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Ending the Senseless Slaughter

Chinese Prohibition on Serving Sharks’ Fin at Official Dinners May Help Protect Indonesia’s Dwindling Shark Population

(7/6/2012) Plans by the People’s Republic of China to outlaw the consumption of sharks’ fin at official receptions may cause a downturn in the export of that commodity from Indonesia and significantly aid efforts to conserve dwindling shark populations in the world’s oceans.

According to CNN, the ban on sharks’ fin at official dinners in China will be introduced over three years.

The PRC government’s move, apparently, is less motivated by environmental awareness than a desire to decrease the cost of official state dinners amidst the skyrocketing cost of shark’s fins harvested from a dwindling population of sharks.

Martha Lo from the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, quoted by Kompas.com, said the move by the Chinese government has real potential to reduce the wanton slaughter of sharks due to China’s role as the world’s largest consumer of that commodity.

It is estimated that between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed each year to harvest their fins. In many instances, the sharks’ fins are cut from the animals bodies after which the still-living sharks are tossed back into the ocean to die.

Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund says that 181 species of sharks are threatened with extinction, increasing from only 15 species under threat in 1996.

Indonesia is one of the leading sources of shark fins, representing 14% of the worldwide elasmobranches caught between 1998 and 2002, according to a study carried out by Murdoch University (Australia).

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