Conservationists have proudly announced a significant reduction in demand for shark-fin soup, and a correspondingly lower number of dead sharks, but acknowledge that their shark-protection measures were not the leading cause of the animal’s flourishing. It wasn’t the ‘shark sanctuaries’ established by Pacific Island governments; it was Xi Jinping’s “no more goddamn shark-fin soup at banquets” (I’m paraphrasing) corruption crackdown.
Consumption of shark fins has dropped by some 70 percent since the end of last year, and the decreased demand has led to a drastic drop in poachers and traffickers, as Sina reports:
“It’s not to do with conservation. It’s related to a Chinese government anti-graft crackdown, which has cut back on dinners where shark fin soup was featured on the menu,” [a conservationist] said.
“The culture is (also) changing in Asia among younger people. They aren’t eating shark fin soup as much.”
The State Council announced in July 2012 that the country would ban shark fin at government banquets.
The central leadership of the Communist Party of China also launched a campaign within the Party in December, vowing to target extravagance and waste. They also demand austerity from the Party and military officials as a means to curb graft. […]
According to Wang [another conservationist], before the anti-graft campaign, at least 100 million yuan ($16 million) was spent on the consumption of shark fins in Beijing, and official and business banquets were the major occasions for shark fin consumption.
It was reported in September 2012 that daily consumption of shark fins in Beijing was about 7,500 kilograms and the price for a bowl of shark fin soup could reach 1,800 yuan.
“Less demand will lead to less poaching,” she said. “We wish to see the declining demand last a long time, instead of being a short-period response to government policy.”
Xi Jinping: President, Chairman, Shark-defender.
[Image via DesignLoft]