UK Shark Fin Import Loophole Exposed
A UK charity has exposed a loophole in the UK customs regulations, allowing the import of 20kg of shark fins for personal consumption
The loophole exposed by shark conservation group Bite-Back allows passengers to import 20kg of shark fins in suitcases for their personal use. To put the figure into perspective: For 20kg of dried shark fins fishermen kill about 12 blue sharks; one kilogram of dried fins sells for around £180 on wholesale markets.
The news comes after The Independent revealed that one of London's most popular Chinese restaurants, the Royal China Club, had illegally imported sharks fins from Hong Kong.
Bite-Back had reported the restaurant to the Westminster City Council Trading Standards after its marketing manager, Jason Chan, admitted selling shark fin soup at the Royal China Club in interview with the paper. Following investigations, the shark fins were confiscated and destroyed.
Despite action being taken, Graham Buckingham, campaign director at Bite-Back said said he was disappointed that the restaurant had not been fined. 'There's never any big penalty for this type of discovery and even if trading standards had chosen to prosecute, the fines are described as minimal,' he told The Times.
It is believed that one in five UK Chinese restaurants offer shark fin soup, however, the controversial dish is often disguised as 'fish fin soup' or not listed on the menu at all.
'The parallels between the trade in ivory and shark fins are huge and the fact that the Royal China Club has now been caught illegally importing fins to the UK is a further evidence of the corrupt industry behind this controversial menu item,' Graham Buckingham told The Independent.