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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New "4 sharks" t-shirt!

Spread the shark love message with our new "4 sharks" t-shirt.

Trendy bold design on the front, anti shark fin message on the back! What more could you ask for in a t-shirt, really?

Impress your friends with your sharky knowledge: The blue shark is one of the most commonly fished and finned sharks in the world. White, whale and basking sharks are the only 3 sharks protected under CITES.

Complete with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and lovesharks.sg logos.

Only 15 bucks from the lovesharks.sg shop.

Shark-free Marinas

Great new campaign from the Shark Crew of www.sharkdivers.com.

A lot of people say that recreational fishermen should not be made to pay for the problems caused by commercial fishing. But sport fishermen catch 500,000 sharks a year in the USA alone. It all adds up.
Shark-Free Marina Initiative to reduce worldwide shark mortality
Tuesday 19th May, 2009, Press Release

The Shark-Marina has a singular purpose, to reduce worldwide shark mortality. Today the not-for-profit company launches its strategy which intends to prevent the deaths of millions of vulnerable and endangered species of shark. The initiative aims to win over the fishing community by working with game fishing societies, tackle manufacturers, competition sponsors and marinas to form community conscious policy.

In the last five years over a half million sharks on average were harvested annually by the recreational and sport-fishing community in the United States alone. Many of these were breeding age animals and belong to vulnerable or endangered species. Research has shown that removal of adult sharks from the population is occurring at such an extreme rate that many species stand no chance of survival, severely damaging the delicate ecological balance of the oceans ecosystem.

“There’s a lot of talk about the atrocity of shark fining and fishing worldwide” says the SFMI’s Board Director, Marine Biologist Luke Tipple “but not a lot of measurable action towards reversing the damage. The time has come to stop simply ‘raising awareness’ and start implementing sensible management techniques to protect vulnerable species of sharks from inevitable destruction.”

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative works by prohibiting the landing of any caught shark at a participating marina. By promoting catch-and-release fishing the sport of shark fishing can actively participate in ongoing research studies and collect valuable data. The initiative is based on the Atlantic billfish model which banned the mortal take of billfish in response to population crashes in the 80’s.

Visit the Shark-Free Marina website at www.sharkfreemarinas.com

Monday, May 18, 2009

No whale sharks at IR

Yay great news! For those of you who haven't signed, please sign at www.whalesharkpetition.com we need to keep the pressure up so the gahmen will approve RWS's proposal!
No whale sharks at IR
May 16, 2009, Grace Chua, the Straits Times

RESORTS World at Sentosa (RWS) is scrapping its plan to exhibit whale sharks at its upcoming Marine Life Park.

The creatures had been touted as a star attraction for the 8ha oceanarium, the world's largest, when Genting International's RWS won its bid for the Sentosa integrated resort (IR) three years ago.

The plan drew intense flak from animal welfare organisations which highlighted the limited space for huge animals that can grow to over 12m long, and their dismal survival rate in captivity.

The developer stuck to its guns - but now may have realised it made a mistake.

RWS spokesman Krist Boo admitted the resort was hoping to back out of its original plan as it believes it may not be able to care for the animals.

She told The Straits Times on Friday: 'We are discussing and exploring an alternative proposal to having whale sharks.'

The new proposal, like any change to the original IR plan, must be presented to the Government.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Catching controversy, all 1,060 pounds of it

Sad news that people still want to do something like that. In exchange for 5 minutes of fame you killed an animal that was probably as old as yourself. Watch the video report of his shark catch here.
Catching controversy, all 1,060 pounds of it
Eric Ernst, Herald-Tribune, Friday, May 15, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

He could have moved to the middle of the boat. Instead, he leaned over the edge with a gaff hook and set off another controversy.

When fishing captain Bucky Dennis of Englewood reeled in a 1,060-pound hammerhead shark from Boca Grande Pass last week, he was going for a world record on 80-pound test line.

Shark populations worldwide have dropped 50 to 75 percent because of overfishing, so news of Dennis' latest trophy set off derisive protests, some deserved, some not.

Maybe that's part of Dennis' public relations problem. The commercial fishing industry catches sharks, cuts off their fins for Asian markets, then discards the fish to die. Worldwide, the practice has decimated shark numbers far more than Bucky Dennis ever could.

But commercial shark fishing is a faceless foe. It doesn't pose at the dock for the cameras, so no one attacks it personally.

Dennis has other PR troubles, though. The record shark he caught in 2006, a female estimated at 40 to 50 years old, was carrying 55 pups. That was also a hammerhead record, according to Mote Marine Laboratory, which reluctantly accepted the fish for research. It refused to take Dennis' latest catch, which was likely pregnant, too, experts say.

Of course, not all fishermen endorse Dennis' practice of chasing records. I asked a friend, also a charter captain, for his analysis.

"They're a thing of beauty. You don't kill them. You move to the middle of the boat."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shark protection call

Shark protection call
14 May 2009 -- 09:50CEST, by di-ve.com

The Shark Alliance is marking Global Ocean Policy Day by calling on EU Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, to strengthen the EU’s most important and far-reaching policy for sharks: the ban on "finning" (slicing off the fins and tossing the body at sea).

The EU is the lead supplier for the global shark fin trade, which is driven by demand for the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. The EU finning ban is currently among the weakest in the world, the Shark Alliance said.

Species that dominate the Asian shark fin trade, such as thresher, hammerhead and blue sharks, are taken by Maltese fishermen. In 2008, scientists reported population declines of 97-99 per cent for Mediterranean populations of these species.

“Ten years ago, Malta took bold action to protect the great white shark, giant devil ray and basking shark, and it is high time to show such leadership again,” said Sonja Fordham, Shark Alliance Policy Director.

Nearly 60 per cent of Malta’s 35 species of sharks are considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as threatened with extinction. The main shark targeted in Malta, spiny dogfish, is classified as endangered in the Mediterranean. Maltese fishermen also take critically endangered porbeagle and angular rough sharks.

The European Commission released in February 2009 the Community Plan of Action for Sharks, which sets the stage for sweeping improvements in EU shark policies, including the finning ban.

The Shark Alliance is a coalition of 70 conservation, scientific and diving organisations dedicated to improving EU shark policies, including Nature Trust (Malta), Sharklab (Malta) and Sharkman's World Organisation.

Shark Love (EP3): Shark-fin friendly photographer

How awesome is this guy! Thanks Dazza!!! Is anybody getting married? Tell them!

Shark Love (EP3): Shark-fin friendly photographer
Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 10:15hrs, the long zlong

So if you’ve been following, I’ve been blogging about the love for sharks and how and why we should be treating these gnashing saw teeth fishes better in;
Shark Love (EP1): In conversation with Sharkman
Shark Love (EP2): Sharkwater and some shark facts

And on how I am keen in affecting change in an industry that, perhaps doesn’t actually play a part in the slaughter of sharks for Shark-fin soup, but may be in the right position to affect some, if only a slight change - a change in seeing Shark Fin dishes off banquet tables.

Take local TV celebrities Shaun and Michelle, their heavily publicized wedding dinner had them declaring live on National TV last Monday night, how they took shark-fin off their menu and served a substitute instead

I would like to encourage couples and their families to not serve Shark-fin at their dinner banquets. And to do that, I pledge to offer every couple signed up for Actual Day wedding photography with me, who are holding sit-down Chinese x-course banquets, who consciously decide not to serve any form of sharks-fin dish at their wedding, a S$100 credit1. This credit can be used as a redemption for any products such as Canvas Prints, Photobooks or Wedding Books. This isn’t a time-limited offer, it will be an offer I will provide henceforth. I am providing this at a cost to myself, probably not the smartest business or profit margin increasing move, but I am doing this because I care. I care for the sharks that are being poached and sinking to the floor of the ocean with their fins cut off and I am doing so because it matters what goes into the mouths of the people I care about.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mozambique Loses Millions To Illegal Shark Fishing

Mozambique Loses Millions To Illegal Shark Fishing
May 14, 2009 11:18 AM, Bernama.com

MAPUTO, May 14 (Bernama) -- The Mozambican state has been losing millions of US dollars because of illegal shark fishing by foreign vessels in the country's waters, the Mozambican news agency (AIM) said quoting a report in Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".

The illegal vessels mostly come from Tanzania and operate in the waters off the coat of Memba and Nacala districts, in the northern province of Nampula. The local maritime administration currently lacks the resources to inspect the coastal waters effectively.

A kilo of shark fins is sold for about US$750 in the international market, but fetches much higher prices in the Asian shops and restaurants where it is regarded as a delicacy.

