Notables publicly pledge to not eat shark fin soup, ask Hong Kongers to take the same pledge!
Shark Savers, a non-profit marine conservation groupdedicated to sharks and mantas, is partnering with WWF-Hong Kong, WildAid, National Geographic, and Nat Geo Wild to launch the “I’m FINished with Fins” campaign in Hong Kong — the world’s shark fin trade capital. This grassroots campaign has been a huge success in Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan. In Hong Kong, the campaign is both asking 100,000 Hong Kongers to pledge through an online platform not to consume shark fin soup and educating the public that it is socially acceptable to say “no” to shark fin.
“Our previous campaigns raised global awareness regarding the vital role of sharks in the marine ecosystem,” said Jonn Lu, Director of Shark Savers Asia Pacific. “Now the entire world is watching Hong Kong and asking us to do the right thing. We are here today to show future supporters that refusing to eat shark fin soup is a personal decision. If shark fin soup is served to you at a banquet, it’s fine to say no and people should respect your choice.”
At today’s event hosted at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, it was announced that more than 90 local politicians, business leaders and celebrity ambassadors have joined the campaign. Dozens of these notable people officially stepped forward as the first to take the pledge, urging others to join them in this shark conservation campaign.
The public is welcome to join the same pledge by signing up at the campaign’s microsite platform: www.finishedwithfins.org. An Android app will be coming soon to allow residents to create digital portraits that are identical to the 90-plus evocative black and white “I’m FINished with Fins” ads. These portraits feature prominent local celebrities and public figures including Markus Shaw, Sharon Kwok-Pong, Tanya Chan, Gigi Chao, Alex Fong, Jessica Hsuan, Jun Kung, Real Ting, Jennifer Tse, Kay Tse, and Anthony Wong Yiu-Ming.
Sharks are apex predators, crucial to sustaining balance within our marine ecosystems. According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, only 15 sharks and related species were considered threatened in 1996; over the next decade this figure had soared by 12 times and by 2010, over 180 species were considered threatened. This is partly due to the increasing interest by scientists in assessing shark species for the Red List, but also reflects ongoing declines in some shark populations.If shark populations collapse, many other marine species could be affected.
“The future of many shark species is literally in the hands of Hong Kongers,” said Mr. C.W. Cheung, Head of WWF-Hong Kong’s Footprint Programme. “Hong Kong accounts for 50 percent of the global shark fin trade. The Hong Kong government has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in protecting sharks, starting with adopting a no shark fin consumption policy for their own official events." He added that "existing trade practices fail to provide information on shark species levels, so people may be unknowingly consuming endangered sharks.”
The National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild will broadcast special programming in Hong Kong throughout July and August to support this campaign. “Save the Shark Month” programs will premiere on Monday, July 8, with a simulcast airing on NGC Nat Geo Wild and NG HD, and continue every Monday and Friday at 9:35pm on Nat Geo Wild. In addition to dedicated programming, the channels will also air celebrity endorsements with the aim of raising awareness and educating the public about sharks.
For latest updates on the “I’m FINished with Fins” campaign, upcoming events and other supporter activities, please visit the official campaign website here: www.finishedwithfins.org.