A note of thanks to Shark Savers' Hong Kong team

Posted on June 21, 2011
Written by: John (Chip) Scarlett, MD

The following is the text of an email sent to Jonn Lu, Shark Savers Hong Kong, from Chip Scarlett, a member of Shark Savers Board of Directors. The email congratulates Jonn and the team for the outstanding effort and success of the shark fin soup campaign event conducted with Lush Cosmetics. We provide it here as a way of reinforcing the value of grassroots action in our conservation activities and to thank our volunteers in Hong Kong and throughout the world.

Jonn,

Shark Savers was founded as a grassroots effort by 6 very committed divers who were moved to do something about the slaughter of these magnificent and important animals. It's grown very quickly, I believe, because the organization has stayed true to its (grass)roots, because it has remained focused on the fundamental problem (consumption, particularly in Asia) and because it has embraced print, visual and social media with enthusiasm.  Shark Savers has also been evolving not only as the voice of the sharks, but also the voice of the dive community when witnessing for the plight of these animals. So that makes your team's efforts in Hong Kong all the more important .... you have used all of these foci to push forward the message in a dramatically effective way.  I'm thrilled by your success - look at all those photographers and cameramen at the event, as well as the CNN coverage! - and heartened by your commitment.

There are other Shark Saver groups around the world who are doing the same, and we all look forward to celebrating their successes. Meanwhile, by developing other elements of the story, including support for marine protected areas and speaking out in support of anti-finning legislation, Shark Savers hopes to consolidate the gains being made, and address new, important constituencies such as legislators and local activists.  Nevertheless, the heart of Shark Savers remains the effort against consumption, which is being driven by deeply committed volunteers such as your team, particularly in areas of the world where it matters the most. So, thank all of you for your efforts, your effectiveness, and your commitment.

I've been diving for 50 years, and have unfortunately personally witnessed the near-extinction of sharks, brought on by the rising demand for shark fins. As saddened as I am by this journey, I am nevertheless heartened by the response we have begun to see, just as the darkness was appearing to draw nearer and nearer.  The efforts to save these animals from man's depredations has a long way to go, but every day we see more attention being paid to the story, more legislative victories, and more hope being generated.  For that hope, I also thank you and every member of your team.

I know I speak for every member of the broader Shark Savers team when I say that I look forward to meeting you and the other members of your team in person, as well as those of the other teams around the world who have put their oar in the water for this great cause, and to seeing your efforts continue to grow and mature. You are working at ground zero in this fight, and we will do everything we can to support you.

With great respect,

Chip Scarlett

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