This morning, a group of individuals, the Asian Shark Conservation (ASC), concerned with the future of shark population specifically launched its shark sighting database, which will collect accurate data on shark populations in Asia Pacific. With aims to raise awareness of declining shark populations, the database will then be used for submission to any government and research institutions.
ASC has collaborated with Amber Chia Academy, Canvas of Nature, Ocean Elements, Project AWARE, Reef Check, TRACC, and WWF-Malaysia for this campaign
The campaign will also feature activities throughout this weekend such as a marine art exhibition, live paintings, ocean art auction, and various talks on marine and shark conservation at Fahrenheit88 along Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Here are some things you need to know about shark conversation:
- There are roughly 400 species of sharks and 600 species of rays; for international policy purposes, they are all considered “sharks”.
- Sharks are late bloomers who breed slowly and infrequently. For this reason, shark populations are easily disrupted and restored only with time and care.
- Overfishing in the main cause of the rapid decline in shark populations. Demand for shark fins (the iconic ingredient in Asian shark fin soup) is the main driving force for shark fisheries.
- Shark meat is also popular in Europe, Australia, and North America.
- The top four shark catching nations are Indonesia, India, Spain, and Taiwan. Malaysia ranks 10th.
- An estimated 70 million sharks are killed annually to support global shark fin trade. The number of sharks caught for their fins alone amounts to 2.29 million tonnes.
- The above figure does not include sharks discarded at sea, fished for their meat, or fished for their domestic market.
- Shockingly though, sharks are more valuable alive than dead. All shark species are vital in maintaining balance in the marine ecosystem they are part of.
- 97% of most shark populations are dead.
Being on top of the food chain to maintain the balance of the marine eco-system, the depletion of sharks will result in death of commercial fisheries and unforeseen changes to the species diversity of the ocean. The environmental effects of losing sharks forever are so unsettling that leading marine scientists can only predict ecological devastation.
For more pictures from the event, click!
Don’t think that you’re too little of a number to help a good cause. It’s as simple as saying NO to Shark Fin Soup. And if Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airlines can take the step to contribute to shark conservation, why not us?