Shark Love (EP2): Sharkwater and some shark facts

I really loved this post from Dazza. It is very refreshing to have a Singaporean guy man enough to say he cares (apart from Sharkman of course)!

Read the full post of Shark Love (EP2): Sharkwater and some shark facts.
Read Shark Love (EP1): In conversation with Sharkman.
Shark Love (EP2): Sharkwater and some shark facts
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 09:32hrs, the long zlong

SharkWater is an award-winning documentary produced, written and directed by Rob Stewart. The film debunks many of the fears and misconceptions the media machine has brainwashed us with. And traces the journey that Stewart makes with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, on an adventure that exposes the truth behind shark-finning, with the corruption involved for that tiny bowl of soup at our Chinese dinners.

There were moments that disgusted me, moments that made me feel shameful and embarrassed as an ABC (Asian Born Chinese) - a Singaporean company is featured in the film for all the wrong reasons. The MD of the said company is filmed with such arrogance on how vicious sharks are - “See the teeth! Like a saw!… They bite you…pain until die.” - and ignorance of how one can prevent cancer and rheumatism by eating shark’s fin. And it horrified me that we Asians, me in part, am responsible for the slaughter and driving the need for the corruption that is involved, which includes paying off officials in Guatamala (where finning is illegal) by Asian syndicates.

But I also felt a sense of redemption when an Asian couple, whom I can only guess is from South-East Asia from their accent, declared how they would not be serving Shark fin at their wedding dinner.

Now I promised that I had a plan to affect change. When this idea first started, I didn’t realise how much there was to write about shark fin and how embarrassed and disgusted I would feel from learning more. And since this post has gone on to include a lot more than I anticipated at first I will postpone my plan to affect change til the next post.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NGO Alliance Looks for Compensation Above R $60 Million for the Illegal Capture of Sharks

Good work IBAMA. Too late for the 36 thousand sharks but maybe it will set the poachers back a bit. But as long as there is the demand there will be someone, somewhere, getting the supply, even if it means doing it illegally like these people are.
NGO Alliance Looks for Compensation Above R $60 Million for the Illegal Capture of Sharks
Monday, May 11, 2009, Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd Brazil, Instituto Environmental Justice (Insitutot Justiça Ambiental), and the South Coast Institute (Instituto Litoral Sul) filed on Thursday, May 7th, a public civil action in the Federal Court of Rio Grande, Brazil. The NGO's mobilization began on June 19th, 2008, when the Environmental Police of the Military Brigade and IBAMA raided the fishing company Dom Matos Comércio de Pescados e Resíduos Ltda, and found 3.3 tons of shark fins. IBAMA is the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment's enforcement agency. The shark fins belonged to species threatened of extinction, including angel sharks. For the amount of fins found, it was estimated that over 36 thousand sharks had been killed.


Illegally obtained shark fins from the 3.3 tons confiscated by IBAMA
Photos Credit: Gerson Pataleao

"It is a coherent and important regulation that seeks to avoid the uncontrolled capture of sharks. The regulation was ignored, since only shark fins were found at the premises without any carcass," explains Cristiano Pacheco, executive director for Institute Environmental Justice. "We have enough elements for an exemplary pecuniary condemnation."

The shark fin industry has ramifications in almost all the coastal countries of the world, including the Galápagos Islands, which is today perhaps the 'Latin capital' of the shark finning industry. In Brazil there are ramifications from Pará to Rio Grande do Sul.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shark Love (EP1): In conversation with Sharkman

Wah we got interviewed! Plus this blog post has the nicest screenshot I have ever seen :D Read the whole interview here.
Shark Love (EP1): In conversation with Sharkman
Monday, May 11, 2009 at 13:49hrs, the long zlog

As a leisure scuba diver, it has been on my mind for a while now and I feel it is a matter close to me. Especially since, I am in an industry that, perhaps doesn’t actually play a part in the execution, but may be in the right context to affect some, if only a slight, but nonetheless a change. A change in seeing Shark Fin Soup kept off dinner tables.



Q: What called you to advocate for sharks in particular?

I watched Sharkwater, a documentary about how sharks populations are being destroyed worldwide for their fins and by destructive fishing practices such as longlining. This came as a horrible shock for me. I was aware of the issues involved in shark finning but I was not aware of the extent that certain shark populations were affected (some populations have fallen up to 95% over the last 20 years).

As a diver, sharks are like the Holy Grail. I dream of going to Malapascua to see thresher sharks or to Costa Rica to see hammerhead sharks. The idea that these amazing creatures have survived 4 major extinctions but they may not survive our lifetime is very distressing.

Sharks are a keystone species in the marine ecosystem. This means that they are essential to maintain the balance of how everything works. Removal of sharks can lead to the troppling of the entire marine ecosystem! Even if you didn’t care much for sharks, you would have to give some thought to that.

Q: How can the everyday Singaporean help the cause?

Stop eating shark fin! There’s really no simplier way than that. Don’t have shark fin at your wedding. Tell your friends not to have shark fin at their wedding. A friend of mine had top grade birds’ nest at her wedding as the substitute luxury dish and everybody loved it. It’s really just a matter of changing your mindset to look to the future and focus on what REALLY matters. I think when you look at it that way, a bowl of soup is no substitute for a sustainable future for the generations to come.

Calls to ban shark fin exports

Come on Peter Garrett, do the right thing!
Calls to ban shark fin exports
Posted Mon May 11, 2009 2:08pm AEST, ABC News


A giant shark fin is erected outside the office of Environment Minister Peter Garrett as part of the protest (NSW Conservation Council: NSW Conservation Council)

Conservationists are calling on the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to stop shark fin exports from New South Wales.

The minister is currently considering whether to renew the state's shark export license.

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales says shark numbers are declining from over-fishing due to increased demand from Asia, where shark fin soup is a delicacy.

It delivered a giant shark fin to Mr Garrett's Sydney office this morning in protest against exports.

The Council's director Cate Faehrmann says there has been a large increase in the numbers of sharks targeted simply for their fins.

"We've seen a decline worldwide of about 90 percent in shark numbers since the beginning of the industrial age," she said.

"This is very unsustainable. We have sharks being targeted in New South Wales waters that are listed as internationally threatened."

Friday, May 8, 2009

11 tonnes of shark fins seized

11 tonnes of shark fins seized
May 8, 2009, The Straits Times


Police in Spain said on Friday they had seized 11 tonnes of shark fins worth 136,800 euros (S$270,449) destined to be shipped to Hong Kong in China. --PHOTO: REUTERS

The warehouse in Huelva in southwestern Spain where the shark fins, used to make soup in China, were found was not authorised to store or export the product, they said in a statement.

The shark fins did not appear to be a protected species, police said. They came from a port in Galicia in northwestern Spain.

European Union countries are the main exporters of shark fins to China. The removal of the shark's fins results in their death.

Shark Kill Tournament Protest Demonstration in Fort Myers Beach FL

This is a repost from the Shark Safe Project. Click here to read the whole post for more information on the protest.

What century are we in now that shark kill tournaments are still deemed as acceptable? We're not cavemen, why are such shows of "manliness" still condoned in civilized society.

Shark Kill Tournament Protest Demonstration in Fort Myers Beach FL
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shark Safe is organizing a protest demonstration against the “Are You Man Enough Shark Challenge” in Fort Myers, Florida. This shark tournament is boasting “Bring Back the BIG ONE” shark kills. The tournament organizer Jack Donlon has been contacted by many shark conservationists and prominent shark researchers from the state of Florida in an attempt to discourage them from taking or killing sharks for the sole purpose of proving the “Manhood of the Fishermen”. Thus far, no adjustment to the rules has been made as Mr. Donlon has simply disregarded these pleas.

Shark Safe is opposed to all killing of sharks however we are EXTREMELY opposed to tournaments such as this abomination! Here are some unbiased and logical reasons, which have been presented to Mr. Donlon, why tournaments such as this one are so terrible for sharks:
  • Most of the large sharks being targeted are on the IUCN list of endangered species.
  • Populations of large shark species have been reduced by over 90% in the past 30 years (over 100 million sharks killed per year worldwide -- mostly for shark fin soup).
  • 80-90% of all shark populations just in the Atlantic have been reduced to levels that scientist believe can never recover.
  • As apex predators, sharks are absolutely vital to the ocean's ecosystem -- they maintain the balance in the oceans. Without sharks the oceans die.
  • "Kill" shark tournaments promote the outdated and inaccurate image of sharks as vicious man killers that need to be killed.
In addition to these obvious problems, the current format of the tournament encourages killing of the largest and likely sexually mature sharks. And since each team is only allowed to bring in one dead shark to be weighed, it promotes catching and killing sharks such that at the end of the tournament, each team will only keep the biggest one to be weighed in, while discarding the rest of the sharks back into the water deceased.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Basking Sharks' Hiding Places Found

Basking Sharks' Hiding Places Found
May 7, 2009 Emily Sohn, Discovery News

For ages, scientists have wondered where basking sharks go in the wintertime. Now, they have an answer -- and it's full of surprises.

