Press Release: Wedding Contest 2011 Results

Media Contact: Claudia Li, Shark Truth Founder, 604-723-0134

 

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JUNE 7, 2011

 

WEDDING CONTEST RESULTS REFLECT GROWING TREND AGAINST SHARK FIN
25 couples, 4,300 bowls of shark fin soup diverted from consumption through unique online contest

Vancouver, BC – Ending yesterday, Shark Truth announced that Judy Lau and Jason Shim are the winning couple of the second annual Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest – an online competition that encourages couples to help protect sharks by pledging not to serve shark fin soup at their wedding banquet. The couple wins a vacation to have a face-to-face experience with sharks in Hawaii, the first jurisdiction that banned the sale, possession and trade of shark fin last year.

A total of 25 couples participated in Happy Hearts Love Sharks, resulting in over 4,300 bowls of shark fin soup, or approximately 430 sharks, being diverted from consumption.

“Our contest entries grew by 50% this year and the number of bowls of shark fin soup diverted grew by 20%. This tells us that the tides are turning – in favour of sharks,” said Claudia Li, founder of Shark Truth, which held the contest.

Li believes the contest reflects the results of a recently released report, indicating that a large majority (78%) of Hong Kong people think it is acceptable to take shark fin soup off the menu. The report claimed that wedding couples understood how their wedding banquet “can be an opportunity to save sharks and the environment.”

Lau, bride of the winning couple agrees. “It’s our responsibility as banquet hosts and as Chinese consumers to stand up for sharks and against shark fin.”

“Our parents, although hesitant at first, are now proud of our decision to remove shark fin at our wedding banquet,” said winning groom, Shim. “The 900 plus votes we got for our contest entry shows that our friends and family completely support our decision.”

Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy that is popularly served at wedding banquets as a symbol of wealth, status and respect, and is also the leading cause of plummeting shark populations around the world. Shim and Lau submitted a photo entry for Happy Hearts Love Sharks and narrowly took the grand prize, winning with 959 votes. During the six-week long contest, couples who pledged to not serve shark fin submitted photo entries that were posted on Shark Truth’s Facebook page, where “Like”s were counted as votes. Lau and Shim will be taking the grand prize trip to Hawaii to dive with sharks.

In May, Brantford, Ontario became the first municipality in North America to ban the possession, sale and trade of shark fins. A similar motion was put forth by a city councillor in Toronto last week. Currently, a shark fin bill called AB376 is being put forth in California legislature and has passed an Assembly vote.

“We work directly with Chinese consumers, whether it’s jurisdictions passing shark fin bans or wedding couples pledging to stop the soup. Shark fin is becoming passé,” said Li.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identifies that half of oceanic pelagic sharks are being pushed to an elevated risk of extinction. Thirty-eight million sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup and it only takes an estimated 10 bowls of shark fin to kill an entire shark.

About Happy Hearts Love Sharks

Happy Hearts Love Sharks is an annual contest organized by the Vancouver-based grassroots nonprofit Shark Truth. Winners are announced on World Oceans Day, June 8. Contest entries can be viewed and downloaded on Facebook at http://ow.ly/5aA6R and at http://ow.ly/5cgAT. More information on the wedding contest is available at http://HappyHeartsLoveSharks.org

About Shark Truth

Shark Truth is a volunteer-run grassroots nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness, education and action around the cruel and ecologically destructive consumption of shark fin soup. To date, we have secured commitments from 63 couples that pledged not to serve shark fin soup at their wedding banquet and diverted a total of over 8,600 bowls of shark fin soup from consumption.

Contact information for wedding couples available upon request.

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