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Shark fining a serious problem in Taiwan: animal group

2011/06/16 16:28:01

Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan kills up to 3.86 million sharks each year for wedding purposes, a local animal welfare group said Thursday.

In a survey on the consumption of shark's fin, Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan said 71 out of 76 major hotels in Taiwan provide the famed soup on their menu.

"Should we continue this merciless slaughter, 40 years later, we will only find jellyfish in the ocean," said foundation director Chen Yu-min.

To provide shark fin soup -- a popular East Asian dish -- on wedding tables, Taiwan has used around 3,000 tons of shark's fin in the past five years, she said.

Shih Chian-fa, campaign participant chef who is better known as Taiwan's "Kitchen God," encouraged the hospitality industry to use aquacultured abalone to substitute for shark.

"It is the cooking skills of the chefs, not the shark's fin, that makes the dish delicious," he said.

However, he pointed out that it is not easy to change the mindset of many wedding hosts as "it is considered impolite to the guests if shark fin soup is not on the menu for formal occasions."

According to research conducted by the Pew Environment Group this January, Taiwan is responsible for 5.8 percent of global reported shark catch between 2000-2008, and is the world's fourth largest shark catcher after Indonesia, India and Spain.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)