Hawaii First to BAN SHARK FIN

Great news for sharks and divers! Hawaii has become the first state in the world to ban shark fin.
The new law prohibits the possession, sale or distribution of shark fins in the islands and a violation of the new shark fin law warrants a fine of US$10,000 – US$50,000, with a possible forfeiture of vessels. The new law will reduce demand for shark fin in Hawaii, although it was not too high to begin with, which is great news for the sharks in the area. But so long as there is a demand internationally, poaching will still occur, so stop eating shark fin people!

Will it ever be possible for shark fin to be banned in Singapore?

It would be so righteous for Singapore to be the First Asian Country (a.k.a. the shark fin soup eaters) to ban shark fin. It would be a historical moment man, and the law makers would have to have

  • COURAGE- there might be a very public backlash. Imagine: angry chinese, “this is our culture, our history blah blah”, “what will we serve at weddings?”
  • GOOD FORESIGHT – they must have the understanding that in the long run, unchecked shark finning is not good for shark populations, which in turn will impact other marine populations, which in turn will affect us, humans.
  • MAGNANIMITY – Singapore banning shark fin will impact other asian countries, and hopefully those in Southeast Asia. But first, we have to forgo all the short term profits to be reaped in order for the health of the marine ecosystems in the future. And if shark finning ceases in southeast asia, good for thediving industry. Singapore will benefit much, but other countries will benefit more. And that’s okay.

In the meantime, as long as there is a demand for shark fin soup at our weddings, there will continue to be shark finning. I remember on one Liveaboard toTioman, on our dive at Jack’s Rock, we chanced across a finned shark. It was a small shark and someone picked it up and started freaking the others out with it, horsing around. When I saw the finned shark, I only felt sadness that at some obscure reef that hardly any one came too, the fishmen were, the finners. And they didn’t even spare the little ones, I mean how much could a fin smaller than your palm fetch? Was it enough for one bowl of soup? Was it worth the life of that little shark, the pain of it drowning? One or two measly bowls of soup which would get consumed within 5 minutes?

1 bowl of shark fin soup = 5 minutes of impressing chinese guests? = the life of a shark?

Anyway, what I wanted to say was kudos to Hawaii for this first-of-its-kind ban. Sharks take too long to breed, our rate of consumption definitely is not giving them the chance to repopulate. I can only dream Singapore will be number 2 on that list.

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