What Else Can WWF Do To Reduce Shark Fin Consumption Research Proposals Examples
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Shark harvesting has become a worldwide activity. They are harvested for their meat sometimes but a more so they are harvested for their fins that have seen a lucrative fin trade grow and flourish especially in the Great China region and in Hong Kong. This fin trade in Hong Kong has seen an increased number of shark species being threatened with extinction. The number of endangered shark species multiplied by up to 12 times from only 15 species in 1996 to an estimated 180 in 2010 (Cerullo & Rotman, 2014).
The great demand for shark fin soup is the main reason for the collapse of the population of sharks. Most recent studies indicate that fins collected from about 100 million sharks are traded throughout the world every year. It is estimated in 2012 by the Hong Kong government that about 3,100 metric tons of shark fin was imported into the country. This trade could single handedly lead to the extinction of a large number of shark species (Cerullo & Rotman, 2014).
Sharks are very important creatures in the ecosystem. They are at the topmost of the oceanic food chain in essentially every portion of every ocean. They ensure that the fish are in proper proportion and that the other fish are healthy. Sharks are efficient eaters, they tend to go after the sick, slower, old fish and they keep the oceanic population healthier. They clean the marine life populations to the right size so that the prey species are not harmful in the ecosystem by becoming overpopulated. They also keep vital habitats and sea grass beds healthy (Clarke & Gulland, 2008).
History of shark fin soup
It is believed that in AD 968, an emperor in the Sung Dynasty in China, in a bid to show case how powerful, generous and wealthy he was to his banquet guests, where he served shark fins. After that, serving expensive dishes was a sign of great stature in the society and shark fins were categorized in the big four dishes. These dishes were representative of a variety of things in the Chinese culture, including health and prosperity in a traditional feast (Cerullo & Rotman, 2014).
We would aim to find out:
The shark protection campaigns that have been organized by WWF in Hong Kong
Causes of positive changes on the public’s shark fin consumption behaviour
Effectiveness of the WWF positive changes
Suggestions that WWF could employ to promote reduction of shark fin consumption in Hong Kong
This study will answer and address the following questions
Explore both advertising and education campaigns in Hong Kong conducted by WWF concerning shark conservation
Find out the effect of the shark protection implementation on the residents of Hong Kong on their shark fin consumption behaviour
Reasons for the WWF effects
Use secondary data from researches conducted as a bench mark to evaluate the effectiveness of the WWF work
Suggest areas of improvement on the WWF environmental education activities
This study would help uncover whether the WWF has done enough in shark conservation or if more can be done, and specify those areas of improvement.
Many studies on shark fin consumption have been conducted including “Evidence of decline in shark fin demand in China”, all go out to show that the shark fin consumption is a major threat to the oceanic life and the bans by the Chinese government are well in order (Azike, 2010).
Large consumption of shark fins in Hong Kong lead to it being declared as the world’s shark fin capital. This has however changed with a gradual decline in importation of shark fins by the Chinese. In 2014, the Maldives fisheries minister admitted that they are steadily phasing out shark fin imports (Sky& Saroff, 2014). He called on the retailers and restaurants in Hong Kong, where close to half of the shark fins global trade takes place to look for substitutes. By 2023, it is expected that the world consumption of seafood would have reached about 20.9 kg per capital (MacCormick, 2014).
China’s government declared it would not be serving shark’s fin soup in their official banquets, which is a move that was foreshadowed by green group movements all over the world. This is the first of many steps and the ban is likely to take many years to come to be fully implemented. In a bid to curb shark fin consumption, the Hong Kong government has officially issued a shark fin ban for their approved dinning (Azike, 2010). Following suit, Hong Kong has banned the shark fin soup in their official events and has humbly requested the civil servants who visit hotels and restaurants not to eat shark fin soup along other endangered species like black moss and Bluefin tuna (MacCormick, 2014).This is a very bold step by the government to conserve sharks. This internal ban sends a solid message to the larger public in Hong Kong to refuse to consume shark fins. With endorsement from the government, WWF hopes that more people will support this action and refuse to serve and consume shark fin (Sky& Saroff, 2014).
