Misool Eco Resort (www.misoolecoresort.com) and WildAid announced today the creation of a 468 sq mile (1220 sq km) Marine Conservation Area in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. This has nearly tripled Misool Eco Resort’s164 sq mile (425 sq km) No-Take Zone, established in 2005. The combined Marine Conservation Area (MCA) now includes an adjoining archipelago of islands called Daram.
Campaigns featuring some of China’s biggest celebrities, including basketball star Yao Ming and actor Jackie Chan, have persuaded some Chinese to think twice about eating shark fin soup. But changing attitudes about the centuries-old delicacy, a large contributor to decimated shark populations, continues to be a challenge.
For many Chinese, the soup, which dates back the Ming Dynasty, is considered a matter of wealth and prestige, often featured at weddings and banquets. Some also believe shark fin has medicinal value, despite a lack of scientific evidence.
WildAid launched a “National Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Awareness Month.” Initiated by Ministry of Agriculture of China, the awareness campaign is the first of its kind in terms of scale (in over 20 provinces) and time (one month). It aims to educate and raise awareness of aquatic wildlife conservation among students in China.
On the eve of the State of Hawaii becoming the first jurisdiction to ban sales of shark fin soup, local and international conservation groups praised the ground-breaking move as a first step to halting the decimation of global shark stocks.