Singaporeans would support government moves to protect sharks: WWF

SINGAPORE - Over three quarters of people surveyed in Singapore want government policy to reduce consumption of shark fin, WWF-Singapore announced on its website today (Jan 3).

Of the 504 respondents that WWF-Singapore surveyed, half claimed to have eaten less shark fin in the past 12 months, with 82 per cent agreeing that an alternative to the dish would be acceptable at banquets. The survey discovered that a vast majority are concerned about sharks and over three-quarters would pay more for responsibly fished seafood.

Ms Elaine Tan, CEO, WWF-Singapore said: "It is clear we are experiencing a cultural change where preservation of our ocean resources and conservation of the shark species is becoming more important to the majority of the public than the traditional value of shark fin soup.

"It is time for businesses to step up and match the public's expectations, stop selling shark fin and support sustainable seafood," she added.

Governments in Malaysia, China and Hong Kong have already imposed bans on serving shark fin at official functions. Brunei was also the first country to ban the catch of all shark species in its national waters as well as the domestic and international trade of sharks' fin.

Mr Jonn Lu, regional director Asia Pacific, Shark Savers said: "The stage is set for legal action. The Singapore public are already educated on this issue and ready to support policy makers in applying controls to curb the consumption of shark fin here, the vast majority of which is from unsustainable and untraceable sources."

Around 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins. In 1996, only 15 shark and related species were considered threatened; this has soared by 12 times in only a decade and by 2010, over 180 species were considered threatened.

WWF-Singapore added: "In the absence of sustainably managed shark fisheries, the demand for shark fin is putting many shark species under extreme pressure with shark populations unable to replenish at the same rate they are caught."