On January 1st, 2009 were were pleasantly surprised to discover all overt sales of sharks fin had been removed from Alibaba.com Many in the shark conservation world hailed this as a great victory and presented Alibaba.com with kudos both online and in the news. Overt sharks fin had been removed from one of the largest web trading portals on the planet.
Our policy has been to verify results. Shark conservation projects should never accept half measures and what we subsequently discovered at Alibaba.com was not good news at all.
On January 2, we were able to source close to 80,000lbs of sharks fin by just requesting it from the sellers of shark products via their site. A loophole. We followed up this discovery with a post about what might be done to mitigate these sales on Alibaba.com. A Red List would inform and educate both sellers and buyers of sharks fin and other banned products at Alibaba.com.
These suggestions were modeled from the kind of safeguards you find at industrial chemical sales portals, the software for these safeguards exists and the implementation of these safeguards a relatively simple matter.
This week we went back to Alibaba.com posing as a buyer once again in search of sharks fin and this time asking for 4000kilos a week or 8, 800lbs. The results were promising.
Of 10 sellers of dried shark, and whole shark products only two answered our request, both said they could source as much sharks fin as we requested. This represents a big drop in the numbers of positive answers to buyers interested in sharks fin via Alibaba.com.
Here is one of the results:
Re:Inquiry about Dried Salted Shark Meat
|From:||Mr Hxxx Cxxx|
|Date:||Fri, Jan 16 2009 09:26:08 (GMT)|