Four Chinese restaurants in the Red Chilli Group, including two in Manchester plus others in Leeds and York, have today pledged to put conservation before commerce and no longer sell the controversial dish, shark fin soup.
The landmark decision has been prompted by growing concern for dwindling shark populations and increased pressure from customers and shark conservation groups. The news is also a significant boost to Bite-Back’s campaign to make Britain the first country in the world to ban shark fin soup.
Around the world more than 36 million sharks are killed every year to keep up with demand for shark fin soup. As a result some shark populations have fallen by 90 per cent in the past 60 years.
General manager for the Red Chilli Group, Paul Lui, said: “To be a great Chinese restaurant you don’t have to sell shark fin soup. We would rather our reputation was based on our modern, authentic and award-winning dishes than the inclusion of an outdated item that has chronic implications for the marine environment.”
Bite-Back now plans to inspire 68 other UK restaurants to halt the sale of shark fin soup. The campaign, backed by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, will focus on alerting consumers of the issues relating to shark fins soup and empowering them to put pressure on identified establishments across the country.
Bite-Back’s campaign director Graham Buckingham said: “We must applaud the Red Chilli Group for taking this forward-thinking and compassionate decision. We are confident that restaurants hold the key to the survival of many shark populations. If we can encourage restaurants to stop selling shark fin soup, the need to hunt these marine predators on an industrial scale will diminish dramatically.”
Shark fin soup has earned a controversial tag since many unscrupulous fishermen remove the fins from hooked sharks on board their boats and then dump the bodies overboard to die. A 45 second commercial exposing the truth about shark finning – Fin, Help End the Horror – has been created for Bite-Back by the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather and can be viewed on YouTube.
Please let Bite-Back know if you’ve seen shark fin soup for sale and check for restaurants in your neighbourhood using Bite-Back shark sighting map of Great Britain.