SINGAPORE: A local marine conservation group, Project: FIN, has launched a campaign on social networking site Facebook, asking to people to change their profile picture to one which says: Celebrate Chinese New Year with no shark fin soup.
Since the launch last Wednesday, the group claims the campaign has spread globally, attracting more than 20 organisations such as Shark Rescue from the United States and the Hong Kong Shark Foundation.
Project: FIN founder Jennifer Lee told MediaCorp: "Some restaurants have put baby shark's fins on the menu and that's very worrying because adult shark population is declining due to increased demand for shark's fin in Asia".
The depletion of stock is compounded as sharks take many years to mature and produce few young.
This means that their populations are slow to recover once overfished.
WWF Singapore, an environmental group, noted on its website that Singapore was the second largest shark fin trading nation and was not aware of any shark fisheries that were sustainably managed.
"Given the critical situation facing our sharks, we recommend for the Singapore public to stop consumption of shark fin and other shark products," it said.
But restauranteurs told MediaCorp they would still continue to serve shark's fin as long as there was a demand for it.
Jumbo group's general manager Ang Kiam Meng, who is also the president of Restaurant Association of Singapore, said: "It's a question of demand and supply and people are looking forward to eating the dish this New Year".
He told MediaCorp that several customers had walked out of Singapore Seafood Republic - a combined venture among The Jumbo Group, Palm Beach, Tung Lok and Seafood International restaurants at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) - when they learnt that shark's fin was not served.
RWS is one of the resorts in the world with restaurants that do not serve shark's fin.
Project: FIN said it hopes that with more education and awareness, more people would give up eating shark's fin.
Said Ms Lee: "As we progress with time, it is important that people recognise that the importance of cultural practices should not supercede the importance of maintaining sustainability, as the Earth's resources are not inexhaustible".