Author: Mary O'Malley
Source: Bikya Masr 
October 5, 2012
"Overfishing of sharks driven by the shark fin trade is one of the most serious environmental issues we face today. The issues involved are complex and there doesn’t appear to be any one “silver bullet” solution. By approaching the problem from the top, bottom and middle of the supply chain, however, some significant changes are starting to come about. Main approaches include addressing the demand by reaching out to shark fin consumers; addressing the supply by protecting marine areas and threatened species, and; addressing trade by implementing restrictions on trade of threatened species and/or shark fins.
Unfortunately the latest attempt to implement trade restrictions at the recent CITES conference failed, when narrow, short-term economic interests won out over long term sustainability. Recent groundbreaking legislation in Hawaii, however, will soon prohibit all trade in shark fins in that State. Hopefully this law can serve as a model for the rest of the world to follow.
On the demand side, the Shark Savers/WildAid “Say ‘No’ to shark fin soup” campaign is well underway in China and its messages are now reaching tens of millions of people in some of the heaviest shark fin consumption cities in the world – Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. Feedback from a limited pilot program last year showed that 80 percent of the shark fin consumers who saw the message had decided to stop or greatly reduce shark fin consumption. Meanwhile, grass roots movements in cities, such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, Vancouver and others, have emerged and are quickly gaining momentum. The prospects for squashing the demand for shark fin soup are now looking very promising, as the public perception pendulum starts to swing from an item of prestige and status to something that is passé and even frowned upon."
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