This study attempts to use the shark fin business in Hong Kong as a case to illustrate its challenge to international sustainability and global environmental governance. Regarding the commercial fishing of sharks and the degradation of the species, the paper begins with a survey of characteristics of sharks in the world and the responses from the international environmental agents. The authors will then detail their statistical findings, together with interviews with the shark fin manufacturers in Hong Kong. Their study began in 1999 and the statistical data ran from 1977 to 2001. Finally, the so-called 'foodway' in the consumption of shark fin will be discussed with a view to the international concerns over endangered species in general and sharks in particular. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.