In the western Atlantic, the world's second largest fish swims all the way from New England to the Bahamas and across the equator to South America, a new study finds. Scientists have long thought that basking sharks spent all of their time in cooler waters.

"This is equivalent to finding polar bears in Kansas," said lead researcher Greg Skomal, a marine biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries in Martha's Vineyard. "This was a mind-blowing discovery for us."

"We've opened up a whole new world of implications into the life history and ecology of these fish and how they live," Skomal said. "To be able to do that in the 21st century for an animal that has been studied for eons is what fascinates me."

The new findings may help people better protect basking sharks, said Robert Kenney, a biological oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett. The species is currently listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"If all of a sudden, you are finding that a population is spending part of its life somewhere that you didn't consider," Kenney said, "Then you have to expand what you think about when you are trying to manage them."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Woeful tale of maimed whale shark

Great coverage by BBC News on whale shark tagging in the Maldives and the disturbing reality of the threats to whale shark populations.
Tagging whale sharks in the Maldives
Tuesday, 5 May 2009 13:29 UK, BBC News

Whale sharks - Rhincodon typus - were first discovered in the 1800s and are found throughout the tropical oceans, but relatively little is known about their behaviour, how long they live, their breeding habits, or their migratory routes - or indeed whether they migrate.

Using software similar to fingerprint-matching technology, the snaps of the shark's spot patterns are compared to see if it has previously been photographed or is a new find. So far they have recorded 106 on the database, all but two of which are male.

Back on the boat, the team explain the sad story behind "Joey's" fin.

He was first photographed by the group in 2007 in perfect health. Then, one night last year, they got a call from people on a local island saying that there was an injured whale shark floating in the island harbour.

Arriving at the scene, Richard saw that it was Joey, who had suffered an unsuccessful finning attempt - his dorsal fin was very nearly severed, left hanging on by a small segment.

"It was a terrible injury, we thought he probably wouldn't survive," Richard says. But in time the wound healed and Joey is still swimming around.

A shark fin of this size can go for $10,000 (£6,600) in Taiwan or Hong Kong, and can be used as an eye-catching billboard outside a restaurant serving shark fin soup.

The tale of Joey, a whale shark who nearly lost his dorsal fin to hunters.

Joey's story is sobering, despite our euphoria over being lucky enough to spot these incredible creatures. Luckily for them, the new Maldivian government is beginning to take shark welfare seriously and has introduced a reef shark hunting ban throughout the 26 atolls.

Whale sharks are described as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, with their population expected to decline by as much as 50% over the next century.

But in truth, nobody knows how vulnerable they are, the true number of whale sharks in the world, or whether that number is in decline or increasing.

Click here to watch the video on "Joey" from the post below.
Woeful tale of maimed whale shark
Tuesday, 5 May 2009 13:29 UK, BBC News

Gaia Vince reports from the South Ari atoll in the Maldives on the successes and challenges of tagging whale sharks.

Little is known about the breeding and migratory habits of the sharks, the world's largest fish.

Here, Richard Rees and Adam Harman discuss the case of Joey, a whale shark that nearly lost its dorsal fin to hunters.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Seychelles Bans Cutting Sharks' Fins

Seychelles Bans Cutting Sharks' Fins
01 May 2009, Blueflipperdiving

Shark fin cutting

VICTORIA — The Seychelles has banned the cutting off of sharks' fins by foreign fishermen to curb a flourishing global trade that is threatening the survival of the sea predator and marine ecosystems.

The United Nations estimates that 100 million sharks are killed every year world-wide, mostly for their fins which are a delicacy in East Asia where a bowl of shark fin soup can command high prices.

Dozens of countries have banned the practice of slicing off of sharks' fins in the last few years.

The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) ban took effect this week and covers all foreign vessels fishing in the territorial waters of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

The ban does not include domestic vessels, which the government says are few and controlled, or shark fishing where the whole shark is caught.

"Shark finning ... threatens ... the stability of marine ecosystems, sustainable traditional fisheries, food security, dive and eco-tourism," SFA said.

The World Conservation Union says 65 out of 373 known shark species are globally threatened, largely owing to the shark finning trade. Some experts think the number is higher.

Fins from Hammerhead, Mako and Blue Sharks command the highest prices while cheaper shark fins are usually taken from smaller species.

Holiday makers help protect largest fish in the sea

Holiday makers help protect largest fish in the sea
May 1st, 2009, Thaindian News

Sydney, May 1 (IANS) The world’s largest and rarest fish, the whale shark, may be increasing in number in one of its vital habitats, a new study by scientists and the general public has revealed.
The remarkable success of the online survey of whale sharks was carried out by Earthwatch volunteers, tourists, divers and researchers at Ningaloo, Western Australia.

It has prompted scientists to issue a worldwide call to holiday makers and divers to join a global effort to monitor and protect the largest fish in the sea. Whale sharks are thought to be at risk.

“Besides showing that whale sharks can increase where they are well-protected, we have also demonstrated the power of citizen-science, that ordinary people around the world can make a real contribution to serious research and conservation,” said Brad Norman, project coordinator and founder of ECOCEAN whale shark project.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Whale Shark sightings - Donsol, Philippines

These are from my friend, Peter, who was lucky enough to see whale sharks 8 times on his trip to Donsol, Philippines this April.

This wonder and majesty of seeing a whale shark in the wild can never be duplicated by keeping them in a tank, they belong to the ocean! www.whalesharkpetition.com

Watch the whale shark videos he filmed here. Thanks for sharing Peter!













These are from my friend, Peter, who was lucky enough to see whale sharks 8 times on his trip to Donsol, Philippines this April.

This wonder and majesty of seeing a whale shark in the wild can never be duplicated by keeping them in a tank, they belong to the ocean! www.whalesharkpetition.com

Watch the whale shark videos he filmed here. Thanks for sharing Peter!

Nearly half global fish catch is wasted

So retarded right. If we go to a buffet and we waste food we get charged a wastage fee; the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation needs to impose a similar fine to fishing wastage! This is so much worse and on such a huge scale that it cannot be overlooked or ignored anymore.
Nearly half global fish catch is wasted
1 May 2009, OneWorld.net

Nearly half of the world’s recorded fish catch is unused according to a new scientific paper co-authored by WWF. It estimates that each year over 38 million tonnes of fish, taken from our oceans by fishing activities, is left un-managed or unused, and should be considered as bycatch.


Collateral damage: A dead shark is entangled in a fishing net off Tanzania in this undated file photo. COURTESY OF WWF

The WWF paper estimates the proportion of bycatch in 46 fishing countries (including the North-East Atlantic and Mediterranean & Black Sea areas) and two global fisheries; tuna and shark fin. In redefining bycatch as anything fishers take from our oceans that is ‘unused or un-managed’, the paper’s estimates go well beyond previous global estimates, which focus mainly on catch which is thrown away and vary from 7 to 27 million tonnes a year.

It is likely that the worst case of wasteful fishing is seen in fisheries that target sharks exclusively for their fins where 92 per cent of what is caught is discarded back in the ocean.

According to WWF, bycatch costs fishers time and money, contributing to overfishing, jeopardizing future revenue, livelihoods, and long-term food security. It’s also a major killer of marine wildlife, putting several species at risk of extinction and drastically altering the sensitive balance of ecosystems.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

January Jones is scared FOR sharks


January uses an anchored rope to stabilize herself as she encounters Caribbean reef sharks for the first time.

January Jones, best known for her role on the hit series Mad Men, had teamed up with Oceana to promote a campaign to protect sharks. The actress is working with the org as a spokesperson to help pass The Shark Conservation Act in Congress — which would implement stronger protection for sharks by requiring that sharks be landed whole with the fins still attached to the bodies. The Federal legislation would also allow the U.S. to take action against countries whose shark finning requirements are not consistent with those in the United States.

More about the Scared FOR Sharks campaign here and here!

Project AWARE Foundation Securing Shark Protection

Great! This Community Plan of Action (CPOA) for Sharks is a long time coming and more countries should follow up with their own plans.
Project AWARE Foundation Securing Shark Protection
Project AWARE website

Project AWARE Foundation recently joined fellow Shark Alliance members in Brussels to mark the release of the European Commission’s long awaited Community Plan of Action (CPOA) for Sharks and comment on its provisions. The plan, covering sharks and all cartilaginous fish, has potential to provide a comprehensive framework for change, encouraging science based catch limits, the protection of endangered species and the revision of EU shark finning regulation.

