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How to be proactive in stopping sharks fin being sold


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#1 Drew

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 09:44 PM

We all know how much damage the sharks fin trade has done to the shark population in the oceans. And I'm sure the majority of us would never touch the stuff (I admittedly have 20 years ago as a kid). However the population at large, especially the noveau riche chinese and VERY established Hong Kong crowd, don't even know or care about things like this. This is even more true now in this economic climate. I realized this when I was going to eat at a chinese restaurant yesterday. This particular restaurant wasn't the typical cantonese style restaurant that automatically serves shark fins. However, I always ask if they do have sharks fin on the menu before I go in. If they do, I would politely say that I won't patronize a restaurant which does serve shark fin. If they ask for an explanation, I'll go into further detail. My friend was surprised I'd do this but after discussion she thought it is a good way to be vocally supportive. I was reminded of this act by a friend who works in conservation. I would normally mull in silent protest and the chinese restaurants would not know or miss my money. By telling them, they now know that there is at least one customer not willing to go to the restaurant because of their menu.
I do think it is time for people who support for conservation to be more proactive. The live seafood trade and sharks fin trade is rife is asia and anywhere there are chinese restaurants. Find out if the live reef fish in the tanks are endangered and let the proprietor know you won't support them if they continue to serve the food.
So if I may make a suggestion to our readers in the holiday season to make an extra effort from now on when you pass a chinese restaurant. Walk by, check the menu and let your voice be heard. To quote Wild Aid's campaign " when the buying stops, the killing will too."
In confession, this suggestion is motivated by very selfish reasons. I'm tired of the crappy chinese food I have to suffer at chinese restaurants that don't serve sharks fin. It would seem the best chinese food is served at the popular chinese restos which unfortunately have to cater to the chinese population by serving sharks fin. The same for live reef fish.
Happy holidays.
PS: Just so you don't think I'm just picking on the chinese, I'll be following up with Patagonia Toothfish (Chilean Seabass) very soon. :lol:

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#2 Eyematey

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 10:49 PM

Well put, I am extremely tired of ocean rape for Asian erections or status elevation. One at a time protests make a difference or at least a good argument. Yes we can...
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#3 jeremypayne

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 11:08 PM

DREW: "I do think it is time for people who support for conservation to be more proactive."

I wholeheartedly agree. I'm gonna start calling the NYC restaurants. Please join in ...

http://www.awionline...s_shark_fin.htm

Please contact the restaurants in the link and ask that they stop sales of any products containing shark fins:
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#4 shawnh

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:09 AM

Wow Jeremy, that is quite a list! I am going to work on my local restaurants for sure. To add to the list of things you can do, take an evening to share wine or whatever with your friends. Ask for 15 minutes to share a topic that is close to you....shark fin and ocean conservation. At the end, ask them to shark this with their friends. Finally, take some of that holiday spirit and make a contribution to a group like WildAid that is working day and night to end shark finning.
Happy Holidays.
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#5 TheRealDrew

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:39 AM

Good job Drew.

It seems to work from time to time, or at least hopefully so. Did not know if you saw this thread from a bit back about Shark Fin soup in Vegas, seems it did get removed. One can only hope things like this have some influence....

Shark Fin Soup In Vegas

#6 kkgodiving

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 01:34 AM

Shark fin by itself is tasteless. It's the broth that make the soup. Liking for shark fin soup is not an acquired taste (as made to believe) but merely a status symbol. I will admit that I have enjoyed my spoils - puke if you would - until some years ago when I became more sensitive to the dwindling shark population and the cruelties inflicted on them in the process. I have been doing my part by declining the soup when hosted to a dinner and encouraging friends to do the same. Unfortunately in our part of the world, I would say that shark fin will continue to be served for many years to come. Let's hope that each additional voice will make a difference and eventually weaned us Asian off this "acquired taste". May the same goes for bear paws, monkey brains, etc.

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#7 shawnh

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:10 AM

Good for you KK. I have spent a lot of time in Singapore and you are right, shark fin is served just about everywhere!
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#8 M_Bipartitus

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:58 AM

Thank you for this list. I've realized one location I have been to several times is on the list. I will have to bring this up with them.

