Thousands of shark fins found drying on Hong Kong rooftop [Photos]

Several thousand shark fins laid out to dry were found on the rooftop of a building housing seafood suppliers in Kennedy Town in central Hong Kong.

Photographer Gary Stokes from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society received a tip from an unnamed person on January 1 and took these pictures.

The photos depict over 18,000 shark fins trying on roofs of industrial buildings. The images represent a fraction of the expected 75 million sharks killed each year to keep up with the demand for the fins.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets.

In July, China announced a planned ban of shark fin soup at banquets.

According to Chinese media, the Government Office Administration of the State Council said the ban could take up to three years to implement and would help cut the cost of sometimes lavish banquets held for state functions.

“I think it will have an impact,” she said. “The government in China is powerful and if it takes the lead on this issue, I don’t see why others shouldn’t follow suit.”

After the fins are cut off, the sharks are often dumped back into the ocean but are no longer able to swim.

Environmentalists blame the shark fin trade as the primary reason for the decline in the shark population.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, 181 species of shark are under threat, up from 15 in 1996.

While the fins have always been praised for their health benefits, a recent study suggests shark fins contain high levels of a neurotoxin linked to the degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

CNN contributed to this report.

 

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