Singaporean anti-shark finning campaign

This photo says about itself:

Ex-Miss Singapore Universe Jessica Tan is the face of “No Shark Fins Singapore”. Yahoo photo/Melissa Aw.

From AsiaOne, Saturday, Apr 14, 2012:

No Shark Fins Singapore” campaign launched

SINGAPORE – A nationwide “No Sharks Fins Singapore” campaign was launched at the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) 2012 on Friday in a bid to make Singapore shark fin-free by 2013.

The organisers of the campaign, led by dive enthusiast Michael Aw, have the tall order of convincing all Chinese restaurants here to remove the dish from their menus and corporate events.

The initiative first started as an online petition earlier in January. It attracted some 80,000 supporters within its first two weeks of being posted up.

As it garnered strong support online, the group decided to formally launch a campaign to push for greater impact.

Explaining the need for action, organiser Michael Aw said: “Being a prominent economy in the heart of Asia, Singapore should take the lead being to be socially responsible to be the first in Asia to make this happen.”

Through the campaign, the group hopes to actively conduct outreach programmes to primary and secondary schools to educate students about shark conservation.

So far, non-profit organisations like WWF Singapore, Project FIN, Fauna and Flora International, IUCN, Shark Research Institute, and Humane Society International have shown support for this campaign.

FFI supports No Shark Fins Singapore Campaign: here.

Governments in the region need to work together to establish a common policy to manage overfishing of sharks in the Arabian Gulf, scientists said: here.

8 thoughts on “Singaporean anti-shark finning campaign

  1. Good job Singapore! We did it in California and now Shark Stewards is champioining fin bans in other states. Consumers of shark fin soup should also be aware that the meat and fins contain mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin and causes developmental diseases in the fetus. At GotMercury we tested shark fins and other fish high in mercury. The calculator at can let consumers determine their consumption based on weight and fish consumption and see if they are at risk.



    Environment: Fiji eyes ban on shark fishing

    Sanctuary or moratorium mooted

    Samisoni Pareti

    Fiji is the latest Pacific Islands nation eyeing a fishing ban on sharks after Palau and Marshall declared their waters a shark sanctuary.
    Urged on by marine environmental groups such as PEW and the Coral Reef Alliance, the Fiji Government will be asked to either declare its waters a shark sanctuary or impose a moratorium against shark fishing.
    “Those are the two options we are exploring right now,” says Commander Viliame Naupoto, Fiji’s permanent secretary for fisheries.
    “We are consulting all stakeholders in the shark fishing industry, then we will bring everyone together for a symposium before a paper is submitted to cabinet for a decision.”
    Naupoto pointed out that Fiji’s waters has already been declared a whale sanctuary and extending that to include sharks is among options his ministry is considering.
    Imposing a moratorium that is currently in place for turtles to include sharks is another possibility.
    Under the moratorium, no turtles could be fished in Fiji until 2018.
    The senior government official confirmed that last year his ministry had asked the Fiji cabinet to ban all shark products in the country. But cabinet deferred any decision, asking the Fisheries Ministry to instead seek more consultations with stakeholders.
    Naupoto said a questionnaire is being sent to all players in Fiji’s shark fishing industry and he is hoping a paper containing recommendations could be forwarded to the Fiji Government later in the year.
    Late last year, a campaigner from the US-based PEW Environment Group Gill Hepp was in Fiji to support moves against uncontrolled harvesting of sharks.
    Hepp said Palau and Marshall Islands have set the precedent and she was hopeful Fiji and other islands in the Pacific would follow suit.
    “Sharks are highly sensitive to overfishing because of their peculiar reproduction life,” says Hepp.
    “They don’t reproduce until they are 14 or 15 years old and in their lifetime, a shark tends to give birth to 3 to 4 pups at the most. Their biology and the ecology they live in tend to work against them when there’s overfishing.”
    Worldwide, environmentalists say 73 million sharks are killed for their fins, a highly sought-after delicacy in Asian restaurants.
    In Fiji or the Pacific for that matter, no data is available on how extensive fishing for shark fins is.
    Naupoto believes fining is not a big industry in Fiji, although there are shark fin traders in the country and shark fin soup still being served in Fijian restaurants.
    “My ministry no longer offers licence to boats that only fish for shark fins in our waters,” says Naupoto.
    “What has helped too is the conservation measure of the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that bans fishing for shark fins only.
    “Fishing boats are now expected to haul in the carcasses of sharks,and not dump them as discards.”
    The former Fiji Navy Commander said a foreign fishing operator had already fell foul of the new WCPFC rule, as its boat was seized by a French Navy frigate when it was caught with a load of only shark fins in Fiji’s EEZ recently.
    Naupoto said his officials confiscated the shark fin catch and imposed a two-month fishing ban on the boat.
    The ban must have cost the boat owner between F$100,000 to F$200,000 in lost earnings, according to Fiji officials.
    Organisations like PEW in calling for bans on shark fishing have also proposed commercially viable alternatives.
    Shark diving for tourists is a popular tourist activity, said Hepp.
    “In Palau, Marshalls and the Bahamas, shark diving is a big business,” says the PEW campaigner.
    “Fiji and other islands of the Pacific can do the same.”
    Her counterpart in Fiji, Manoa Rasigatale said resort owners have rallied behind the save the shark campaign.
    “Twenty of these resorts are now involved in a shark census we have launched in Fiji,” explains Rasigatale, a well-known tourism and television personality.
    “Given the cultural significance sharks hold in the Fijian community, traditional owners of Nanuku Island off Viti Levu’s eastern coast have declared their waters a shark sanctuary.
    “A similar ban has been imposed by the people of Tunuloa in northern Fiji.”
    Supporting this campaign has been a documentary on sharks that Rasigatale hosted.
    It is called “Shark Hope” and is used by PEW for its shark awareness programmes in schools and communities in Fiji.


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