An online campaign against shark finning, a practice in which fishermen cut the fins off sharks and then throw the animals back into the sea to die, has drawn a strong response in Taiwan, according to the initiative’s local organizer.
The campaign, which was launched earlier this month, will run until next month when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is held, the Taipei-based Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said.
“We want to encourage the public to join global efforts to ban shark finning and let the world know that Taiwanese care about the issue,” SPCA executive director Connie Chiang said.
The SPCA initiative is part of the Pew Environment Trust’s Global Shark Campaign, which is asking grassroots organizations around the world to get people to express their support for shark protection ahead of the convention.
In line with the global movement, the SPCA is asking animal lovers to print out the two shark pictures it has provided online, take photos with them, and submit the resulting pictures to the group and post them on their Facebook pages.
The SPCA has received 300 pictures so far this month, more than any other group in the 70 countries participating in the campaign, Chiang said, citing data from “Shark Stanley’s” Facebook page.
The pictures have since been sent to the Pew Environment Trust to show Taiwan’s support, Chiang said.
The group hopes to sustain the momentum through online surveys that it believes will reflect strong opposition to shark finning.
Results of the surveys are expected to be presented before the Lunar New Year to discourage local restaurants and hotels from serving shark fin soup during the holiday period, when demand is traditionally high.
According to a Pew Environment Group report in 2011, Taiwan accounts for 5.8 percent of the world’s shark catch, mostly to provide shark fin for wedding banquets.