Alliance targets shark finning
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 6:10p.m.
By Samantha Hayes
Environmental groups have launched a campaign to end a practice known as shark finning.
It’s already an offence to remove shark fins from live fish, but fish that are killed first are fair game, and conservationists say often everything but the fin is simply dumped over the side.
ITM Fishing Show host Matt Watson this morning signed up in support of the proposed ban on the practice, which sometimes sees only 2 percent of the fish used.
“I've seen it, I’ve seen it happen first hand,” he says. “Having been at sea I’ve seen carcasses of sharks being discarded overboard.”
New Zealand Shark Alliance representative Katrina Subedar says our regulations are currently lagging behind the rest of the world.
“This is unsustainable and a wasteful practice, and the rest of the world has recognised this, but New Zealand hasn't,” she says.
But the organisation responsible for fishery sustainability insists that most of the time, the whole shark is taken.
Deepwater Group marine biologist George Clement says smaller sharks in particular get used in New Zealand.
“We have a number of fisheries in New Zealand which are the mainstays of Friday night fish and chips for families with rig and school shark, and most of that shark is used,” he says.
But he admits that “some other shark, the larger sharks are difficult to use”.
Fins alone can fetch as much as a $1200 a kilogram, and exports make New Zealand $3 million a year. Mr Clement says keeping whole sharks can damage the rest of a boat’s catch.
“If it contaminates the rest of the catch like ammoniation from sharks can do, it might be a good reason to keep the best of the catch and not allow the sharks to contaminate it.”
But the Shark Alliance has another suggestion.
“Bring the whole thing back,” says Watson. “The reason they're not doing that is because it takes up a lot of room in their ice holds that could be taken up with a high-value fish like tuna.”
The Government is currently reviewing its stance on shark finning. But the practice has already been banned by 98 other countries, and further conservation measures which apply to the high seas mean sharks are currently better protected outside our exclusive economic zone than in it.
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22/10/2012 8:33:35 p.m.
Martin Dore wrote:
The whole shark fishing industry is unsustainable. Most species take years to reach maturity, have few offspring and are already in serious decline. While finning is barbaric, the whole shark fishing industry needs serious control worldwide.
22/10/2012 2:29:23 a.m.
Hans Wempe wrote:
There are to many people that protect sharks. Goverments should make new law to protect sharks but also other fish in our oceans. Whales are also being killed every year and that should also stop.
17/10/2012 7:19:13 p.m.
Alice Cooper wrote:
I would like to say that this is very important and I am so dedicated to it I am doing my speech for school about justice as in like that Justice for sharks and against finning them.
17/10/2012 9:36:13 a.m.
Thanks TV3 for running this story! Good to see mainstream media getting on this.
Shark finning is a disgrace. I'm embarrassed its not illegal here. An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year. Mostly for fins. How can the oceans sustain that? It has to stop.
17/10/2012 8:52:58 a.m.
$3mil a year? Just stop finning, it wont hurt the economy that much. Its not worth the welfare of our oceans.
17/10/2012 6:29:29 a.m.
Shark finning is a barbaric practice and should be banned entirely.
17/10/2012 1:03:59 a.m.
Richard McCort wrote:
Ban it, even the current quota system is unsustainable so dont rely on that to protect them, without sharks the entire marine ecosystem will collapse, and with a third of the human population dependent on it for their staple sustenance it is in our own interest (and as importantly theirs) to protect it
16/10/2012 8:02:12 p.m.
Is this the Matt Watson who puts a hook through the body of a live fish and lets it swim round on a tether hoping a predater comes round and eats it while it frantically trys to tear the hook out of its body so it can escape. I have trouble believing he is serious.
As all sharks in New Zealand waters have to be counted against quota even if landed as fins saying it is unsustanable is rubbish.
16/10/2012 7:54:18 p.m.
Just ban it you useless excuses for politicians
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