As part of its Celebrate with No Shark Fin campaign, WildAid has released a 30-second video message starring Pong Nawat Kulrattanarak, a popular Thai actor with a deep passion for sharks, the ocean and scuba diving. The new public service announcement (PSA), called “Making of a Wedding,” urges Thai people to stop serving and consuming shark fin soup at weddings.
“As weddings are auspicious events and mark a new beginning, one should not embark on this journey at the cost of endangering another species, such as sharks,” said Pong Nawat Kulrattanarak. “Sharks are vital to the balance of the ocean’s ecosystems and we need to realize that before it’s too late. I urge everyone to stop serving shark fin at weddings and say no to shark fin and all shark products. Please help protect the oceans by making no shark fin the new norm for all occasions.”
More than half of urban Thais have tried shark fin and alarmingly 61% plan to consume it again in the future, according to our 2017 survey. Respondents said they consumed shark fin most often at weddings (72%), family meals at restaurants (61%), and business meetings (47%).
The Celebrate with No Shark Fin campaign aims to address this and end shark fin consumption at Thai weddings, family gatherings, business meetings, and other celebratory events, thereby protecting sharks, fisheries and ocean ecosystems. The initiative is endorsed by Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
“When it comes to weddings and family events, our elders play a huge role in planning and making decisions,” said Sopon Thongdee, Deputy Director General, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. “A recent WildAid survey found that of the 50% of urban Thais that have consumed shark fin, 72% of them did so at weddings. We need to decrease that number and help educate our elders about the impact serving shark fin has on our oceans and dissuade them from serving shark fin at any celebratory event. Sharks are important indicators of the ocean’s health, just like tigers are indicators of a healthy forest, and without sharks, the marine ecosystem could collapse.”
An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year and fins from up to 73 million of those end up in shark fin soup. Thailand is home to an active domestic market for shark fins, with many consumers unaware of the cruel practice of “finning” behind each bowl of shark fin soup: a shark’s fins are often cut off at sea and the shark is thrown back into the water to suffer and die slowly.
“We hope that our video messages can urge people to take action and help Thai people to protect sharks and our oceans,” said John Baker, Chief Program Officer, WildAid. “With help from such influential voices, government agencies, and corporate and media partners, we aim to establish a new societal norm where sharks are permanently off the menu. Together, we can end the demand for shark fin in Thailand and save dwindling shark populations, because when the buying stops, the killing can too.”
The creative concept of “Celebrate with No Shark Fin” was developed pro bono by BBDO Bangkok, a leading creative and advertising agency.
The first public service announcement, called ‘Speak for Sharks’ featuring WildAid Ambassador ‘Pong’ Nawat Kulrattanarak, was launched on July 14, 2018. The video message was widely distributed on social media and was aired on six prominent Thai TV channels. Print billboards were also on display at 17 locations inside the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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