I wholeheartedly agree. I'm gonna start calling the NYC restaurants. Please join in ...

http://www.awionline...s_shark_fin.htm

Please contact the restaurants in the link and ask that they stop sales of any products containing shark fins:



#9 syam

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 12:20 AM

Hi

I have a suggestion, I think all divers should make an effort to avoid staying at hotels that serve shark fin soup. I'm not sure whether Wetpixel members are aware of this, most 5-star luxury hotels in Asia Pacific region serve sharkfin soup in their hotel's Chinese restaurant. What I wish t to see is that the hotels would take the lead in NOT serving sharkfin soup in their hotels & inform the public of their action in order to show off their environmentally aware practice. Hopefully with this, the public will stop associating eating shark fins soup with prestige and luxury. Once people STOP thinking that eating shark fins soup is prestigious then the demand will stop. We must associate eating shark fin soup as environmentally irresponsible, ignorant, backward and uncivilized. The younger Chinese generation, whether they live in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia or Singapore, would loath to be labeled as backward, so I think we should start from that idea.

Below is a list of 10 top hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that serves sharkfin soup

Hotel Name, Restaurant Name, Menu
1 Mandarin Oriental, Lai Poo Heen, Shark’s fin and Bird’s NestStewed superior shark's fin with crab claw in abalone broth. Braised superior shark's fin with bird’s nest broth

2 Shangri-La KL, Shang Palace, Braised Shark’s Fin Soup served with Bean Sprouts and Chinese Parsley

3 The Hilton KL, Chynna, Braised Egg Treasure with Scallop (thick soup). Double-Braised with Sundried Scallop (clear soup)

4 Hotel Equatorial, Golden Phoenix, Shark, duck and venison – they're part of an array of culinary creations at the Golden Phoenix

5 Nikko Hotel, Toh Lee, Sharks fin soup, many style

6 Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Dynasty, Sharks fin soup, Cantonese cuisine

7 The Ritz Carlton, Li Yen, Sharks fin soup - double boiled, braised with crab meat, chicken etc

8 JW Marriott Hotel, Shanghai Restaurant, Sharks fin soup - double boiled, chicken & ham, braised

9 Prince Hotel, Tai Zee Hin, Pearl Sharkfin, Superior Sharkfin, Double-Boiled Sharkfin with Vegetables

10 Parkroyal Hotel, Si Chuan Dou Hua, Sharks fin soup


If you are planning to travel to KL, please enquire whether the hotel you will be staying in includes eating shark fin soup in their dining experience. If they do I urge you to divert your accommodation plans to hotels that doesn’t serve shark fin soup such as Le Meridien or The Westin, Kuala Lumpur.

I also hope Wetpixel members could make a list of top hotels in Singapore, Jakarta, Hanoi, Bangkok, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other Asian cities that serve shark fin soup. Shark killings can only be stopped from the demand side not on the supply side. This dawned on me on my diving trip to Mabul last Christmas break.

The diving was great but what I saw on the topside one afternoon made me realize that the way we try to stop shark killings is far from enough. Right in the middle of the Bajau fisherman village, in between the budget homestays that cater for divers, a group of fisherman was hauling in their shark catch. I counted more than 20 sharks of various species including Mako, Grey Reef and Silvertip, were being prepared for the export market, fins removed, their bodies cut into identical smaller chunks. (see attached pictures)

What struck me was that these people were not starving poor, they had basic homes on stilts, with 24 hours electricity from the generator, and fresh water pumped from the well on the island. So the idea of providing them with alternative and sustainable source of income like growing seaweed or rearing fish or pearl farming, as a way for them to stop catching sharks will not work. They choose to catch sharks because it makes them more money. If one night of fishing with long-lines and 5-inch fish hooks can earn them a few hundred dollars, why would they bother with other kind of work. Shark killing cannot be stopped from the supply side with quotas, enactment of laws or education of the fishermen. It must be stopped from the demand side. When demand falls, so will the price and the incentive for these fishermen to catch sharks will no longer be there.

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#10 Drew

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 06:42 AM

Actually, every diver going to Sipadan pay a national park fee and Sabah Parks is suppose to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Syam, if you don't mind, I'd like you to start another thread stating Finning in Sipadan and post those pictures. I will add contact into for Malaysian tourism and Sabah Parks so we divers can write in. Our money weighs in a lot so we will be heard on this one.

