Shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, will no longer be served at The Peninsula Hotels as of January 1, 2012. According to USA Today, The Peninsula Hotel chain—with hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Bangkok, Manila and soon Paris—will serve the soup for banquets that were booked before November 21st, if it was requested. After that, it will be banned.
The hotel group issued the ban to aid in the marine ecosystem and help to preserve the population of sharks. After all, nearly 73 million sharks are killed yearly just to make shark fin soup, according to WildAid, an organization dedicated to ending illegal wildlife trade. The sale and use of shark fin in the service industry has also been banned in Toronto and California, and the European Union is looking into a similar ban, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Shark fin soup used to be served to emperors as a symbol of status. Today, it’s served on special occasions (such as weddings) and can cost about $100 per bowl, according to WildAid. The soup uses dried shark fin, which adds texture to the soup, but the flavor comes from chicken or other stock.
With The Peninsula Hotels’ decision to ban the soup, Mr. Clement K.M. Kwok, CEO of the hotel chain’s parent company Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd., says that they hope they will “inspire other hospitality companies to do the same and that our industry will play a role in helping to preserve the bio-diversity of our oceans.” Find out more about WildAid’s efforts to stop shark finning and their Chefs Against Shark Fins campaign, which is supported by chefs such as Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay, among others.
Photo Courtesy Paul Hilton/EPA/Corbis