Why is Eating Shark’s Fin Bad & Is It Illegal in Singapore?

Last Updated on 2023-06-02 , 1:02 pm

The Shark fin, commonly used in the famed shark fin soup, is a renowned symbol of affluence in traditional Chinese cuisine, often served during weddings and elaborate banquets.

Yet, despite its prestige, questions arise around its legality and sustainability. Specifically, the question “Is shark fin illegal in Singapore?” continues to spark debate among many.

The Ethical Dilemma of Shark Fin

Before delving into the legality of shark fin Singapore trade, it is critical to address why shark finning is a contentious issue.

Thirty species of sharks and rays currently face trade restrictions under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

With over 70 million sharks being killed annually across the globe, many species are subjected to unsustainable levels of harvesting.

Shark Fin Soup Singapore: A Question of Legality

So, is shark fin illegal in Singapore? The straightforward answer is no.

Singapore has the dubious distinction of being the world’s second-largest shark fin trader by value, second only to Hong Kong.

This information is further substantiated by a report from Traffic, a wildlife-trade monitoring network, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), highlighting Singapore’s $65 million import and $50.4 million export value in shark’s fin.

A Turnaround in Shark Fin Singapore’s Market

However, a significant change seems to be on the horizon. Approximately 89 local F&B outlets in Singapore have expressed intent to withdraw shark fin soup and other shark products from their menus – a landmark collective pledge in the local F&B industry.

These establishments have chosen to either completely remove shark fin products from their menus, stop serving them for a trial period, or only serve them upon request.

The majority opted for the first or the last alternative.

Examples of Sharks Fin Soup Singapore Pledge

The commitment to stop serving shark fin soup Singapore is evident in many prominent establishments:

Pan Pacific: The group, which owns 34 properties and seven restaurants worldwide, has removed all shark products from their menus since January 1, 2018. Vice-president of F&B, Mr Golden Whitehead, has categorically stated that shark’s fin will no longer be available, even upon request.

Crystal Jade: While this restaurant completely removed shark’s fin from its main menus by 31 July 2018, it will be served only upon request.

Foodpanda: In a noteworthy decision, Foodpanda Singapore has decided to exclude shark’s fin or shark products from their platform’s menu.

Jumbo Group: Instead of shark’s fin soup, alternatives such as fish maw soup with crab meat will be offered.

Singapore Airlines Cargo: The group ceased serving shark’s fin on its flights in 2014.

Most of the F&B establishments contacted by WWF to participate in the pledge were already prepared to implement changes.

Despite these commendable efforts, it is essential to remember that serving shark’s fin is still not illegal in Singapore.

Numerous restaurants continue to serve shark’s fin in the city-state, indicating that while significant progress has been made, the journey towards complete sustainability is only half done.