Shark fin decline linked to China corruption crackdown
Conservationists have attributed a dwindling demand for shark fins to China’s crackdown on corruption which has forced a decline in lavish banquets.
“We are seeing a reduction in demand from China. Hong Kong is also showing a significant decline in consumption,” said Angelo Villagomez, a shark specialist with the US-based conservation group the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Villagomez was in the Marshall Islands to discuss shark sanctuaries with leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum, the annual summit of Pacific heads of state.
However, he said the decline in shark fin demand over the past year was not directly linked to increasing shark protection by Pacific islands governments. Instead, it was related to the Chinese leadership’s crackdown on graft and opposition to extravagance.
“It’s not to do with conservation. It’s related to a Chinese government anti-graft crackdown, which has cut back on dinners where shark fin soup was featured on the menu,” Villagomez said.
“The culture is (also) changing in Asia among younger people. They aren’t eating shark fin soup as much.”
Historically, high demand in the Asian market has fuelled shark-finning by fishermen on commercial tuna vessels in the Pacific. But finning is slowly being shut down as the number of islands legislating shark sanctuaries grows.
Villagomez will meet with Pacific leaders to discuss extending the number of shark sanctuaries.
“The Pacific is leading the world in shark conservation,” he said. “Pew is working with islands that have sanctuaries on enforcement, implementing best practices, and conducting research.”
The nearly 300 purse seine fishing boats now plying tuna grounds in the Pacific are required to have independent observers on board and with “100 percent observer coverage, enforcement of shark bans is as good as it will get,” Villagomez added.
“The islands now have eyes on the water and in the ports.”
Since banning shark fishing in its waters in 2011, the Marshalls has arrested two foreign vessels for having shark fins on board and fined them more than US$100,000.
...or view more articles related to these topics:
...or try these related articles:
- September 2014 Airport plans ended, back to square one
- August 2014 Tuna access in doubt after talks fail to seal fisheries deal
- August 2014 Global mobile phone giant enters PNG, Solomons partnership
- August 2014 Fiji engages Solomon Islands in flight fight
- August 2014 Mobile companies reinforce presence in Fiji
- Tue 30 Sep - New Zealand: Samoa takes steps to boost its capacity to meet Rio objectives
- Tue 30 Sep - Australia: P&O revitalising domestic tourism by sea
- Tue 30 Sep - Vanuatu: Vanuatu ponders nickel plant
- Tue 30 Sep - Fiji: Fiji Labour Party Assistant General Secretary passes away
- Tue 30 Sep - Papua New Guinea: PM O’Neill vs Namah
- Tue 30 Sep - Nauru: Sexual abuse, rape threats alleged by Nauru asylum seekers
- Tue 30 Sep - New Caledonia: President of New Caledonia congratulates Fiji’s Prime Minister
- Tue 30 Sep - Fiji: Austtralia restore Defence ties with Fiji
- Tue 30 Sep - USA: Pacific islands facing ‘existential threats’ need special attention, Vanuatu’s leader tells UN
- Mon 29 Sep - Belgium: Culture at the heart of sustainable development in ACP countries