Thu, May 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Students, activists mount campaign to shun shark fin soup

Staff Writer, with CNA

Several college students and an environmental group have joined forces to launch a six-month campaign next month to urge the public to boycott shark fin soup and protect the ocean’s ecosystem.

A team of nine students from Taoyuan-based Chung Yuan Christian University has worked on organizing a boycott campaign with the Taipei-based Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan since July last year.

Shark fin soup has long been considered a Chinese delicacy. Demand for the soup has been blamed on the illegal killing of nearly 300,000 sharks off Brazil since 2009, according to a BBC report last year.

People in Taiwan often eat shark fin soup on special occasions, such as wedding banquets, organizers said, adding that consumption is expected to spike this year because many couples want to marry in the 100th anniversary year of the founding of the Republic of China.

Therefore the number sharks killed will rise as well, the organizers said.

That is why the students chose to target couples planning weddings this year and will urge them to take shark fin soup off their wedding banquet menus.

The students plan to use Facebook as a channel to promote the idea, hoping to get boycott pledges from people between the ages of 25 and 35, who are frequent users of social networking Web sites.

Students say the project helped motivate them to pay more attention to environmental issues.

“Before I worked on this project, I never paid attention to issues like this,” said 25-year-old Suan Jung-ren (孫仲人), who leads the team. “More young people should pay attention to this [tragedy] and give their support.”

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