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#11 syam

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:46 AM

I asked around about the sharks, I was told that the sharks were caught in international waters and they were meant for the export market (Hong Kong) including the meat. Apparently it was all legal. Two days after that another haul came in, with about 10 sharks and 1 sailfish. I think they also distribute the meat to other villagers, I saw one old lady paddling away in her canoe with a shark head in it. The divers there were horrified at the scene, we had divers from other resorts on the island came over to say hi, they were shocked to see it.

We all paid the fee and they were very strict with the quota, I only managed to do two dives in Sipadan. Unfortunately sharks don't recognize borders, even if Sabah Parks patrol the Malaysian waters, there's nothing much they can do about fishing in the Philippines or Indonesia even. That's when I realize that all the laws in the world wouldn't make a difference. Education of young people in Asian countries would also be futile, by the time they grow up & pay for their dinners, the only sharks they see would be on TV.

That's why I think we have to take a more direct action. The main idea is to disassociate eating sharkfin soup with prestige. And to do that we have to get the top hotels to stop serving them.

#12 Drew

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:59 AM

Syam, I understand that. The point is to stop the villagers from doing it. We give money to the community via the resorts and park fees. If they don't take care of the area, what's the point of park fees and giving profit to the dive resorts there. Let's put pressure on the dive resorts to raise the matter to Sabah Parks and Malaysia Tourism. This is what is needed to help move along legislation. Money talks. If the shark fin industry is worth less than the tourism industry, they would rather lose it. Same with your idea for hotels. Please consider the use of your pictures to spearhead more pressure on the Malaysian government.

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#13 syam

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:29 PM

Yes, I agree with you actually. Please start another thread on Finning In Sipadan. This thing happened in the fishing village which is just behind Borneo Divers.

#14 Scuba_SI

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:57 PM

I got into a huge fight with a shop in Bitung today, they were selling sharkfins along with general hardware and supplies... Told them that they would never get anymore business from our resort as they sold the fins... Which equates to several million rupiah per month. Hopefully it will make them think about why tourism is important, even if the tourists dont spend money directly at their shop.

They also finned / killed a 3m whaleshark in Bitung yesterday morning, i arrived about 20 minutes too late :blush:

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#15 Drew

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:06 PM

Syam, please check your PM.

Simon, why don't you disseminate what you've done to the other 14 ops in the area so they can form an effective boycott of the shop/s in question? I'm sure all of them will help out.

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#16 Scuba_SI

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 11:09 PM

Simon, why don't you disseminate what you've done to the other 14 ops in the area so they can form an effective boycott of the shop/s in question? I'm sure all of them will help out.


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#17 Zeee

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 02:54 AM

Wedding banquet is one of the key events where shark's fin soup is served in Asia. So my personal attempt was to brainwash my friends not to serve shark's fin soup in their wedding banquet. I managed to talk two couples out of serving it on their big day. Not a lot but I am gonna keep trying!

#18 syam

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:42 PM

Syam, please check your PM.


Hi Drew, I replied to your PM but can't see the sent messages, did u get it?.
Anyway, yes, I give permission, please go ahead. You can get the larger pics here.

The pictures were taken on 25 Dec 2008 next to Mabul Backpackers Lodge.

#19 Drew

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 08:44 PM

Got it Syam. Akan datang as the malays would say. :blush:

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#20 Damo

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:45 AM

Hello all

The shark conservation issue is very dear to us divers- no doubt about that one-and we should count ourselves priviledged and lucky to dive with them and photograph them in the time we have beem given.

I wholeheartedly agree with not supporting restaurants that serve shark fin soup is one small yet practical step for us divers- -in stopping the slaughter- name and shame is better!!


Stopping the demand is the way -yes-yes-yes!!- but perhaps the current absurd demand just doesnt apply to the end customer in the restaurant- maybe its the demand of the persons who atually catch the sharks-(as per early posts) -to feed their bellies and make money- (dont we all want to make money??) and make a better life for themselves and their families?

Education is key- (but again we need to be mindful that basic education can be a priviledge rather than an automatic right in some countries.) SHARKS ALIVE = MORE TOURISTS = MORE MONEY!!!


Here's a thought- what if you could- tomorrow morning-place the human perception of the shark in the same category as the polar bear, the panda, the gorilla, or the whale?? Would that stop the slaughter??

safe diving in 2009 to everyone
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