News / Asia

Shark Species Head for Protected List

A woman takes a photograph of a dried shark fin on display at a restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, Mar. 5, 2013.
A woman takes a photograph of a dried shark fin on display at a restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, Mar. 5, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Gabrielle Paluch
— Officials meeting in Bangkok to discuss wildlife trade have voted to put five shark species on a protected list that restricts trade, over the objections of Japan and China. Opposition to the proposal could affect the availability of shark fin soup, which remains popular with many in Asia.

This week’s vote to place five shark species on Appendix II of CITES, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, would restrict the international trade of threatened shark species. While the measure stops short of an outright ban on fishing, it requires the sharks to be legally and sustainably caught.

The proposal protects three species of hammerhead sharks as well as the Oceanic Whitetip and Porbeagle. It was passed by a narrow margin, and could still be overturned, should countries in opposition to the proposal, such as China, Japan, and Mozambique, decide to revisit the issue.

Chinese and Japanese representatives raised concerns that the proposed restrictions may not be enforceable, because it is too difficult to recognize the restricted species by only using the fins. Other representatives said local fisheries and economies depend on the income generated from the international shark trade.

However, Ralf Sontag, the director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, says this week’s vote indicates the debate over those issues has been settled.

"Everybody thinks it was shark day. It was a historic vote, a historic result. All of those proposals got their two-thirds majority. Japan does not want to have any marine species listed at CITES. They brought some funny arguments that it's not possible to distinguish between these shark species. So I think those arguments from Japan are very weak," said Sontag.

Shark fin soup is an expensive delicacy in China and some other parts of Asia, where it is associated with prosperity and good luck. Weddings and official banquets traditionally feature the dish.

But environmentalists say supplying fins to millions of diners has decimated shark populations. Fishermen typically cut off the fins and throw sharks back into the ocean, where they bleed out and die.

While the ban on the international trade of some shark species could raise prices on fin soup, the Humane Society's Iris Ho disagrees, saying the dish is already declining in popularity.

"Even in Beijing, this past Chinese New Year, the shark fin consumption has gone down by 40 percent. When you have a smaller market you know I'm not sure the price will go up, because the market has gotten smaller," said Ho.

While some of the decrease has been attributed to the Chinese government’s recent push to eliminate lavish banquets, growing numbers of hotels and restaurants in Asia are removing the dish from menus due to its controversy.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid