Saturday, May 31, 2008

Resorts World at Sentosa Drops Shark's Fin from Menus

This week in Singapore a major hotel chain has dropped shark's fin from its menus. While Resorts World at Sentosa is still reserving the right to serve shark's fin to high rollers in its private gaming rooms, this is surely a step in the right direction.

Growing affluence is fuelling demand for a popular Asian delicacy – shark's fin.

According to a recent survey carried out by Singapore's Environment Council and US-based conservation group Wild-Aid, 70 million sharks are killed each year to meet the demand for shark's fin, resulting in a reduction in the number of sharks by as much as 90 percent over the last 20 years.

However, the popularity of shark's fin soup among customers often means that most restaurants cannot afford to drop the dish from their menus.

Louis Ng, executive director, Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES), said: "In the past, if you didn't serve shark's fin at your wedding dinner, others would term you as cheapskate."

To support conservation efforts, one of Singapore's upcoming integrated resorts - Resorts World at Sentosa - said it would not be offering shark's fin on its menu when it opens in 2010. It does not, however, rule out exceptions.

Krist Boo, Resorts World at Sentosa, said: "In the private gaming rooms, if a high roller asks for shark's fin, we will serve it and that's a business decision."

Together with its move to keep shark's fin off its menus, the resort has also launched a Marine Life Fund as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.

It has set aside some US$70,000 (SGD$100,000) for 2008 and 2009 to fund research and conservation efforts, and up to US$700,000 a year when the resort opens in 2010.

A quarter of the fund will be reserved for school projects with a marine conservation theme.

Hat tip: Shark Diver

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