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Survey in China Highlights Public Support for Shark Conservation and Lack of Knowledge About Impacts of Consumption

WildAid and the SSIC today launched the findings of a survey in to shark consumption habits and attitudes.

The survey report revealed that Chinese consumers have very little understanding of the negative environmental impacts associated with shark losses, while indicating mounting public support for effective shark conservation activities.

The survey, carried out between November 2005 to February 2006, produced unique in-depth information on the status of shark fin consumption, and identified public attitudes toward shark conservation in China.

Exotic dishes face Olympian chop

Chinese officials should ensure that shark's fin, swallow's nest, bear's paw, snake and other dishes that might "upset" foreigners are removed from restaurants before the 2008 Olympics, state media on Wednesday quoted a local lawmaker as saying.

"Serving shark's fin to foreign guests during the Olympic Games could greatly hurt China's image, and officials should start removing the dish from the dining tables right now," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xu Zhihong, a Beijing deputy to the National People's Congress, as saying.

Chinese and International Experts Make Recommendations at International Shark Conservation Meeting

In Beijing, on November 7th, 2006, experts on shark conservation, research and management from Australia, China, Singapore, United States and United Kingdom, participated in the International Shark Conservation Meeting in Beijing, China. After discussion, The experts reached the following consensus:

Environmentalists Warn of Shark Troubles

Many species of shark are facing a serious threat to their existence because of worldwide fishing trends, environmentalists said Wednesday.

Fishermen "used to cut the lines and let sharks go," said Pete Kinghts, executive director of WildAid, a San Francisco-based conservation group, told a shark conservation conference. In recent years, however, fishermen have kept the sharks to sell their lucrative fins.

One-third of the more than 500 shark species are threatened with extinction or are close to being threatened, said Sarah Fowler of the World Conservation Union.

Decimating Shark Population for Some Soup: Rising Demand for Fins Contributes to Decline in Shark Population, Critics Charge

The practice is particularly crude and cruel, critics say. The "finners" pull the sharks onto the boat, hack off some or all of their four fins, then throw the shark, usually still alive, back into the water. Unable to swim, the sharks sink to the bottom of the sea and die.

"Not only is it horrible to look at," says Peter Knights, the executive director of Wildaid, a conservation group, "but it's sheer waste. Ninety-five percent of the shark is thrown overboard."