Thanks to this one man, killing sharks for their fins is down 50% … and he’s just getting started!

Yao Ming is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who played in the NBA. He was selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game eight times, and was named to the All-NBA Team five times. At the time of his final season, he was the tallest active player in the NBA, at 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in)

In his home country of China, shark fin soup had become so popular that the country became the largest market for shark fin. While there isn’t much meat in the fin itself, the dish was considered something of a status symbol. As more people were able to afford to order shark fin soup, our sharky friends paid the price — with their lives.

A shocking 1 in 4 shark species is now endangered.

The number of sharks in our seas has been steadily decreasing for decades. About 100 million sharks a year are killed — 73% of those are targeted for their fins, which are usually cut off before the shark is left to die.

That’s why Yao teamed up with the conservation nonprofit WildAid to spread the word that shark fin soup is bad news. Since launching with the slogan “When the buying stops, the killing can too,” a huge shift has occurred. The campaign has been credited with cutting the number of sharks killed for their fins by 50 percent.

Thanks to Yao’s campaign with WildAid, support for a shark fin soup ban has skyrocketed in China.

Until recently, many Chinese didn’t even know that shark fin soup came from sharks. (The Mandarin translation is “fish wing soup.”) Now, surveys show that a whopping 91% support a nationwide ban of shark fin consumption. While the ban hasn’t happened yet, the Chinese government has banned shark fin soup at its state dinners.

Now that’s some news to dance about!

The shark fin soup campaign’s success proves that knowledge really is power.

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