In its “Say No to Shark Fin” campaign in Thailand launched Monday, WildAid pointed out that Chinese New Year celebration is a peak time for shark fin consumption in the kingdom that plays a significant role in the global shark fin market.
It said in its press statement that an estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year. Data gathered from 1996 to 2000 reveal that the fins of between 26 and 73 millions sharks are traded each year often ending up in shark fin soup, with a median of 38 million.
WildAid said Thailand is home to an active domestic market for fins, with many consumers unaware of the wasteful practice of "finning" behind each bowl of shark fin soup: a shark’s fins are often cut off at sea and the rest of the animal is thrown back into the water to die.
“As residents start the new year by doing good deeds and making merits, we suggest that saying no to shark fin soup be one of them,” said Peter Knights, WildAid CEO. “Our research shows that there is a strong need in Thailand to raise awareness of the wastefulness behind shark fin consumption and to reduce the demand for shark fin products. When the buying stops, the killing can too.”
WildAid said some shark populations have declined by up to 98 per cent in the last 15 years and nearly one third of pelagic shark species are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A major threat to sharks is the fin trade and accompanying consumer demand for the product, it added.
It cited a 2015 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report as saying that Thailand occupies a distinct position in the global market for shark fins. Thailand imported at least 136 tonnes of shark fin between 2007 and 2012. The country also plays a primary role in the world market as the major exporter of low-value, processed shark fins.
WildAid said its preliminary market research carried out in Thailand recently showed a wide range of prices for a bowl of shark fin soup, from as low as Bt300 on the streets of Yaowarat to as high as Bt4,000 in a highend restaurant in downtown Bangkok.
"The affordability of the low-end products makes them as much of a threat to sharks as the more expensive ones" Knights said.
“This year WildAid hopes to work closely with the government, increase restaurant and hotel partnerships, and recruit celebrity ambassadors for media and public outreach. Together, we can end the demand for shark fin in Thailand,” added Knights.
Published : January 23, 2017
By : The Nation