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Hong Kong Bans Shark Fin From Official Menus to Save Species

Shark fins sit for sale on a shelf in a shop in Hong Kong. Photographer: Antony Dickson/AFP via Getty Images
Shark fins sit for sale on a shelf in a shop in Hong Kong. Photographer: Antony Dickson/AFP via Getty Images

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s government will drop shark fin from menus at its entertainment functions and bar officials from eating the product at events organized by others amid global calls to protect the species.

The ban will extend to blue fin tuna and black moss and is part of the city’s plans to adopt sustainable food-consumption habits, the government said in a press release dated Sept. 13. More than 73 million sharks’ fins are sliced off every year globally, according to a June 20 statement from Korean Air Lines Co. citing research data. The Seoul-based carrier joined Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Air New Zealand Ltd. in refusing to transport the commodity.

“The government will keep in view local and international trends on green living in line with a sustainability-conscious lifestyle and update the list of items from time to time,” yesterday’s statement cited a spokesman as saying.

Hong Kong is the transit point for about half of the global shark fin trade, which largely goes to the Chinese market, Alex Hofford, executive director at MyOcean, a marine conservation group, said in June. China said in July 2012 it would ban officials from consuming shark fin at state expense within three years.

“The Hong Kong government’s action should be praised,” Ma Jun, director with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, an environmental organization in Beijing, said today. “Government institutes are regulators and large buyers. Banning such items will have a symbolic and practical effect on endangered species.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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