Save our sharks in Shanghai
- Sep 22, 2011
I'm writing from Shanghai today where Virgin Unite and I joined basketball star Yao Ming, my friends at WildAid, and Chinese business leader Zhang Yue to call for a ban on shark fin soup in China (including Hong Kong) - a measure which could save tens of millions of sharks every year. Congratulations to our hosts at URBN Hotel for pledging never to serve shark fin soup (and for being China’s first carbon neutral hotel).
Sharks are one of nature's greatest creatures. They have been on earth for 400 million years - way before the dinosaurs - and swim in all the world's oceans, often as the top predator. A few months ago, thanks to WildAid, I was lucky enough to swim with the whale sharks in Mexico and was awe inspired by their beauty.
While we all love a thriller like Jaws, the film creates a powerful misconception that sharks are interested in eating humans. In fact, it’s only when we mess them about that attacks and accidents happen. Today, the shark population is being decimated as they are hunted for their fins, with up to 200,000 a day used for shark fin soup alone – what a disgusting waste for a bowl of soup! At this rate, 400 million years of evolution could be wiped out in just one human generation! We “so called” intelligent human beings just cannot let that happen.
Over breakfast with gentle giant Yao Ming he spoke of his guilt at once eating shark fin soup before realising the horrors behind it: "The shark fin soup doesn’t even have any flavor, but more important if you take all the sharks out of the ocean you destroy the ecosystem and we lose the other fish that sustain us every day." Now retired from basketball it’s wonderful that Yao says his number one priority in life is to use his high profile to make a difference and do good in the world.
Both Yao and I released messages with WildAid and Virgin Unite urging people to stop eating the soup. I also spoke this week with California Governor Jerry Brown urging him to sign a bill which has received overwhelming support from the people of California and has passed the Assembly and Senate there to ban shark fin sales. In Canada, the introduction of a federal private members bill was announced.
We’re starting to see momentum. But we need your help. Please help make this the year that sharks finally get some kind of legal protection to stop their destruction and help protect our oceans by signing the pledge petition and supporting Virgin Unite’s partnership with WildAid – click here to take action.