DNA shows 76 shark species on sale

Action Asia - - NEWS & VIEWS -

A RE­PORT RE­LEASED in October 2017 in­cluded DNA analysis that showed Hong Kong’s lu­cra­tive shark fin trade may be dam­ag­ing more pop­u­la­tions of threat­ened species of shark than had pre­vi­ously been thought. While the blue shark re­mains a species of par­tic­u­lar con­cern [see the Nov/dec 2017 is­sue of Ac­tion Asia for the story], DNA from 76 dif­fer­ent species was found among fins sold at Hong Kong’s dried seafood stores. Al­most one third of them are on the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture (IUCN) Red List of Threat­ened Species. That’s ac­cord­ing to data ob­tained from 4,800 ran­dom sam­ples of shark fin trim­mings – both dried and cooked – col­lected mainly from ‘Seafood Street’ in She­ung Wan district, be­tween February 2014 and February 2015. Funded by Us-based Pew Char­i­ta­ble Trusts, the re­search was done in col­lab­o­ra­tion by the Univer­sity of Hong Kong with the non-profit group Bloom As­so­ci­a­tion, and the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gar­den. Also sur­pris­ing was the amount of other parts of the fish – in­clud­ing tail skin that many lo­cal con­sumers typ­i­cally shun – as well as fins from car­ti­lagi­nous non-shark species such as rays, skates and rat­fishes. Some of these are also listed as threat­ened. Putting it sim­ply, con­sumers know lit­tle about what they are eat­ing and – con­cerns about sus­tain­abil­ity aside – are of­ten be­ing duped into buy­ing some­thing that is not what it seems. Ma­rine Pro­gram Di­rec­tor of Bloom As­so­ci­a­tion Hong Kong Stan Shea sug­gests this com­pre­hen­sive species data will help bet­ter po­lice the trade in the fu­ture: “The study pro­vides a species list of the con­tem­po­rary shark fin mar­ket which was not pre­vi­ously avail­able to us. With this knowl­edge, we can step up our work in mo­ti­vat­ing bet­ter man­age­ment of the trade, start­ing from the port of Hong Kong.” Bloom As­so­ci­a­tion Hong Kong has also re­cently com­piled a broader re­port en­ti­tled ‘Wildlife Trade 2.0: Eight steps con­nect­ing to the fu­ture’, of­fer­ing pol­icy-re­lated sug­ges­tions to the Hong Kong Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil. The doc­u­ment sug­gests species in­for­ma­tion be clearly la­belled in re­tail out­lets and rec­om­mends the in­tro­duc­tion of des­ig­nated wildlife ports, cen­tral­is­ing all sea freight in­clud­ing wildlife prod­ucts to fa­cil­i­tate bet­ter and more thor­ough in­spec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.