41 Leading Scientists Declare Shark Fin Trade "Not Sustainable"

Posted on June 11, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers Singapore
Tags: I'm FINished with FINs Campaign 

Shark Savers presented the letter as it launches new Chinese language media campaign against shark fin soup

Singapore, 8 June 2012. Decrying “recent misinformation perpetuated in the media” that suggested the shark fin trade is sustainable, forty-one leading marine scientists confirmed in an open letter that shark fin trade is not sustainable. The letter states that “there is a wealth of scientific evidence that populations of many shark species are in decline, with the shark fin trade being an important driver.”

The scientists’ letter was in response to recent claims made by Hong Kong-based Sustainable Marine Resources Committee of the Marine Products Association (MPA) and repeated by other spokespeople for the shark fin trade. The scientists are soundly refuting industry claims that shark fin is not posing a grave threat to sharks. Jonn Lu, Director of Shark Savers Singapore, presented the scientists’ letter to Nominated Member of Parliament, Nicholas Fang.

Nicholas_Fang2_at_DRT.jpgNMP Fang stated, "There is much information and research to support the fact that many shark species are threatened with extinction due to overfishing. Sharks, as apex predators of the sea, play a crucial role in the long-term sustainability of our oceanic eco-systems, which humans are heavily dependent on. Our own viability as a species hinges on the balance and stability of ecosystems such as the sea, and we have already done much to damage this. We now face a choice: do we stop eating a single dish, which has no benefit to us, and thereby influence an industry and trade which is thus far poorly regulated and not transparent.”

NMP Fang continued, “Authorities around the world, especially in the top shark-trade hubs like Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, should do more to regulate the shark fin industry and provide clearer information and data to the public so that informed decisions can be made."

All shark species most prevalent in the shark fin trade are vulnerable, or near vulnerable, to extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Unlike other fish, sharks reproduce very slowly and cannot withstand the pressures of overfishing.

“To those who have been asking for scientific evidence that the shark fin trade is destructive to the marine environment, we now have it”, said Shark Savers’ Jonn Lu. The open letter features a who’s who list of many of the world’s foremost marine scientists, all speaking in one voice: the shark fin trade is unsustainable, sharks are more valuable alive--not in soup, CITES does not adequately protect endangered shark species, and we need stronger shark fin trade regulations”.

Louis Ng, Executive Director of ACRES, added “It is undeniable that shark populations are crashing and that the current shark fin trade is unsustainable. It is important for us to act now before it is too late. Issues of such vital importance should be discussed in our Parliament”. ACRES is a campaign partner of Shark Savers Singapore.

Dasmond_Koh_at_DRT.jpgPresentation of the scientists’ letter coincides with the launch of Shark Savers’ new Chinese language media campaign against shark fin soup. The campaign is led by celebrities of the Chinese community in Singapore who are promoting the slogan “对鱼翅说“不”,让鲨鱼展翅遨游”, they have declared that they are “FINished with shark’s fin” and will never consume the dish again.

The Chinese campaign is headed by Campaign Ambassador Dasmond Koh, one of Singapore’s most popular DJs and television artiste, flanked by Zoe Tay, one of the most recognizable faces in Singapore and beyond, and 14 other personalities just added to the growing team of celebrity supporters. The companion “I’m FINished” English language campaign was recently launched in May, 2012 with over a dozen celebrities led by the English Campaign Ambassador Hossan Leong.

NMP Fang and another NMP Eugene Tan announced their support for Shark Savers’ “I’m FINished campaign” by each posing for their own posters that will be included in the media campaign.

“There is little doubt that the tide has turned. The evidence provided by top scientists, bolstered by the enthusiastic passion of Shark Savers’ celebrity spokespeople, will soon have all Singaporeans saying “I’m FINished with shark’s fin,” added Shark Savers’ Jonn Lu.

The open letter from the marine scientists was released internationally as part of a coalition of NGOs organized by the Hong Kong Shark Foundation.

Campaign Posters

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About Shark Savers Singapore

Shark Savers Singapore is a non-profit marine conservation organisation dedicated to saving sharks through awareness, education and direct grassroots action. Shark Savers Singapore’s mission is to empower Singaporeans to educate and inform their friends and family about the plight of sharks; that the unsustainable consumption of shark fin soup is responsible for the intense overfishing of sharks worldwide, destroying a critical link in the maintenance of healthy commercial fisheries and global marine ecosystems. 

For more information:

Shark Savers: http://www.sharksavers.org
Download Marine_Scientists_Open_Letter_-_29May2012.pdf

Shark Savers Singapore http://www.facebook.com/SharkSaversSingapore.
For background and further refutation of claims made by the shark fin industry, see:

An Important Debate: The shark fin industry vs. shark fin bans

Please join us in taking a pledge against consuming shark’s fin at http://www.sharksavers.org/sg


ACRES is a pioneering Singapore-based charity and Institution of Public Character, founded by Singaporeans in 2001 with the aim of promoting animal welfare. ACRES is registered as an International NGO in Lao PDR and in Australia. ACRES has six focus areas: Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Tackling the Wildlife Trade, Addressing Zoo Animal Welfare, Humane Education, Community Outreach and Promoting Cruelty-Free Living. ACRES established Singapore’s first dedicated wildlife rescue centre in 2009. Since then, ACRES has rescued over 1,500 wild animals.