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17,000 Bowls and Counting

February 14th, 2012

Through the Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest, we’ve diverted 17,000 bowls of shark fin from consumption, saving approximately 1,700 sharks from being eaten. 

This year, we’re thrilled to announce that the winning couple of the Happy Hearts Love Sharks will be rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime 6-day cruise to the Galapagos brought to you by Flight Centre and G Adventures

Known as the place of inspiration for Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the Galapagos is world-renowned for its biodiversity and its international treasures like the Blue-Footed Booby.

Jonas Pettersson

A marine sanctuary, the Galapagos is home to the majestic hammerhead shark that congregate in schools to mate.

Flight Centre and G Adventures will whisk this year’s winning couple away to encounter the incredible creatures of the Galapagos Archipelago – and then relax on board the luxurious G6 catamaran in its topside Jacuzzi. The 6-day tour from Quito will allow our honeymooners to explore the islands in style with daily opportunities to swim and snorkel in the pristine marine reserve. After days spent exploring the island chain’s incredible diversity in the company of a certified Level III Naturalist Guide, the lucky couple can retire to their comfortable lower berth in a private air-conditioned cabin with ocean view and private bath.

ENTER NOW

Contest is open for applications now until June 8th, World Oceans Day. Contestants submit a photo and storytelling entry. Voting begins on World Ocean’s Day and contest winners will be announced during Shark Week in summer.

Couples from around the world can enter the contest but the Grand Prize can only be claimed by a Canadian couple. For more information on eligibility and all of the amazing prizes, visit HappyHeartsLoveSharks.org/ca

Read the press release and coverage of the contest in Richmond Review and the Burnaby Now. The contest is brought to you by our generous partners:

Release: 2012 HHLS Prize Announced

February 14th, 2012

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2012 7am PST

CONTEST REWARDS WEDDING COUPLES WITH TRIP TO GALAPAGOS

Happy Hearts Love Sharks open to contestants on Valentine’s Day to symbolize long-lasting love for couples-to-be and oceans 

VANCOUVER, BC. – Canadian nonprofit Shark Truth’s upcoming annual wedding contest, Happy Hearts Love Sharks (HHLS), is featuring a special grand prize this year for the winning couple: a six-day cruise to the Galapagos Islands from Flight Centre Business Travel & G Adventures, which features visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station and encountering unique wildlife in one of the most diverse locations on our planet.

“The shark conservation movement is growing around the world and markets are shifting away from shark fin. Businesses like Shangri-La are listening to what their customers are saying: they want sustainable food options and shark fin is not a part of that,” said Claudia Li, Shark Truth Founder.

This year, applications are open on Valentine’s Day and voting begins on World Ocean’s Day, June 8. The HHLS invites Canadian couples of partial or full Chinese descent to pledge to go shark fin free at their wedding banquet through an online photo and storytelling contest.

“Flight Centre Business Travel is proud to support this worthy cause and we are excited to send one lucky couple to the Galapagos,” said Craig MacCarthy, Brand Leader from Flight Centre Business Travel.

“The Galapagos Islands tour is a deluxe and once-in-a-lifetime experience. We hope that this visit to one of the top diving and snorkelling destinations in the world, with a chance to encounter some of the most diverse and breathtaking marine wildlife, including hammerheads and the iconic whale shark, will encourage wedding couples to take shark fin off the menu,” said Aaron Sapra, National Sales Manager from G Adventures.

Shark Truth has expanded the contest model in partnership with Hong Kong Shark Foundation. More details on the contest eligibility can be found at HappyHeartsLoveSharks.org. The winners of the contest will be announced during Shark Week this coming summer.

Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy that is popularly served at wedding banquets as a symbol of status and respect. Global shark populations continue to plummet across the world due to the growing demand for shark fin. The International Union for Conservation of Nature identifies that 25 species of sharks and rays have a risk of going extinct in our lifetime.

About Shark Truth

Shark Truth is a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness and action for sharks. Their unique consumer engagement campaign includes the Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest that rewards couples who pledge to go Fin Free at their wedding banquet. Learn more at www.sharktruth.org.

