Thai restaurant owners are happily reporting that shark fin soup is still popular despite the launch of a renewed international campaign against the practise of shark finning (removing fins and dumping sharks at sea).

Japanese consumers are still choosing the soup, according to one chef at the five-star Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok. “They might not have heard about [the campaign],” she added.

The campaign was launched after global conservation group WildAid published its latest study on the shark finning industry last week. According to the group’s research, the practise is killing 100m sharks annually, and shark populations are becoming endangered. The group has called for governments to establish sustainable shark fisheries to preserve the animals.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs is due to raise discussion on the issue today, with a view to establishing sustainable practises in Thai waters. The senate committees for environment and tourism support its efforts.

Elsewhere, restaurants are fervently resisting attempts to reduce the lucrative trade in shark fins. Japanese food franchise, Oishi Restaurant, has launched three shark fin dishes as “food of the month” in its Bangkok outlets to boost demand. 

One consumer revealed that he and his family had heard about the campaign and older relatives were continuing to eat shark fin soup: “But people my age do not love eating the soup so much, maybe because we know more about the cruelty that’s required to get the fin.”

For more information about the WildAid report, click here.