I’d like to take a break from my usual publications about data and its taming, to discuss something else of importance to me: wildlife conservation.
If you aren’t familiar with “shark finning“, you may read more about it here. The good news is that shark fin soup has been outlawed by the Chinese Communist Party. However, many people around the world still eat the soup.
Why does this matter?
Shark finning kills an estimated 100 million sharks worldwide each year, and the soup – which experts say has no nutritional value – is brewed from fins frequently sawed off live sharks before their bodies are dumped back into the ocean to die.
There are other reasons for the decline: Shark fin has been removed from Hong Kong government receptions, and a celebrity-endorsed campaign to persuade hotels not to serve shark fin soup – and airlines not to carry the fins – has produced some high-level converts, notably the Shangri-La hotel chain, Qantas, Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific Airlines.
A growing environmental awareness among younger Chinese has also helped. Photographs of thousands of shark fins drying on the roof of a Hong Kong building in January 2013 went viral in China and triggered widespread revulsion.
Mark Thorpe, an Emmy and International film festival award-winning photographer and Twitter friend of mine, is raising funds for his project, “FINdonesia: Being #1 Is Not Always Something to Be Proud Of“, on Indiegogo. It’s about the shark fin industry in Indonesia.
Our Indiegogo crowd funding project page: indiegogo.com/projects/findonesia/x/5549768 for those of you who may be moved enough to support this film project. Thanks.
Indonesia is the Worlds leading exporter of shark fins to the SE Asian shark fin soup industry. Of late it is also playing an expanding role in the export of manta ray gill sections for Chinese medicines and potions. With some 17,500 plus islands supporting a population approaching 250 million it is no surprise these waters are rapidly being emptied of its diverse and iconic marine life. With an estimated 10% of the total population also dependent on the Oceans for their daily sustenance it comes as no surprise that these resources are dwindling, fast.
I will be aiming to travel the length and breadth of this amazing archipelago to document not just the negative side of this fishery but also to bring to light some stories of hope. Stories of local fishermen turning towards Eco-tourism after realizing the potential long term benefits and revenues of marine wildlife related tourism as opposed to the one off reward for selling a fished commodity.
I will be joining shark fishermen as they take perilous 12 day excursions in search of their prey, I will document the fishery in every element, the people surviving from it, the people benefiting from it and the questionable measures some will go to in order to continue their catches. It will be a definite eye opener.
The Music was composed and scored by Craig Gannon (The Smiths, Aztec Camera, Alison Moyet)
I shot the entire piece on a Canon 5DMkII on the islands of Bali and Lombok, Indonesia, and used FCPx for editing. The title sequence was created in Motion 5 using a template from MotionVFX
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Here are three fun facts about me. I consider coffee and chocolate food groups. I am an INFJ. I love longboard surfing.