Encouraging a fin-free culture in Malaysia
WWF-Malaysia, together with partners Association of Wedding Professionals Malaysia (AWP) and Shark Savers Malaysia (SSMY), announced their consumer engagement on shark-fin consumption reduction through the “Wedding without Fins Project.” The objective of this project is to encourage the wedding industry to be stewards and inspire wedding couples to go fin-free at their wedding ceremonies.
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO Dato' Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma said, “Sharks are important in stabilising the marine ecosystem and keeping oceans healthy. However, the shark population is declining as a result of overfishing and the high demand for shark fins.”
“According to WWF’s 2015 Asian City Shark Fin Consumer Survey, it was found that 85% of shark fin soup consumption was tied with celebrations such as weddings. WWF-Malaysia urges restaurants, retailers and hotels to adopt a dining policy by removing shark fins from menus or substitute shark fins with alternative ingredients. When businesses stop buying shark fins from suppliers, there will be a trickle-down effect to suppliers and shark catchers in the supply chain. Suppliers would find sharks not as profitable anymore when businesses stop purchasing. Soon, shark fins will not be a high-demand item for catchers to hunt them. Our theory of change states that when the demand stops, the killing will too.”
Many wedding planners are dedicated to help couples achieve their dream wedding while staying relevant to emerging trends and preferences. Therefore, there is a need to set a few industry standards; as well as to provide ethical service to every client. The AWP is formed to set standards and spur the industry to greater heights by improving the professionalism and credibility of its members.
AWP President Leticia Hsu emphasised, “The plight to end the consumption of shark fins around the world is a long and difficult journey. We, at AWP, are passionate about bringing this awareness to our members and to consumers, in hopes of contributing towards the bigger fight. We need to better educate consumers that there are alternatives to shark fin soup in weddings, and that we can all refrain from putting an end to sharks for going fin-free during our weddings. Let our future generations enjoy Mother Nature as it should be.”
WWF-Malaysia’s strong shark conservation ally, SSMY further extends their education and awareness endeavour to wedding couples. “We will socialise the issue closely with wedding couples as well as produce creative wedding-themed artwork for their celebrations,” said Alicia Tan, Chief Financial Officer of SSMY. “By making a responsible decision in refusing shark fin soup and using unique awareness materials at their weddings, newlyweds can play a big role in reversing the trend of serving shark fin soup during weddings.”
In addition, SSMY announces its 2018 SSMY ambassadors of known celebrities, to help influence wedding couples as well as the general public on the importance of conserving sharks and to break away from a tradition that is detrimental to the marine ecosystem.
The Wedding without Fins Project recently conducted a wedding dialogue amongst individuals from the wedding industry to drive the change in persuading consumers to opt for fin-free menu’s and encourage shark fin eateries to promote alternatives and phase out shark fins in the near future.
Shark conservation is a long-term initiative; environmental non-governmental organisations’ effort is deficient in reducing threats of human impact on sharks and the marine ecosystem. Hence, WWF-Malaysia is calling on both Malaysian businesses and consumers to transform the market by reducing the availability and consumption of shark fin soup in wedding ceremonies. For more information and to be part of this movement, please visit weddingwithoutfins.com
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For more information, please contact:
Sheena Wong Sin-Yee
Interim Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603 7450 3773 Ext. 6412
AWP Malaysia – Media division
Tel: +603 7987 7188