WildAid kicked off its Global Shark Pledge on with corporate executives from five major sectors including transportation, leisure, airline, hospitality, and advertising. They will support shark conservation efforts and call on other business leaders and corporations in Hong Kong, particularly those without sustainability initiatives, to join the Global Shark Pledge and help create a shark fin-free Hong Kong. WildAid Ambassador and Hong Kong entertainment figure Sammy Leung also joined to mobilize public support to stop the buying and selling of shark fin in Hong Kong.
“We are encouraged to see more business leaders demonstrating their support for ocean conservation,” said WildAid Chief Operating Officer Tom Stahl. “The only effective way to protect sharks is to end consumer demand and halt all trade in shark products with every industry’s involvement.”
WildAid is highlighting the commitment these business leaders have made through a new public service announcement (PSA) to inspire support and extend the reach of shark conservation by leveraging their business contacts and calling on their peers to join them.
“Shark fin is not good for the environment, and it’s not good for our brand,” Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group Dr. Allan Zeman said. “As one of the top international cities in the world, Hong Kong should lead by example. I urge hoteliers and restaurateurs to take shark products off their menu. This is the most important thing. Make our environment sustainable. Make the world a better place.”
Hong Kong is the port of entry for about half of all globally traded dried shark fins, where they are often re-exported to mainland China. Despite community efforts to reduce consumer demand, the threatened blue shark is still a common ingredient for shark fin soup, a popular Chinese dish commonly offered by restaurants. Around 100 million sharks are slaughtered for their fins each year, with fins from approximately 73 million sharks ending up in soup each year. Over one-quarter of the world’s shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, putting the health of our oceans and fisheries at risk. As a keystone species, sharks keep other fish populations healthy, feeding on the weak, sick, slower fish, and thus preventing the spread of disease while strengthening the gene pool.
Global Shark Pledge signatory Cathay Pacific first banned shark fin soup in 2002 and in 2016, it was the first airline to ban shark fin as cargo.
“Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have always taken their commitment to sustainability and to the environment very seriously, while sharks fin has always been a very important topic for us,” Customer Director at Cathay Pacific Airways Limited Simon Large said. “While we can only play one part, it’s important that we get other people and companies within the supply chain to also adopt the same policy. That’s how we’ll be truly successful.”
The hospitality and food industries possess immense potential and responsibility to effect positive change for shark conservation. Hong Kong’s big restaurant chains are stimulating demand for shark fin products as shark fin soup is still prevalent on banquet set menus. This inclusion on prix fixe menus forces a large number of people to consume this unsustainable wildlife product against their better conscience. Fortunately, Hong Kong’s largest restaurant chain, Maxim’s, recently pledged that it would remove shark fin soup from all of their menus by January 2020.
“We haven’t served shark fin for many years,” said Chan Yan Tak, Executive Chinese Chef of Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel. “It has not caused any [financial] impact and is well-accepted by customers.”
By initiating the pledge today, corporate leaders of Lan Kwai Fong Group, Shangri-La Group, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd, Conrad Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, The “Star” Ferry Company, Limited, JCDecaux Cityscape and Asiaray Media Group are pledging a ‘No Shark Fin’ policy at their own companies as well as promoting shark conservation publicly.
WildAid calls on every corporation to join the pledge, driving shark conservation together and stopping all consumption of shark fin. Through cultivating a shark fin-free community, as well as educating the public on the cruelty and unsustainability of the shark fin trade, WildAid urges everyone’s support in ending consumption of shark fin and protecting our marine ecosystems.
WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages nearly $230 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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