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Shark Savers Names Soneva Fushi As Its Maldives Headquarters

March 3, 2014 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

The largest worldwide shark conservation campaign headed by Shark Savers and her international partners WildAid, WWF, Earth Hour and National Geographic, have established a new beachhead in the Maldives.

The “I’m FINished with FINS” campaign now count Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, owners of the world’s leading luxury resort company the Soneva Group, among their 650+ ambassadors, many of whom are well known personalities, celebrities, business leaders, socialites, taste makers and opinion shapers from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Beijing and beyond.

Jonn Lu, Shark Savers Regional Director for Asia Pacific, flew to the Maldives to induct husband and wife, Sonu and Eva Shivdasani as Corporate Ambassadors for the campaign.unnamed

Sonu and Eva have offered their award-winning resort Soneva Fushi as Shark Savers’ Maldivian headquarters for a local campaign to thwart illegal shark catchment and fishing by poachers. In their role as Corporate Ambassadors, Sonu and Eva will also lend support on the global stage to help recruit other corporations to adopt the Shark Savers Corporate Pledge. This is a commitment made by companies to disallow 1). the expensing of the dish in all business development and entertainment, 2). internal corporate banquets and dining affairs from ordering the dish, 3). the company to engage in commerical activities that would promote the trade, consumption and use of shark parts. Some of the corporates already onboard include the Shaw Group, Wheelock Group, IndoChine Group, Billabong, QuikSilver, DHL Global Mail, SingTel, AirAsia, MediaPrima, Astro, LUSH etc.

Sonu Shivdasani says: “Back in 2000, our waters were teeming with sharks, however in only a decade, local shark populations have depleted significantly. 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”. At Soneva Fushi, we cater to a very exclusive clientle of influential corporations and holidaymakers who I am sure would be keen to get on board the campaign. Sharks are considered by marine scientists to be “keystone species”, an animal so vital to the health of our oceans that we cannot continue to remain passive bystanders. The Maldives has long epitomised the idea of the ultimate holiday destination; the continued decline in shark populations would have a direct detrimental effect on not just our marine ecosystems, but also directly and adversely impact our hospitality business.”

Jonn Lu explains: “Sharks play a very key role in complex oceanic food webs. In their role as ‘lions’ of the ocean, these apex predators help to keep prey / predator equations balanced. 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% of the earth’s surface and houses 80% 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. We depend on taste makers and opinion leaders like them to help reverse the shark fin consumption trend in Asia and beyond. 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.”

For more information about the “I’m FINished with FINS” campaign please visit: www.finishedwithfins.org and for more information about Soneva Fushi, please visit www.soneva.com.

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