The Chinese government has banned the serving of shark fins, along with other wild animal products, at official state functions -- a move being hailed as a major step towards curbing the nation's environmentally unsustainable appetite for the popular cuisine.
An estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year to satisfy China's demand for the shark fin soup, a leading factor contributing to the dramatic decline of several shark species.
Alex Hofford, director of conservationist group MyOcean, calls the decision "hugely significant", telling the South China Morning Post:
"It's a commendable decision and a brave one that the Chinese government has taken. It's going to have a great impact on society, because what the government does shows leadership in society and then the corporate sector will quickly follow suit.
"From a cultural point of view, it's pretty important that they... recognize how outdated traditions can be left by the wayside eventually like footbinding and slavery - why not shark fins?"