Our Story



Kathy Xu is the founder of The Dorsal Effect. She was a secondary school History teacher for 7 years in Singapore before quitting her teaching job to start The Dorsal Effect in 2012. Having constantly shared with her students about ocean health, animal welfare and conservation issues, she figured it was only right to step out of teaching and walk the talk she was constantly giving.

With an aim to stop shark fishing on the supply side, The Dorsal Effect provides alternative livelihood for shark fishermen by getting ex shark fishermen in Lombok, Indonesia, to lead snorkelling boat trips for tourists. Because who would know the oceans and their boats better than the ex shark fishermen themselves? 

Being an educator in the core of her being, Kathy also crafts and run marine conservation themed service and environmental learning trips for schools, in order to deepen students’ understanding of the complexity behind the shark fishing industry.


To promote shark conservation and sustainable livelihood through equitable monthly income for exploited shark fishermen generated by ecotourism and educational awareness. With tourists coming on day boat excursions being taken out by the shark fishermen, fishermen will realise that sharks around their waters are worth a lot more alive than dead and provides for a more stable income with an avenue of being home with their family every night rather than be out at sea for days on end and risk having their wives leave them or family falling apart. With more sharks in the oceans and a chance to regenerate as well, the marine ecosystem is kept in balance and hence the global ecosystem is put in order as well.


To provide future generations with a chance to see sharks alive in the oceans, rather than only through picture books. Protecting the apex predators like sharks also helps maintain the marine ecosystem that provides vital services like oxygen generation. Ultimately, this helps the human species by keeping the balances in the earth’s ecosystems.


“I want to live in a world where my children, and my children’s children can still see sharks alive in the oceans.” – Kathy Xu (The Dorsal Effect Website)



Everything about the boat trip was excellent! The boat was clean and comfortable, and our new friend Augs and the ex-shark fishermen who brought us out took very good care of us. The water was crystal clear and we snorkeled in some of the best reefs we've ever seen. 🙂
Clarissa Sih
Customer, 2019
An amazing social enterprise with meaningful marine eco-tour. Very personal and warm service and enlightening guides. Highly recommend it for a purposeful trip.
Ibrahim Iqbal
Ibrahim Iqbal
Customer, 2015
Saving the planet (literally!) One Shark at a time. Thank You for doing this, Kathy you're wonderful!
Rhonda Woodfine
Rhonda Woodfine
Customer, 2015
Enjoyed the day of snorkeling very much. This is a great cause to make a contribution towards
Daphne Chen
Daphne Chen
Customer, 2014

The Dorsal Effect