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17 Mar 2010: Group Seeks Tighter Rules
on Shark Trade at Endangered Species Talks

A conservation group is pushing negotiators at international talks on endangered species to impose tighter regulations on the global trade in sharks, saying the growing demand for shark fin soup in Asia has endangered eight species. As many as 22 million pounds of shark fins are sold annually in Hong Kong alone for use in the soup, a meal that was once considered a delicacy but is now popular among Asia’s growing middle class, according to a report by the U.S.-based group Oceana. And with a market that can fetch as much as $1,300 for a single fin, the group says the populations of eight different species of sharks are sharply dwindling. The group is urging the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which is holding its regular talks in Qatar until March 25, to impose sanctions that will limit the trade in fins to shark populations that are fished sustainably. “The demand for the shark fin is so high, they’re being taken out of the water faster than they can reproduce to sustain their population,” said Rebecca Greenberg, co-author of the report.

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