The Pew Environment Group has recently issued a statement, along with images, expressing concern about the shark finning trade. Taiwan Fisheries Agency then announced that from next year it will set a ban on shark finning, which is the practice of slicing off the fins and mostly throwing the shark bodies back into the ocean.
In response, Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation for Pew Environment Group has said, “This announcement is an indication that Taiwan is on the right track when it comes to protecting sharks. However, it falls short of what is really needed. With up to 73 million sharks killed every year, many by Taiwan’s fleet, a finning ban does not address the larger overfishing problem that is driving these animals toward extinction”.
“As the images we released this week show, enormous numbers of sharks are coming into Taiwan’s ports,” he said. “The announced policy does not set limits on how many sharks can be killed by Taiwanese vessels fishing in any ocean. As such, the hunt will continue.”
In order to reduce the extreme pressure put on sharks by fishing, Pew says Taiwan should put a ban on catching sharks that are threatened or near extinction. There should also be a ban on fishing of shark species that do not have science-based management plans in effect, to make sure the amount of finning remains at a sustainable level.
They also expressed hope that Taiwan would follow the lead of other countries who have banned shark fishing in their waters.
If shark finning isn’t something that has been on your mind before, these photos will likely do the trick. It’s so easy to remain blind to what goes into the creation of luxury items or the food sitting on our tables. Perhaps if more people realized what humans do in order to create the products we take for granted, we might reconsider a few of our purchase choices.
Between shark fishing, bluefin tuna overfishing, and the fact that more than one third of freshwater fish are at risk of extinction, do you think the world will have to literally run out of resources before we really get the hint?
Via Pew Environment Group
Photos courtesy of Shawn Heinrichs for the Pew Environment Group