Say goodbye to shark’s fin and hello to empurau

At the Alternative to Shark’s Fin Soup Exhibition held at Imago on 11 Nov, the message was loud and clear.

We’re going to have to do more than what we’re doing if we really want to save our sharks.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in KK, was organised by Royal Empurau (a brand of Go Seafood Sdn Bhd). The Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA), Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah and U.S. Embassy lent their support.

At the event, chefs and restaurateurs whipped up tasty dishes using empurau fish provided by Royal Empurau. No shark’s fin here. Then, members of the public joined in the fun and lent their tastebuds!

If you’re fishing for an alternative to shark’s fin, the empurau may be the choice for you.

Go Seafood CEO Mikhail Harris said the exhibition aims to raise awareness on the reality behind this age-old delicacy and shark’s fin products’ impact on the environment.

“While SSPA heads up the legal side of things in this battle to save our sharks and environment, we at Royal Empurau are seeking to meet the demand. This means finding suitable and culturally-appropriate alternatives to shark’s fin,” he told Carrybeans.

So what’s the empurau?

The empurau is a freshwater fish native to Borneo, known for its unique diet of fruits and Sarawak’s engkabang fruit (the illipe nut). Its scales are also edible and collagen-filled, making the species highly sought-after… and pricey too.

Yes, this species of fishy goodness costs around RM2,000/kilogramme. A worthy (and sustainable) opponent to the shark’s fin, we’d say.

Royal Empurau COO Chua Hua Beng pointed out that many restaurants and hotels are dropping shark’s fin soup from their menus. However, they struggle to find a luxury equivalent that is sustainable and taste-worthy.

“There has to be an alternative that runs with the three core elements of sustainable development: nature, economy and society. With a solid aquaculture system (controlled diet and environment), we’ve been able to produce the Royal Empurau as just that,” he said.

“Understand first, then you can respect the law,” says Masidi

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun told Carrybeans that for any policy to be effective, it cannot just be law.

It’s really about whether the people respect the law or not. And for people to respect the law, they must understand and respect why the law was made in the first place. So to me, I always believe the best law is the unwritten law, which is the knowledge behind choosing to do what you do,” he said after visiting the exhibition.

Masidi further said that as Sabahans, we should be looking beyond our lifetimes. Formulating policies and habits now is important because it will impact future generations.

“Good leadership should see the future rather than just what is happening now,” he said.

Inspiring words, sir! If we want to save our sharks, respect the law and find alternatives for our next lavish meal.

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