Kathy Xu runs an eco business, The Dorsal Effect which makes a positive difference to sharks.
What’s your story?
I run an ecotourism business, The Dorsal Effect, in Lombok, fuelled by the need to conserve sharks through alternative livelihoods for shark fishermen.
What excites you most about your industry?
That conservation work through a for profit eco-enterprise can be a very long and tiring journey but seeing the shark fishermen excited about making a positive difference to the coral reefs and the tourists on the boat trips we run, brings the greatest joy and encouragement.
I love giving school talks to children about sharks. Their enthusiasm excites me.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Well Asia is one of the largest consumers of shark fin soup and most of the sharks landed in Lombok Indonesia are reprocessed to be distributed to countries like Singapore. If the tide for shark conservation has to turn, Asia is the best hotspot to start it.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Haven’t done much business anywhere else but the Thai and Australian ecotourism outfits really impress and encourage me. They are strict about maintaining the wild and the environment and maintain that tourists take the conservation message seriously too.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t take everything personally and let your emotions get in the way. There’s always a way to fight for the long run and you need to collect relevant data to back up your fight.
Who inspires you?
Lesley Rochet! She’s an amazing shark conservationist and free diver in South Africa.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That Singapore is the second largest importer of shark products and there isn’t enough transparency on the traceability of shark sources that come into Singapore!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, I love the way life unfolds.
How do you unwind?
Jumping into the ocean!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Philippines! So many amazing dive and snorkel spots and lots of sharks to spot!
Everyone in business should read this book:
Originals by Adam Grant
Shameless plug for your business:
Travelling can be a responsible affair that’s kind to the environment. Come for a trip with The Dorsal Effect to make a positive difference to sharks while having responsible fun!
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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