Monday, 28 June 2010

The Way of the Dragon

Heavyweight environmental bloggers, Mongabay, have published a very insightful piece on their site today, in a revealing interview with Grace de Gabriel, Director IFAW Asia. The post is a transcript of an interview originally aired on the radio show 'The Wildlife with Laurel Neme'.

The main interest of the interview is the deep cultural dependency from some sectors of Chinese society on traditional medicine, and how that is clashing with efforts to conserve the last remaining wild tigers on the Asian sub-continent. This revealing insight into what is probably one of the conservation sector's most urgent battles raises issues that are commonly encountered in shark conservation. What can us marine conservationist hope to learn from this scenario? One would think that, having estimated that there are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, that us humans would have an easy time in convincing perpetrators of tiger crimes that it is time to hang up the traps and guns. Sadly, the Mongabay Article reveals that quite the opposite is true....
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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Whaling Talks Break without result

The blogosphere has started humming after the IWC talks in Morocco are reported to have ended without a solution. Therefore, the status quo will be upheld, i.e. whaling is still illegal, but those who deem that law non applicable will continue to break it. Japan, Iceland and Norway all currently kill whales illegally and conservation groups go out in their boats and try to stop them. This will now officially continue as before. It seems that not enough common ground could be met during the talks on which the opposing sides could hope to broker a deal.
Am I cynical enough to wager that Japan thought their long term benefit would be best served if the talks failed? Did they orchestrate the failure of the IWC talks, whilst the conservation lobby walked away thinking they might have scored a victory?
Hmmmmm I need a few more coffees before I try to answer that one. In the meanwhile, click on over to Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Blog that is usually about shark conservation but, but they have currently made space for a little Whale Discussion.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Japan Corrupts

I'm always one for a good consipiracy theory, in this world of ours that at times seems so boringly difficult, it is somewhat relieving to feel that it should not be like this were it not for those darkened souls that are deep within the mechanisms of society, working the agenda for their own super-enrichment. Unfortunately consiracy theorists are often poo-pooed for being extreme and mistrusting malefactors, who unnecessarily upset the status quo.

However, a pair of brave and virtuous reporters at The Sunday Times have been burrowing way beneath the surface of the shimmering mire that is international diplomacy. During preparations for next week's meeting of members of the International Whaling Commission in Morrocco, they unconvered some iritating truths about the commercial power of Japan. At the conference in Agadir,the end of the international 24 year moratorium on whaling is at stake, and Japan is doing its very dirty best to make sure that commercial whaling will be relegalised.
No doubt spurred into action by the disgusting tactics by Japan at the recent CITES conference in Doha, where the Japanese pilfered and plied marine resources from under our noses with promises of enrichment in return for votes, the Times reporters posed as lobbyists working on behalf of a made up swiss billionaire and attempted to corrupt the voting process with hefty bribes.

You can read an excerpt below and a link to the original article is here

"Doreen de Brum, the chief fishing policy adviser to the Marshall Islands, was the next official to meet the reporters. She seemed keen on taking up the reporters’ offer of aid to switch the vote.

Reporter: Do you think ... that would create a problem with Japan and maybe cease their funding?

De Brum: I don’t know, seriously, but I think that’s why we do have the position that we have. It is because of that aid.

Reporter: What, you support whaling because of the aid that Japan gives you?

De Brum: Yeah. We support Japan because of what they give us.

She went on say that the other Pacific islands also supported Japan’s whaling position because of the money they received. “Aid, the aid, that’s it,” she said."

So, there you have it. No matter what we think, however hard we try, we are being bought. I would encourage anyone reading this blog, to link to the original Times article from your own webspaces and do your utmost to spread the word. Corruption is a filth, a stain on our collective concience, and it must not be allowed to prevail.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Wierd Science

Treehugger report on their site of a strange little experiment whereby a Brazilian aquarium has made a window in a shark eggcase to observe its stages of foetal development. Throughout the video you can see the tiny bamboo shark writhing around still attached to its embryo. It is rumoured that British shark specialists are to attempt a similar experiment with an endemic catshark species but are so far still trying to develop an eggcase window with double glazing.

Slightly more serious and potentially significant for the conservation success of many shark species is a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that reports that shark cartilage has no positive effects to sufferers of lung cancer. The notion that eating shark cartilage has health benefits is often cited by the pro fin soup culture and so this new report, the only one of its kind, will hopefully dispell the myth that shark cartilage has any health benefit at all and hopefully the demands for sharks fin will fade a little.