SINGAPORE–French retail giant Carrefour will halt sales of shark fin products in its Singapore outlets after current stocks run out as a supermarket boycott of the delicacy gains steam, media reported Saturday. A Carrefour spokesman told the Straits Times it will not replenish its stocks of the environmentally controversial products after they sell out. The company is the world’s second-largest retailer and operates two supermarkets in Singapore’s city centre. It told the paper the decision was made on its own initiative as a socially responsible retailer, but it could not be reached for comment on whether the ban would extend to its other outlets worldwide. Shark fin remains a sought after delicacy in Singapore, where it is largely served at Chinese festive celebrations and wedding receptions.
According to the conservation group WWF, the city-state is the world’s second largest shark fin trading centre after Hong Kong. WWF-Hong Kong says the consumption of shark fins is a driving factor behind the threat to shark populations, with more than 180 species considered threatened in 2010 compared to only 15 in 1996. The Carrefour report came a day after Singapore’s largest supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice declared it was halting sales of shark fin products. NTUC FairPrice — a cooperative run by the city-state’s national trades union — said it would drop the products from April after an inflammatory comment by one of its suppliers attracted a flurry of complaints. The supplier had said “Screw the divers!” in an online promotional message for a new product to be launched at FairPrice outlets during the upcoming Lunar New Year. The comment, apparently directed at divers campaigning against the shark fin trade, went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Retailer Cold Storage was the first Singapore chain to stop selling shark fin, which it did in September last year as part of a collaboration with WWF, local media reported.