Our Sharks. Our Oceans. Our Future.
我們的鯊魚。 我們的海洋。 我們的未來。

-30-

Media Contact 

Shark Truth
Claudia Li, Founder
604-723-0134
claudia [at] sharktruth {dot} com

Flight Centre
Craig MacCarthy, Brand Leader
604.754.2565
craig.maccarthy [at] flightcentre {dot} ca

G Adventures
Aaron Sapra, National Sales Manager
416 260 0999
aarons{at}gadventures[dot]com

 

A Runway Show for the Oceans

February 9th, 2012

This coming February 23rd, Fin Free Regina is throwing on a breathtaking runway show featuring the unique, contemporary fashion of SEED Sustainable Style and a stunning performance by local jazz singer & songwriter Belle Plaine. Coupled with a gourmet cuisine and a silent auction, the night will be a celebration of the fascinating underwater world with proceeds going to Shark Truth.

Check out the beautiful models working hard at the underwater photo shoot!

ENVY Nightclub
2300 Dewdney Avenue
Regina, Saskatchewan

7 Arrival and Silent Auction
8 Live Music & Guest Speaker
9 Runway Show

Tickets can be purchased for $50

Can’t make it to the event but support the cause? Make a $50 donation to Shark Truth.

Our Opinion on Shark Fin Bans

February 1st, 2012

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not a shark fin ban is racist. We cleared the record once in for all. Read our full opinion piece published in Sing Tao Daily yesterday and the Tyee

禁止魚翅交易:動機與原由
為了遂成保育鯊魚的使命,教育必須與立法同步

Shark Fin Ban: Motivation and Reasons
In order to protect sharks, we need both education and legislation 

李妍蕙著
Written by Claudia Li

刊於 星島日報。一月 三十一日 二0一一年
Published in Sing Tao Daily. January 31, 2012

Photo by Rodolphe Holler Tahiti-private-Expeditions.com

有些人覺得食用魚翅是一個種族或文化的議題,我不認同。保護自然環境是一個我們所有人都應該關注的議題,無論種族與膚色,大量的摧殘鯊魚生態是可以被改變、也應該被改變的事實。對此,也許華人必須付出比較多的犧牲、改變傳統習俗,但是如果我們持續的以狹隘的種族角度來介入這個議題,便忽視了生態保育的大局。

Some argue that the topic of shark fin is a racial issue. I respectfully disagree. Racism is the attack on something that cannot be changed (like the way we look). The fact is that we all care about our planet and the mass decimation of sharks is something that can be changed. The Chinese consumer is one of the many culprits in this cause, and it is indeed up to us to change some of our customs but if we continue to look at the issue from a narrow-minded racial perspective, then we are missing the bigger picture of ecological preservation.

許多提倡禁止魚翅貿易的發言人,包括崔維新、姚明、中國國會代表丁力國、加州議員方文忠、以及多倫多市議員黃慧文等都來自華人團體,證實了拒翅保鯊是一個深得華人響應的環境生態議題。

There are many advocates for shark fin bans, including Wayson Choy, Yao Ming, Chinese assemblyman Ding Liguo, California Assembleyman Paul Fong, and Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam who are all from the Chinese community. Having a fin free world is fundamentally an ecological issue and everybody – including Chinese people – recognize that.

為何我們迫切的需要禁令
Why we urgently need bans

每年約有七千三百萬條鯊魚因魚翅遭到獵捕,以這樣的速度,有廿五個物種將在我們有生之年絕跡。鯊魚出生後二十逾年才會達到性成熟期,而每年平均只能生兩至三胎。它們是海洋的頂級獵食動物,身具保持食物鏈平衡的重責。中國政府曾因麻雀數量過多,大量的捕殺麻雀。不久後,許多地區便開始患蟲害,引起了嚴重的飢荒。相同地,過度獵捕鯊魚也會對海洋生態造成嚴重的影響,而造成鯊魚的過度獵捕全因為它們高價值的魚翅。一條鯨鯊的胸鰭雖可賣至五萬元美金,但因鯊魚肉、軟骨、肝油、魚皮等利潤太低,加上其體型巨大,漁商通常選擇在海上割下魚鰭後任其沉入海底流血至死,是殘酷又浪費的商業行為。許多商家聲明他們透過合法途徑購買魚翅,但問題在於目前僅有的漁業管理法規無法有效的阻止非法魚翅交易,因此我們必須從消費層面著手。當然消費者有權利選擇他們想要吃的食物,但是這些“權利”又帶來如何嚴重的後果?因此,立法是為了避免一時的口腹之慾而釀成環境危機。有些團體質疑如果我們想要保育動物,為什麼不提議立法禁止所有的工廠化養殖?當然,保育行動必須透過多方凝聚的力量。我成立Shark Truth的首要目標是保育鯊魚生態,但不會停止對其他動物保育的努力。

