Shark's fin sales and wholesale prices dive

Shark's fin sales and wholesale prices dive
Braised abalone soup with sea cucumber and fish maw, offered by Regent Singapore as an alternative to shark’s fin. Due to conservation concerns, it is no longer de rigueur on banquet menus.

Sales of shark's fin are down sharply along with wholesale prices as more Singaporeans say no to the traditional delicacy.

Estimates indicate that between 2011 and last year, domestic sales of shark's fin to hotels and restaurants fell by nearly a third to about 5,000kg.

In addition, wholesale prices have fallen in the past year, by 30 to 50 per cent. Currently, a blue shark's processed fin commands about $150 to $200 per kilogram; the unprocessed equivalent costs between $40 and $60.

The figures were provided by Mr Yio Jin Xian, a representative of the Marine and Land Products Association and the general manager of shark's fin supplier Chin Guan Hong.

"Sales started to slow down last year," he told The Straits Times. "Some hotels have stopped buying. For those that are still serving, and restaurants, sales figures have more or less remained stable."

Conservation concerns are the key reason for the drop in demand, with several hotels striking shark's fin soup off their menus.

At least three hotels - Regent Singapore, Hilton Singapore and Swissotel Merchant Court - have stopped serving the dish since last year, joining some 11 others that had already done so. Other hotels, such as the Singapore Marriott, will be rolling out a fin-free a la carte menu by year end.

Said Grand Hyatt executive chef Lucas Glanville, whose hotel removed it from the menu in March last year and serves it only on request: "We're not comfortable with the way that shark's fin is produced. The industry needs to demonstrate to us that they have a sustainable option.

"Even five years ago, people would laugh if you said you wanted to remove shark's fin from the menu. Now, the hotel receives only minimal requests." He added that this marked a "paradigm shift" among customers.

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