|Wolfgang in the Bahamas. Amanda Cotton amazing shot|
Lead by the irascible and wizened shark sage Wolfgang Leander, and worked on by a host of others, Alibaba.com eventually caved and stopped selling shark fin.
You could say so. It was really that first corporate turnabout and a movie that appeared shortly after which started the shark conservation movement as we know it today with a plethora of shark groups, agendas, and some real wins to celebrate five years later.
But the story of online sales has not ended. Like a water balloon, in the corporate world if you squeeze a market on one side it bulges out the other, and where shark fin is concerned at $300-500 a kilo, that marketplace is still thriving.
Or so says Mark Harding who highlighted Rich Clothier from Shark Guardians this week.
We have to agree. Over a year ago we posted this finding online to mostly dead air from the shark conservation community working on consumption side economics of the shark fin equation.
But sales online continue, they may not be called shark fin anymore, fish maw, fish bones, and other names have changed the way traders seek buyers. In fact 90% of the sellers who sell dried seafood products still, when asked, will provide and source shark fin.
How do we know?
We have been involved with this since 2007. It's not hard to track online portals, pose as a buyer, and ask for shark fin. The results are immediate and abundant to the tune of several thousand kilos per transaction and sometimes even more.
Are there solutions to this problem? You bet.
But the problem has become a 'wider problem' if you want to harness the conservation bandwidth out there to make a dent in the trade. Right now that doesn't seem to be the case.