According to a new report by WildAid, prices and shark fin sales are falling up to 70 per cent in China, the largest shark fin market, thanks to awareness campaigns by animal rights and environmental organizations.
“The more people learn about the consequences of eating shark fin soup, the less they want to participate in the trade. Government bans on shark fin at state banquets in China and Hong Kong also helped send the right message and this could be a model to address issues, such as ivory,” said Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid.
Since campaigning began in 2006, 24 airlines, 3 shipping lines and 5 hotel groups have officially banned shark fin from their operations.
The report, called ‘Evidence of Declines in Shark Fin Demand, China‘, compiles public opinion surveys, surveys from shark fin vendors and traders operating in China’s main trading city Guangzhou, surveys of shark fin price data from Indonesian shark fishermen, and trade statistics and media reports.
WildAid conducted an online poll of 1,568 people from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu and documented that 85 per cent of respondents had given up shark fin soup within the past three years. Two thirds of these respondents attributed the reason to campaigns.
The report also documented and 82 per cent decline in sales reported by shark fin vendors in Guangzhou and a decrease in prices over the past two years due lack of demand.
Fishermen in Tanjung Luar and Lombok in Indonesia reported to WildAid an 80 per cent decline in prices since 2007. Central and Southeastern Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara reported a 19 per cent drop since 2002/3.
According to official figures, some 100 million sharks are killed every year with up to 73 million brutally killed only for their fins.
Of the fourteen shark species most prevalent in the shark fin trade, all have experienced regional population declines ranging from 40-99% in the last 15 years, and all are classified as Threatened or Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
WildAid creates high-impact, culturally sensitive media campaigns with celebrity ambassadors, such as Yao Ming, Jackie Chan and David Beckham. With extensive state and private media partnerships, WildAid secures pro-bono placement for these messages, amounting to US$164 million in 2013 in China alone.
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To read the WildAid’s complete report, click here.
Fourteen species of sharks most prevalent in the shark fin trade. IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Per cent reasons for not eating shark fin soup in the past three years.