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Basketball star Yao Ming's new public service announcement for WildAid is asking people in China to think twice before ordering shark fin soup.

Many shark species are nearing extinction as sharks are being stripped of fins and left to flounder helplessly until they die on the ocean floor. “If you could see, each year, how up to 70 million sharks are killed to end up in soup, could you still eat it?” goes the PSA.

Besides the disturbing aspect of de-finning, the loss of shark populations has some serious repercussions. Sharks play a key role in the marine ecosystem from fish populations to carbon-dioxide-consuming phytoplankton to healthy reef systems. Without sharks, former prey flourishes and this affects everything down the food chain line.

Determined to save the species and the oceans, Shark Savers, an organisation created by six divers who have witnessed the massive depletion of shark populations, are attempting to educate people past a fear of sharks.

In a joint awareness effort, Shark Savers and WildAid are offering billboards of Yao Ming’s “Say ‘no’ to shark fin soup” campaign, which people can fund for $100. Each billboard would be placed in a busy location throughout Beijing and Shanghai for one year.

“Remember,” says Ming, pushing away a bowl of shark fin soup, “when the buying stops, the killing can too.”

You can fund a billboard by cheque, creditcard or payola.

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