Darren Boon

New angle to educate the public on the perils of the consumption of sharks fin

ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) is organising the first ever gathering of animal lovers at Speakers Corner on Saturday 18 April at 2pm to focus against the consumption of sharks fin.

Louis Ng, Executive Director, ACRES, notes that although past campaigns have played the cruelty card on the public’s awareness, sharks fin soup still continues to be served. Thus ACRES is adopting a different approach to this campaign: “I’m not just talking about how cruel it is…but how ultimately it is going to affect us. Sharks are a key species in the marine ecosystem. Without them the whole oceans will die, and if the whole oceans die, then ultimately we humans will suffer.”

ACRES warns that when sharks are taken out from the ecosystem, the entire marine food chain will disintegrate and thus take away the food resources that large populations of humans depend on.

“The shark population is really an unknown area where a lot of shark species are not listed endangered, but if you look at the records, they’re listed as figure deficient which means that we know so little about these sharks and yet we’re harvesting them at such a high rate,” Ng said.

“And so you’re coupling something which is so unknown with such a high harvest that ultimately we’re really gambling on the life of the sharks,” Ng added.

Ng estimates that about one million sharks are being harvested for their fins.

The gathering at Hong Lim Park hopes to attract Singaporeans to show their concern for the sharks and to pledge support for the movement in arresting the consumption of sharks fin whilst at the same time raise awareness over shark-related issues.

Although the campaign hopes to achieve a reduction in the consumption of sharks fin in Singapore, Ng acknowledges that this requires the support of the public.

According to him, Singapore is now listed amongst one of the top five importers of sharks fin along with Hong Kong, China and Indonesia. Ng estimates that Singapore imported over 400 tonnes in 2007.

Looking at the four million population Singapore has in relation to the import figure of sharks fin, Ng said: “We’re contributing that significantly to the demise of the sharks.”

“It’s not like a life or death dish,” Ng said on sharks fin soup. “It’s something that is really just pure face value, and is something we can put an end to quite easily.”

ACRES is a local charity and institution of Public Character with more than 17,000 individuals on its support database. Its aim is to foster respect and compassion for all animals.

Picture from Reuters.

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