SAVING SHARKS.jpg

Aaron’s love for sharks stretches back for over a decade. Living in the heart of Asia, he has witnessed both ends of the shark fin trade: From the beautiful awe-inspiring animal we see in the ocean, to the pointless end product in a bowl of soup.

Sharks are not the fictional sea monsters of the movies. Having dived with sharks all over the world, this is a fact Aaron knows only too well.

Today, sharks face the very real threat of extinction. While many shark species are officially protected by law, over 70 million of them are still being slaughtered each year for a cruel and absolutely unsustainable trade. It is ironic that this Asian ‘delicacy’ has actually been proven to contain no medicinal or nutritional value, with random samples of shark fin having even shown high levels of mercury poisoning. Profit for a few, coupled with a deep misunderstanding of sharks, continue to fuel this meaningless slaughter against all better judgment.

As a commercial and advertising photographer, Aaron has long understood the power of an image and that in the world of advertising, beauty sells -this was a factor missing in most shark-awareness campaigns of the past. Noting that, Aaron developed an idea in 2008 for an advertising campaign that was to feature black and white portraits of celebrities covering their mouths in statement. Instead of the usual images of dead sharks with too much fine prints, these bold portraits not only offered viewers something pleasant to look at, but also make it easier for the general public to relate to an issue through the familiar faces of celebrities.

In February 2012, Aaron shared this idea with Shark Savers Singapore and together, they kick started the ‘FINished with FINS’ campaign. What began with a few simple shoots quickly gained media attention. Soon, the idea became a nation-wide campaign with many local celebrities, athletes and decision-makers taking personal pledges through their photos.

With hard work of the Shark Savers team and partners, the National Geographic Channel, World Wildlife Foundation and WildAid, ‘FINished with FINS’ has now been launched in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and China. Today, it is the largest shark-awareness campaign of its kind in the world.

We live on a blue planet surrounded by 71% of oceans. And oceans need sharks. This is an unfaltering fact. Please spread the message and save these sharks. Join Aaron Wong in his pledge against a cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade.