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10/12 Sunday 10:40PM

'no' to sharks' fin

Singapore-based supermarket chain, Cold Storage, will stop selling sharks' fins and shark-related products.  Cold Storage, which has 42 outlets across the country, is the first supermarket in Singapore to implement this.  It has joined the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Singapore Sustainable Seafood Group - launched in April this year to guide businesses on sourcing and promoting sustainable seafood - in a mission to protect the marine environment.

The supermarket will also source and offer a wide range of sustainable seafood recommended by WWF such as Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified hake fillet from South Africa.

Singapore is one of the biggest seafood consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, consuming an average of 100,000 tonnes of seafood each year. Most of this is imported from the Coral Triangle, the world's most diverse marine environment.

Sharks' fins are cut off while still at sea and the sharks thrown back into the water, where they bleed to death, slowly and painfully.  The fins are dried and sold to Chinese restaurants where they are made into shark's fin soup.  A fin, which can sell for $700/ kilo, is often seen as a status symbol.  Shark's fin soup was a delicacy enjoyed by China's emperors which lead many people to eat it despite the fact that it had no special nutritional value. 

WildAid, an international animal rights organisation, says 73 million sharks are killed each year which, if allowed to continue, could lead to the extinction of several species. They have enlisted China's most famous sportsman - retired basketball player, Yao Ming - to support their campaign in China to dissuade people from eating shark's fin soup. Says Yao in a campaign video, "When the buying stops, the killing can too."  A lack of understanding still perpetuates the activity of fin-slicing and leaving the helpless sharks for dead at the bottom of the sea.  Many in China believe in a myth that sharks' fins can grow back and eating shark's fin soup is a sign of wealth.

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