* China Says No More Shark Fin Soup at State Banquets

NY Times: “China said Tuesday that it would prohibit official banquets from serving shark fin soup, an expensive and popular delicacy blamed for a sharp decline in global shark populations.

Fishermen displayed their sharks for sale at a market in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in 2011. Rapid economic growth across Asia has increased the demand for shark fin soup.

The ban, reported by Xinhua, the state-run news agency, could take as many as three years to take effect, and it remains unclear how widely it will be adhered to across a sprawling nation where orders issued by Beijing are often shrugged off by officials in faraway regions and provinces.

Still, the decision to stop serving shark fin soup at official functions was welcomed by environmental campaigners. Experts have long cautioned that soaring demand for the soup over the past two decades has imperiled shark populations around the globe.

“This is a very positive step forward,” said Andy Cornish, director of conservation at W.W.F. in Hong Kong. “It is the first time that the Chinese central government has expressed a decision to phase out shark fin from banquets funded by taxpayers’ money.” He said the move would send an important signal to consumers in China, the largest market for the fins.”

via China Says No More Shark Fin Soup at State Banquets – NYTimes.com.

Maybe the Japanese will stop killing whales!

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