Keeping shark fins on sharks

A new campaign that aims to see the end of shark fin soup consumption by 2013, has officially been launched in Singapore.

Instigated by Ocean Geographic and supported by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and a large group of NGOs, No Shark Fins Singapore is setting out to turn the tide on the Asian delicacy.

Shark numbers around the globe are declining at an alarming rate, due in large part to the high demand on shark fins for shark fin soup.

Dr Stephen Browne, Fauna & Flora International Manager, Singapore said, “The number of sharks that die in such a terrible and wasteful way for such a needless product is shameful and needs to be stopped. FFI is endorsing the No Shark Fins Singapore campaign because Singapore has become a regional leader and innovator, well positioned to exert influence in encouraging the rest of Asia to follow. Shark fin soup just isn’t good and isn’t needed in the 21st century.”

Credit: Carley Bansemer

It is thought up to 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins. This is a devastating blow notonly to shark populations, but also to the marine ecosystem these apex predators keep in balance. Without sharks in the oceans, the entire marine ecosystem will eventually collapse. Worldwide, nations are beginning to see the impact a declining shark population has on the overall health of their reefs, which in turn impacts their economy. As a result, many have begun to declare shark sanctuaries in their waters and several governments have banned the sale and possession of shark fins.

The campaign looks set to ensure Singapore, being one of the leading economies in the world, becomes the first country in Asia to introduce a ban on shark fin products.

No Shark Fins Singapore’s strategy is to start with education and awareness raising, garnering support from both individuals, schools and corporations, and finally concluding with lobbying the Singapore government for a ban on the import and sale of shark fins.

Singapore is a modern cosmopolitan city with immense influence over the rest of Asia. With Singapore taking the lead in setting an example for the rest of the region to follow, the goal of keeping shark fins off the table and on the sharks, looks like a real possibility.