A number of hotels in Singapore (including Fairmont, Swissotel The Stamford, Shangri-La and The Fullerton) have joined the Peninsula Hotels group in announcing they will no longer serve shark’s fin soup. Shark’s fin soup is a traditionally featured dish in Chinese wedding banquets. The lucrative fin trade is threatening over 180 different shark species with extinction.
Paul Lenz, executive chef of Shangri-La Singapore, explained: “We were working towards having no shark’s fin since 2010. However, we made it available off the menu on request. The decision on that was taken due to the high volume of our Chinese banquet operations. It was always a traditional dish (for Chinese weddings) and it was always high in demand.”
High demand had made it difficult for other restaurants and hotels to go completely “shark free”. Peninsula Group had been encouraging couples to leave shark’s fin out of their event by offering them an extra night’s stay if they did not order shark’s fin soup.
The WWF and Fuse Creative Singapore designed these clever “No Fin” banquet cards for couples to slip into guest menus. The copy inside reads: “Do you vow to protect our oceans so that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy its treasures in abundance?” / “I do.”
So far it doesn’t seem easy to get companies to pledge to remove shark’s fin from the menu at corporate functions. WWF sent electronic direct mailers to 2,000 corporate partners, and to date, only 10 companies have signed on. WWF hopes for 100 by the end of the year.