The Straits Times: Carrefour to stop selling shark’s fin too after current stock runs out

Carrefour is the next supermarket chain to stop selling shark fin this year. We think this is fantastic news, and a great way to start 2012!

The Straits Times report below.

Carrefour to stop selling shark’s fin too after current stock runs out

Supermarket will pull product by year end

A day after Singapore’s biggest supermarket chain announced that it will stop selling shark’s fin, another supermarket has said it intends to do so by the end of the year.

A spokesman for Carrefour told The Straits Times on Friday it will no longer sell shark’s fin after its current stock runs out.

He said the French supermarket chain, which has outlets at Suntec City and Plaza Singapura, is doing this on its own initiative, as a socially responsible retailer.

Three other supermarket chains – Sheng Siong, Giant and Shop N Save – said they have no plans to stop selling shark’s fin. However, all three added that they do not advertise or run any promotions on their shark’s fin products.

FairPrice announced on Thursday it would become the second supermarket chain here, after Cold Storage, to stop selling shark’s fin. This followed a public outcry over an insensitive Facebook post made by one of its suppliers.

The comment ‘Screw the divers’ – an apparent reference to diving enthusiasts campaigning against the shark’s fin trade – appeared on the Facebook page of Thern Da Seafood. It was announcing the launch of a new shark’s fin product at FairPrice outlets.

Outraged netizens began posting on FairPrice’s Facebook page on Wednesday, urging it to stop selling shark’s fin. Within 24 hours, the chain announced that shark’s fin will no longer be available at its more than 230 retail outlets from April.

Following FairPrice’s announcement, similar comments made their way onto Sheng Siong’s Facebook page.

Animal rights groups welcomed the latest announcement, which they say is a significant move by a major retailer.

They noted, however, that there are still many businesses that trade in shark’s fin.

Ms Sarah Ong, a campaign manager at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore, said it will continue to work with companies to stop the sale of sharks.

‘We proactively approach hotels and restaurants that still serve shark’s fin… usually the key discussion is to see how they can progressively remove shark’s fin from their menus,’ said Ms Ong.

Some major businesses which have said no to shark’s fin, such as Fairmont Singapore and Cold Storage, have done so in partnership with WWF Singapore.

WWF Hong Kong was also instrumental in the Peninsula Hotel Group’s decision to stop selling shark’s fin from Jan 1.

Other groups like Project: Fin and the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society have also campaigned against consumption of shark’s fin.

WWF’s Ms Ong said she spoke to FairPrice about nine months ago about pulling shark’s fin off its shelves, but it said it was not ready.

‘We were already talking about it, but it’s interesting to see how the backlash from their consumers accelerated the decision,’ she added.

A Cold Storage spokesman said on Friday its decision to stop selling shark’s fin in October last year was primarily based on its own corporate values and responsibilities. He added that the practice had not affected its bottom line.

Cold Storage also made a commitment last year to sell only sustainable seafood and other products as part of its conservation efforts. Sustainable seafood is fished or farmed in ways that do not harm the ecosystem.

In 2010, WWF Singapore launched a pocket-size pamphlet called the Singapore Seafood Guide, which advised consumers what seafood came from sustainable sources and what did not.

According to the guide, some local favourites like tiger prawns, humphead wrasse and polkadot grouper caught in South-east Asia should be avoided as their populations are under threat. So far, WWF Singapore has distributed about 180,000 copies of the guide.

Conservationists said supermarkets should adopt the list and label their seafood accordingly, so shoppers know what they are buying.

Ms Jennifer Lee, founder of Project: Fin, said there is still a long way to go and her focus will still be on educating both consumers and businesses about shark’s fin.

‘Recently, I saw one organisation selling gift hampers with canned shark’s fin and I wrote to them immediately,’ she said.

Image taken from polytropos


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