Every year, approximately 73 million sharks are poached for their fins. At this rate, it’s estimated that 25 species could disappear within our lifetime. Sharks take a long time to reach sexual maturity after birth, and only birth an average of 2-3 pups a year. But they are the top predators of the ocean, responsible for maintaining the balance of the food chain.

The government of China once campaigned to exterminate sparrows across the nation because they were seen as “pests.” Disrupting the natural ecosystem, this led to unstoppable bug infestations and caused devastating famine. Likewise, the overfishing of sharks will also have detrimental effects on our ocean ecosystem. The profitable shark fin trade is leading to the drastic decline of global shark populations. A Whale Shark’s dorsal fin could sell up to 50,000 USD, but due to low margin of profit from the meat, cartilage, liver oil and skin, plus the giant body size, fishermen just cut off the fin since it’s the most profitable part of the shark and toss the rest of the body back into the ocean, making it an extremely wasteful practice.

Some businesses argue that the shark fin they import is being imported legally and they’re not doing anything wrong. This is exactly the problem: the legislation that exists in fisheries management today to protect sharks is limited in quantity and in power to enforce. This is why we need to start from the demand-side of the equation.

Some consumers claim that they have the right to eat what they want. But have we asked ourselves at what consequence do these “rights” come with? The satisfaction of our palette is not an excuse to create an environmental crisis – we need legislation to protect sharks.

Some groups say that if we wish to protect animals from cruelty, why not ban factory farming? Conservation is collective action where education, legislation and other forces work together. Not having success in one area should not prevent us from achieving success in another. Shark Truth’s organizational mission is to protect sharks but if I could personally choose, I would wish to protect all animals.

文化遷移
Cultural Shift

我的曾祖母曾裹小腳、祖母沒有投票權,而我和母親卻能目睹英女皇登基的新聞。可見,文化是一個集體的價值觀,也是一個持續在成長和改變的意識,我們必須持續為新的世界形態奠定新的文化意識。Shark Truth長期教育及推廣保育意識,但是改變不能只透過教育,需要多方的配合。我們之所以迫切的提倡立法禁止魚翅交易,是因為有些鯊魚種類正瀕臨絕種,而生態一旦消失了,就不能重生,我們的子孫便無法繼續享有健康的海洋。我所引以為傲的華人文化是一個對尊重大自然、家人、與團體和諧的族群,我們應將這個精神傳承下去。

My great-grandmother had her feet bound, my grandmother didn’t have the right to vote, but my mother and I just witnessed the British empire changing the rules for the first time to allow female heirs to ascend the throne. The foundation of a culture is built on collective value, which is dynamic and constantly growing. We grow as we learn and we change as we grow. Shark Truth has a focus on building awareness, education and community but to successfully protect sharks in the long-run, we need the support of legislation. We advocate for shark fin bans because there are species of sharks that are nearing extinction as we speak. And once these species disappear, they will not come back, and our future generations will not have a healthy ocean or planet to live in. One of many reasons why I’m proud of our Chinese heritage is that our culture is one rooted in harmony, respect for nature and devotion to family and community. This is our responsibility now to ensure that this is a legacy we preserve and pass onto our children for their future.

李妍蕙是第一代的加拿大華僑,為了提倡鯊魚保育行動而成立Shark Truth,曾榮獲Tides Top 10Explore雜誌的Top 30 Under 30等獎項。

Claudia Li is a first generation Chinese-Canadian who founded Shark Truth to promote awareness and action for shark conservation. Shark Truth has been awarded as a Tides Top 10 and Li was recently named Top 30 Under 30 by Explore Magazine.

*Note: The translation is to encompass the context of the information and is not a direct word-for-word translation.
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