Please watch this.
You must either ban Shark catching or control Shark fishing.
Absolutely correct Mr. Giam - and since we're at it, let's control the trade, too!
So here's the deal as I see it.
The tide may indeed be turning, at least when it comes to Singapore and Hong Kong, and the Shark fin industry is certainly getting increasingly nervous. Same-same for the Shark fishing industry that is being confronted by a surge of sanctuaries, bans, management plans and increased scrutiny in general.
At the same time, however, it appears equally clear that the aspirations of some quarters to completely eradicate Shark fishing and the trade and consumption of Shark fins everywhere are an illusion.
With all of that in mind, may this be the time for a smart compromise?
As a Shark lover, I'm of course against the killing of any Shark - but as a Shark conservationist and pragmatist, I advocate finding practical solutions, meaning that given that the Shark industry is a long-term reality, we need to stop combating it but instead ought to try and reform it.
So what would the compromise look like.
For it to be successful, every side would have to give up something
- on our side, we would have to give up fighting for absolute bans and instead advocate full sustainability - which before you start getting agitated does of course imply finning bans!
In exchange, this is what we should ask for
- That anybody wanting to pursue any Shark fishing activity come up with independent proof that what he does is fully sustainable
- That anybody trading in Sharks and Shark parts come up with independent proof that his merchandise originates from sustainable and legal fisheries and has been obtained by legal means
Incidentally, the latter is why the next CITES CoP is so important.
CITES II listing does not protect a species per se - that is the purview of nations and international orgs. But it does impose the obligation of showing that a species is being managed sustainably, and to create a paper trail about the trade, meaning that it leads to better management, transparency and conservation and reduces IUU.
With that in view, I shall always be amazed by the vehement opposition all the way to resorting to outright disinformation by Japan and its astroturf minions - are they not interested in establishing more transparent and legal markets?
But I'm digressing as always.
As long as that proof is not forthcoming, the pressure on the industry should be kept up.
But once the industry shows a willingness to reform,
- Let us help establish a premium market for certified Shark fins from sustainably managed Shark fisheries!
Too far out there?
It is not - it is happening all over the world already, for Fishes but also for other produce, and this with great success both economically but also in terms of conservation!
So why not be pragmatic and smart and give this a chance!