Channel NewsAsia: WWF seeing positive response to “No Shark’s Fin” campaign

Channel NewsAsia reported that World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF)’s new campaign to stop consumption of shark’s fins, as part of international movement to conserve marine species, has seen positive response from Singapore, with more then 15,000 individuals and 10 companies pledging not to consume or serve shark’s fin at events. Even hotels like Shangri-La have stopped using shark’s fin in their dishes. These conservation efforts can go a long way, since right now we are consuming seafood at an unsustainable rate, with as many as 90% of all the ocean’s large fish already fished, according to WWF.

WWF seeing positive response to “No Shark’s Fin” campaign

SINGAPORE: The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is seeing some positive response to its latest initiative which calls on consumers and businesses in Singapore to say no to shark’s fin.

The initiative is in support of a global movement towards shark and marine conservation.

WWF says that it has sent out an electronic direct mailer to its 2,000 corporate partners and, so far, 10 companies have signed on. The organisation is hoping to hit 100 by the end of the year.

WWF Singapore has already received in excess of 15,000 individual pledges for its “No Shark’s Fin” campaign so far.

Still, it is a challenging task to get Singaporeans to forgo shark’s fin.

Statistics from the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) show that in 2011, shark fin imports climbed by 40 per cent when compared to the previous year.

But it is not just about shark’s fin. An increasing number of restaurants and hotels in Singapore are also looking to source their seafood and their produce more sustainably.

According to WWF, an average of 100,000 tons of seafood is consumed each year in Singapore, making it one of the biggest seafood consumers in the Asia-Pacific.

Geoffrey Muldoon, live reef fish trade strategy leader at WWF, said: “I travel around the region and I see the status of stocks in the region and there is undoubtedly stocks of certain fish in the region that are heavily over fished.

“87 per cent of all fisheries in the world are either fully or over exploited, and that is an increase on two years ago and an increase on 4 years ago.”

“We seem to be moving in the direction of pushing fisheries further towards over exploitation rather than recovering some of these fisheries,” he added.

A number of hotels in Singapore, including Fairmont, Swissotel The Stamford, Shangri-La and The Fullerton no longer serve shark’s fin soup, which means having to rework the menu.

Paul Lenz, area executive chef of Shangri-La Singapore, said: “The no shark’s fin policy was implemented by Shangri-La earlier this year, worldwide, for all 72 hotels.

“We were working towards having no shark’s fin since 2010. However, we made it available off the menu on request. The decision on that was taken due to the high volume of our Chinese banquet operations. It was always a traditional dish (for Chinese weddings) and it was always high in demand.”

“At this time, it’s the younger crowds, the younger generations who feel that it is not necessary to have shark’s fin on the banquet menu. We came up with alternative dishes which can replace shark’s fin easily,” he said.

WWF adds that as many as 90 per cent of all the ocean’s large fish have been fished out, and unless the current situation improves, stocks of all species currently fished for food are predicted to collapse by 2048.

But eating sustainably isn’t without its challenges, and Mr Muldoon says that there are three main issues.

“One of the challenges is, actually locating what we would consider to be sustainable or more responsible sources of food,” he said.

“The second is actually the cost associated with eating more responsibly. Inevitably, it costs more to eat more responsibly.”

“And the third, for us, was the logistical aspect, working with food and beverage outlets and restaurants that are interested in the idea of sustainability is made more difficult in terms of actually locating that product that we consider to be better and getting it through the supply chain and in to the venue where the fish is being consumed,” Mr Muldoon added.

Chef Lenz agrees that sustainable seafood consumption starts at the source, and that more sustainable farming methods need to be encouraged.

When it comes to cost however, Chef Lenz adds that if more people start to consume from sustainable sources, this could help to eventually ease pricing pressure.

“I think if everybody strives towards the same product on to the market, price will regulate itself over the years to come,” he said.

Image from bee happy123

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  • About Green Drinks Singapore

    Founded in November 2007, Green Drinks Singapore is one of more than 800 cities with a Green Drinks presence.

  • We are a non-profit environmental movement that connects academia, green businesses, activists, community and government, for knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities. We do this by organising informal talks every last Thursday of the month, over drinks! Once in a while, we hold discussions, documentary screenings and workshops to further engage the public and participants.
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