The UK Minister confirmed his commitment saying: “I strongly support the shark action plan. We must do everything we can to protect vulnerable species and ensure that stocks are exploited sustainably. Better science and information gathering are fundamental to the plan’s success. The UK will continue to work with the Commission, conservation groups and the fishing industry to ensure that this plan produces robust, workable and effective measures to protect and sustainably manage shark stocks.

The CPOA for Sharks represents a significant step in the right direction for shark conservation and sustainable management, but it will only be effective if Member States act with a sense of urgency and commit to a robust timetable of implementation. Project AWARE considers the publication of the plan of action as the start of a long campaign to secure a sustainable future for sharks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Korean vessels fined for illegal fishing

Korean vessels fined for illegal fishing
April 29 2009 at 08:37PM, iol.co.za

The captain and first officer of two Korean-flagged ships have been sentenced to a fine of R500 000 or five years in prison each for contravening their permit conditions, environment officials said on Wednesday.

The crew of the MFV Oryong 371 and the MFV Oryong 373 were found guilty of contravening the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998.

"A total of 667kg undeclared shark fins was also confiscated. They omitted the fact that they had shark fins on the vessel from their permits."

The vessel was also found guilty of illegally off-loading 18,1 tons of fish from one vessel to another.

The MFV Oryong 373 off-loaded 389kg of shark fin, more than the limit stipulated on its permit.

Moses said the crew of both vessels cut shark fins from the trunks and threw the bodies back into the water - in contravention of international fishing conservation measures.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blue Sharks Of Hawaii - Sad Reality

Blue sharks are the most commonly fished shark for shark fin soup. Because they have populations all over the world, it is widely thought that they are not affected by the massive scale of shark fishing and finning but it's not true!
Blue Sharks Of Hawaii ~ Sad Reality
by Katie Grove-Velasquez, Writer, Marine Animal Researcher, Photographer, Educator, and Lecturer Working in the Hawaiian Islands, Zoo and Aquarium Visitor

Fishing globally is taking our shark populations down at a rapid rate, even in Hawaii. According to Gerald Crow, who wrote Sharks & Rays of Hawaii, thousands of sharks lose their lives every year to the fishing industry and show up in the marketplace. Sharks are not a protected specie in Hawaii and many other places worldwide. According to the IUCN, over 50% of the global shark species are critically endangered.

According to researchers, if this fishing industry is allowed to continue, in addition to the finning industry, which takes over 100 MILLION sharks annually, our oceans have less than 100 years before they collapse. If this is true, we are all in dire trouble. In Hawaii alone, from 1991 to 1999, nearly 900,000 sharks were killed for the marketplace. These were mostly blue,mako and thresher sharks. The style of fishing was long-lining, which is famous for indiscriminate taking of turtles, marine mammals, and many others.

What do we do? First, we need to all educate ourselves. Go to reliable websites and become armed with information. Boycott restaurants that serve shark fin soup, and tell them why. Physically go in to the restaurant, check the menu, and tell the management you will return when that item is removed, and walk out. Write letters to your local newspapers. Blog about it. Protest in your area and ceaselessly put pressure to pass laws for shark protection. Our children, our future depends on it. The time is now.

A new international push to save dwindling shark populations

A new international push to save dwindling shark populations
April 28th, 2009, By Melissa Segrest, kabc-TV Los Angeles, CA


The world’s shark population is dropping rapidly, and the primary reasons are humans’ increasing hunger for both a Chinese delicacy and an alternative medicine: shark fins.

Shark fins are prized as a key ingredient in costly shark-fin soup favored by the Chinese around the world.

The U.S. has had a shark-finning prohibition since 2000, but that law will be strengthened with the introduction of the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) last week. Rep. Madeline Bordallo of Guam has already introduced similar legislation in Congress, and that bill received unanimous approval.

The older law contained loopholes that at least one American ship took advantage of when they were discovered carrying the fins of about 30,000 sharks. They appealed on the basis that they were a “transport” ship, not a “fishing” vessel, a distinction specified in the earlier law’s language.

The new legislation will close that loophole, along with a ban on importing any shark products that come from countries without shark conservation efforts.

Of the 591 shark and ray species examined by an international group of conservation scientists, 21 percent are “threatened with extinction” and 18 percent have “near-threatened” status, according to the Pew group. The difficult task of tracking so many shark species likely misses about 35 percent of the shark and ray population, researchers say.

One species, the dusky shark, has declined in population off America’s East Coast by more than 80 percent since the ‘70s, and will take about 400 years to rebuild, according to the Pew group.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whale shark rescued by Cagayan fisherfolk

Great work from the Philippines! It's essential for governments to realise that these amazing creatures are worth much much more alive than dead and they need to be protected.
Whale shark rescued by Cagayan fisherfolk
April 27, 2009, 4:52pm, Manila Bulletin

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — Local officials and residents of Buguey town in this province rescued an endangered whale shark or butanding last week.

Buguey Municipal Secretary Arthur Pagador said the whale shark, measuring about 7 meters in length and weighing about 2 tons, was found entangled in a beach seine (daklis) along the shore of Barangay Centro West Saturday.

After an hour or so, the whale shark was freed and was able to return towards the deeper portions of the sea.

“It is very fortunate that the fishermen made a move to save the animal instead of kill it,” Pagador said.

Sec. 97 of RA 8550 and Fisheries Administrative Order 193 prohibits the catching of whale sharks and manta rays. Violation to the law carries 6 months to 4 years imprisonment as penalty.

Old folks in the coastal areas say whale sharks used to abound in great quantities but indiscriminate fishing might have drove them off. BFAR Regional Director Jovita Ayson said that recent sightings might be an indication of the re-emergence of whale shark population in Cagayan waters.

Recently, the fisheries bureau in the region initiated a briefing among members of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee Sub-committee on Fishing and Marine Environmental Protection on the proper rescue procedure on stranded marine mammals to include whale sharks and other rare and threatened species, as part of the activities under the Region 02 Marine Mammal Stranding Network. (Max Prudencio, BFAR R02).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Say, 'No', to shark fin soup

An article for Westerners who've never heard about shark fin soup! What we consume mindlessly and take for granted is really worth a second thought guys.
Say, 'No', to shark fin soup
April 26, 12:01 AM, Stan Dyer, Denver Dining Examiner

To acquire fins, shark fishermen string long lines with many hooks in international waters. Since sharks need to keep moving to breathe, many die on the hooks before being “harvested”, yet some are captured alive. It does not matter. The animals, alive or dead, are pulled aboard the ship where the fins are removed and whatever is left is dumped back into the ocean. If the animal is still alive, it cannot swim, so it sinks to the bottom of the ocean and drowns.

The tragedy is that all the fishermen are after are the fins, the rest of the animal has no use to them. All they want from the fins is the cartilage used to make the soup. The rest is discarded as waste. In that respect, it is similar to the harvesting of buffalo skins in America in the 19th century, the killing of gorillas for souvenirs, and the slaughter of elephants just for their tusks.

Sharks are a very important part of the ocean ecosystem. Reducing their numbers or eliminating them completely can adversely affect the entire food chain.
People who eat excessive amounts, or eat the product continually over a period of years will experience elevated levels of the poison in their bodies and eventually suffer mercury poisoning.

Whether you oppose the consumption of animals, or you are just looking to limit your exposure to toxic chemicals from the environment, it is a good idea to avoid shark fin soup and to limit the consumption of all fish or fish products harvested from the sea.

Whale sharks all closely related, says study

Whale sharks all closely related, says study
Nicolette Craig, Practical fishkeeping



Whale shark (Picture: Christoph Scheutzenhofer, Creative Commons)

A new study has discovered that whale sharks around the world are all related which puts them at risk from overfishing.

Until recently, it wasn’t known if overfishing in some areas would affect overall whale shark populations as no one knew if the sharks were migratory or if they tended to stay in their own territories.

Although this species is listed in Appendix II of CITES, and with strict quotas in place, the financial gains for anyone exceeding their quota far outweigh the potential fines and consequences.

Lead scientist Jennifer Schmidt said: “Our data show that whale sharks found in different oceans are genetically quite similar, which means that animals move and interbreed between populations.

“From a conservation standpoint, it means that whale sharks in protected waters cannot be assumed to stay in those waters, but may move into areas where they may be in danger."

"The only real threat to whale sharks is us. To design proper conservation plans, we need to understand the sharks' lifestyle. We can only protect their habitat if we know what habitat they use."

