A TOP Chinese restaurant in the city centre has taken shark's fin soup off its menu after a customer complained it was cruel.

Catherine Homer of Kenton Gardens, St Albans contacted the Review after seeing shark's fin soup on the menu of the Cinta Gardens in Verulam Road.

She said: "I think that it is disgusting that any restaurant would serve this dish, let alone one in the UK - we're supposed to know better.

"Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discard at sea of the carcass.

"The shark is most often still alive when it is tossed back into the water.

"Unable to swim, it slowly sinks toward the bottom where it is eaten alive by other fish.

"Shark meat is considered low value and therefore not worth the cost of transporting the bulky shark bodies to market.

"Any shark is taken, regardless of age, size, or species.

"Longlines, used in shark finning operations, are the most significant cause of losses in shark populations worldwide.

"Shark finning has increased over the past decade due to the increasing demand for shark fins.

"Specialists estimate that 100 million sharks are killed for their fins annually."

When contacted by the Review, manager Dean Kwok said the "shark's fin soup", which was on the online menu, was made of vegetables.

It has since been removed.

Six other local Chinese restaurants have told the Review they do not serve shark's fin soup - Jade Garden (Spencer Street), Chinese Cottage (Holywell Hill), Po Che (Wycombe Place, Marshalswick), Peking (Hatfield Road), Chef Peking (Church Green, Harpenden), and Hong Shing (Vaughan Road, Harpenden).

Next week has been declared Shark's Fin Week by the Shark Trust, which campaigns against the traditional soup.

The fins are tasteless, but the soup is considered prestigious in Chinese culture.