Environmental protection groups, a global natural cosmetics company and an Asian entertainment company yesterday launched a campaign calling on Taiwanese to stop eating shark’s fin to save sharks and the ocean’s ecosystem.
The group launched the “Pledge No to Shark Fin Soup” campaign at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei, with wall photographs of Taiwanese celebrities with “I’m FINished with FINS — Protect sharks, I refuse to eat fins” written on them.
British performance artist Alice Newstead was also present, with fish hooks piercing her skin as her body hung in the air.
Newstead said although it was painful, she wanted to convey to the public the pain that sharks feel when they are caught just for their fins.
Shark Savers Organization director Sue Chen said: “Sharks keep the ocean and seafood healthy, because they eat sea creatures that are diseased, dying or dead. They’ve been doing that for almost 450 million years.”
“We have a big problem today because of one dish — shark fin,” she said.
Sharks are dying out fast because of overfishing and because they cannot reproduce quickly, but everyone can help fix the problem by saying no to shark’s fin soup, Chen said.
“Overfishing of sharks is are happening in distant waters, where most people can’t see [it] and do not know the serious consequences,” said John Lu (呂子柏), the organization’s Asia area director, adding that most people would care if they knew because people protect what they love.
Overfishing is not only threatening the survival of the species, but also the marine ecology.
If the ocean ecosystem is destroyed, there will no future for human beings either, he added.
The groups said up to 73 million sharks are killed annually and shark fin soup — a dish eaten by millions of people at weddings, business dinners and banquets — is causing the destruction of the world’s sharks.
The Life Conservationist Association said that longline fishing — the method used by most Taiwanese vessels for catching sharks — is a cruel fishing technique, because it leaves the captured prey bleeding to death in the water and often bycatch other untargeted species.
Lu said more than 20 celebrities in Taiwan have agreed to join the campaign, willing to help raise public awareness and encourage people to stop eating shark fin.
For more information about the anti-shark fin campaign, visit the organization’s Web site: www.sharksavers.org.