Posted by: jauipop | June 18, 2008

Sharkwater Part 2

Ok, I may not be an expert on the topic, but I certainly can draw up some conclusions as to what solutions there are to save sharks. I think that you’ll find that many of the ‘solutions’ are repeated whenever we talk about sharks, but here are some practical ones that we, as laypeople, can carry out on a more grassroots level (specially for Malaysians):

  1. Whenever at a Chinese banquet where sharksfin soup is being served, say no and make sure you are well informed of the issues and your reasons why you’re saying no. People will ask and you should be able to say it all in a nutshell. I personally tend to ramble a bit about things, but I’ve learnt people generally get tired of it – specially if they’re strangers. I think just the sight of seeing some refuse it will spark some curiousity in some people (not all, but some).
  2. If organising a Chinese banquet, do not give in to the ‘elders’ and order sharksfin soup. Give them a reason why it’s wrong and why the practice should not be supported – give them supporting reasons, and they will usually understand. Give them a few options for the soup course (there are many other BETTER soups available in Chinese restaurants that are a lot less expensive).
  3. Join groups that support the ban of sharksfin – make a pledge at www.sharkwater.com.
  4. Buy and watch Sharkwater. For those of you who can afford it, buy a few copies that can be lent out to people to watch. Personally, I have 3 copies (2 DVD and 1 BluRay) that I ordered from Amazon. It’s the least you can do to help. If you can only afford one copy, then make sure it doesn’t collect dust on your shelf after you watch it – lend it to people!
  5. For a lot of people, this point might be hard to carry out – but it’s a good idea to cut out seafood altogether (and then eventually meat). I know that the vegetarian lifestyle might be a bit drastic for some, but seriously (and jokes aside), it is one of the key elements to helping our eco system. Malaysians are starting to be brought up to speed on ‘green issues’ but if, as individuals, we do our part, then a difference can really be made. By being vegetarian, you will constantly be thinking about these issues whenever you shop, eat out and cook. If you can’t take such a sudden change, then at least cut down the amount of seafood/meat you consume. Give yourself a few days a week in which you are meat-free.
  6. Pressure hotels / restaurants to stop serving sharksfin. As the classic wildlife conservation tagline says “When the Buying Stops, the Killing Does Too”. Support hotels and restaurants that don’t serve sharksfin. Write about them in your blogs and recommend them to your friends whenever they’re booking a dinner and especially weddings.

This might not be the exhaustive list of things that we can do to save sharks, but it sure is a start. I respond to those naysayers who keep going on about how it can’t be done and all that jazz. Seriously, if you change, others will take suit – especially when you keep yourself informed about the issues.

We want to eventually make it more of a stigma than a privilege to have sharksfin soup at a dinner.

We want to eventually have people think that the host is thoughtless and uneducated whenever they put sharksfin soup (or sharksfin) as an item on their set menu.

And eventually should really be now.

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