Monday, December 09, 2013

Shark Savers - full Force ahead!

Video here.

Remember this post?

I did raise a few (and uncharacteristically mild!) questions about some statements by Shark activists in Asia, and all hell broke lose!
I spare you the gory details - suffice to say that it earned me an earful by fellow Shark conservationists and some of my good friends. And then I had to patiently endure another helping of abuse about David when he penned his article in Scientific American!
Lemme quickly repeat where I stand on the thorny topic of public debates among conservationists.
This is when somebody will inevitably start shouting, how dare you attack fellow conservationists, and invoke global peace and harmony and-so-on and-so-forth.

I ... believe that like in science, progress in conservation is achieved via dialogue but also, via robust debate where opinions may get heated but where everybody who is legit accepts that those are just the rules of the game – and where those who do not are simply not scientists and conservationists but posers and bullshitters!

In brief, where I’m coming from is that whereas it is great that Shark conservation has become sizzling hot and is uniting many passionate voices around a great common cause, bullshit continues to be bullshit and shenanigans, shenanigans - and the great common cause is in no way an excuse for any of that.
So much for the principle.
In terms of factual information, my sources uniformly educate me that much of the confusion is due to the usual lack of transparency of both the fin trade and the Asian government sources, but also and more disturbingly, to the various agendas and resulting internecine feuds among Shark conservation researchers and orgs.

With that in mind, I applaud this post by Shark Savers.
This is good information that helps to cement the notion that the anti-Shark-fin initiatives are having an effect. We will never quite know to which extent - but they have certainly put the issue on the table and forced the authorities to take notice and very likely motivated them to expressly mention Shark fins when cracking down on corruption and excessive spending. 
And the info about price declines in Indonesia is invaluable!

And David's article?
I agree with the conclusion that the fight is far from over, this because Sharks are increasingly being killed for other products and not only for their fins. And consequently, our advocacy of better management measures (all the way to sanctuaries!) must continue. 
But  I disagree with the general gist of the piece that the best available evidence fails to substantiate an important decline in consumption (although 50-70% China-wide still "smell" suspect), and that the effect of the campaigns has been negligible.
The best available evidence, albeit far from being conclusive, actually points to the contrary.

And the other achievements by Shark Savers?
Simply stellar - but they will of course be the topic of the traditional end-of-year recap, so keep watching this space!

In the meantime, well done - again! :)


Anonymous said...

Amen. And having just spent 2 weeks in China, I can tell you that the truth about the trade (prices, demand, etc.) is there and in the field (Indonesia, for example); not in a lab in the U.S. I humbly suggest that those who wish to write knowledgeably on the subject, go to the markets in Hong Kong and elsewhere to learn and understand, first hand.

DaShark said...

Pax tecum oh ye feisty not-so-anonymous one! :)