Saturday, August 31, 2013

Redefining Shark Finning?

Oh for crying out loud.

Read this.
Then go and read this old post by David where you will discover that Shark finning is defined as 
removing the fins from a shark while still on the fishing vessel and dumping the rest of the shark overboard
or in this further post about fisheries terminology, 
the practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea.
The fact that people continue to use the term erroneously does not mean that the term needs to be redefined - it means that people need to educate themselves when talking, and especially petitioning (!) about this topic! When the fins are being removed after landing, one can talk about "definning" or "cutting off the fins"'. But that's not the issue here - the issue is what happens to the remainder of the Shark, see below.

Of course I get the gist.
Even when Sharks are being landed with their fins attached, a substantial percentage of the carcasses are being thrown away. Although certainly less cruel than live finning, this is equally wasteful and thus reprehensible - and yet this behavior is not being equally captured and sanctioned. 
This is what many conservationists call "killing Sharks for their fins alone", and it would be useful if the various statistics (example) and also, the various legislations could capture this phenomenon as a coherent unit, i.e. a "fins-only fishery" as opposed to a "food fishery" for Sharks where ideally, all the parts (including the fins) are being utilized.

But is this "overfishing" as per that blog post?
Not necessarily! The term relates to the number of Fish that are being caught, not to how they are being utilized - meaning that the people at Stop Shark Finning (this one?) do not know what they are talking about, and that the whole argument is essentially a non-issue!

This is once again about sustainability.
Where David's definition is very fisheries-centric, I'm of the opinion that true sustainability has to look at overfishing but also at other factors like bycatch, the impact on the environment and habitats, even fair trade etc - including the question whether a particular fishery is particularly wasteful like in the case of a fins-only fishery for Sharks.

And since we're at it - read this!
Hypothesis is not Theory is not Model - Jessica?
Scripta manent indeed! :)

But I'm digressing - long story short?
First and foremost: you gotta do your homework!
Shark finning campaigns are essentially a (valid) animal welfare issue, not conservation, the more as they do not save any Sharks. Conservation should instead focus on sustainability.

And yes I'm repeating myself! :)

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