HONG KONG – WildAid obtained documentary evidence of shark fin offered for sale on secret à la carte shark fin menus in multiple Maxim’s restaurants across Hong Kong, signifying a breach of the company’s advertised environmental commitment. Last year, Maxim’s Catering Limited eagerly announced that in 2017 it had become “the first Chinese restaurant chain to completely phase out shark fin dishes from our à la carte menus.”
While Maxim’s may have removed shark fin from their main à la carte menus, they have made the controversial dish available on different à la carte menus usually kept under the counters at the majority of their 55 restaurants in Hong Kong. WildAid found that many of the secret shark fin menus offered by Maxim’s are titled “The Premium”, implying a coordinated effort by Maxim’s Marketing Department to promote shark fin across its many outlets. This is a clear contradiction of Maxim’s claim that it has been “promoting shark-free menus since 2010.”
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, over one-quarter of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. However, selling unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, yet environmentally destructive, enterprise for the big restaurant groups in Hong Kong like Maxim’s. It is believed that Maxim’s is, by sheer volume alone, Hong Kong’s largest retailer of cruel, unsustainable, potentially toxic and often illegal shark fin.
WildAid’s Alex Hofford added, “By the use of clever wording Maxim’s have misled the Hong Kong public into believing that it phased out shark fin sales entirely in 2017.”
WildAid hopes that Maxim’s can show its sincerity on its commitment to being ‘shark-free’ and preserving the marine environment by completely removing all shark fin from all of its menus. A comprehensive removal of the item from Maxim’s operations would have to include the removal of all shark fin from all set menus, as well as from all of its “Premium” or other under the counter menus.
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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