Officials in China are planning to ban shark fin soup from all future state dinners, a sign that the countries tastes for the expensive delicacy are waning.
The move was announced by China’s Global Times which discovered that the Government Office Administration of the State Council will ban the delicacy in a plan that will take three years to implement.
Cutting out shark fin soup from state sponsored dinners isn’t just about saving sharks, the move will save the Chinese government thousands of dollars per event.
According to the Hong Kong Shark Foundation the move will save many sharks because China is the biggest consumer of shark fin based products. The groups move to ban the delicacy should also set the tone for many citizens in China who often follow the lead of government agencies.
In a 2006 study it was estimated that the number of shark deaths each year is in the vicinity of 26 million to 73 million. Because sharks are killed mostly for their fins the rest of the body is discarded, a practice that has been called everything from wasteful to disgusting.
Shark Fin Soup is most often associated with weddings in China where it is served to guest in order to impress a couple’s extended family.
The prevalence of shark hunting has placed 181 species of shark under threat according to the World Wildlife Fund, that number is up from just 15 species under threat in 1996.
With top hotels and restaurants recently refusing to sell shark fin soup there is a good chance the delicacy could be on its way out throughout China.