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A Shark’s Tale

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Sonu & Eva Shivdasani

The largest worldwide campaign with the sole purpose of shark conservation, FINished with Fins can boast the support of over 100 of Hong Kong’s taste makers and opinion leaders, 150 celebrities from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and China and now the owners of the world’s leading luxury resort operators, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani of the Soneva Group.

Jonn Lu, regional director, Asia Pacific for Shark Savers, who was instrumental in founding the FINished with Fins movement, flew to the Maldives to sign up husband and wife, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani and Soneva Fushi to the cause.

More than just pledging their support and saying “I’m FINished” with shark fin soup, Sonu and Eva have offered their award-winning resort in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi as regional headquarters for the shark conservation campaign to help lobby against illegal shark fishing in their local area as well as offer their support on a global stage to help recruit other corporations to support shark conservation. Together with Sonu and Eva Shivdasani; Soneva Fushi recruits the help of its in-house marine biologist, Frederica Siena as well as its Free Diving expert Ken Kiriyama to help assist in plans to help thwart illegal catchment of sharks by poachers in Maldivian waters.

Sonu Shivdasani says, “Back in 2000, our waters were teeming with sharks, however as the years have gone by the shark population has depleted significantly. This led to the Maldivian government commendably introducing a ban on shark fishing in all its waters in 2010. The ban was a great step forward for shark conservation however it only prevented fishermen from hunting sharks in up to 12 nautical miles (22 km) off the atoll coasts. This has led to poachers shark fishing and trading outside of the perimeter. We would like to see the perimeter extended further to make it a lot more difficult for shark fishing and trading to take place and try and put a stop to it once and for all.”

He adds, “Another area where I believe we can help is by partnering with other resorts in the Maldives to work together to say the Maldives travel industry is FINished with Fins. The Maldives epitomises the ultimate in holiday destinations and therefore we have access to a number of influential corporations and holidaymakers who I am sure would be keen to get on board and help protect sharks, an animal that is so intrinsic to our ecosystem that their continuing decline in population will have a dramatic on life to us all.”

Lu from FINished with Fins explains, “Sharks play a key role in our ocean’s food chains. As apex predators, sharks help keep the world’s marine ecosystems balanced. If shark populations are depleted, a critical link in the maintenance of global marine ecosystems will be disrupted, not only directly affecting the viability of commercial fisheries around the world but also life on earth. Our oceans cover over 70 per cent of the earth’s surface and houses 80 per cent of life on earth, maintaining this ecosystem is crucial. The oceans help absorb excess carbon dioxide and heat energy from the atmosphere, controlling our climate and keeping our air safe to breathe. Yet sharks are being depleted worldwide, just to feed the unsustainable demand for shark fin soup. The exponential growth in consumption of shark fin soup is responsible for alarming shark population declines.

Expressing his delight in signing up Sonu and Eva Shivdasani as ambassadors for the campaign, he states, “We not only look to work with celebrities but opinion leaders who can help us reverse the shark fin consumption trend in Asia and the rest of the world. By securing ambassadors, such as Sonu and Eva we can garner support from the luxury travel and tourism industry to help us turn people’s view on wanting to consume shark fin soup and help protect an animal that is so intrinsic to our way of life.”