Schmidt hopes that more countries will close whale shark fisheries and place more effort into alternatives such as ecotourism programs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Texas lawmakers OK mercury warnings

They should do that eveywhere. Especially in Singapore where people are thinking of bringing their wives and mothers for shark fin for Mother's Day, crazy!
Texas lawmakers OK mercury warnings
By JACKIE STONE, April 20, 2009, 6:48PM, Chron.com

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas fish sellers would have to warn pregnant women about the risks of eating some kinds of mercury laden fish under a proposal given initial approval from the Texas House Monday.

The signs would explain that some fish and shellfish — especially large fish such as swordfish and shark — may contain mercury, which can cause birth defects.

The bill's author, Houston Democrat Rep. Jessica Farrar, said mercury can cause learning disabilities, and problems with hearing and eyesight.

"We wanna make sure that people eat the right fish. This is just a sign for certain populations to stay away from certain kinds of fish," Farrar said.

"During fetal development, mercury definitely crosses over the placenta," she said. "It can result in low birth rate, severe mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness and seizures."

The bill was approved 99-45. It faces a final vote in the House before it can head to the Senate.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rally against shark fin trade opens in Singapore

Check out the photos on the facebook event here!
Rally against shark fin trade opens in Singapore
Apr 18, 2009, AFP

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Animal rights activists launched a campaign in Singapore Saturday against the consumption of shark fin, a status symbol when served at Chinese wedding banquets and dinners.

A large banner bearing the slogan "when sharks die, the oceans die" was displayed at a nearby park close to Singapore's business district.

Louis Ng, ACRES's executive director and founder, told 100 supporters that more than 3,800 sharks were caught every 20 minutes to meet global demand for shark fin, pushing many shark species towards extinction.

"Let us not only say no to shark fins but let us also be advocates for sharks and tell people why we do not, and will not, eat them," Ng said.

One of ACRES's supporters at the rally, physiotherapist Chng Chye Tuan, said he and his wife-to-be had decided against offering shark fin soup to guests at their wedding next month, despite opposition from both sets of parents.

"You can see the impact that humans are having on the ecosystem. The variety of fish is not as much as before," said Chng, referring to observations he had made during diving trips.

Save the whale shark. And say a prayer

That is great! If only it worked in Singapore. Too bad most Singaporeans only worship money lol.
Save the whale shark. And say a prayer
Wild Notebook: the ingenious methods of the Wildlife Trust for India
April 18, 2009, We tend to think of wildlife conservation as a particularly British thing: something that we must somehow seek to impose on the barbaric foreigners. We must make them see the light, must we not? But this is not the way it works at all.

I was constantly blown away by the Indian partner (of Wildlife Trust for India): an organisation light on its feet, punching above its weight and constantly solving Indian problems in a wholly Indian way.

Take the whale shark campaign. Fishermen were catching these, the biggest fish on the planet, simply for their livers, which were used for waterproofing boats. And while there was a very solid education campaign, and the Government was successfully lobbied to establish legal protection, the decisive moment came with the involvement of the holy man Morari Bapu.

Morari Bapu considered the matter and then declared that the whale shark was a god. The fish was nothing less than the first avatar of Vishnu. The slaying of the whale shark, Morari Bapu declared, was not fishing but deicide.

The killing was stopped at a stroke, and the great gods of the sea cruise off the coast of India, filter-feeding as they go, unmolested by the devout.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

World’s fisheries in crisis as more boats chase smaller stock

World’s fisheries in crisis as more boats chase smaller stock
April 15, 2009, Times Online

Nearly half the world’s fishing catch is either thrown back dead or sold without regard to whether the fish stock is endangered, according to a report released today.

Every year more than 38 million tonnes of marine life is taken from the sea without having been the intended target of the fishing vessels.

Traditional fishery management plans focus only on target species, leaving bycatch species heavily exploited and without any scientific control or monitoring.

The world’s fish stocks are in crisis: 80 per cent of the world’s fisheries are either fully exploited or overexploited and an estimated 90 per cent of all large predatory fish are gone.

Data from trawlers from 46 countries were sampled, along with two global fisheries, shark fin and tuna. At a bycatch rate of 92 per cent the shark fin industry topped the league. The shrimp fisheries of Bangladesh came out worst with over 95 per cent of the catch made up of non-target species.

Satisfying your taste buds in China

Nice to see some pro-active people making the effort to save sharks! After all shark fin is just food. It's not even a staple food. Shark fin costs the entire ecosystem and that's way more than we can pay in dollars.

Satisfying your taste buds in China
04-14-2009 14:49, CCTV International

BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhuanet) -- When thinking of some fine dining experience, China comes to mind! The country offers great cuisines of the world cooked in myriad ways. You can find world's best platter on table in China and dine on foods you have ever eaten anywhere.

Had it not for Mr Zhang, an overseas Chinese, who called the Aquatic Wildlife Protection Center (Guangzhou), the nurse shark would have found its place on the luxurious food menu of the China restaurants.

A Guangzhou restaurant had invited more than 70 clients to dine on a nurse shark on March 18. As the stage was set for the grand banquet, Mr Zhang informed the protection center and was even ready himself to donate ten thousand yuan to save the animal. The environmentalists intervened and recovered the nurse shark after shelling out 130 thousand yuan. The shark was kept for ornamental use for some time.

But due to the deteriorating health of the shark because of lack of quality water and food, it was not immediately released in the ocean. Guangzhou Ocean World provided the animal free medical service and kept the shark in a little pool during the observation. The shark was released a few days ago in the seawaters.

China has so much to serve to satisfy food cravings of people from across the world and the shark incident cannot cause much of the exuberance about the Chinese delicacies to evaporate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Palau must not open its waters to commercial shark fishing

Bad news from Palau, they are looking at passing a bill that will effectively allowed their shark populations to be destroyed and ruin their tourism industry. Read more about the bill here. And please sign the petition!
Palau must not open its waters to commercial shark fishing
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 10:07 , sharksavers.org

At a time that the Maldives is banning shark fishing and becoming a model for other nations, Palau is moving backward.

A bill is now moving through the legislative process in Palau that will significantly weaken its previously strong shark fishing laws.

Tourism is Palau's largest industry, representing 66% of GDP. Palau is an important destination for divers who know that sharks are protected, there. A few years of increased taxes from foreign vessels until the sharks are depleted cannot possibly add up to much when they put tourism and their marine ecosystem at risk.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

MEGAMOUTH SHARK: Ultra-Rare Shark Found, Eaten

What is up with us people, why must we put everything we find in our mouths! For all we know it could have been one of the last of its kind. Why like that!
MEGAMOUTH SHARK: Ultra-Rare Shark Found, Eaten
April 7, 2009, National Geographic

In just a short time, one of the rarest sharks in the world went from swimming in Philippine waters to simmering in coconut milk.

The 13-foot-long (4-meter-long) megamouth shark (pictured), caught on March 30 by mackerel fishers off the city of Donsol, was only the 41st megamouth shark ever found, according to WWF-Philippines.

Fishers brought the odd creature—which died during its capture—to local project manager Elson Aca of WWF, an international conservation nonprofit. Aca immediately identified it as a megamouth shark and encouraged the fishers not to eat it. But the draw of the delicacy was too great: The 1,102-pound (500-kilogram) shark was butchered for a shark-meat dish called kinuout.

"While it is sad that this rare megamouth shark was ultimately lost, the discovery highlights the incredible biodiversity found in the Donsol area and the relatively good health of the ecosystem," Yokelee Lee, WWF-US program officer for the Coral Triangle, said in an email.

"It is essential that we continue working with the government and local community on the sustainable management of Donsol's fisheries resources for the benefit of whale sharks, megamouth sharks, and the local community," Lee said.

Other shark species in Donsol are valued for conservation rather than consumption: The region hosts a successful ecotourism project that allows people to swim with whale sharks.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shark fin out of vogue among young Asians

Good news, but the trend is taking too long! We need to spread the word guys... otherwise the sharks will still die out before all the shark fin lovers do. I wonder when we can all act like educated, civilised people and recognise the effects of our shark fin demand on the ecosystem!

Shark fin out of vogue among young Asians
March 29, 2009, Scientific American

TAIPEI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singaporean groom Han Songguang took his
campaign to stop consumption of one of Asia's top delicacies to a new level when he placed postcards of a dead shark on each guest's seat at his own wedding banquet.

Instead of shark's fin soup, a must at many ethnic Chinese wedding banquets, Han offered his guests lobster soup.

"If we can do our part to save 'X' number of sharks ... why not?" said Han, a geography teacher, who married a diving enthusiast in December.

