A wet fish supplier from Norfolk is planning to supply shark fins to the Far East.
According to a report from The Times, fishmonger Trevor Page of Lowestoft, Norfolk, plans to catch around 300 Tope, Galeorhinus galeus, each month, chop off their fins and export them to the Far East.
The report says that Page has drawn up a contract with restaurants in Hong Kong and China already, where shark\'s fin soup is an expensive delicacy.
Conservationists are not impressed with the plans and say that it will cause problems for the marine ecosystem around the British coast.
The Shark Trust\'s Ali Hood has reportedly written to Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw to demand that Page\'s plans are stopped:
Hood told The Times: \"Sharks are an integral element of a healthy marine ecosystem and the suggestion that UK vessels should devastate our native population for the satisfaction of foreign markets is galling.
\"EU vessels currently supply in the region of 27 per cent of the fins entering Hong Kong markets, a shocking statistic, but one that to date UK vessels have made little or no contribution to.
\"It would be a lamentable step backwards if a UK company were to encourage this abhorrent trade, marketing the fins of an already vulnerable species.\"
Page told The Times that he is going to handle the project responsibly:
\"I will only target mature tope, not younger ones, and want to work with conservationists, not against them. The tope is a lovely tasting fish. We have a lot of them, so why not sell them? I don't understand the problem.\"
Tope, which are a member of the Triakidae family of houndsharks, reach a length of up to 2m/6\'6\" and can live for over 50 years.
They are most common around the south and east coasts of the UK and are a popular species with inshore boat anglers.