Shark fin sales halted on website
Outposts congratulates each of the many groups that pressured the China-based global Internet marketplace, Alibaba.com, to cease allowing the sale of shark fins.
For years, Alibaba endorsed the wholesale slaughter of sharks and the brutal practice of finning live sharks at sea, by offering shark fins, which are used to make shark fin soup, to be listed for sale on its site.
Dozens of companies from around the world sold shark fins, a sad testament to the popularity of a dish that is especially regarded throughout Asia. Anyone could purchase the product in bulk.
Alibaba ceased allowing the sale of shark fins on Jan. 1. This was regarded by many as a major victory for shark conservation because most species of sharks are considered to be in jeopardy.
However, optimism remains guarded because the demand for shark fins remains high, so the fishing effort, presumably, has not diminished.
I visited Alibaba's site this morning and typed "shark fins" in the keyword field, and all that came up were material products with "shark fin" titles. That's good.
However, I typed in "shark meat" and "shark" and found about a dozen companies peddling shark meat in some form or another. My guess is that some of these companies can also provide fins, even if they're not listed.
Still, the end to an openly advertised sale of shark fins is positive news. Here's hoping for more in 2009.
-- Pete Thomas
Photo: A shark is entangled in a gill net near the Revillagigedo Islands off the coast of Mexico. Credit: Terry Maas