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Singapore food outlets pledge to phase out shark fin

89 establishments will remove shark fin and ray from their menus, but not all will do so completely. Nevertheless, it's a major step to save a threatened animal.

A number of popular food and beverage outlets in Singapore have committed to phasing out shark fin this year following a campaign from environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Outlets including Chinese restaurant chain Crystal Jade, Pan Pacific Hotels and online delivery service Foodpanda, whose policy applies across its 3,800 partner restaurants, will remove the controversial dish from their menus.

Today, a quarter of sharks and ray species are facing extinction. A study conducted in 2013 estimated that about 100 million sharks are killed annually. A report by WWF and TRAFFIC last year highlighted that Singapore is the world’s second largest market for shark fin, after Hong Kong.

“This commitment by F&B establishments is crucial to saving sharks and the ecosystems that depend on them. As sustainable options do not exist for sharks, halting consumer demand is the only solution today,” said Elaine Tan, chief executive officer of WWF Singapore.

The campaign aims to down demand around the Chinese New Year period; shark fin is traditionally consumed at Chinese banquets.

“Seafood remains a prominent part of Chinese cuisine. This decision to phase out shark fin, a long-established traditional dish, is our first step towards protecting oceans and seafood supplies as a socially-responsible business. We will continue to offer premium alternatives in place of shark fin,” said Cynthia Yee, senior vice president, Marcom, Crystal Jade Culinary Holdings.

The participating establishments will phase out shark fin in one of the three ways: A complete removal of shark fin from the menu and a policy against serving it; stop serving the dish for a trial period of time; remove it from menus and serve only on request, on a case-by-case basis.

Crystal Jade has committed to removing shark fin dishes from the Chinese New Year set menus across all of the 28 restaurants in Singapore under its portfolio. From 31 July 2018, shark fin will no longer feature on the menus of its 28 restaurants.

The Pan Pacific Hotels Group has stopped serving shark fin across its 34 properties and 7 restaurants as the start of the year.

Foodpanda will also remove shark-related dishes from the menus of the restaurants listed on its platform starting 5 March 2018.

“As Singapore’s leading food delivery company, we’re in a privileged position to make a positive impact on the local community and environment. We’re pleased we can play a key role in protecting an endangered species from going extinct,” said Luc Andreani, managing director, Foodpanda Singapore.

Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are the top importers of shark fins globally. The sale of fins is supplied by Indonesia, Spain, India, US, and Argentina, which account for almost half of all shark landings in the world.

Sharks and rays are listed as “Avoid” in WWF’s Singapore Seafood Guide. WWF’s study last year found that shark protection and environmental concerns are key reasons why 82 per cent of people in Singapore have stopped eating shark fin.

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