Save a shark, ride a boat

The best thing you can do to further the cause for shark protection at the moment is plan a vacation to Lombok.

There, visionary Kathy Xu is working with local shark fisherman to turn away from overfishing sharks and lead tourism trips around remote spots of the island instead. And these boats aren’t the sort of party boats you hop on from Bali to Gili T. No, the boat trips are a part of Xu’s ecotourism project The Dorsal Effect and will get you off that dreaded beaten track and feeling the local charm instead. Bali may be super built up with tourists running amok but its sister island to the east still has that local charm that hasn’t been spoilt by Lonely Planet and McD’s quite yet. 

Warning: the first 30 seconds contains graphic content

The video above was made by Our Better World, a Singapore International Foundation Initiative. Xu’s success in the foundation’s young Social Entrepreneur’s program in 2013 helped direct her business plan and secure her funding, transforming her vision into a concrete project. 

“Over time I saw that the fishermen were getting happier doing this, and they started taking ownership over the boat trips,” Xu told HuffPost. Xu’s project is a part of a larger movement to protect now ever increasingly-endangered sharks. Millions of sharks are hunted solely for their fins, a major delicacy in countries like Hong Kong and China. In Lombok, local fishermen have been dependent on sharks for their bread and butter. 

Not only does the Dorsal Effect shift fishermen’s attention from hunting sharks to sustainable tourism, but it also negotiated best practices like picking up trash (god only knows there are islands of it around Bali) and anchoring boats on sand instead of coral (how many times have we gone on snorkeling trips in Bali to have instructors standing directly on the coral?). 

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