Thursday, May 03, 2012

Fiji: don't mess with the Defenders!

.. and especially, don't mess with the Ueber-Shark-Defender in the center!

Big kudos to Rick and Angelo, and Helen!

I hear that the consultation went really well.
They were able to rally the troops despite a prohibitively short lead time, and from what I hear (we weren't there as it was simply too short notice), the few detractors were faced with a capacity crowd of proponents. From those metrics alone, the result of the consultation could not have been more unequivocal.
There's this report in the Fiji Times and this one on the Shark Defenders page and it really does appear like the interminable process of establishing a Fiji Shark Sanctuary is well on its way towards completion - but it aint over til the fat lady sings, so fingers crossed!

So, it appears, there is some consensus.
Both the tuna fishing industry and the conservationists agree that the coastal fishing for Sharks needs to be stopped. Very much unsurprisingly, opinions differ diametrically about the so-called bycatch by the longline fleets. My personal take on the issue in general is here, and I particularly recommend that everybody familiarize themselves with this excellent document by Pew about the many ways to mitigate the problem, this at least in theory.
The reality: as long as the crews are being allowed to keep and sell the fins, they are actually being encouraged to land as many Sharks as possible. In fact, simple logic would have it that when the owners, the authorities and the observers are not watching, which is most of the time, the crews will be highly tempted to engage in targeted Shark fishing in order to maximize their wages - correct? Or am I missing something here?
And who, please, is supposed to cough up the resources for monitoring a law that would be riddled with loopholes the size of a barn door?

So here's to progress.
It's not in the bank quite yet - but if and when it is, I shall have to eat a big portion of humble pie and publicly congratulate the people behind the frothy awareness campaign!

And guess what, I shall do so gladly!
But not quite yet now!

No comments: