Today, celebrities and fans braved the rain in pledging “I’m FINished” with shark fin at SharkAid 2012. The free concert, the first in a series of free concerts to be held around the world, saw local and international artistes including Sylvia Ratonel, Eli T, Tessera and Darryl Yong making a public pledge to stop consuming shark fin. More information after the break.
Hossan Leong, ambassador of Sharks Savers Singapore performing the opening act of SharkAid 2012
Before the Press Release, here is some trivia about sharks.
- Each year, humans kill up to 73 million sharks for their fins but only an average of five people have been killed by sharks each year.
- Singapore is a major trading hub for the global shark fin trade. It currently ranks as the second largest fin trading country in the world. Hong Kong is number one.
- Shark fins have no taste. The taste from shark’s fin soup comes from the rich broth, usually made from chicken stock, cured ham, abalone, scallops and other condiments.
- Shark’s fin soup is not healthy. Shark meat and fins have been found to contain heavy metals like mercury and neurotoxins which are linked to brain degenerative diseases.
- In addition to long gestation (five to 24 months) periods, most sharks do not reach reproductive age until they are 10-15 years old.
- Unlike other fish species, sharks do not spawn in the millions, each live birth normally results in two to five pups.
- Some shark species take breaks between pregnancies. They have pups every other year or once every 3 years.
- Unlike most of the meat that we consume, sharks cannot be farmed. Currently, all shark fins consumed at restaurants and banquets come straight from the wild.
- The fins of sharks are normally sliced off with a hot blade before their live bodies are dumped back into the ocean where it gets eaten by other fishes, drowns or bleeds to death.
- Sharks have existed for 450 million years and survived all of the 5 major mass extinction “dooms day” scenarios, including the one that wiped out dinosaurs.
- Humans aren’t food to sharks. Seals and fishes are.
- A single live shark in a healthy habitat like the Bahamas, is worth as much as USD200,000 in tourism revenue over its lifetime and as little as USD50 dead.
- Fishermen get only 0.1% of what the fins are finally sold for; the main profiteers of the shark fin trade are the traders and restaurants.
- As apex predators, sharks play a very important role in the marine ecosystem. They help to keep the population of fish species healthy and ensure that coral reefs are vibrant and liveable for all marine creatures in the habitat. A beautiful and healthy marine life attracts divers all over the world which in turn helps to draw eco-tourism dollars.
- The largest shark is the beautiful spotted whale shark which may reach to a length of 18 meters. It feeds on tiny plankton.
Celebrities pledge “I’m FINished” with Shark Fin at SharkAid 2012
Shark Savers Singapore campaign event rallies support for sharks
Celebrities, artists and conservationists stood in unison to raise awareness about sharks and the negative impact of shark’s fin soup at SharkAid 2012, a free public concert held today at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard. Education and individual action lie at the heart of this concert, which aims to kindle groundswell support among Singaporeans to pledge “I’m FINished” with the consumption of shark fin.
SharkAid 2012, jointly organised by Shark Savers Singapore and ACRES, is the first in a series of free concerts to be held around the world. The concert is part of a Singapore-led grassroots campaign aimed at reversing the culture of consuming shark’s fin soup, and garnering support for a banqueting and trade ban. A full day carnival was also held, with games and screenings aimed at engaging Singaporeans to learn about shark conservation.
Informal research conducted among 500 Singaporeans aged 12 years and above to inform the Shark Savers campaign indicated that a significant number of people are aware that the shark fin trade is causing harm to the ocean environment due to unsustainable fishing practices. About half of the respondents who consume shark fin said they continue to consume the soup not because they want it, but because of social decorum or a desire not to waste food when it is placed before them.
However, Singapore persists as one of the highest per-capita consumers of shark’s fin soup. The majority or 84 per cent of respondents said correctly that Hong Kong ranks as the top shark fin trading country, but many are not aware that Singapore is the second largest. The majority of respondents also said they do not know that sharks are apex predators.
The SharkAid 2012 event and Shark Savers’ “I’m FINished” campaign is designed to continue to educate while making it socially acceptable to stop eating shark fin.
Jonn Lu, Director of Shark Savers Singapore said, “Singaporeans are generally savvy regarding the negative impact of shark finning. The challenge lies in translating knowledge into action. The “I’m FINished” campaign urges individual action and conviction, and promotes respect for personal choice. It really is OK to say “I’m FINished” with shark’s fin soup.”
At SharkAid 2012, Shark Savers Singapore ambassador Hossan Leong was joined by a first rate line-up of local and international artistes including Sylvia Ratonel, Eli T, Tessera and Darryl Yong to make a public pledge to stop consuming shark fin. The concert was also supported by Nominated Member of Parliament, Mr Eugene Tan and family as well as radio, television and sports personalities such as Vernetta Lopez, Yasminne Cheng and swimmer Arren Quek.
“I am very proud and happy to be part of Shark Savers’ “I’m FINished” campaign. Increasingly, we Singaporeans hear that global shark populations are being threatened and how bad this is for the marine environment. But the situation is urgent, and it is time for people to join us and take a stand against consuming shark fin,” said Hossan Leong, Shark Savers Singapore’s campaign ambassador and the host of SharkAid 2012.
Hossan, along with all the performers and participants at SharkAid 2012, offered their time and commitment on a pro bono basis. While the campaign is organised largely by and for Singaporeans, it is part of the international Shark Savers movement with the support of some 24,000 Shark Savers members in 99 countries.
Singapore based service provider SingTel has officially said “I’m FINished” to all shark fin products, joining other leading companies such as NTUC FairPrice and Cold Storage. SingTel’s policy is applicable to staff hosting business lunches or dinners as well as departments ordering gift hampers. The service provider is also offering an award-winning documentary called SHARKWATER for anytime on-demand viewing to all mio TV customers for free until 14 July.
SingTel is the official Telco sponsor of SharkAid 2012, which is also supported by MediaCorp, Cathay Organisation, Grayling and accomplice.
About Shark Savers Singapore
Shark Savers Singapore is a non-profit marine conservation organisation dedicated to saving sharks through awareness, education and direct grassroots action. Shark Savers Singapore’s mission is to empower Singaporeans to educate and inform their friends and family about the plight of sharks; that the unsustainable consumption of shark fin soup is responsible for the intense overfishing of sharks worldwide, destroying a critical link in the maintenance of healthy commercial fisheries and global marine ecosystems.
For more information on Shark Savers, please log on to http://www.sharksavers.org/. For more information on Shark Savers Singapore, please check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SharkSaversSingapore. For more information on Jonn Lu, Director of Shark Savers Singapore, please log on to http://www.sharksavers.org/about-us/leadership/758-jonn-lu.html.
Please join us in taking a pledge against consuming shark’s fin at http://www.sharksavers.com.sg/
ACRES is a pioneering Singapore-based charity and Institution of Public Character, founded by Singaporeans in 2001 with the aim of promoting animal welfare. ACRES is registered as an International NGO in Lao PDR and in Australia. ACRES has six focus areas: Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Tackling the Wildlife Trade, Addressing Zoo Animal Welfare, Humane Education, Community Outreach and Promoting Cruelty-Free Living. ACRES established Singapore’s first dedicated wildlife rescue centre in 2009. Since then, ACRES has rescued over 1,500 wild animals.