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December 11, 2016
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Banning shark fins in Pennsylvania

Fresh shark fins drying on sidewalk in Hong Kong.
Contributed photo by Nicholas Wang

But perhaps the most important step taken to dampen the demand for shark fins soup, which was at one time only available to the wealthiest residents of China, came from the Chinese government. On December 10, 2013, the Xinhua News Agency reported that the Communist Party of China announced a ban at official functions on shark fin soup, along with bird’s nest soup and some other wild animal products.

The news agency reported that the ban was “part of a sweeping government crackdown on corruption, excessive spending and extravagance.”

“I think it is great. I think it is extremely important for a whole bunch of reasons,” said Matthew Durnin, a former director of science at the Nature Conservancy who has spent 20 years in China working on projects concerning endangered species.

“Something that is at this higher level in China really sets a precedent that needs to be set.”