Group urges consumers to avoid shark fin products

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Leaders of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) and 22 other animal protection organizations urged consumers not to choose shark’s fin soup for feasts or in daily living.

They also thanked the four leading convenience store chains — 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, and Circle K (aka OK) — for responding positively to their call for not offering dishes related to shark’s fin when accepting customers’ advance order for dishes for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holidays in early February. They were satisfied with the strong support from individuals and organizations in the private sector who promised not to eat shark’s fin anymore.

Chen Yu-min, a director at the EAST, said the EAST and other groups appreciate the backing form the major chain stores to help spare the lives of sharks, which are at the top of the food chain. Taiwan remains one of the leading suppliers in the world of shark’s fins. Close to 10,000 metric tons of the fins to Hong Kong in 2008, including 2,646 tons from Spain, 1,201 tons from Singapore, and 991 tons from Taiwan. Chen also suggested that consumers stay away from sharks at all since there are increasing hazardous substances like mercury or heavy metals found in the fish. Chen said 17 percent of the 1,045 species of sharks on earth are now endangered and more than 70 million sharks are killed each year. The deterioration of the problem cause bring disaster to the ecology of the oceans. It is also inhumane for human beings to cut off the sharks’ fins and then toss them back to ocean, making them victims of other predators or simply die of suffocation because they can no longer swim after having their finds clipped, Chen said.