"The recent seizure of the biggest shipment of illegal fins in Hong Kong history shows the taste for shark is still going strong"
"In the narrow streets of Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood, the centre of Hong Kong’s dried seafood trade, most window displays give pride of place to a particular item: shark fins. Perched on shelves, stuffed in jars and stacked in bags, shark fins are offered in all shapes and sizes. Several shops even include “shark fin” in their name.
Fins are lucrative, fetching as much as HK$6,800 (£715) per catty (604.8g, or about 21oz), and the trade is big business. Hong Kong is the largest shark fin importer in the world, and responsible for about half of the global trade. The fins sold in Sai Ying Pun come from more than 100 countries and 76 different species of sharks and rays, a third of which are endangered.
In May, customs officials made the biggest shark fin seizure in Hong Kong history: 26 tonnes of fins, contained in two shipping containers from Ecuador, cut from the bodies of 38,500 endangered sharks. The fins are often removed from the animals while still alive. The wounded sharks are then usually thrown back into the sea where, unable to swim, they sink and die of blood loss or are eaten by other predators. The practice is banned by many countries and some international agreements."