Saturday, 19 April 2008

NOAA's Shark Ark

The United states have made a two significant moves recently to protect its shark populations. The first is a draft bill by Hon Madeleine Z. Bordallo which aims to close certain loopholes in current legislation to protect sharks from finning at sea. However, this bill does not so far seem to require implementation of a clause by which sharks are required to be landed with fins attached. It might however prevent farcical events from occuring such as recently when a Hong Kong Shipping Company vessel "King Diamond II" loaded with 32 tonnes of fins was siezed under the 2000 Shark Finning Law in American waters. Prosecution failed after it was claimed that the vessel was not directly involved in fishing, but was a transport vessel collecting fins from smaller fishing boats. The HK Shipping Company reclaimed all of the fins.

More encouraging still is a proposal by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to protect coastal shark species such as the Sandbar Shark by banning the removal of fins, meaning that the shark must be landed whole. NOAA also proposes to reduce the catch quotas by a very significant level, and to ensure that takes of Sandbar sharks will only occur as part of a research fishery program. Read the full article on NOAA's site.

It is crucial that these efforts are supported, as you can bet that there will be plenty of fishing interests trying to make sure that they fail.
To support the Shark Conservation Act of 2008, Oceana have an online procedure which can be found here.

To support NOAA's proposals, you must email your support to the following email address:

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