A prestigious Hobart restaurant plans to take shark fin soup off its menu as a campaign heats up to stop the killing of millions of sharks each year just for their fins.
Sharks are an apex predator, essential to the health of any marine ecosystem and in rapid decline due to the impact of humans”Kane Bowman
The Me Wah Restaurant says it uses imported imitation shark fin from Japan in its $16-a-bowl "superior shark fin" dish.
But the award-winning Chinese restaurant said the soup would be taken off the list at its next menu change to reflect changing attitudes.
The restaurant is listed on the Australian Anti-Shark Finning Alliance website's "wall of shame" as one of two Hobart establishments that offer the delicacy.
The website lists another dining establishment, Golden Harbour in Hunter St. The restaurant is under new management, has changed its name and does not have shark fin soup on the menu.
Eaglehawk Neck diving instructor and shark lover Kane Bowman is leading a local campaign to stop sharks being killed for their fins to provide a status food and Asian delicacy.
Mr Bowman will collect signatures at Salamanca Market next month - which is Shout for Sharks month - to table at the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species in Thailand next year.
He has 60 local signatures to add to the 100,000 collected nationally by Project AWARE.
Mr Bowman expects hundreds more Tasmanians to add their names to the petition over the next four weeks.
"Sharks are an apex predator, essential to the health of any marine ecosystem and in rapid decline due to the impact of humans," Mr Bowman said.
In Tasmania, strict fishing guidelines state that a shark's dorsal and pectoral fins must both remain attached to the fish until the sharks that have been caught are finally landed. In some waters of the world, the fins are removed while the sharks are still alive and they are thrown back into the water to die.
There is a growing movement to ban shark fin from the table for good.
Hong Kong-based Peninsula and Shangri-La hotel groups have taken shark fin soup off their menus and Singapore's largest supermarket chain stopped sales of shark fin products this month.