Wildlife conservationists, who have long railed against the popularity of shark fin soup, are finally seeing signs that consumption is dropping as young Asians become aware of the environmental impact of this much prized dish.

"Today we have incredible access to information. It has become much harder to say 'I didn't know'," said Glenn Sant, marine program leader of the British wildlife group TRAFFIC. He urged young Asians to take a stand and say: "'It shouldn't be an insult not to put shark fin on our wedding menu.'"

Tastes have changed along with awareness for young Asians. Shang-kuan Liang-chi, a National Taiwan University student who has tried the crunchy jelly-like dish twice at formal events, prefers other food and avoids a shark fin restaurant near campus. "University students never go in there," he said.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shark-fin traders thrive in UAE

Shark-fin traders thrive in UAE
UAE - APR. 09, daijiworld.com

Gourmands like them in soup, doctors prescribe them as cures and dealers trade them to get rich. That is why fishermen continue to flout the law and indiscriminately kill, maim and then discard as many sharks as they can catch. The fins are almost as good as gold.

In the UAE, where shark finning is illegal, traders nonetheless are increasingly exploiting the eastern and northern coasts of the country because of the lack of policing and local regulations, marine agencies have warned.

They say shark finning in this region has increased over the past decade because of the insatiable Far Eastern demand for the fins, improved fishing technology and traders looking for a profit. One pound of shark fins has a street value of US$300 (Dh1,100).

According to the last report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, in 2004, the UAE counts for around eight per cent of global shark fin exports.

“There were six to seven boats at around 4.40pm hauling sharks off,” said Daniel Hawkings, a South African diver who spends every weekend in the northern and eastern emirates. “By the end, the beach was covered with the sharks who were hauled off one by one to be finned.”

It takes only low levels of finning over extended periods to get rid of the majority of reef-associated species, as well as the larger, longer-lived varieties.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tesco Gains Shark Fin Conscience

Good news from Thailand! Singapore's supermarket stores should do the same!
Tesco Gains Shark Fin Conscience
6 April 2009, Shark Trust Press Release

In October 2008 the Shark Trust was alerted by concerned divers that Tesco stores in Thailand were selling shark products including shark fin. Following a meeting in late March with Tesco senior staff the Shark Trust is pleased to confirm that Tesco have withdrawn shark fin from sale in their Thai stores.

“The shark fin trade encourages unsustainable mortality and unacceptable levels of waste and it is imperative that large retailers like Tesco appreciate the impact of the fin trade on shark populations,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust. “The Trust has met with Tesco and presented a compelling case for the cessation of sale of shark fin in their stores, we see Tesco’s agreement to cease the sale of fins in their Thailand stores as a promising start.”

Studies demonstrate that up to three quarters* of the fins entering the fin trade originate from unreported sources, likely from sharks which have been finned: the fins removed and carcasses dumped over board, often still alive. It is the sheer extent of the shark finning activities that make it near impossible to trace the provenance of fins back to managed fisheries, meaning shark fin products sold by large retailers are highly likely to have come from unmanaged or illegal fisheries.

Asian demand behind falling shark populations

Before and after. How illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the shark fin is affecting Australian and international waters.
Illegal fishing still a problem
Wednesday, 08 April 2009, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which is devastating delicate ecosystems and fish breeding grounds in waters to Australia’s north, can no longer be managed effectively by individual nations and now requires an urgent regional solution if food security into the future is to be maintained, according to a new scientific report.

To date, these IUU fishers have focused mostly on high-value sharks mainly for the fin trade, to the extent that the abundance of some shark species has dropped precipitously.

He said that IUU fishing, which has devastated fish resources and their associated ecosystems throughout Southeast Asian waters, was driven by deep economic and societal forces. For example, the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s drove a large number of people out of cities and into illegal fishing.

It was not enough to maintain just a national response as the problem crossed national maritime zones, he said, and posed one of the biggest threats known to marine ecosystems throughout the region.

"These IUU fishers are mining protein," Dr Meekan said. "There is no regard to sustainability or factoring in fish breeding or ecosystem protection."

Asian demand behind falling shark populations: report
November 20, 2008, AFP

Asian demand for shark fin soup is pushing the animal's population in the wild to new lows, the Australian government and a wildlife trade monitoring group said in a report released on Wednesday.

The report found that while more than one-fifth of shark species were already threatened with extinction, a lack of government control on overfishing and the problem of illegal fishing were further depleting the animal's numbers.

"The main reason for most of the shark catches around the world is the shark fin feeding into the Asian market," Sant said. "We are not against the trade in shark fin, but what we are against is the over exploitation of shark." Sant said the report's case study on Australia noted "enormous amounts of illegal vessels fishing in Australian waters and huge amounts of shark fin being taken".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cruelty on the wedding menu

This is quite an old article, but I've never posted it before I think.

This Ruth Soh is so full of shit, shark farm sia she must really have no idea what she's talking about. If there were shark farms then why would people bother poaching in foreign waters?

People like Ruth and Janet make Singaporeans look stupid and backward. So embarassing!

Cruelty on the wedding menu
May 12, 2008 WA Today

Shark's fin consumption more than doubled in Singapore last year from 2006, with demand driven by an economic boom and an increase in wedding celebrations, a report said today.

Singapore consumed more than 470 tonnes in 2007, up from 182 tonnes the previous year and reversing a four-year decline, the Straits Times reported.

Shark's fin soup is popular at Chinese wedding banquets, where it is seen as a status symbol.

"Most of the couple's parents consider this dish a premium and without it, they would lose face," Ruth Soh, communications director at the Mandarin Oriental, told the newspaper. She said however that the hotel buys shark's fin only from fish farms.

Housewife Janet Gan was quoted as saying: "Shark's fin is a must at a wedding. It is like a birthday cake."

But Michael Aw, a marine conservationist, said more than 30 sharks have to be killed to feed a wedding banquet with 300 guests, according to the report.

"We must continue to educate the younger generation and make them see that sharks are guardians of the sea that ensure a balance in the food chain," Aw said.

The message is not lost to Melanie Tan, who will walk down the aisle next month. "I don't want to be part of the cruel act of killing sharks just to make others satisfied on my wedding day," she was quoted as saying.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Low Genetic Differentiation across Three Major Ocean Populations of the Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus

Low Genetic Differentiation across Three Major Ocean Populations of the Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus
Posted on: April 6, 2009 10:26 PM, by Coturnix, scienceblogs.com

Whale sharks are a declining species for which little biological data is available. While these animals are protected in many parts of their range, they are fished legally and illegally in some countries.

We have shown only low levels of genetic differentiation between geographically distinct whale shark populations. Existing satellite tracking data have revealed both regional and long-range migration of whale sharks throughout their range, which supports the finding of gene flow between populations.

Whale sharks traverse geographic and political boundaries during their life history and interbreed with animals from distant populations; conservation efforts must therefore target international protection for this species.

Man fined R1.5m for shark fins

Serve you right! But if they are willing to risk such a high fine there's obviously a lot of money in poaching sharks for their fins. Stop eating shark fin! You are adding value to illegal activity! This guy went all the way from Taiwan to Africa to get shark fin, can you imagine how much the mark up cost is.

Man fined R1.5m for shark fins
06/04/2009 14:16 - (SA) News24.com

Cape Town - The skipper of a Taiwanese fishing vessel has paid a R1.5m fine for contravening permit conditions, the department of environment affairs said on Monday.

This was the highest fine ever imposed for such a transgression, the department said.
The Chien Jui number 102 was seized in Cape Town harbour two weeks ago, and law enforcement authorities confiscated more than 1.6 tons of dried shark fin and 5.1 tons of shark carcasses from it.

The fine was for contravening permit conditions for foreign vessels entering the South African exclusive economic zone.

The number of fins did not match the number of shark bodies, and the discrepancy was beyond "tolerance" limits.

Tourism in Bicol rides high above global recession

Singapore is so greedy. We don't have whale sharks then too bad why must we steal from other countries! Leave the whale sharks in the wild where they belong. It's so sad for a butanding to be in a tank in an aquarium.
Tourism in Bicol rides high above global recession, notes Escudero
Monday, 06 April 2009 20:17 Business Mirror

The whale-shark season starts in January and lasts until the end of the third quarter of the year, although the butanding, as the whale shark in known locally, could be sighted the throughout the year off the coastlines of municipalities straddling the Sorsogon Bay and Ticao Pass.

Visitors here take rented boats to where the whale sharks swim, and the more adventurous visitors are allowed to swim with the butanding.

The municipality is also preparing for the three-day Butanding Festival that starts on April 28. The festival features cultural dances, parades and fluvial processions as a way of giving thanks for the good life brought about the whale sharks.

