The next time I see a Hong Kong government initiative to discourage shark fin on the dining table, I would rather not believe it. That’s because a local NGO Green Sense reported that out of 56 departments asked to respond to a survey about having shark fin at official banquets, only two have signified interest to skip shark fin in the menu. Hong Kong Observatory has not allowed shark fin soup to be served in more than two years, while the Planning Department is to set guidelines on the matter.
The rest of Hong Kong government agencies can’t seem to curb their appetite and made me think government officials need shark fin on the menu to function well as public servants. And that makes them a bad example to follow for any aspiring quitter of shark fin.
In contrast, 182 schools pledged to omit shark fin soup at graduation parties, parent-teacher association meetings and alumni functions.
While it’s inconclusive that those government agencies who did not respond to survey meant they served shark fin on special occasions, it may be implied with the statement they released through Environmental Protection Department. Curiously, the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the agency supposed to spearhead the call to protect endangered species, did not respond to the call.
Shark fin is a popular delicacy in the city, often served at wedding banquets and big gatherings. 73 million sharks are caught every year for their fins and more than 50 percent of them traded in Hong Kong. The Western District has an array of dried seafood shops that sell them, so probably discouraging people to consume shark fin will be close to impossible if trading of these goods continues to proliferate in the city.