Shark Savers launches new Shark Fin Soup campaign

Posted on December 3, 2010
Written by: Shark Savers

We're pleased to announce the launch of the next stage of Shark Fin Soup campaign to persuade consumers to stop eating the soup.

Beginning in 2009, Shark Savers teamed with WildAid and their spokesperson, Yao Ming, one of China’s biggest and most influential stars to produce and distribute a television public service announcement (PSA), 1,000 bus stop and video billboards. We also produced an online campaign in China.

New for 2011, Shark Savers has create an innovative media and grassroots campaign called I Pledge. 
In I Pledge, former consumers of shark fin soup share their reasons with members of their communitiy why they have stopped eating shark fin soup. These citizens are compelling and persuasive, encouraging others to join them.

The first installment of I Pledge has been completed with citizens from Hong Kong in both Cantonese and English. Here is the English version of the first film. More can be seen on our video page.

We believe the most effective way to reduce demand for shark fin soup is to educate consumers. Research has shown that when consumers learn more about shark fin soup, a majority of them will reject it.

What makes our new campaign unique? We present the stories of ‘real’, everyday, articulate Asians who explain why they have stopped eating shark fin soup. With an issue as culturally charged as shark fin soup, consumers are more likely to re-examine their behavior when members of their own communities deliver the message.

The power of Shark Savers’ I Pledge campaign comes from localizing the message to the key shark fin soup regions: Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Chinatowns of the world. We are going to produce original testimonial-based films and other media each of these regions. The I Pledge campaign will include Public Service Announcements (PSAs), billboards, videos, social media, and a local team to spur grassroots participation and action.

Reducing demand for shark fin soup is the most important thing we can do to protect sharks from being driven to extinction.

Shark fin soup consumption has long been traditional in Asian culture, but until fairly recently it was reserved for the wealthy few. As the middle class has grown in China and other Asian communities, so has consumption. Traditionally associated with status, wealth, and health, shark fin soup is now a must-have at many weddings, business dinners, and banquets.

This demand has created the unsustainable, virtually unrestrained killing of sharks. Tens of millions of sharks a year are killed for the shark fin trade.

Many consumers of shark fin are not aware that it adds no flavor, has no medicinal or nutritional value, that sharks play a vital role within the ocean ecosystem, or that shark fin soup is causing the eradication of shark populations.

Others have not questioned the tradition, as there is cultural pressure to serve the soup, despite the great damage to sharks and the ocean ecosystems.

This is one, focused battle with far-reaching implications that we can actually win. Sharks are a group of animals, especially important for healthy oceans, are being wiped out primarily to serve one behavior: the eating of shark fin soup. This behavior can be changed and sharks can be saved.  And we have a  campaign that does just that.

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