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.
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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid