Posts Tagged ‘shark fins’

Monday Moaning

Voters on shark conservation facing ‘undue pressure’

Several species of Hammerheads are among those under threat

Delegates at a conservation meeting in Thailand are expected to vote on proposals to extend protection to three vulnerable species of sharks.

But campaigners say undue “pressuring” of developing countries could swing Monday’s vote against the ban.

China and Japan are said to be using their trade connections to unfairly influence the outcome.

Japan denies exercising any unfair pressure, saying every delegation should vote based on their own beliefs.

An estimated 100 million sharks are killed by commercial fishing every year, researchers have recently reported.

They blame a huge appetite for shark-fin soup in China and Hong Kong for stimulating the trade.

The proposals at the Cites conservation meeting in Bangkok suggest protecting some of the most endangered species, who are highly valued for their fins.

These include the Oceanic whitetip, several species of Hammerheads and the Porbeagle shark as well as two types of manta ray which are hunted for their gill plates. These are used in some Chinese traditional medicines.

Blocking tactics

The amendments would not ban the fishing of these species, but would ensure that catches are regulated – meaning that importers and exporters would require permits.

But with support closely divided between those in favour of extending protection and those who want to keep the status quo, some campaigners claim that unfair and underhanded tactics are being used to block the proposal.

“There’s been a lot of shenanigans and pressuring of developing countries,” Dr Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Oceanic trust told BBC News at the meeting.

“It is going to be very close,” Dr Lieberman added.

Dr Lieberman said she believed that China and Japan were responsible for placing undue pressure on nations that do not have any great interest in the shark trade, especially countries in Africa and the Middle East.

She says they are concerned that a successful shark vote could set a precedent for regulating other fish species.

“Japan is not a big player in the shark trade but it is a philosophical issue. They don’t want Cites to deal with fisheries. They just want it off the table. For China, they just don’t want to implement this. ”

A large number of countries fish for shark but most trade goes through Hong Kong

One delegate who wished to remain anonymous told BBC News that pressure from China and Japan was the “usual procedure” at these meetings.

The BBC has seen an anonymous leaflet designed to remind delegates that regulating the trade in small number of threatened shark species would be damaging.

“The livelihoods of fishermen would decline,” it says. “No conservation benefits would accrue.”

It is expected that a secret ballot will be called on the shark proposal, according to Dr Colman O’Criodain, who is attending this meeting on behalf of WWF international.

Arm twisting

He also feels that China and Japan are bringing undue pressure on developing countries in particular.

“They certainly seem to be twisting arms from the feedback we are getting. They’re saying people have approached them,” he said.

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Opinion:

Fine let China use the fish from their own waters. Once they’re extinct there, don’t come looking in our waters.

Ban all exports of shark products to China.

China has to wake up and smell the coffee that their flagrant practices because it’s their traditional ‘medicine’ (which is crap anyway, just superstition) are damaging the planet for the rest of us.

Japan needs to pull its head in too. They are just adding fuel to the fire to protect their own disreputable whaling practices.

Any practice that uses only a part of an animal and discards the rest must be banned.

The world needs to seriously take a stance, you catch it, you use it… all.

Update!

The sharks win!

‘Historic’ day for shark protection

The oceanic whitetip is found in tropical and warm temperate seas

Three types of critically endangered but commercially valuable shark have been given added protection at the Cites meeting in Bangkok.

The body, which regulates trade in flora and fauna, voted by a two-thirds majority to upgrade the sharks’ status.

Campaigners hailed the move as historic and said the vote represented a major breakthrough for marine conservation.

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