Conservationists slammed Disney on Monday for its plans to serve dishes such as shark fin soup, sea cucumber and abalone in its hotel restaurants when it opens a new theme park in Hong Kong in September.
“Promoting these marine species is not responsible because they are not sustainably harvested. Disney should have the social responsibility to promote responsible consumption,” said Clarus Chu of the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong.
“Serving these in wedding banquets will also make the bride and groom feel they are not doing something right.”
Conservationists have long condemned the eating of shark fin because of overfishing and the brutal way in which it is harvested. Critics say many fisherman simply hack off the fins and throw the dying shark back into the sea.
But that has not stopped Chinese communities around the world from enjoying the dish, which is considered a sign of affluence.
Disney said it will serve the dish “at private functions upon request”.
“Hong Kong Disneyland takes environmental stewardship very seriously and we are equally sensitive to local cultures,” spokeswoman Irene Chan said in a statement.
“It is customary for Chinese restaurants and 5-star hotels to serve shark’s fin soup in Hong Kong as the dish is considered as an integral part of Chinese banquets.”