>> Illegal shark fin shipments are slipping into Hong Kong, the world's largest trading hub for the delicacy. Animal rights group Sea Shepherd says they discovered a large cache this month and traced it back to cargo snuck in on Singapore Airlines. Among the 2000 pounds of fins were those of endangered species like the whale shark.
Reuters Farah Master has been covering the story from Hong Kong.>> Shipments do come in from time to time which I've been, the trade is legal in Hong Kong. However, for endangered species it's definitely restricted and this shipment had a number of shark fins that were from very endangered species such as the whale shark.
Singapore Airlines ban shark fin cargoes but investors say the fins didn't raise any alarms because the shipment had been labelled dry seafood.>> Now what Singapore Airlines is doing is they've stepped up their measures and for all dry seafood products, they're checking much much more rigorously.>> Shark fin is a status symbol in Hong Kong and across China.
It's shredded and made into a jelly-like soup. Fans of shark fin believe it can help them live longer. Demand for fins has taken a toll, with 70 million sharks killed each year.>> Shark finning is definitely a threat to the survival for sharks. WWF was saying about 70 million sharks are killed annually.
This is pushing a quarter of the species into extinction.>> Meanwhile, illegal traffic of shark fins keeps making its way into the city. Activists have tried to tackle the problem hoping to slash the volume of Shark fins coming into Hong Kong by half over the past decade. And authorities have seized thousands of pounds of illicit imports in recent years.
Hong Kong's government says it's aware of the issue and is giving customs officers more training to identify endangered species.