AMCS puts shark finning back in the news; Danny Green’s shark tale

The Australian Marine Conservation Society is one of Australia’s driving forces in getting Federal Government backing for marine protected areas and their shark finning campaign hit the news again prior to Chinese New Year.

The Daily Telegraph reported last week that not only did the Australian Government (which bans shark finning in our waters) not keep track of shark fin imports but the limited focus on the trade may mean that illegal shark catches and finning is still continuing in Australian territorial waters.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said it had sourced data from Hong Kong, the capital of the world’s shark fin export trade, and discovered Australia imported 54 tonnes of shark fin between 1998 and 2011.

“The 54 tonnes of fin imported from Hong Kong would be about 4000 tonnes of shark. Even conservative estimates would put this in the order of tens of thousands of individual sharks,” AMCS spokeswoman Jacki Boyce said.

The AMCS said until the beginning of 2012 shark fins imported into Australia were lumped together with other “shark products” under Australian import identification rules.

My previous post on shark attacks mentioned the poor reputation of sharks – spurred on by media misreporting and poorly-researched Hollywood 3D horror films – that is continuing to make it harder for shark conservationists to be heard by the general public.

That doesn’t mean scientists and respected conservationists aren’t trying: David Shiffman and his colleagues over at Southern Fried Science do consistently great work on exposing and debunking shark myths, such as in this recent post.

Even world boxing champion Danny Green was caught up in a recent furore over Facebook photos of the tiger shark he caught near Perth, Western Australia.

Photo credit: Danny Green

Photo credit: Danny Green

The comments on the photos ranged from viewers outraged by the killing of a shark (one described himself as a humanitarian, which I agree didn’t make sense in this context) to the usual “Good on ya for killing Jaws” and plenty of mud slinging – a screen grab of one selection is below.

It showed once again that the shark debate is fraught with misinformation about shark attacks; that personal opinion often stands above scientific evidence where sharks are concerned and lastly, that we all need to be doing more to show people what these amazing sea creatures are really all about.

Selection of Facebook comments

Selection of Facebook comments

About oceanicexplorer

http://oceanicexplorer.wordpress.com

Posted on February 17, 2013, in activism, conservation, fishing, photography, science, sea life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Science on the Land and commented:
    Shark finning still goes on. It’s still cruel.

    • No argument there. The Southern Fried Science posts referred to include some personal opinion on the shark finning debate but also some worthwhile facts – I agree that it’s wrong to say ‘100 million sharks are killed every year’ when there’s no scientific basis for such a claim.
      We do ourselves (and sharks) a disservice by using manipulated or manufactured stats; just look at climate change deniers who latch onto wild global warming claims to “prove” their particular point of view.
      Thanks for reposting too: I’ve been slack lately in reading up on other blogs so have to get back in there!

  1. Pingback: Protection for sharks | Science on the Land

  2. Pingback: Circle hooks more humane choice for sharks, rays and sportfish | oceanicexplorer

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