With social media allowing Chinese youth to express themselves more freely, the shark fin campaign almost became part of pop culture, conservationists say
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins while the remainder of the living shark is discarded in the ocean.
NBA All-Star Yao Ming pledged to stop eating shark fin soup at a news conference on August 2, 2006. However at that time Yao's comments were largely unreported in the Chinese media.
Then in 2011 a successful businessman turned full-time environmentalist, Jim Zhang, convinced about 30 members of China's 2,987-delegate parliament, the National People's Congress, to sign a proposal calling for a ban on shark fin imports. In July 2012, the Chinese government pledged to ban shark fin soup from official banquets within three years.
The effects of the campaigns have been dramatic. In February, China's Commerce Ministry said the consumption of shark fin soup during the Spring Break holiday had declined by 70 percent from a year earlier.