No shark's-fin products at FairPrice from April

SINGAPORE - Shark's-fin products will no longer be available at FairPrice outlets from April.

The announcement comes after a seafood company in Singapore caused a furore among netizens, animal activists and diving enthusiasts with a Facebook post, although the post had no bearing on FairPrice's decision.

The Nov 17 entry on Thern Da Seafood's profile page said: "Screw the divers!" before mentioning its Chinese New Year introductory promotions on shark's fin and Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, products available at all FairPrice outlets.

It led to online protests by conservationists, who called on the supermarket chain to boycott the supplier's products.

Referring to the Facebook post, FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng said: "We do not condone such insensitive remarks."

He added that "suppliers are required to clear their joint promotional materials...before implementation" and "the supplier had not complied with our standing instruction".

"We take this matter very seriously and we are withdrawing all products from Thern Da Seafood across all our stores."

The co-owner of Thern Da Seafood, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Chan, told my paper that the online post was made by a former sales and and marketing manager.

The company's factory is situated at Jurong Food Hub.

It was only when a local dive group posted a screenshot of the comment on its website this week that the company got widespread criticism, said Mrs Chan.

The family-run company has supplied frozen seafood and canned food to Chinese restaurants here since it opened in 2006.

On Wednesday night, Thern Da's Facebook profile page was taken down, but not before more than 160 comments were left on its wall by incensed conservationists and diving enthusiasts.

The manager, Mr Chris Lee Aik Chye, who is in his 20s, was fired yesterday morning.

He had worked for the company for more than two years, and handled its sales, marketing and publicity.

Mrs Chan said: "What he wrote does not represent my company and it was he who created all this."

She added that as she and her husband were not well-versed in using the Internet, they were unaware that the company had a Facebook page.

This was done entirely by Mr Lee, she said.

The couple knew about the situation only after receiving queries from the media and an e-mail message from FairPrice, Mrs Chan added. She immediately consulted her lawyer, who advised them to shut down the Facebook page and to sack Mr Lee.

Mrs Chan said: "We will leave it to our lawyers and see what to do next."

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