Jakarta. Global conservationist group World Wildlife Fund on Thursday (04/02) called on Indonesia's restaurants and hotels to not serve sharked-based dishes over the Chinese new year long weekend, as the animals are endangered.
A December survey conducted by the Indonesian WWF found at least 30 percent of 135 five-star hotels and restaurants offered meals featuring shark, including the popular shark fin soup.
Shark based dishes are considered a delicacy for special occasions, like Chinese new year, as the animal is considered a symbol of wealth and status.
A 2014 survey found as many as 15,000 kilograms of shark fin is consumed every year in Jakarta alone. The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2010 found Indonesia was the world's largest shark exporter, reaching 100,000 tons annually.
Every second two to three sharks are caught and killed across the world in an effort to meet international demand.
Indonesia's Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) in 2009 warned the animals have the highest amount of mercury in their system of any aquatic creature. Mercury poisoning can lead to death in humans.
Sharks face extinction, with a low reproduction rate and overfishing.
An online petition launched in May 2013 to ban consumption and the sale of shark products gathered 14,000 supporters across the world.
The Jakarta Provincial Government issued a regulation in 2014 outlawing the sale of shark and manta rays in the capital.