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The official launch of the My Fin My Life campaign at Suria Sabah shopping mall.
© WWF-Malaysia / Mazidi Ghani

My Fin My Life campaign

Sharks have existed for more than 400 million years, but today, their populations are drastically declining due to humans. Annually, it is estimated that at least 100 million sharks are killed for their fins, meat, leather, liver oil and cartilage (National Geographic, 2013). 

At least 63 species of sharks are found in Malaysia, placing us in the 4th position in Southeast Asia after Indonesia (111 species), the Philippines (94 species) and Thailand (64 species). At least 84 species of rays are found, placing Malaysia in 2nd position after Indonesia (106 species).

Unfortunately, Malaysia is not a safe haven for these endangered species. We are ranked as the world’s ninth largest producer of shark products and third largest importer in volume terms (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, State of the Global Market for Shark Products report, 2015). In fact, 84% of imported shark fins were consumed domestically, and between 2004-2011, the volume of shark fin consumption has increased by an average of 54% per year.

To urgently address this problem of trade and consumption of shark fin and products in Malaysia, the My Fin My Life (MFML) 2016 campaign was incepted by WWF-Malaysia. The campaign’s objective was to bring together partners working on shark conservation and to pool resources to achieve better outcomes mainly with Malaysian Nature Society Selangor Branch Marine Group, Reef Check Malaysia, Sabah Shark Protection Association, Shark Savers Malaysia and Scuba Schools International. With a focus on consumers and businesses, MFML urged the public to pledge their support for shark conservation and protection by not consuming shark fin soup and any other shark products.

The My Fin My Life campaign received widespread support from several state governments, which saw them spreading the awareness on various threats to sharks to local communities. Notably, Penang and Sabah state governments’ commitment to this culminated in public events such as the FINtastic Run with 1200 participants and business dialogues in Penang and Kota Kinabalu, and media coverage in 139 articles.