Saying “No” to shark fin
in Hong Kong
WWF-Hong Kong is always looking for new ways to help reduce the consumption and transport of shark fin. And they certainly have their hands full, living and working in the city that accounts for about half of the global shark fin trade every year.
One of those on the front line is Senior Programme Officer Tracy Tsang. Tracy has worked for the "No Shark Fin Campaign" in Hong Kong for five years, reminding the public, caterers and corporations that there are alternatives to dishes featuring endangered species.
The work is challenging. “Business is all about revenue,” says Tracy, “so we need to let the stakeholders understand the risks with consuming shark fin. We need to help them to find options or solutions.”
In 2010 the Hong Kong office launched the “Alternative Shark-free Menu" program, encouraging caterers to provide shark-free options to customers. “A total ban is the goal, although we also encourage caterers to start by offering a shark-free menu as the first step, then to remove the words “shark fin” from menus.”
In 2015, the team started engaging the world’s largest global shipping companies, including heavyweights such as OOCL, MCL, Hyundai and MOL, to introduce restrictive carriage policies for fins, noting that having the carriers on side could boost their efforts with the hospitality trade to curb demand. Besides the environmental risk of losing sharks, legal and reputational costs for carrying shark fins were highlighted. “There are numerous domestic and international regulations restricting shark trade (and) this activity could affect the reputation of the company,” says Tracy.
Tracy’s and the team’s hard work paid off. As of June 2017, 15 out of 20 global top shipping companies, accounting for 79.5% industry market share, have established a “No Shark Fin Carriage” policy.
About the contributor
Tracy Tsang has been working on shark conservation at WWF-Hong Kong for five years. She leads the "Shark Fin Initiative", which focuses on reducing shark fin consumption, involving strategic communications and engagement with various stakeholders. As the co-author of the report released in 2016 - "Managing Risk - Global Shipping Companies Say No to Shark Fin", Tracy and her team work closely with senior management of major global shipping lines on restricting shark fin carriage. Tracy is the spokesperson of WWF-Hong Kong's shark conservation program.
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