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Finally - a major Asian hotel chain steps up to the plate - Effective January 1, 2012. Shark Fins off the menu

Suzanne Kai

Great White Shark Photo by Terry GossToday, January 1, 2012 marks the day that a major hotel chain, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), owner of the Peninsula Hotels finally made it official - no more shark fins will be served. We hope many more hotels, restaurants, and fishermen will also stop killing the millions of sharks for their fins for soup.  

Let's make 2012 a year that you also take measures in your own hands to help our world become a better place. 

This is one of the most important stories of our lives, our Earth.

Not only is banning shark fins from menus one tiny step forward (and not ordering shark fins if it is still on other menus), eating fish, particularly the larger fish is not necessarily healthy.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, 75, scientist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence has been studying our oceans for more than 50 years. Dr. Earle urges everyone, "We have the power to make a difference and its time that we use that power positively not just for the dolphins, not just for the whales and the fish. It all comes back to us. We all share space on this little Blue Planet."

Earle told AsianConnections' Steven Joe at a Greenbuild Conference for GreenPlanet.TV "What we are doing to the oceans, we are doing to ourselves." She told Steven Joe in a video interview that it is a myth that eating all fish is healthy. She warns that eating larger fish-eating fish is not healthy at all. She says the larger fish such as swordfish, tuna, and marlin have the highest concentrations in their bodies of heavy metals and toxins including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and other poisonous substances that are dumped into the oceans and fall from the sky from coal and other industrial processes. 

She advises to "eat smart" and eat plant-eating fish, and smaller sustainably cultivated fish such as tilapia and catfish. 

She is recognized by the Library of Congress as a Living Legend. Among her many achievements and efforts in global marine conservation, she is the founder of the non-profit Sylvia Earle Alliance, and founding partner of Mission Blue with the National Geographic Society, the Waitt Foundation, and partners including TEDPrize, Google and IUCN to raise awareness of the urgent ocean crisis, to create Marine Protected Areas, and help reverse the critical decline in ocean health. 

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The news about the Peninsula Hotels chain banning shark fins from its menu was originally posted here November 22, 2011:

Shark fins have been taken off the menu at the ultra-luxury Peninsula Hotels chain which has hotels in Beverly Hills, New York, Chicago, Hong Kong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bangkok, Beijing, Manila, and opening in 2012 in Paris.

The chain, owned by parent company The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) has banned shark fins from its menu in all of its group operations effective January 1, 2012.

Mr. Clement K.M. Kwok, Chief Executive Office of HSH, said: "By removing shark fins from our menus, we hope that our decision can contribute to preserving the marine ecosystem for the world's future generations. As Asia's oldest hotel company, we also hope that our decision will inspire other hospitality companies to do the same and that our industry will play a role in helping to preserve the bio-diversity of our oceans." One in three sharks are now at the brink of extinction, with 73 million sharks estimated to be killed annually for their fins. Click here for the full story.