Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Shark Killers

If you believe that the Shark fishing, and finning fleets come from the "bad" Asian countries Japan, China and Taiwan, think again!

After having cleaned out the North Atlantic stocks, none other than the European Union is reaping and pillaging far from home all across the World's Oceans.

"The European Union includes some of the most important Shark fishing nations in the World. In 2005, European nations caught nearly 100,000 metric Tons of Elasmobranches (including Sharks, Rays and Sawfishes). Spain took the largest share at 39% of the EU total, followed by France (22%), Portugal (16%) and the UK (11%)."

Just in case you've missed it: that's one hundred thousand Tons or one hundred million Kilos!!!!

"Sharks were usually considered as bycatch in fisheries for highly migratory species like Tuna, Bonito and Swordfish.
This report shows that Sharks are the main targeted species of more than 200 efficient European longliners operating all over the world's oceans. Each vessel is free to catch as many Sharks as it can. European Union Member State fleets take advantage of this opportunity in European waters and in waters around the globe - fishing for economically valuable species in high demand and without the requirement to respect any kind of management measures that limit the catches.

The Spanish and Portuguese longliner fleets are fishing for Sharks in all of the world's oceans: on the high seas, outside domestic Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and even in the EEZs of some of the poorest countries in the world under so-called bilateral fishing agreements with third countries. "

And then comes a long and frustrating list of the countries that have been suckered into signing those deals. Has development aid payed a role in making them more "responsive"?
You bet it has!

All of this from Oceana's "Hunted for Fins", another chilling review of what's going on out there.
There is also "Fishy Business" for those wishing more facts.
And you can also read this short executive-summary-like synopsis.

As a Brit operating in precisely one of those fragile countries, I'm appalled and ashamed.

But surprised? As a European, not really.
We all know all too well what's going on in Brussels, the EUs headquarters.
A "Parliament" that is a repository of politicians that are either unsuccessful or unwanted in their home countries and where "democracy" is a travesty of Zimbawean proportions. An inflated Bureaucracy and Commission where allegations of inefficiency, corruption, mismanagement and illegal appropriation of funds are rife - but never adequately investigated and even less, prosecuted. As always, lacking adequate supervision, Greed and Stupidity reign supreme! Sound familiar?
No wonder if that spawns a fertile operating ground for lobbyists and no wonder if the bureaucrats that get parachuted into the EU's foreign missions are of the very same breed, small fry by European standards but over here, highly courted big honchos with big mansions, big cars, big mouths, big and poorly audited pockets and an equal risk of both corrupting and being corrupted.
Yes, I'm really not surprised!

I say: EU, shame on you!

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