David aka WhySharksMatter must be over the moon!
If you thought that Southern Fried Science was the exclusive realm of a cabal of blogging eggheads (and bloody Liberals!), think again!
His latest post about the European Shark finning ban has now clearly gone mainstream, as witnessed by the avalanche of insightful comments that are clearly propelling Shark conservation to the next level. Please do participate in the lively debate and do not forget to add plenty of IMPORTANT statements in CAPS LOCK, true to the cosmic rule of thumb that the more CAPS LOCKs, the more Sharks are being saved!
Elsewhere, the disinformation campaign by the fin industry continues.
This time we got ourselves a veritable professor, Dai Xiaojie, from the Shanghai Ocean University no less, and you can read his regurgitations here or in a more translated version here.
True to the usual strategy of mixing fact and fiction, the man is once again certainly crafty when he talks about inevitable accidental bycatch (true, but it can be greatly reduced!) and the waste of throwing away food, etc etc. Where he is clearly lying or simply doesn't understand what is talking about (yes such things are known to happen!) is here and I cite.
Despite the overcapacity in fishing, if a shark is still alive when caught, we should set it free. But the reality is, most of the sharks are already dead due to lack of oxygen or entanglement. In this case, the dead sharks should be used, including their fins.
Otherwise, it would be a waste of resources.
(Caps lock!) TOTAL BOLLOCKS!
Especially when longlining for Tuna, soak time is kept at the absolute minimum in order to bring up the Tuna alive where they are much more valuable - and consequently, the vast majority of Sharks are caught alive (we've all seen the videos!) and if released, they have a very high chance of survival!
It is also a well known practice in the global Tuna longline industry to pay minimum wages (if at all) to the crews but to let them keep and sell the (finned) Shark fins. As a consequence, those crews engage in targeted fishing for Sharks by adding wire leaders, changing the bait and also the depth of the lines, etc. The industry has a great vested interest in allowing this as it reduces their overhead and even adds income as traditionally, 20-25% of the proceeds go to the boat owners.
And what about the retention of the dead Sharks (fins and meat)?
Although logical, it opens up a huge loophole requiring 100% coverage by (incorruptible) observers and constitutes the exact mechanism bemoaned by the hypocritical professor whereby law enforcement costs would increase dramatically!
Until better management measures are being put into place, I reiterate that those fin bans remain the best, most practicable and easiest, and thus cheapest to enforce solution - especially in the lesser developed countries where the bulk of the slaughter takes place!
Coming from him, the appeal to reduce overfishing and IUU, whilst true and urgently mandated is just hollow rhetoric aimed at detracting from the problem at hand and prolonging any meaningful Shark conservation measures ad infinitum.
Anyway, just my two cents as usual.
Please keep commenting on David's post.
And don't forget the IMPORTANT CAPS LOCK!
For the Sharks!! Fins Up and all!