|dpa, BerlinMcClatchy-Tribune Regional
Nov. 22, 2011--HONG KONG -- One of Asia's top hotel chains Tuesday announced it has banned shark's fin from its menu in recognition of the dish's impact on endangered species.
Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH), the parent company of The Peninsula Hotels, said it would stop serving the controversial dish from January.
"We hope that our decision can contribute to preserving the marine ecosystem for the world's future generations," HSH chief Clement Kwok said.
Campaigners welcomed the ban, the first by a major hotel group in Hong Kong, as a significant step in ending a practice which they claim slaughters 73 million sharks annually and is responsible for 180 species becoming endangered.
It was significant to see the ban in Hong Kong, conservationist group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said, as the city has the highest per capita consumption of shark's fin worldwide, and handles at least half of the estimated 10,000 tons of fin traded per year.
The gelatinous, tasteless soup made from shark's fins has been a persistent cultural symbol of privilege and an essential fixture at Chinese banquets since the Ming Dynasty.
However, the movement to end the consumption of shark's fin, particularly at weddings, has been gathering momentum in the city of 7.1 million in recent years.
The WWF has already signed up 18 hotels and restaurants to offer shark's-fin-free banquet menus, and the Disneyland amusement park withdrew the soup from its hotel menus in 2005 after a public outcry.
(c)2011 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)
Visit Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) at www.dpa.de/English.82.0.html
Distributed by MCT Information Services