A new study reveals worrying declines in Pacific shark populations, due mostly to the shark fin trade.
- Pacific population of the oceanic whitetip shark declined by 17 percent between 1995 and 2010
- The north Pacific blue shark decreased by about five percent per year in the same period
- There was a decline in shark size over the 15 year study period, a clear indication of overfishing
These findings suggest that bans on shark finning are not helping nearly enough to protect sharks. Their failure is most likely due to lack of enforcement and the increasing market for shark meat.
“These findings underscore conservationists’ messages that most finning bans are not properly enforced, and alone are insufficient to reverse shark population declines,” explained Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International.
Please do re-read this post.
We got to stop advocating only finning bans because that is not the solution: most countries have them anyway - but enforcement sucks and even if the bans are being followed, by now the fins are so valuable that landing the whole animals is profitable, meaning that those bans don't reduce the number of Sharks that are being killed, at least not adequately.
I'm also not in favor of fins-attached policies and even less, of fin-to-body ratios and the like as the associated bureaucracy and thus cost is staggering and because they present huge loopholes.
What we got to advocate is sustainability.
Ultimately, this means drastically reduced quotas and there, we got to ask the fishermen to prove that whatwever quotas they want to fish are fully sustainable - and until they do, they should not be allowed to retain and land any Shark let alone only its fins!
Incidentally, at least when it comes to this specific region, the OWTs are protected as of next January - but then again, let's keep an eye on the implementation!