CAIRO: Carrefour stopped the sale of shark meat due to campaign efforts by the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), Chahinaz El-Hossary, assistant to Carrefour Egypt’s general manager, told Daily News Egypt.
“We did not know that it was forbidden, El-Hossary said, referring to the selling of shark meat in the hypermarket.
She specified that the decision to stop shark sales was a direct reaction to the “Stop Shark Sales campaign initiated by HEPCA two weeks ago.
Amr Ali, managing director of HEPCA, told Daily News Egypt that he received a letter from Carrefour asserting that shark sales will be stopped. However, he said he needs further proof. “Carrefour has to send an apology and an official statement of commitment, he said.
El-Hossary told Daily News Egypt that Carrefour is preparing an official statement, reaffirming their commitment to stop selling shark meat.
In their online petition, HEPCA called on the Egyptian government “to intervene to stop shark trading and to ensure a general ban on exporting shark meat. Four years ago, a legal regulation was introduced in Egypt banning shark finning, fishing and trade in the Red Sea governorate.
“The estimated annual income from the tourism industry of a single shark is LE 1,250,000 per year. Carrefour sells juvenile sharks at LE 30 per kg, stated the HEPCA petition, highlighting the importance of sharks for the Egyptian tourism industry.
The petition also highlights the serious health risks for consumers that are posed by the high toxicity level in shark meat.
“That is what will move them, Ali said, referring to the association’s two main arguments that they believe will convince the Egyptian government to completely ban shark trade.
Ali expressed hope in changing the “shark culture, that is deeply anchored in Egypt.
But while HEPCA seems to have succeeded in stopping shark sales on a local scale through their campaign, the final decision of whether or not banning shark trade worldwide was up to the 175-nation Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) held in Doha, Qatar. The final session was held Thursday.
Ali had lamented CITES’ decision on Tuesday not to integrate sharks into Appendix I of the CITES Convention, a move that would have banned all kinds of shark trade.
“We lost by four votes, he said.
“The DOHA conference affects us directly, highlighted Ali, expressing his hope that the CITES’ final vote on Thursday would be in favor of shark protection. He added that despite internal differences, “the Arab League countries finally decided to vote for shark protection.
However, the UN wildlife meeting has rejected efforts to regulate the trade in overfished porbeagle sharks, reversing an earlier ruling at the conference and leaving none of the proposed shark species with protection.
The conference initially approved protection of the porbeagle earlier in the week at the CITES. But Asia nations managed to reopen the debate on the final day of the conference Thursday and voted to kill the proposal.
The porbeagle now joins several other shark species including hammerheads that failed to get protection, dealing a setback to environmentalists who expected the meeting would produce several breakthroughs for the species that are killed to supply meat to Europe and the booming fin trade in Asia. -Additional reporting by AP.