Sharkwater Premiers in Hong Kong

I’m extremely happy to see that Sharkwater will premiere in Hong Kong on the 7th of June, in time for World Oceans Day on the 8th of June, 2010.

The film documents renegade conservationist and living legend Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and film-maker, Rob Stewart battle poachers, flee from gunboats, get caught up in corrupt court systems and face attempted murder charges, in a brave effort to uncover the shocking truth behind the trade in shark fins.

Stewart explains how these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and presents us with shocking statistics indicating that shark populations will be wiped out within a few years, if people carry on their greedy pursuit for lucrative shark fins. Every year, tens of millions of sharks die because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark’s fins and throwing the body back into the sea while it is still alive. The sharks starve to death, are eaten alive by other fish, or slowly drown. Terrified and in excruciating pain, sharks can survive up to 3 weeks after being finned. Their fins are being “harvested” in ever greater numbers to feed the growing demand for shark fin soup, an Asian “delicacy”.

Shark finning is a part of a wider problem of over-fishing which needs to be brought to the attention of the global community quickly, before populations are depleted world wide. The End of the Line is another fantastic documentary highlighting the effects of over-fishing in the worlds oceans and I would recommend anyone to watch the documentary as it’s extremely eye-opening and will make you think twice about where your next purchase of sea food comes from! The documentary strongly advises that we only consume fish from sustainable sources in order to let depleting fish stocks replenish.

I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and was exposed to the immoral practices of the fishing industry there at a young age. In many restaurants you can hand pick the rarest and most beautiful species of sea life alive and then have it served fresh to your table. The premiere in Hong Kong  is a huge step in the right direction to raising awareness about the issue, as Asia is the largest consumer of shark fin products. Shark fin soup is a popular dish served as a status symbol, and the cartilidge from the fin is ground down to make ‘healing remedies’ – which ironically, do more harm than good when consumed, as the cartilage is contaminated with high levels of poisonous mercury.

The Hong Kong premiere, hosted by EcoVision Asia will debut in Cantonese. It has already been shown in Taiwan in mandarin – one step closer to mainland China. Sharing the film with Chinese audiences is an important step to spreading awareness about the devastating effect of the shark fin industry and its effect on ocean conservation.

“If people knew what was going on – that their consumption of this delicacy was causing the demise of one of the oldest, most important predators the planet has, and that this is going to mean a big problem for people; I hope they would make more effective decisions, and the demand for shark fin would decline.” – Rob Stewart.

I saw the documentary in my current home of Sheffield, U.K and also saw the Thailand premiere at Big Blue Diving School in Koh Tao. Both occasions left me with an overwhelming sense of responsibility to do something about the problem. If you haven’t seen the documentary, please watch it, and spread the word.

If you feel passionately about the issue, please donate generously to charities and organisations which are fighting hard to raise awareness and put a stop to this cruel, inhumane and greedy practice.

Links:
Visit the EcoVison Asia website for information about Sharkwater’s Hong Kong Premiere.
Visit the Sharkwater website to watch the trailor.
Visit The End of the Line website to watch the trailor.
Visit the Shark Trust website to see how you can help.
Visit The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website to find out more about the work they do to put an end to shark finning.

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