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More restaurants saying 'no' to shark's fin

by Joyce Huang

HungryGoWhere.com - 25 June 2014 1:30 PM | Updated 01 Sep 2014

More restaurants saying 'no' to shark's fin

Add one more to the list.

At the beginning of June 2014, Marina Bay Sands announced its decision to remove shark's fin from menus at Sands Expo and all seven of the restaurants it owns. 

But it is not the first hotel group to ban the use of shark's fin as an ingredient. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, as well as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts were one of the earliest groups to put this ban in place, from as early as 2009. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide – which has more than 260 properties in Asia, a region where shark's fin is considered a delicacy – previously announced it will no longer procure the controversial ingredient in any of its hotels and restaurants from July 2014, and is committed to completely cutting off consumption of shark's fin across its global portfolio by the end of 2014.

GROWING LIST 

There is a growing list of brands making commitments to protect a healthy marine ecosystem by not serving shark's fin and shark products.

Hotels and restaurants in Singapore that have banned shark's fin from their menus include: 

  • Conrad Singapore
  • Fairmont Singapore
  • Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore
  • Hilton Singapore
  • Shangri-La Singapore
  • Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort
  • Siloso Beach Resort
  • Swissotel The Stamford 
  • The Fullerton Hotel
  • The Westin Singapore
  • Traders Hotel
  • W Hotel
  • Xi Yan Private Dining
  • Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

IMPACT ON FISH STOCKS 

Up to 73 million sharks are harvested worldwide, sometimes for their meat, but more often to supply the lucrative fin trade.

Sharks are a crucial part of marine ecosystems and their populations have a direct impact on fish stocks, which in turn affects many things, including our future food security.

Through many years of campaigning by various organisations, including World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), there is growing awareness among businesses and consumers on the significant negative impacts of consumers' demand for shark's fin.

Elaine Tan, chief executive of WWF-Singapore, is encouraged by the growing list of establishments banning shark's fin.

She said: "WWF has worked with several establishments on implementing sustainable seafood sourcing. For some, it is a quick decision, for others, it is a step-wise approach taking several years.

"Over recent years, we have had feedback from suppliers and businesses that trade numbers have come down. Naturally, with lower demand, there will be lower catch numbers which will help the shark populations to improve."

In December 2010, all shark's fin items were removed from Shangri-La Singapore's Shang Palace and banquet halls and were made available only upon request. A ban on shark's fin was implemented across the establishments in January 2012.

Patricia Gallardo, director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, said:"Banning the service of shark's fin... marks the journey towards serving more local, fresh, seasonal and ethically-sourced products." 

Nick Flynn, director of food & beverage at Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, noted that the majority of seafood consumption occurs outside the home, and since their restaurants has some "influence over diners’ choice of culinary options", the hotel saw the need to make a difference, implementing the policy in the hope of "further influencing others in the community to support the use of more sustainable culinary choices".

He added: "It may be a small step taken by the hotels towards resolving a global-scale recurring issue, but it is important for us to continue to actively champion sustainable culinary choices and raise much needed awareness through removing endangered species from our menus and use organic, sustainable and local produce, wherever possible."  

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?

Tan believes that more can be done: "At the rate we're fishing, the world's oceans will be depleted of fish stocks by 2048. Removing endangered animals, such as sharks, from the menu is the first step towards sustainable seafood sourcing. We need businesses and consumers collectively to urgently start picking the right catch and choose sustainable seafood as certified by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and those recommended on the green list of the WWF Singapore Seafood Guide."

We could, also, simply make more sustainable eating choices in our every day lives