The celebration’s main attraction, however, is eco-tourism, where visitors are taken by boats out in sea. Organized by trained tour operators and guides, the visitors are allowed to interact with the whale sharks.

The whale sharks have contributed significantly to tourism in the region. More than 1.3 million local and foreign tourist arrived in Bicol last year, Escudero said.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Indian Ocean tuna commission a failure - again

That's the point of having a commission if it's not going to do anything ah?
Indian Ocean tuna commission a failure - again
03 Apr 2009 Bali, Indonesia, WWF

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission – in the spotlight as some coastal fishers whose stocks it has failed to protect turn to piracy instead - is continuing in its unbroken record of failure to regulate one of the world's largest tuna fisheries.

The commission, which has just concluded its 13th meeting in Bali, failed to set catch limits for any of the fisheries it is supposed to be regulating, failed to agree any new measures to restrain rampant over-fishing, failed to set effective rules on shark finning and put off a much needed decision to reform itself.

The meeting also failed to make adequate progress on proposals to ban shark-finning by requiring sharks to be landed whole – with fins naturally attached - rather than with the existing limited restriction of having a whole shark to fins ratio of just five percent, making it hard to identify how many sharks of which potentially endangered species are being taken in what may be one of the most wasteful and unsustainable fisheries.

Other controversial measures were a failure to extend the high seas large scale drift net ban to coastal waters, deferring consideration of vital Catch Documentation Scheme improvements and failure to adopt a realistic observer program.

“Many member States appear to be operating on a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil basis which supports continuing rampant non-compliance with even a lax management regime,” said Jorge. “No-one knows what is really going on, few seem to care, States report their catches late or not at all and the scientists that are supposed to be the cornerstone of the system are doing the best they can with the scraps of data they are given.”

SA's shark-whisperer

I'm not sure I agree with riding on the dorsal fin of a great white, but it definitely shows that they are not mindless killers!
SA's shark-whisperer
Fri, 03 Apr 2009 17:53, travel iAfrica.com

Mike Rutzen dives with great white sharks — without a cage. While he isn’t the first to do it, he’s taken shark diving to a previously unimagined level. He does it not for fun, to win bets or for the adrenaline rush, but to prove a point. And the point is that great white sharks have a gentle side to their nature.

But he’s not an airhead hippy claiming sharks are harmless. He is fully aware that sharks in general — and great whites in particular — are fearsome predators. But, he insists, they don’t target humans. If they did, a person would be taken out at least once a day.

“When we get in the water, we’re the dumbest, slowest form of protein,” he says. But we don’t taste good. White sharks are extremely selective in their diet.”

Rutzen had an amazing interaction with a 4.5-metre great white. While he didn’t manage to get her into tonic, they bonded, achieving a level of trust that is hard to imagine. For about a minute, she towed him gently and slowly through the water while he held on to her dorsal fin.

“I’ve never ever in my life had an experience like that with such a big animal,” Rutzen says. “You realise how wonderful and powerful these animals are. You’re so in touch with the animal, you can feel every little thing. If the animal starts looking at you, you can feel how it’s banking its head and looking at you. We’ve just done the longest dorsal fin ride I’ve ever ridden. It’s surreal, it’s super-peaceful. It feels like you want to stay there.”

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Now the hunter has become the hunted: warnings that the end is near for sharks

Now the hunter has become the hunted: warnings that the end is near for sharks
SOUTH AFRICA: Illegal fin hunters blamed for extinction fears, by Fred Bridgland in Cape Town
Sunday Herald, 14 March

NEARLY TWO tonnes of dried shark fins - from at least 100 sharks caught at sea - found in the hold of a Taiwanese fishing vessel in Cape Town harbour have shed light on a trade that is driving the top hunter of the oceans towards extinction.

The South African permit for the Chien Jiu, whose 26 crew members are being held pending trial, was for the acquisition of just 100 kilos of shark fin. Under international regulations, the Chien Jiu's skipper was also required by maritime officials to produce the entire body of each shark from which fins were taken: he was unable to do so.

"Our oceans are being emptied of sharks, and the scale of the problem is global," said Julia Baum, a scientist at California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She added: "We are looking at a high risk of extinction of some shark species over the next few years. The loss of top predators such as sharks can damage whole marine ecosystems."

In a quasi-legal trade, linked to Chinese Triad gangs, the fins - selling at US$700 a kilo - are exported into various corners of Asian affluence where bowls of shark fin soup, reputed to offer medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities, are dished up at $200 a time.

Great white and hammerhead sharks have been reduced in numbers by 70% in the last 15 years, while others, such as the silky white tip, have disappeared from the Caribbean, according to the late Dr Ransom Myers, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Compagno said shark species can take up to 20 years to reach sexual maturity and give birth to only a few young at a time. As the top predators at the apex of reef systems, sharks keep the ecological balance, he said. "By eliminating sharks, you pull the plug on the reefs, resulting in overpopulation, overgrazing and overfeeding by other reef dwellers."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whale Shark Festival Schedule Announced

Whale Shark Festival Schedule Announced; Environmental Leader Project Domino to Participate
Swimming With Whale Sharks and Other Ecotourism Adventures to Aid in the Survival of This Fragile Marine Environment
By: Marketwire . Mar. 23, 2009 11:07 AM

This summer, thousands of visitors to Isla Mujeres, Mexico will celebrate the beauty and culture of this fishing community while championing the need to preserve a fragile marine ecosystem at the Whale Shark Festival, a five-day extravaganza that showcases the achievements, the traditions and the environmental splendor of Isla Mujeres.

The Festival will be held July 1-5, 2009 in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Guests can swim with whale sharks, an endangered species and the largest fish in the ocean. They can join the worldwide effort to protect and preserve whale sharks by adding their photos to ECOCEAN's international Whale Shark Photo Identification Library Project, a visual database of the unique markings that allow scientists to identify -- and track -- individual whale sharks.

"The Festival is an opportunity for travelers to participate in ecotourism adventures and to immerse themselves in the culture of this vibrant island community," said John Vater, who co-founded Ceviche Tours with his wife, Adriana, and longtime friend and Isla Mujeres native Luis Refugio "Cuco" Sanchez and his family. "They can also become 'Citizen Scientists' by participating in conservation initiatives that truly impact the survival of the marine environment in Isla Mujeres."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Groups cite whale shark deaths

That so-called world's biggest oceanarium isn't even 0.001% of a whale shark's natural range! 3,500 people have already signed the whale shark petition in 6 days, please add your support now!
Groups cite whale shark deaths here
Protesters want to prevent resort from including those fish. Aquarium neutral on idea.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thursday, March 19, 2009

Animal welfare groups half a world away are using the 2007 deaths of two whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium in an effort to stop a Singapore resort from displaying the huge fish.

The groups, which include the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have launched a Web site (whalesharkpetition.com) and petition drive that highlights the Georgia Aquarium whale sharks deaths to argue that the big fish should not be kept in captivity at a new marine park in Singapore.

Ralph and Norton —- two adolescent whale sharks brought to Atlanta from Taiwan —- died two years ago after their tank was treated with a chemical used to rid fish of parasites.

Resorts World at Sentosa is building two casinos in Singapore, which will feature what the resort calls the “world’s biggest oceanarium” when it opens next year. The resort says the oceanarium will house 700,000 fish in 20 million gallons of water.

Whale sharks are ocean-going fish that can dive to depths of several thousand feet in the wild. They have been kept successfully for more than a decade at some Asian aquariums. However, critics argue the majority of whale sharks held in captivity die within a few years of their capture.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sharks gone missing

Sharks gone missing
Dindo to talk about their declining population in Gulf waters in the first of a series of coastal ecology lectures
Wednesday, March 18, 2009, Baldwin Country Now

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — “In the mid-’80s, you could fish off Fort Morgan and catch large numbers of sharks of all species,” said Dr. John Dindo, associate director at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, referring to the Civil War site at the mouth of Mobile Bay. “Those numbers are not there today. We don’t know all the reasons, but the research we’re doing is seeking to answer questions like that.”

Big sharks of several varieties were once abundant in this area, he said.“But that’s not the case anymore,” Dindo said. “The decline could be tied directly to long-line tuna fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Anything caught on a long-line is going to die in a typical fishing situation.” The sharks also have a slow recovery time, adding to that decline in numbers, he said.

