SCMP Friday, August 18, 2000


Diners' ignorance threatens sharks

Like conservation crusader and best-selling author of the novel Jaws, Peter Benchley, I support the ``Save the Sharks'' campaign. It is high time people became aware that we risk ruining our marine ecosystem.

To many people, sharks are only brutal predators, attacking swimmers.

Readers of his novel might have got the mistaken impression that great white sharks target people. They generate fear and yet according to Mr Benchley, sharks seldom attack humans.

As Mr Benchley pointed out, the increasing size of the middle class indicates that people are getting more affluent in Asia, which means that delicacies like shark's fin dishes, are more affordable. Diners enjoy these dishes without realising the damage being done to the marine ecosystem. If sharks became extinct, this would have a devastating effect on the whole food chain. Ultimately, we humans would suffer.

Therefore, I appeal to your readers to support Mr Benchley's campaign, so that we can guarantee the continued existence of the shark.

Tseung Kwan O