It wasn’t too difficult convincing my mom as she has been very open to me and partner, Christopher’s passion for diving. We had explained to my family on a number of occasions how cruelly sharks are killed for their fins, how unsustainable the practice is and how much it pains us to increasingly see more sharks in soup bowls than in the oceans.
In fact we haven’t had shark’s fins at family dinners (even at reunion dinners) for many years. It is rather hilarious yet tragic to see the stunned faces of Chinese restaurant staff when we tell them to please take shark’s fin out of our menu and replace it with a much less costly soup.
When planning my mom’s birthday celebrations, specifically instructed the restaurant that under no circumstances would we tolerate shark’s fin in the menu. The challenge was how to communicate the message tactfully behind this decision to the guests which largely comprise of my parents’ generation. The lovely cards which you gave us helped a great deal. We avoided printing graphic images or preachy messages inside the cards. Instead we very gently encouraged our guests in a bilingual few-liner to abstain from shark’s fin because of the environmental impact. These cards sparked some animated discussions during the dinner and even if we managed to convince only a few guests, we believe that is a very good start. Our photographer even picked up a few of your cards to distribute to his friends.
The desire for shark’s fin certainly stems from ignorance of the truth and a long entrenched perception of it as a symbol of affluence. This is especially true of the older generation who is more resistant to change but we do encounter some element of success – my mom is definitely one good example. If I can chip away at my mom’s “love” for this dish, it gives me confidence that I can slowly but surely convert a few more in my lifetime. Even amongst non-diver friends, we employ every opportunity we can to explain to them why both sharks and humankind will be much happier with the fins where they should belong instead of landing on our dinner tables.
Article from Ocean Geograhic – Ocean Watch