EnvironmentThailand

Say no to shark fin, says new WildAid video featuring Miss Universe Thailand

image via WildAid

In honour of shark awareness day, WildAid launched a video entitled ‘Sea of Chaos’ to highlight the important role of sharks in the ocean and how the consumption of shark fin is disrupting the ecosystem. The video features activist Maria Poonlertlarp, who is also Miss Universe Thailand 2017, alongside actor Nawat ‘Pong’ Kulrattanarak, who is WildAid’s shark ambassador.

In ‘Sea of Chaos’ a CEO eats shark fin soup at a celebratory event, just to be shown how removing sharks from the ecosystem could leave the sea in a state of chaos. By the end of the video, he swears not to eat shark fin again.

Thailand’s sweetheart Maria Poonlertlarp talked about her relationship with sharks…

“Growing up I always feared sharks partly because of the bad PR sharks regularly receive from the media. But when I started scuba diving, I learned about the human-caused threats sharks face and that an ocean without sharks is something to be more fearful of as their disappearance could cause the ocean’s ecosystem to collapse. Teaming up with WildAid is my opportunity to rebrand sharks and help change consumption patterns that endanger our oceans by informing the public that in today’s world, sharks should be kept off the menu and off our tables.”

Conservation Scientist Dr. Petch Manopawitr advised WildAid in the creation of the video…

“This video is one of WildAid’s many attempts to change societal norms of serving and consuming sharks and inform the public about the importance of sharks so that the choices they make do not lead to chaos in the ocean’s ecosystem. The science is clear, the disappearance of sharks does major damage to ocean’s health and affects the whole marine ecosystem.”

WildAid’s 2017 study found that more than half of urban Thais have eaten shark fin, most often at celebratory events. Out of those people, 61% said they planned to consume shark fin in the future.

A recent study published in the journal Current Biology found that overfishing and the demand for shark and ray products have driven one-third of all shark and ray species towards extinction globally, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature – or IUCN – Red List. Losing these species would be disastrous as sharks are critical to maintaining the health of the ocean.

‘Sea of Chaos’ is a part of WildAid’s ongoing ‘Celebrate with No Shark Fin’ campaign that launched in 2018 to address and end shark fin consumption at celebratory events, thereby protecting sharks, fisheries, and ocean ecosystems.

Actor Nawat ‘Pong’ Kulrattanarak says that spreading knowledge and changing mindsets can make a big difference…

“Every action matters, we must tell our friends and family about the importance of sharks. You can do your part by starting with something as simple as sharing this video.”

The initiative ‘Celebrate with No Shark Fin’ is also endorsed by government organizations such as Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Department of Fisheries. Director-General of the department Sopon Thongdee expressed his support for the campaign…

“While we still have sharks to protect, we need to push for better policies to protect sharks together with informing both the younger and older generations who believe shark fin soup is a luxurious delicacy to keep shark fin off the menu permanently. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources understands and supports the importance of urging the public to stop consuming sharks for the sake of our ocean’s health.”

Director-General of Thailand’s Department of Fisheries Chalermchai Suwannarak is also on board with the campaign…

“While we still have sharks to protect, we need to push for better policies to protect sharks together with informing both the younger and older generations who believe shark fin soup is a luxurious delicacy to keep shark fin off the menu permanently. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources understands and supports the importance of urging the public to stop consuming sharks for the sake of our ocean’s health.”

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leah

Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.