Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Shark fin to stay on menus

Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy.
Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy.

Many of Auckland's Chinese restaurants say they will continue serving shark fin while it's legal despite a landmark ban on finning dead sharks in New Zealand waters.

The Government confirmed it would progress with finning bans this year, with all 113 shark species to be protected from the gruesome practice by 2016.

Shark fin has been dropped from the menu at SkyCity's Jade Dragon restaurant, but it said yesterday the dish was still available "on request".

"SkyCity has always used sustainably sourced shark fins from local suppliers who have assured us they either fulfil or exceed animal welfare legislation, and we will comply with any applicable law changes," said spokeswoman Lydia Jarman.

Several Chinese restaurants, including Grand Harbour at the Viaduct and Grand Park in Epsom, said shark fin dishes could still be ordered there.

Public support for a ban on shark finning is overwhelming, and companies such as Sealord and Air New Zealand have already publicly opposed the practice.

The Government announced its intention to stamp it out in November, and yesterday confirmed a tighter deadline because of the 45,000 submissions received on the draft National Plan of Action for Sharks.

Finning of all species will be banned by October 2015, except for blue sharks which would be included in the ban a year later.

Conservation groups praised the decision, while expressing disappointment that the species most affected by finning, blue sharks, would not be included until 2016.

Shark expert Riley Elliott at the University of Auckland said the delay was "ridiculous". "The blue shark is the most impacted by shark finning, with over a million kilograms caught, finned and dumped every year."

- NZ Herald

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