Following Gov. Jerry Brown's signing in October of an act banning the sale of shark fins in California, the Peninsula Hotel chain has announced they are prohibiting shark fin soup, considered a delicacy in Chinese culture, at all food outlets as of Jan. 1, 2012.
In a press release, the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), parent company of the Peninsula Hotels, said it will no longer offer the controversial dish "in recognition of the threat facing the global shark population." In a brutal practice, shark fins intended for culinary use are cut from live sharks, which are then tossed back into the ocean to die miserably.
Clement K.M. Kwok, chief executive officer of HSH, said: "By removing shark fin 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 biodiversity of our oceans."
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However, the company said it will honor banquet bookings involving shark fin soup made prior to their Nov. 21, 2011, announcement of the ban but taking place after Jan. 1, 2012. (Sorry, sharks.)
There are Peninsula Hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila.
(Shark fin soup was never served at any of the Peninsula Hotels' U.S. locations.)
Follow Samantha Bonar @samanthabonar.