Soneva Group owners, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani will become ambassadors of the conservation group amongst more than 650 other well known personalities , celebrities and business leaders from Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Shanghai, Taiwan and more.
“Back in 2000, our waters were teeming with sharks, however in only a decade, local shark populations have depleted significantly,” said Sonu Shivdasani.
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 kilometres) off the atoll coasts. Poachers remain active and illegal shark fishing and trading continues to thrive outside of this perimeter. We would like to see an expansion of this perimeter to make it impractical for shark fishing and fin trading to take place, putting a stop to this unsustainable and destructive trade once and for all.” “Other areas where I believe we can make a real impact is to partner with other resorts in the Maldives, standing united to say that the Maldives travel and hospitality industry is “FINished with FINS”, said Mr Shivdasani.
Shark Savers Regional Director for Asia Pacific, John Lu said that sharks play a key role in the ocean’s food web.
If shark populations are depleted, a critical link in the maintenance of global marine ecosystems will be disrupted, not only directly affecting the health of reefs, viability of commercial fisheries, 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, protecting this ecosystem is of utmost importance. It is in our interest to keep our oceans healthy, and healthy oceans require a robust population of sharks operating in them. Yet sharks are being depleted worldwide, just to feed the unsustainable demand for shark fin soup. The exponential growth in demand and consumption of shark fin soup is chiefly responsible for the alarming declines in global shark populations.”
“We are delighted to have Sonu and Eva Shivdasani as Corporate Ambassadors for the campaign, added Mr Lu.
“Through this partnership with the Soneva Group, I am confident that we will gather critical mass support from the luxury travel and tourism industries to help dampen demand, and close another chapter on this highly destructive trade.”
Last month Hilton Worldwide announced that it ban all shark fin dishes from all of its Asia Pacific properties by April this year, joining the commitment from other hotel chains including Swiss-Belhotel and Shangri-La.