Hong Kong, World’s Shark Fin Hub, Sees Huge Drop in Infamous Trade

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Antony Dickson / AFP / Getty Images

Shark fins drying in the sun on the roof of a factory building in Hong Kong earlier this year

Hong Kong, which received roughly half of the world’s shark fin harvest last year, has seen a 30% drop in imports as a long-running environmental campaign begins to bite.

Hong Kong Marine Productions Association chairman Ricky Leung also cited a slowing economy and a crackdown on lavish entertaining among mainland Chinese officials — who see shark’s fin as a prized banqueting delicacy — as other reasons for the downturn

A campaign by 60 advocacy groups, including Greenpeace, and Humane Society International, led major airlines to introduce a total ban on shark fin haulage last year, with Emirates announcing its support just last week.

Shark fin is a popular Chinese ingredient but environmentalists condemn sales of the product, claiming that it fuels barbaric fishing practices. Hong Kong imported 1,162 tons of shark fins in 2012, according to government figures. In January, the discovery of thousands of shark fins drying on a rooftop in the city sparked outrage.