Whilst we in Fiji have chosen to pursue a micro-project "on the ground", others have taken the route of going public and "big picture". Others again prefer to pursue their agendas away from the public eye. Others may be coming from a more scientific angle or work for some Government Agency. All of it is great and in its combination, it is the best recipe for obtaining results - which is the only thing that counts in the end.
2008 has actually been a good year for Shark Conservation.
Yes, the slaughter continues but there has certainly been great progress in fostering public awareness and solidarity. Shark Conservation is undoubtedly gaining traction and changing perceptions is an essential ingredient if we ever want to succeed on a global scale. Many have contributed and all need to be thanked for it.
Personally, I'd like to point out the contribution of two individuals:
Yahoo's Alibaba and Taobao portals are apparently discontinuing all advertising for Shark products as of January 1st, 2009.
That's really unbelievably good news, the more as both portals are based in Asia and had so far played a prominent (and ignominious) role in the global Shark Fin trade. Quite frankly, I would have never thought that Ethics could prevail over Culture and Business - especially in China which is so much associated with the consumption of Shark Fins.
Never have I been happier to have been proven wrong! Teaches me not to assume and never to give up Hope!
I know nothing about the details but apparently, the merit goes to one (Professor?) Brian W. Darwell who seems to have spearheded the lobbying, legwork and negotiating. The only person of that name I found is this gentleman and if this is him, he deserves everybody's gratitude and compliments!
My other Hero for 2008 is Peter Knights of WildAid, for having convinced CNN to produce the epic Shark segment for their Planet and Peril series. I cannot quite imagine any other Organization (maybe the BBC?) having that kind of global outreach and having achieved to capture their solidarity is a truly remarkable feat! Isn't it just Great to see all the sympathetic comments by the viewers who are very probably just ordinary people with no previous exposure to Shark Finning?
Yes, I know, Success has many Fathers as documented by the many NGOs, groups and individuals "congratulating" and otherwise hinting at having made a contribution - which they probably have. Good on them. In the end, we're all in this together.
But whatever the details, the fact remains that it always takes special individuals to harness those energies and to lead the charge.
Guys, as we say in Fiji, Vinaka Vakalevu!