Holiday Inn Glenmarie bans shark fin soup

KUALA LUMPUR: It may cost up to RM45 per serving, but many are willing to pay a princely sum for it. But like exotic meat dishes, consuming shark fin is not without its controversies. Animal rights activists and environmentalists have called for a ban on the consumption of shark fin to protect the ocean’s top predator. 

The Malaysian Nature Society has roped in Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie as the first hotel to support the ban on shark fin. The announcement was made by hotel general manager Anil Pathak at a recent press conference.

Also present were MNS communications head Andrew J. Sebastian, and hotel senior wedding planner Wendy Lee.

Pathak said the hotel would advise against shark fin, especially to clients requesting for the soup on their wedding lunch or dinner menus.  The hotel will offer alternative dishes such as herbal chicken or Szechuan soup.

The hotel will offer a complimentary upgrade to its duplex suite and a buffet dinner to the wedding couple who forgo shark fin. Couples who opt for a shark fin-free wedding banquet will get a certificate of appreciation from MNS.

However, the hotel would still serve shark’s fin if its clients insisted as the Chinese community perceive the dish as a status symbol, said Pathak.

The campaign will run for one year and promote awareness on the plight of the shark. It will highlight the components of the marine ecosystem and dispel the misconceptions about shark fin.

During the campaign, the MNS will bring to light the beauty of the shark and how the human impact has led to the demise of many species of shark through a series of activities and programmes.

According to Sebastian, about 75 million sharks throughout the world are caught yearly.

In Malaysia, he said, although there were no statistics available on sharks caught, the catch was undoubtedly increasing.

“Our objective is to encourage and convince at least 100 Malaysian-based companies, organisations, hotels and other groups to commit to not serving shark fin soup.

“MNS will give talks on Malaysia’s marine treasures and what everyone can do to help conserve and protect the marine ecosystem.

“We will collaborate with a magazine or radio station to promote and launch the campaign as well as highlight the organisations who have pledged to not serve shark fin soup as shining examples of the Malaysian community,” said Sebastian.

Since November 2007, more than 30 companies and organisations including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have made the pledge. Corporations, hotels and eateries interested in supporting the campaign can call 03-2287 9422 or visit http://www.msn.com.my.


Source: New Straits Times
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