Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shark fin availability lessens on China-based website

From the L.A Times this week:

Efforts to halt the open sale of shark fins on a global-marketplace website seem to be paying off.

Shark Diver reports that attempts to purchase shark fins on earlier this week were met with less success than previously. Of the 10 sellers contacted, only two responded.

This is a decline from early January when Shark Diver, using its company name and doing nothing covert, contacted 11 sellers via the website and received responses from nine that fins could be purchased, even though the site stated these sales were going to be removed.

"Closing down the channels of commerce is the trick," said Shark Diver CEO Patric Douglas. "This is a good first step, and I'm cautiously optimistic that they get it."

"Given where they [] were to where they are now is a victory. It all starts with one," added Douglas. "This is like a million army ants taking down an elephant, but as one domino falls, we move on to the next." Other websites that Douglas referred to as alleged shark-fin selling points are and

"Finning" is the practice of slicing the fins off of live sharks then throwing their bodies overboard, where they sink to the ocean floor and die.

All sharks are at risk, with the larger fins commanding a higher price. Fins from basking sharks can fetch as much as 1,000% more due to the size, for display in store windows. There has been a huge loss of West Coast blue sharks reported in California, and it was not until recent tagging revealed that these sharks were migrating seasonally to Japan and back, though many never did make the trip back.

--Kelly Burgess

Editors Note: What was not mentioned in this article were the 100's of people involved in this campaign and the "One" who started it all Wolfgang Leander.


Wolf Leander said...
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Wolf Leander said...

OK, I started this (there is always one who has to be the first), but as you said, there were hundreds of committed people who became involved - and if we want to mention the individual who was eventually instrumental in convincing Alibaba to get out of the shark fin business, it is Professor Brian Darvell of the Hong Kong University. Brian had lengthy negotiations with top Alibaba executives which resulted in the company's decision to stop facilitating the shark fin trade via their internet platform.

Shark Diver said...

Hi Wolf,

You're way ahead of me. We're working on a complete(?) list of those who got involved and time line for success.

I think it's important to highlight exactly what it took to effect this change. If you sit back and look at this "campaign" which amounted to eating an elephant with a 1000 spoons you'll note a groundswell of interest from "one idea". Yours.

If people come to realize just how many people became involved-it will help similar campaigns in the future ramp up faster.

Looking at the sheer numbers of new eco blogs and pro shark sites that are popping up each day you'll note a critical mass developing.

It all started with "One" and I never cease to be impressed at the power of an "idea".