Say no to shark fin soup, at least one million in Malaysia urged

GEORGE TOWN - WWF-Malaysia is targeting the support from at least one million Malaysians to back its call for "no shark fin soup" through its My Fin My Life campaign.

Its executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the six-month campaign, which also aims to promote sustainable seafood, would see 20,000 restaurants being sensitised to phase out shark fin soup from their menus.

"We also aim to commit 500 businesses to remove shark fin soup from their menu.

"We want to reverse the present scenario of high shark fins' consumption in Malaysia by engaging businesses to pledge not to serve, purchase or trade shark fin and products."

"We are targeting hotel chains, restaurants, businesses and corporations, associations, club houses and wedding planners to commit to no shark fin and products, to choose sustainable alternatives to shark and to offer fin-free wedding packages," he said at the launch of the campaign yesterday.

Dr Dionysius said through the My Fin My Life initiative, WWF-Malaysia aims to raise awareness on the importance of sharks in maintaining a balance in the marine ecosystem.

"It is estimated that at least 1.4 million tonnes of sharks or 100 million shark individuals are killed per year.

"Global shark tourism generates a revenue of around US$314mil (RM1,38bil) annually and is expected to keep growing to a potential US$780mil (RM3.43bil) annually over the next 20 years," he said.

Stressing on the need to protect the species, Dr Dionysius said:

"If the present trade of sharks continue, businesses will exhaust the supply of fins.

"In fact, scientists predicted that we will run out of seafood by 2048."

Dr Dionysius said that 576 pledges from the public committing to no shark fins' consumption had been collected over the weekend.

"We aim to collect one million pledges throughout this campaign.

"Between 2004 and 2011, an average of 1,384 metric tonnes of imported shark fins were consumed annually in Malaysia," he said.