitality industry, an industry whose leadership is paramount in the global effort to reduce demand for shark fins.” Back in November 2011, Peninsula Hotels, Asia’s oldest hotel company, announced they would stop serving shark fin across its portfolio of hotel restaurants and banquet operations. Clement Wok, CEO, issued a statement that he hopes to inspire other hospitality companies to do the same, spreading awareness of the need to “preserve the marine ecosystem for the world’s future generations.”
Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used in shark fin soup every year and as a result, up to 1/3 of shark species are now threatened with extinction. With China’s rapidly expanding economy and burgeoning middle class, an increasing number of consumers can now afford shark fin soup, which had once been accessible to very few.