Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Huffington Post - Correct but also, totally Wrong!

Squalus suckleyi, North Pacific Spiny Dogfish. Photo by Andy Murch (elasmodiver.com).

From the article.

Even if one doesn't like the taste or idea of shark fin soup, what is at stake is the individual's right to choose what to eat within the confines of the law, regardless of whether its production is offensive to some campaigners, celebrities or politicians.

The attempt to prohibit shark finning is an example of our illiberal times, where private activities such as eating are fair game for criticism and moral posturing.
It's an easy target for organisations such as PETA who have lost the public argument over the use of animals for other ends such as medical research and are looking for cheap victories elsewhere. It also reflects the difficulty we have in understanding where our food comes from and our estrangement from its production. Finning may be uncomfortable to watch but how easy would it be for most of us to watch what happens in an ordinary abattoir?

I say, not so fast, Mister!
This article has been obviously spawned by the shenanigans of those idiots over at PETA in particular and in general, by the dumbing down of Shark Conservation whereby some quarters have chosen to frame the narrative as an issue of cultural preferences.

It is of course not.
From a conservation standpoint, everybody, and that very much includes the Asian consumers of Shark fin soup and of Whales, is more than welcome to eat whatever they please - provided that what they eat is being harvested sustainably and produced and dispatched ethically!
Nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights and personal taste!

Finning is of course an ethical abomination that needs to be stopped.
But other than that, and I am of course repeating myself: when advocating Conservation, we need to always be pragmatic, fact based, solution oriented and willing to compromise. That also implies accepting that people fish for Sharks provided that it is done sustainably.

Still not at all convinced about the latter.
But, there is now the certification of the fishery for the recently described North Pacific, or Spotted Spiny Dogfish by the MSC . Everybody I'm sure will be watching - but should this really prove to be fully sustainable, I fully expect those fins to eventually turn up in California (hear hear!) following the recommendation of the Ocean Protection Council (scroll to bottom of link)!
And guess what: that's perfectly OK, the more as in Spiny Dogfish, the whole animal is utilized as the meat is much sought after and exported to Europe.

Long story short: we need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.

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