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LONDON, England -- Shark conservation charity, Bite-Back chose yesterday, Halloween, to launch a shocking real life horror film that exposes the gory truth about the shark fishing industry and the controversial practice of 'finning' live sharks at sea. In 24 hours the film has had over 3,100 views.
Set to a haunting soundtrack, the 45 second black and white commercial, developed by the London advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, has been created to lift the lid on the cruel and barbaric practice that contributes to the death of more than 36 million sharks every year.
Deemed 'too graphic' for television the film has been given an 18-certificate cinema rating, but can been seen on YouTube via the www.bite-back.com website.
Campaign director for Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: "Maybe this is the scariest thing anyone will see this Halloween but, the world needs to be aware of this atrocity to the underwater world."
With a market value of around £200 per kilo, shark fins have become one of the most lucrative seafood items in the world. As a result, unscrupulous fishermen are motivated to systematically slice fins off living sharks before dumping carcasses overboard. Unable to swim, the sharks endure a slow death on the sea floor.
The bodies, worth less at market than fins, are discarded because they can contaminate other catches and take up valuable space in the hold.
The boom in demand for shark fin soup is blamed for the rapid rise in the numbers of sharks being hunted. Once the reserve of Chinese Emperors, shark fin soup is now consumed around the world.
Already Bite-Back knows of 80 restaurants in the UK currently selling shark fin soup. It is now calling on the British public to help report every restaurants profiting from this horrific practice, so the charity can encourage them to stop.
So far the charity has enrolled the support of Gordon Ramsay, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bear Grylls, Martin Clunes, Monty Halls and Ben Fogle and it expects other celebrity shark-fans to join in.
Chef and television presenter, Gordon Ramsay, said: "Demand for shark fin soup plays a significant part in this beautiful species' threatened extinction and Bite-Back, who work tirelessly to campaign and promote the conservation of sharks and other marine life, needs all of our support."
It is estimated that 90% of the world's big sharks have been wiped out in the past 60 years and that 20 species of sharks could become extinct by 2017. The relentless removal of an apex predator from the ocean has been described as and elaborate and giant game of Jenga. According to the charity, if enough sharks are removed the whole marine food web will collapse.
Campaign director for Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: "Restaurants that continue to sell shark fin soup are endorsing an underwater genocide. Dwindling shark populations can't wait for government intervention; we must implement change on moral grounds. If we can end the sale of shark fin soup in Britain it will send a clear signal to the rest of the world to follow and dramatically reduce the need to hunt sharks for their fins."
So far the campaigning group has succeeded in halting the sale of shark fin soup in more than 20 UK restaurants including the country's only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan.
For more information about the film visit www.bite-back.com