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S’pore govt does not have policies specific to the serving of shark’s fin: Chan Chun Sing

In other words, the public service isn't yet taking the lead on this.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 16, 01:25 pm

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Singapore’s government has no specific rules regarding the service and consumption of shark’s fin in events held or organised by the public service.

This was shared in a written parliamentary response from Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who is also Minister-in-Charge of the Public Service, on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Nee Soon GRC member of parliament Louis Ng, who founded local wild animal advocacy group ACRES, put forward the question of whether shark’s fin dishes are served at events organised by and for the public service, and if this will be a practice for the future too.

Here’s Chan’s three-sentence answer:

“Public agencies abide by the procurement principles of fairness, transparency and value-for-money. Agencies decide on their respective menus based on what is prudent and appropriate for the occasion. We do not have policies specific to the serving of shark’s fin.”

S’pore still world’s second-largest trader of shark fin

A report from global wildlife trade-monitoring network Traffic and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) showed that Singapore is the world’s second largest shark fin trader (both importer and exporter) in monetary value.

Some vendors claim that they sell “sustainable” shark’s fin, but that’s in reality a misleading label for exploiting a shark’s other body parts for various other purposes (like consumption, bait or fertiliser) instead of simply slicing off its fin and throwing it back into the sea.

Ultimately, shark fin consumption is unsustainable given a shark’s slow reproduction rate, which also renders farming an unprofitable endeavour.

‘Sustainable’ shark fin sources not exactly sustainable yet

Also, thanks to overfishing, a good 25 per cent of shark species is in danger of extinction globally.

Fortunately, though, consumer demand for shark’s fin in Singapore is on a decline.

A 2016 study by WWF-Singapore found that 82 per cent of Singaporeans surveyed have not eaten shark’s fin for at least a year.

Several restaurants and hotels, such as the Hilton and Hyatt hotel groups, have removed shark’s fin from their menus.

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About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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