Dindo said the general public still has misconceptions about sharks. There is still that ominous soundtrack from the movie, “Jaws,” playing in their heads when many people think about sharks.“That same music is not playing when someone thinks about getting bit by an ant or bee,” he said. “But the likelihood of dying from anaphylactic shock from a bee sting or ant bite is much more likely than ever being bit by a shark. Sharks occupy a vital role in the ecology and environment.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Animal rights group calls on Venetian to stop serving shark's fin

Animal rights group calls on Venetian to stop serving shark's fin
Tuesday, 17 March 2009, Macau Daily Times

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific sent an urgent letter to the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel, urging the management to remove all items containing shark fin from its restaurants' menus immediately. According to the animal rights group, the petition was prompted by reports having received recently from its members in Macau that some of the Venetian's restaurants are serving shark fin dishes.

Overfishing by "sport" and commercial fishers seeking shark fins and cartilage has put shark populations in "peril."Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they mature slowly, have long gestation periods and produce few young at a time.

PETA also notes that shark fin has almost "no nutritional value" and can contain "high levels of toxic mercury."Despite shark fin’s traditional role in Chinese banquets, PETA says in the letter that public attitudes about shark fin are changing.

Chinese athlete and NBA basketball player Yao Ming declared that he would never eat shark fin again. Also in 2005, public pressure forced Hong Kong Disneyland and the University of Hong Kong to stop serving shark fin.

"No 'tradition' can justify cutting the fins off sharks and dumping their writhing bodies back into the sea to die in agony," PETA's Rebecca Chui said."We urge Mr McWhinnie to follow the lead of Disney and others around the world and remove all food items made with real shark fins from the menu immediately," she added.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quezon fishers rescue whale shark, turtles

Quezon fishers rescue whale shark, turtles
03/16/2009, Philippine Daily Inquirer

LUCENA CITY—A 30-foot whale shark or “butanding” and six marine turtles were rescued in two towns of Quezon province in the past week, an environmentalist protection group reported on Saturday.

Shiela de Leon, director of the Tanggol Kalikasan-Southern Tagalog, a public interest environmental law center, said residents of San Andres along the Ragay Gulf in the Bondoc Peninsula saw the whale shark near the pier.

“The butanding again made its appearance after long years of absence,” said De Leon, a native of San Andres.

She said that after an hour of “photo ops” and playful interaction with children, the town officials ordered the fishers to guide the whale shark back into deep waters.

Taiwan denies fishing trawler was smuggling shark fins

Why so double-standard! They ban the harvest and sale of whale sharks but they don't care about the other shark species? They are all equally important to the ocean ecosystem you know.
Taiwan denies fishing trawler was smuggling shark fins
2009-03-16 01:16 AM , Taiwan News

Authorities in Capetown impounded the Kaohsiung-registered Chien Jui 102 after they found it had unloaded 1.6 tons of shark fins, Taiwanese diplomat Tsai Chien-hua said. Regulations stipulate that shark fins on any one vessel should not exceed 5 percent of the amount of shark also present on board. Under those terms, the Chien Jui 102 should have been carrying a maximum of 32 tons of shark, but only 4 tons were found, reports said. Crew members reportedly explained that some of the shark meat had been processed into fish feed at sea.

The hunt for sharks and for shark fins has come under international criticism as the animal breed comes closer to extinction. Shark finning, which involves the killing of the animals and the dumping of their bodies back into the ocean after cutting off the fins, is mainly driven by the East Asian demand for shark fin soup.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sharks losing battle

The usual sad news about shark populations, but good measures coming from America. I hope they will be in time!
Sharks losing battle
March 15, 2009, FOR FLORIDA TODAY

The carnivorous fish that Rick Dean once feared now commands his respect -- and his concern for their welfare. "Many species of sharks are becoming extinct," he said. "It is an emergency situation."

During last week's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, it was announced that nine more species of sharks will be added to the list of the 126 already on the International Union for Conservation of Nature endangered list.

Miami's Pew Institute for Ocean Science estimates about 73 million sharks are killed each year to meet the increasing demand for the delicacy known as shark fin soup. Often, the fin is sliced off while the shark is still alive and then gets tossed back into the water to die a slow death. Add to that those who are fished for their meat and cartilage, and the numbers hit about 100 million.

"As sharks are vital to our ecosystem, Florida has passed laws that greatly protect the populations in Florida's waters," he said. "Those limits extend three miles out on the Atlantic side and nine nautical miles off the Gulf coast."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A woman missed her shark fin soup in Hong Kong

Funny spoof of the video of the woman who missed her flight in Hong Kong.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Animal welfare groups oppose import of whale sharks at Sentosa IR

Great!
Animal welfare groups oppose import of whale sharks at Sentosa IR
Posted: 12 March 2009 1232 hrs, ChannelNewsAsia

SINGAPORE: Seven local and international animal welfare groups have launched an online campaign opposing plans by a Singapore integrated resort developer to import whale sharks for its planned oceanarium.

The groups on Wednesday launched a website, www.whalesharkpetition.com, calling on the public to "voice their opinions" on the plans to import the whale sharks, described as the largest living fish species.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Overfishing of sharks hits entire marine food chain

Wow his paintings are really cool and sad. I did a Google images search.

Overfishing of sharks hits entire marine food chain
Thursday, March 12, 2009, Irish Times

SLIGO-BASED painter Diarmuid Delargy had his first encounter with a thresher shark as a young boy while out with his father on a small boat off the Antrim coast in the late 1960s. The experience left an indelible impression, and Delargy’s current exhibition simply entitled Shark is an ode to these astonishing creatures, the product of 450 million years of evolutionary perfection. Ode, perhaps, or requiem. My six-year-old wondered aloud as to why they looked so sad.

The artist’s own anger, etched in paint, is palpable. Mysterious, powerful and woefully misunderstood, sharks have long evoked a visceral reaction. This was skilfully exploited in 1970s blockbuster Jaws , which had a rogue great white terrorise (for no apparent reason) a coastal community. Peter Benchley, author of the eponymous book, in later years felt so bad at the pogrom his creation had helped stoke up against sharks that he became a prominent campaigner for their conservation.

Despite their terrifying appearance, you are in fact far more likely to be killed by a dog, pig, wasp or jellyfish, or for that matter be crushed by a vending machine, than you are to die in a shark attack. Worldwide, maybe 10 people a year are killed by sharks. The respect is not mutual; each year we kill around 100 million of them.

Globally, shark populations are crashing. “Humans are pushing shark species to extinction, with devastating impacts on the ocean ecosystem,” said marine wildlife specialist Elizabeth Griffin. “There is just no way for these species to withstand the direct pressure of man’s voracious fishing practices.”

Eliminating the top predator in any system creates what is called a trophic cascade. The species whose numbers sharks used to police, such as ray and skates, are now exploding in population. They in turn are wiping out scallops and other shellfish, and water quality is suffering as a result.

Reefs, too, are under assault as parrot fish, which are key to controlling algal growth on reefs, are being exterminated by the fish whose numbers are no longer being regulated by sharks. “We have literally chopped the top off the ocean food web,” according to Canadian marine scientist Julia Baum.

Some 90 per cent of all the large predatory fish in the world’s oceans have now been eliminated. It would be facile to imagine that such a profound reordering of marine life on earth would fail to produce far-reaching consequences.

OFFICIAL PETITION: Against Whale Sharks in Captivity

Hi everybody please sign the offical anti-whale sharks in captivity petition!!

International organizations Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have joined forces with local organisations The Green Volunteers, lovesharks.sg, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Cicada Tree Eco-Place to launch a public awareness campaign against the proposed import of whale sharks to Singapore’s Resorts World at Sentosa.

Resorts World at Sentosa wants to import whale sharks for the attraction and entertainment of visitors. Whale sharks are vulnerable to extinction and have never done well in captivity. They can grow as large as two city buses, migrate thousands of kilometers in the wild, and live up to a hundred years. It is just plain cruel to keep them in glass cages.Whale sharks have never fared well in captivity. Two whale sharks died within five months of each other at the Georgia Aquarium.

Write to the Minister of National Development, the Singapore Tourism Board and Resorts World at Sentosa before this tragedy happens on our shores.
Send your letter here http://www.whalesharkpetition.com/

Monday, March 9, 2009

Smallest Whale Shark Discovered -- On a Leash

Aiyo so cute! Why was this guy trying to sell the whale shark! I'm glad the conservationists got it to before it got the horrible fate of dying in someone's fish tank or hotplate!
Smallest Whale Shark Discovered -- On a Leash
March 9, 2009, National Geographic News

Early on March 7 a project leader from the international conservation organization WWF and others in the town of Donsol heard that a live whale shark was being offered for sale at a nearby beach. Expecting a stranded giant, the rescuers found instead a 15-inch (38-centimeter) shark leashed to a stake in the mud like a neglected puppy.

By the end of the day, after photos and measurements had been taken, the young whale shark was free again, released into deeper waters.