It is encouraging to note that so far, more than 150 corporations have vowed not to serve this dish despite it being highly preferred due to its believed curative properties. Another challenge to this ban is that this delicacy at wedding banquets because it is relatively cheaper than its substitutes, bird’s nest soup or abalone (Topelko & Dearden).
Further, shark fin importation has reduced by two thirds, from 12,000 tons which was the total shark fin imported ten years ago, including salted, dried and shark fins preserved in brine. Beyond the announcement on shark fin ban from the Hong Kong government, gusts for local shark’s fin traders among others include; a clampdown on corruption across borders in mainland China. This has greatly dented appetites of many things, including shark fins (Cerullo & Rotman, 2014).
Sharks are killed for their fins used to make fin soup that is assumed to have cultural value, but is not as important for human survival as it is for the ecosystem. When the ecosystem is destroyed, it can result to the loss of important foods that human beings depend on for survival (Clarke & Gulland, 2008).
Qualitative phase/case study
A qualitative approach uses open end interviewing to explore and understand attitudes, opinions, feelings and behaviour of individuals or a group of individuals. It allows interviewees to express opinions and ideas in their own words. The interviews are done using a discussion guide which helps focus the interview without locking the interviewer into a fixed set of questions in a rigid order and with specific wording. This is a flexible approach that allows interviewee responses to guide the interaction and helps shape the order and structure of the interview. Data would be gathered through focus group discussions.
Focus group discussions
We propose to conduct a total of 8 focus group discussions among sea food consumers and retailers in Hong Kong; 4 groups would be among consumers split by age, social economic class and gender, the other 4 groups would be among middle and small scale sea food retailers with a quota of those who are still serving shark fin dishes.
We also propose to conduct 5 in-depth interviews in Hong Kong only with experts in shark fin consumption and retailing. This technique is valuable where:
A rich and detailed understanding of the subject matter is required
The respondents are experts who would acquire adequate time to share views, experiences and recommendations.
It is difficult to assemble a certain caliber of target respondents in a group.
This approach involves the use of numeric data which:
Is easy to apply various analytical techniques
Huge data bases can be analyzed by coding
Results from quantitative data are accurate devoid of subjectivity from qualitative analysis
Allows for trending if a similar study is conducted in future
We propose to collect data through a countrywide survey by conducting 2,000 random, one-on-one interviews with everyone who has ever consumed sea foods, male and females, all social economic classes, 18 years and above. We would have a quota of about 400 shark fin consumers.
Summary of research design
Project set up and briefing would take 5 days and thereafter data collection would begin and is likely to take 21 working days. Data analysis and report writing would take a total of 14 working days.
We would ensure the following measures are put in place to have correct and reliable data collected. The interview guides/questionnaires shall go through scrutiny to ensure that they capture all the information areas in order to meet the objectives of the study, the Project Manager would brief and trains the moderators on how to conduct the FGDs, all discussions are recorded with the permission of the respondents to ensure that no data captured is left out during transcription in the qualitative phase.
After the briefing, the interviewers shall conduct pilot interviews. This shall aid in establishing any problem that the instrument may have.
Azike, O. (2010). Regulating the shark fin market in China.
Cerullo, M., & Rotman, J. (n.d.) (2014). Journey to shark island: A shark photographer's close encounters.
Clarke, S., & Gulland, E. (2008). Social, economic and regulatory drivers of the shark fin trade. Portsmouth: Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources, University of Portsmouth.
MacCormick, A. (2014). Man-Eaters of the World True Accounts of Predators Hunting Humans. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.
Sky, S., & Saroff, P. (2014). Shark Fin Soup a Novel. New York: Oceanview Publishing.
Topelko, K., & Dearden, P. (n.d.). The Shark Watching Industry and Its Potential Contribution To Shark Conservation. Journal of Ecotourism, 108-128.
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