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Majestic fin whales

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Illegal sale of whale meat uncovered in Hong Kong

Fin whale

(image copyright Tim Stenton)


A food store chain in Hong Kong has been criticised for illegally selling tins of whale meat curry.

The cans, which reportedly contain meat from the critically endangered fin whale, were discovered on the shelves of the 759 grocery shop in Tuen Mun.

Fin whales are classified as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife against over-exploitation.

As well as breaking CITES regulations, the sale of whale meat and products is also banned in Hong Kong and carries a maximum penalty of HK$5 million, and a two year prison sentence.

A spokeswoman for 759 said they had imported the whale meat by mistake and had handed 233 remaining tins (seven had been sold) over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department in Hong Kong. The department said they were now investigating the matter. Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety is also looking into allegations that the meat may be contaminated.

WDC has previously exposed the sale of whale meat in various locations, including at an international food exhibition in Germany.