Asia: A strategic priority
Asia is an area of strategic priority for marine conservation work, since the region catches, processes and consumes most of the world’s fish. Asia also has, statistically, the greatest pressure on its coastlines, yet dedicated marine conservation barely exists. BLOOM has noted a large number of pressing issues which require ambitious, extensive and strategic intervention, and has decided to start to take appropriate action in Hong Kong.
Why Hong Kong?
In early 2009, BLOOM set up an office in Hong Kong, because few places have such a catastrophic environmental record. Hong Kong’s waters, once alive with manta rays, green sea turtles and hammerhead sharks, have been exploited to such an extent that fisheries have collapsed, and the ecosystem’s productivity has been lost. At the turn of the 21st century, the average weight of fish caught in Hong Kong was 10 grams; that is three times lighter than a sparrow. Moreover, Hong Kong’s waters are full of toxins and heavy metals.
Unsustainable eating habits
Asian eating habits, when it comes to seafood, particularly those of the Chinese in Hong Kong, are highly unsustainable. Hong Kong’s marine footprint is alarming, with 62 kg of seafood consumed by each inhabitant each year, compared to a world average of 16.4kg. Despite having a very large surrounding maritime area, Hong Kong imports 90% of the seafood products it consumes every year. In Hong Kong, more than anywhere else in the world, the abundant choice of fish hides the real problems.
The hidden services Nature provides, the true costs to the environment
These staggering statistics mean that Hong Kong’s fish consumption (particularly of sharks, groupers, wrasses and snappers) by far exceeds the sustainable production levels of fisheries. Hong Kong alone consumes around 25% of the biological production capacity of reef fish for the whole of South-East Asia. On top of this, Hong Kong is the world’s greatest importer of shark fins, despite the fact that certain shark species are on the verge of extinction ( with up to 99.99% decline for some species in the Mediterranean).
Our action for sharks
BLOOM’s actions in Hong Kong are focused on sharks, with the aim of educating children and the public. We work with visionary private partners who have understood that the world has fallen into an unprecedented ecological crisis, and that unprepared societies will be the first to suffer.
After a long collaboration with the University of Hong Kong and an in-depth study on Hong Kong’s shark consumption habits(read the study Survey on shark consumption habits and attitudes in Hong-Kong_April 2011), BLOOM conducted an awareness campaign targeting luxury hotels, in order to persuade them to stop selling shark products.
Just three years after the establishment of the Hong Kong office, BLOOM’s actions have known phenomenal success