The Dorsal Effect

The Dorsal Effect

Why the name, The Dorsal Effect?

The dorsal fins are one of the fins commonly taken by shark fishermen for export for soup, but the word “dorsal” also means back, and since Kathy wanted to end shark fishing on the supply side of the chain by providing the shark fishermen with ecotourism as an alternative source of livelihood, it came to mean the work on the back end of the shark fishing and finning trade as well, hence, The Dorsal Effect, ie, the back end effect of positive change for shark. Conservation of shark through conversion of shark fishermen hiring them to take tourists out for snorkeling boat trips instead that set off from the very fish market that dead sharks are hauled in daily.

Kathy Xu

Founder of The Dorsal Effect

Kathy is the founder of The Dorsal Effect. Having been a school teacher for 7 years and constantly advocating for her students to do good throughout her teaching career, Kathy decided to walk the talk and stepped out of the teaching profession to start The Dorsal Effect in 2013.

Triggered by an intense experience while swimming alongside a whale shark in Exmouth, Australia, back in 2011, Kathy decided she wanted to do something so that future generations could still see sharks alive rather than extinct and confined to just picture books. After learning about the shark fishing and finning situation and the demand for shark fin soup, Kathy started volunteering on the education arm of Shark Savers Singapore (and still is!) It wasn’t long before she decided that more should be done on the supply side other than the demand side for shark fin soup as well, and soon found herself in Lombok talking to shark fishermen.

Founder of The Dorsal Effect


Kontinentalist Logo

Kontinentalist uses maps to tell compelling stories. Our focus is Asia, and our mission is to enhance the region’s voice in the global narrative.

Alien Adventure
Alien Adventure

At AlienAdv we believe adventure is for everyone. Our mission is to find and present activities that make up unforgettable active holidays in unique places.

Ace Adventure
Ace Adventure

Ace Adventure Expeditions is an adventure outfitter based in Singapore. Founded in 1999, Ace Adventure has become the benchmark of quality in the adventure community. We have established a good reputation in organizing and leading mountain climbing expeditions to the Himalayas, the Seven Summits, all around Asia and beyond.


EarthyTrip is a platform for travel experiences centred around conservation & social-environmental impact

X-Trekkers Adventure Consultants
X-Trekkers Adventure Consultants

X-Trekkers has been organizing overseas outdoor adventure programmes for several years. Renowned for its vast variety of overseas outdoor options, X-Trekkers is constantly evolving to better suit its customers.

Yuen Law LLC
Yuen Law LLC

Yuen Law LLC is a Singapore law practice founded in 2012. Yuen Law LLC is an award winning law firm that was named “Boutique Private Client Law Firm” in 2016, “Client’s Choice for Boutique Private Client Choice” and “Fast Emerging Law Firm” in 2015. We provide a full range of legal services and specialise in providing sound, practical and cost-effective legal advice on commercial, corporate,intellectual property and private client matters.”

Bar Corporate
Bar Corporate
Potato Productions Logo
Potato Production
Potato Production

Potato Productions is a group of companies focuses on education, startups, storytelling and all forms of engagement through the Internet.


Individual advocates we'd like to acknowledge in gratitude

Viknesh Kastor

Bryan Ng

Andrew Lim

Caroline Pang

Ong E H

Leong Wai Kit

Wong Yuen Lik

Ruby Thiagarajan

Wong Wei Yuet

Naomi Clark Shen

Samuel Yuen

Nikola Piesinger

Lee Han Shih

Goh Wena


Organizations that have supported us with grants and product sponsorship.

Rufford Small Grants Foundation 2016 awardee
UW360, our kind membership and dive magazine product sponsors and partner since 2016
Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative Seeds for the Future Grant winner 2015
Singapore International Foundation Young Social Entrepreneurs Award 2013 winner