Wednesday, 28 April 2010

First No Bus...

Good News is like public transport. You wait for ever for a bus and then two appear at once. Well, it happened like that for sharks this week. I have been holding off on writing a blog for a while as most of the shark conservation world has been hanging on to hear whether the Hawaiian Shark Fin law would be passed and today we received the news that yes the bill had passed with only one contrary 'no' vote from the original instigator of breaking the bill's passage a few weeks ago. No surprise there then.
Hawaii Shark Fin Ban bill - SB2169 now outlaws the posession, sale and distribution of shark fins in the state of Hawaii. This will hopefully send out a clear signal to other ocean nations who are capable of imposing such a measure of control over their ocean heritage.
Not only is this success a mark of intuition and bravery by Hawaiians who wish to protect their precious marine resources, it is also a demonstrative measure of the power of the internet, and how unified voices of shark advocates from around the globe united to bring a wave of support to help move this legislation through the senate. It would be wrong at this point to state immaturely that we had become 'an unstoppable force' or even something to be remotely 'reckoned with'. We are too close to coming out of the other side of the recent CITES disaster, and the thoughts that many of us held before and during the Doha conference, that the world 'had' to listen to us are too fresh in our minds.
Indeed, if anything, this Hawaiian victory is a perfect example of why CITES might never work as a convention for international conservation requirements. Many of the failures at CITES pointed to the fact that regional fisheries management plans should sway the control over regulations direly needed to protect sharks and other endangered species. Bill - SB2169 is a perfect example of how such local pressure, supported by global interest, can indeed sway the balance in our favour.

The second piece of good news to come whizzing into the inbox today was that Robin Culler's Shark Finatics have been nominated for Oceana's Ocean Hero award. Robin is a regular contributor to The Shark Group discussion board where we get regular updates about her students, who make a big deal about shark conservation in their class studies. You can join the Shark Finatics facebook page, and take a look at their nomination and other nominees at Oceana's voting page here.

Unfortunately, it was not all good news this week, as a fishing vessel with 100 blue sharks on board were captured in the Galapagos National Park. It was the second time this vessel had been intercepted in Galapagos waters. Once question. Why is it still floating?

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