Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Airline Letters - smart!

Bravo Alex!
After the success with Cathay Pacific, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand and possibly (but not necessarily - this is only a beginning) Fiji Airways, he has drafted and sent out a further batch of letters to various airlines.

And I cite - links are mine.
Not all sharks are endangered.
However, due to poor regulation of the fishing industry, illegally finned and fins of endangered sharks often end up in shipments. INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Program has advised that companies transporting these fins may be implicated in a crime.
Until the legality and sustainability of sources of shark fin can be adequately accounted for, we recommend all companies involved in logistics to suspend transport of shark fin as a precautionary measure and responsible business practice.
I like it!
Like I've said here, many Shark fins originate from poorly managed or unmanaged = unsustainable fisheries and on top of that, we know that many have been obtained unethically and/or illegally, e.g. through poaching, finning and deceit but also through corruption, smuggling and unfair trade. And as long as that is the case and the trade is unwilling to reform and to adequately demonstrate that it is legit and not linked to criminal cartels, it needs to be treated as a potential crime.

And there's already a response by Emirates.
Apparently, they have already implemented this in June but only decided to publicize it now.
Well done!


alexhofford said...

HI Mike,
Just saw this. In fact the letters campaign has been a bit of a group effort here in HK and in Thailand. The para of interest that you highlight was drafted by Gary Stokes! He's been leading the whole enforcement thing since Bangkok CITES and ICCWC etc. The exact blow by blow of how the letters grew, is that after the Cathay Pacific letter (I call it round one), I copied and pasted the same text to draft up the Air Pacific letter (which I call round two). Then Fin Free Thailand / Freeland Foundation came along and thought it would be a good idea to do their own letter to Thai Airways, and so I said they were welcome to use our same text for their letter, but at Gary's suggestion, inserted his new enforcement para. Then I copied and pasted that enforcement para into the latest round of 22 letters (round three). Kudos to Gary for that solid addition which moves the whole debate away from the wishy-washy sustainability shades of grey. To set the record straight, the exact history of this campaign is that it started as my brainchild last year with Cathay, but as time has gone on it has grown into a collaborative effort between the various NGOs here. As it stands, the original Cathay letter was written by Ran Elfassy of Shark Rescue, edited by me, with additional insights and final polishing by Claire Garner of Hong Kong Shark Foundation. Countless hours on the computer, and now with Gary's icing on the top!
A group effort...........!

DaShark said...

I must say that as of late, I've been rather impressed with the fiery Gary - talk about a monumental improvement over last year's shenanigans by SSCSs then Director of Shark Campaigns!!

Talking of which, that pathetic exercise in BS still demands an adequate post mortem, so keep watching this space!

Gary Stokes SSCS said...

Thanks Mike & Alex,

Just tryimg to use the legal angle so no wriggle room. Met with Mary O'Malley last weekend and had some great discussions about angles to take.
There's a lot of things that Sea Shepherd does that isn't all thrills and cameras, and goes largely un-noticed. There are ego-warriors and eco-warriors, and I think that goes for many NGO's. As SSCS has grown in popularity largely due to Whale Wars we will attract more than the rest I guess, but there a core bunch that are the later!

In parallel to the Airline Letter campaign, I've been dealing with IATA and have received a reply from them stating that they have changed their guidelines for shipment to all members, and that after these tighter restrictions, we'll likely see more airlines place an embargo on sharks. This was end of May. Since then I've been targeting the shipping lines to get the other 90%!

Anyway if there's anything SSCS related (or anything else for that matter), feel free to drop me a line at anytime. We may have different methods at times, but were all striving for the same results. Healthy, bio-diverse oceans!!


DaShark said...

Thanks Gary!

Of course Mary and Lupo are some of my very favorite people, so I'm very much looking forward to what comes from that!

Re the wingnuts and breathy self promoters, you're of course correct - the question being, who do we want to retain and be associated with.

I'm sure that like me, when advocating shark conservation with the ultimate decision makers, you've seen a shift from the initial support towards now much more skepticism all the way to outright hostility.
IMO that's the direct consequence of the recent successes putting the squeeze on the trade but also on the fish managers - but also, of the creeping dolphinization of the shark movement where we now have to spend way too much time proving that we're actually legit and not some kind of unhinged shark whack.

Keep up the good work - and it's about time u come and get yerself a new t-shirt! :)