Foodies sign pledge against shark fin soup

Last updated 12:51 26/08/2008
SOUP'S OFF: Some of New Zealand's best known cooks are backing a campaign against shark finning.

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Some of the country's best-known foodies have signed a pledge to help stop shark finning.

Shark finning involves cutting off the high-priced fins of sharks and dumping the rest of the body at sea.

While the practice is illegal in many countries, it is still permitted in New Zealand waters, said Forest and Bird which has drafted the pledge.

Signatories promise to not eat, make or serve shark fin soup, and either avoid restaurants which have shark fin soup on the menu or raise the issue with them if.

They must also not catch sharks just for their fins and support a law change to make shark finning illegal in New Zealand.

The pledge has been signed by chefs, food writers and TV presenters including Simon Holst, Peta Mathias, Julie Le Clerc and Richard Till.

The New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council has also signed the pledge.

Forest and Bird marine advocate Kirstie Knowles said shark fins were highly valued due to increasing demand for their use in shark fin soup and traditional medicines.

About 112 shark species are recorded in New Zealand waters. Of those, 28 are listed on the World Conservation Union Red List of species threatened with extinction.

Only one threatened species – the great white shark – is protected in New Zealand, Ms Knowles said.

It was illegal under New Zealand's animal welfare laws to fin sharks while they were still alive, but Ms Knowles said there was evidence that it still occurred.

"We're grateful to the foodies and fishers who have signed our pledge to help stop shark finning and we invite the New Zealand public to also sign the pledge and help save our sharks," Ms Knowles said.

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