Charles Frew is actively involved with shark conservation, shark diving, underwater filming and marine impact assessments. He is an award-winning videographer; his overseas assignments with international film companies have taken him to some of the remotest regions of Asia-Pacific in search of elusive and spectacular marine life.
Charles Frew is raising awareness in the Hong Kong community about Sharks and how they are treated particularly in respect to the Shark Fin Industry.
Charles commitment to sharks began just before 1998 when putting together the four and a half minute film called “A shark fin story” which got awarded “THE BEST SHOW OF THE YEAR”; in the Underwater Images 2002 Competition (USA). The short film outlines the cruel fate of a shark and its fins.
The main issue Charles is facing is a complete lack of awareness in the community about the Shark Fin industry and the negative impacts it is having on shark populations globally. To combat this lack of awareness Charles is focused on influencing school children and through them adults about the choice they have when choosing to eat Shark Fin products (particularly soup).
About 80% of the supply of shark fins globally, passes through Hong Kong, although eating of shark fin soup happens across most of Asia. Fishing for these fins happens everywhere around the world.
As an underwater film maker Charles had the coincidence of taking some shark footage. He was moved to take action when wanting to get more footage he was not able to find sharks in the wild to film. Now the driving force is to give back to sharks for the joy they have provided to him.
One of the highlights for Charles in Hong Kong was having Disney Resorts in Hong Kong during 2004/05 take shark fin off the Wedding Banquet menu (due to pressure from a global campaign which was in newspapers worldwide). Unfortunately other large hotels or restaurants still have not followed.
When asked about hopes and visions for the future Charles shared the following: “Currently it does look like a bleak world underwater. In Hong Kong people see the oceans as overfished, polluted and not worth considering. I see a world ahead where sharks are a valued resource and not just a commodity traded with out any respect for their short or long term welfare or for the state of the seas. The year 2009 being the Year of the Shark has great potential for a shift in awareness off sharks globally.”