Over 11,000 sharks are killed every hour to satisfy the market for shark fin soup, sport fishing, and culling. Depending on different methods of calculation, the number of sharks slaughtered ranges from 40 million to over 100 million.
Is to bring awareness to people that sharks are not the man-eating killers that the media and the movies portray them to be. As a matter of fact, they are critical to the health of the world's oceans, which cover over 70% of Earth's surface. Apex predators like sharks maintain the balance of marine habitats and serve as indicators for the health of our seas. Without these keystone species, ecosystems falter and degrade, threatening all life that depends on them for survival. As famed oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle says: "You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don't see sharks." We want everyone to see sharks for the essential creatures they truly are.
A personal project of passion and compassion...
While traveling around the world, especially in Asia, I was surprised that as soon as people found out I was Korean they immediately told me how much they loved Korean dramas and movies, K-pop music, and fashion, etc. I was amazed. I learned that the younger generations are actually strongly influenced by these phenomena. In fact, there are companies that will take thousands of Chinese tourists to Korea to try a particular ginger chicken soup they saw on a Korean TV drama just to go to the same restaurant to experience the location and flavors.
It got me thinking. what if we took an acclaimed Korean University that has graduated some of the most influential directors, producers, actors, writers, performers, singers, dancers, and K-pop stars in the entertainment world, and had some of their students help me document and film a story about why shark finning and killing sharks is detrimental to a healthy planet? By having them do this with me then maybe, through their eyes and influences, the public could see that sharks are not the man-eating killers they are often portrayed to be so I decided we should create a mini-documentary.
The next and perhaps even more pertinent question was if we could get a star involved. If we could convince a Korean actress or other celebrity or public personality who had never been in the water with sharks to first explain why they fear them and then get into the water with them to experience sharks first hand, this could perfectly illustrate our message and potentially be a life-changing, positive experience for them. We could document their initial thoughts, get them in the water, and then re-interview them to see if they had a different perspective. Then we'd educate them about how sharks are being slaughtered and hopefully they would help spread a message of love to help protect them with the #SaveMyFins message going forward.
Then I decided to take it a step further since this seemed interesting but not unique enough. How about letting the students themselves try to make the documentary from their point of view while adding the other ideas together. Furthermore, bringing other people to the mix to really add an element of surprise; like a person who had no hand and no leg but was on our expedition. They had no idea what happened to him and no one would tell them until towards the end of the trip when he did a presentation to the team that he was in fact attacked by a shark and lost a hand and leg in the process, yet he still supports saving sharks.
It sounded like a promising angle, so we decided to move forward with the "Save My Fins" project and campaign. In addition to the plans above, we will attempt to introduce the concept of alternative options for fisherman to find other sources of income that can sustain them and their families without having to fin sharks. All this important change will occur through the hearts and minds of the younger generation, the university students. Our journey begins...
The project goals - The documentary:
- Create a mini documentary using Korean film students from Seoul Institute of Arts (SIA)
- Allow the younger generation to develop and send a message that they think will be effective to their generation and future ones to come
- Take individuals who have never seen sharks in their natural ocean home and have them dive with them creating a life-changing experience
- Once they have dived with sharks, share that in a filmed documentary
- Explore and introduce the concept of economic alternatives to fisherman so they no longer have to fish for success
- Distribute the documentary on online sites to create awareness in Asia
- Taking one step at a time...