ATTENTION JEDIS! Ancient and awesome creatures from planet Earth need your help. If you live in a big city the chances are that near you people are profiteering through the brutal killing and trade of endangered species which is tipping marine ecosystems out of balance. Up-market Chinese restaurants around the world make big bucks selling endangered shark fins. This cruel and unnecessary trade is about to reach its annual peak this Chinese New Year (February 3rd 2011). It is time for us to take action.
On Thursday 03 February people from many walks of life will come together in London’s Chinatown to celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year, and also to show their support for local efforts to take shark fin off the menu. The global trade in shark fin is pushing these ancient and awesome creatures to the brink of extinction. Sharks are apex predators, so when they are taken out, ecosystems are pushed out of balance with devastating knock-on effects. It is estimated by scientists that 90% of the global shark population has already been wiped out.
Sales of shark fin traditionally reach their peak at Chinese New Year. By visiting Chinatown on that day with flyers detailing the extent of the problem, with a positive message sustainability, we hope to change attitudes for the better, and persuade consumers to change their dining habits to protect our oceans.
You are invited to join this loose alliance of marine conservationgroups , environmentalists, scientists, students and other concerned citizens to make a stand for sharks.
What else you can do:
Beginner: draw up a list of up-market Chinese restaurants near you (use google). Ring them and ask if they serve shark fin soup. If they say yes ask to speak to the manager. Let her know that you and your friends are deeply disturbed by the damage caused by this trade and that you will never visit the restaurant until shark fin is removed from the menu.
Intermediate: same as above but visit the restaurant in person, ask to see the manager and explain the case (see below). Consider handing out some flyers to customers explaining the harm caused by global shark finning (flyers to follow: watch this space).
Hustler: ring the target restaurant. Ask if they serve shark fin, if yes, book a table for 12. Don’t turn up. Ring the following day and explain to the manager that you and your friends will keep booking tables (on random nights) and not show up until shark fin is removed from the menu. Repeat.
Join us on Chinese New Year in central London for a protest. As well as enthusiastic, marine loving participants we need photographers, film-makers, media managers, artists, street performers, flyer designers and translators. Oh, and anyone got a shark suit? Get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up: public plea to ban shark-finning in the EU: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/a-public-plea-to-ban-shark-finning-in-the-eu/
Pass it on.
Healthy Black Tip (Credit: Alex Hofford)
The shark finning crisis
Our seas were once bountiful with thriving populations of sharks. Today we have a different story. Worldwide fish stocks of all descriptions are dwindling (check out ‘The End of the Line’ documentary. Overfishing is rife and amongst the species most in peril are sharks. Sharks are not commonly eaten for their meat, and some of responsibility for their dwindling populations results from by-catch. However, a massive cause of the problem is the burgeoning market for shark fins.
Hunted indiscriminately (Credit: Alex Hofford)
The numbers are staggering. Each year it is estimated that over 70 million sharks are caught around the world for their fins. The market for this harvest is worth over 1 billion dollars annually.
The results are catastrophic. Sharks are ‘apex predators‘. This means they sit at the top of long food chains, where they have a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems. Removing sharks has a devastating effect on marine ecosystems around the world. Predator removal causes a potentially irreversible cascade of complex knock-on effects that destabilises food-webs and the marine environment as a whole.
“More than 90% of all top marine predators have disappeared from the oceans”.—Myers et al. 2007; MacKenzie et al. 2009
“It appears that ecosystems such as Caribbean coral reefs need sharks to ensure the stability of the entire system.”–Enric Sala, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Dead sharks in a refrigerator in Micronesia (Credit: Alex Hofford)
It is not only the numbers alone that we should be crying out to stop. The industry itself is barbaric. It is common practice for sharks, once caught, to be finned and thrown back into the sea alive.
So for the health of our oceans (and therefore the whole planet) as well as for the prevention of extreme and extensive cruelty to animals we need to stop this industry in its tracks. Whilst it may be important to preserve cultural diversity and maintain the world’s many and varied traditions it is more important to conserve biodiversity and the stability of the global ecosystems that we all depend on. There has to be a line drawn somewhere, and this barbaric practice totally crosses it. So this new year, get involved and join our protest.
London Restaurants proudly serving shark’s fin
(please add in comments if you know others)
- Royal China Club, 40-42 Baker St, London, W1U 7AJ, 020 7486 3898
- Super Star, 17 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BE, 020 7287 3822/ 020 7437 1717
- Mr Kong, 21 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BA, 020 7437 7341/ 020 7437 9679
- Young Cheng, 22 Lisle Street, London WC2h 7BA, 020 7287 3045
- Joy King Lau, 3 Leicester Street, London WC2, 020 7437 2629
- Golden Dragon, 28-29 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JW, 020 7734 2763
- New China, 48 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 5QL, 0207 287 9889
- Golden Pagoda, 15a Gerrard Street, London W1D 5PH, 020 7434 2888
- London Chinatown, 27 Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JN, 020 7437 3186
- Gerrard’s Corner, 30 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QW, 020 7287 1878
- Chuen Cheng Ku, 17 Wardour Street, London W1D 6Pj, 020 7437 1398
- London Jade Garden, 15 Wardour Street, London W1D 6PH, 020 7437 5065
Videos, links and resources
Man and Shark the film: http://www.manandshark.com/
Man and Shark the book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shark-Paul-Hilton-Alex-Hofford/dp/9881721512/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1287158388&sr=8-3
Bite Back: http://www.bite-back.com/
Shark Trust: http://www.sharktrust.org/
Global Ocean: http://www.globalocean.eu/
Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF): http://saveourseas.com/
Pangeaseed are the only shark protection NGO in Japan and they organized a protest in the Chinatown district of Yokohama: http://www.pangeaseed.com/pangea/English/Entries/2010/7/19_PangeaSeed_Shark_March.html
Freeze mob organised in Hong Kong: