In the lead up to Chinese New Year this week, The SEA LIFE London Aquarium will show support for shark charity Bite-Back’s ‘Hacked Off’ campaign by taking to the streets of London's World famous Chinatown and urging public to boycott the shark fin soup served in restaurants across the UK.
The team will hand out specially baked 'mis’fortune cookies to passers-by highlighting the plight of an estimated 35 Million sharks slaughtered every year just for their fins - the rest of the body is discarded - and encouraging them to take action. They will also visit restaurants in the area selling shark fin soup and hand staff 'New Year’s Resolution' letters, urging them to remove it from the menu. Bite-Back estimate that unless action is taken now, 20 species could be extinct by 2048.
“Many people don’t realize that we are contributing to demand for shark fins here in the UK as shark fin soup is still sold in many UK restaurants, contributing to the cost of millions of shark lives a year,” commented SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s Conservation and Education Manager Rebecca Carter.
“The fact is that it is still on menus, many British people are still ordering it and it will be eaten at celebrations to welcome in the Year of The Horse this weekend. What is exciting is that as consumers we have the power to stop the inhumane and unsustainable slaughter of millions of sharks by simply not buying it! So we are urging everyone to take action by boycotting venues where the dish remains available. If there's no demand for it, restaurants will stop selling it. If action isn't taken now, not only will we lose some of the most beautiful and misunderstood creatures in the ocean, but irreparable damage will be done to vital marine ecosystems."
Campaign director at Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “In 2014 we’re committed to making Britain the first country in the world to end the sale of shark fin soup. We’ve already inspired 16 restaurants to stop selling the controversial dish but we still have 63 more across the country to convince. Today is about education and engagement — if Londoners knew the truth about shark fin soup they would certainly be outraged that some restaurants in Chinatown are profiting from this shocking, unethical and unsustainable practice.”
Shark fin soup has become increasingly controversial since footage was leaked of fishermen hacking the fins off live sharks before throwing them overboard to die. It has been described as the marine equivalent of killing elephants simply for their tusks.
‘Mis’fortune cookies and information about shark finning will also be available for visitors to the SEA LIFE London Aquarium on Chinese New Year. For more information on shark finning, go to Bite-Back.com.