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Capital chomps $16m in shark fins every day

By Deng Jingyin (Global Times)

09:19, September 06, 2012

Shark fins in a display case at the entrance to a restaurant in Sanyuanqiao, Chaoyang district in March. (Global Times/Guo Yingguang)

Beijing has been revealed as the biggest market for shark fin in China, where at least 100 million yuan ($16 million) is spent on the consumption of this traditional Chinese delicacy daily, according to the China Economic Weekly.

It reported that daily consumption in Beijing is about 7,500 kilograms and the price for a bowl of shark fin soup can reach 1,800 yuan in some luxury hotels.

"I don't think shark fin dishes are too delicious to give up, but you know, it's like a symbol standing for sincerity and identity. My guests will know they are important to me if I order shark fin or Maotai, the best-known alcohol in China, for them," said a businessman surnamed Chen from Shanxi Province, who runs a real estate company.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, about 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins and half of them are sold to Hong Kong.

Although the campaign to reject shark fin consumption is gaining traction in China, it has not put a chill into the shark fin market in Beijing, the China Economic Weekly report said.

Liufu Shark Fin Restaurant in Beijing Financial Street in Xicheng district told the Global Times shark fin is the specialty of their restaurant, which attracts many customers every day.

"The price for a bowl of shark fin soup in our restaurant ranges from 128 to 1,200 yuan," said an employee working at the restaurant.

Wang Xue, from Beijing-based environmental NGO Green Beagle who is responsible for its "China Zero Shark Fin," project said that a survey it conducted at the end of 2011 shows that over 99 percent of the 131 four and five-star hotels in Beijing still sold shark fin, and only one refused to provide the dish.

"Although the situation seems better now, after some enterprises and hotels banned shark fins, these dishes are still popular in China, which is the biggest global market for the fins. I think the figure of 100 million yuan daily is not an exaggeration," Wang said.

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