Monday, February 18, 2013

Swissotel Le Concorde Goes Fin Free

Today, Fin Free Thailand is pleased to announce that five-star hotel, Swissotel Le Concorde Bangkok, has signed the Fin Free pledge and publicly stated a new policy completely banning the serving and sale of shark fin.

Less than a week after the launch of Fin Free Thailand, Swissotel Le Concorde’s General Manager, Marcel Sawyere, signed the pledge to ban the sale of shark fin products in all forms. This includes special requests and catering. The pledge was signed at the hotel’s Loong Foong Chinese restaurant on February 14th, in the presence of hotel staff and Fin Free campaign ambassador Cindy Burbridge Bishop.

Mr. Sawyere said the hotel has put an end to serving and offering shark fin and is providing alternative dishes to customers. “Although choosing sustainable seafood can be challenging, we have created alternative culinary choices because we believe the food that we eat should sustain and benefit the planet we live in,” said Mr. Sawyere.

Mr. Sawyere is calling on other hotels and restaurants in the area (Rachada, Asoke and Ladprao) to do the same. Swissotel Le Concorde Bangkok is now publicly promoting a “Say No to Shark Fin” message with signage at the hotel and through social media.

Fin Free campaign ambassador Cindy Burbridge Bishop, an avid diver and shark conservation advocate, petitioned the hotel to join the Fin Free movement by gathering more than 3,000 signatures via in just a few days. Cindy thanked the hotel for its commitment to protecting sharks and marine biodiversity.

“I will be working through Fin Free Thailand to start more campaigns encouraging hotels to join Swissotel Le Concorde and other prominent brands in taking shark fin off the menu,” said Cindy. “If there’s a hotel or restaurant in your area that’s serving shark fin, ask them to consider going Fin Free. You can start a campaign of your own on and we'll help you gain support.”

Cindy and fellow ambassadors, including chefs and students, are asking Thailand’s leading hotels to make a conscious effort for shark conservation and the well being of customers by adopting a Fin Free policy.

Thai environmental groups, celebrities, students, prominent chefs and businesses launched the Fin Free Thailand campaign at the Banyan Tree Bangkok on February 10th. Fin Free Thailand is a new nation-wide campaign encouraging businesses to ban shark fin and advising consumers to refrain from eating it by drawing attention to the environmental impacts and health risks. Hotels, restaurants and supermarkets selling shark fin are also being encouraged to adopt a ‘Fin Free’ policy through outreach and public petitions.

Illegal fishing and controversial overfishing to meet the global demand for shark fin soup has contributed to a catastrophic decline in shark populations. Some species have been reduced by 99 per cent since the 1950s.

Government delegations from more than 170 countries will consider increased international protections for sharks to be proposed at the upcoming 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which will be held in Bangkok during March 3-14, 2013.

Part of a global campaign, Fin Free Thailand is being initiated by FREELAND Foundation, Love Wildlife Foundation, Thailand, A Call for Animal Rights and Onnesse, with support from Thai citizens, businesses, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For more information click here.

Image courtesy of Clemson via Flicker (CC BY 2.0)