Sunday, July 28, 2013

US Fin Bans at Risk!

This is not gonna be a walk in the park.

Read this.
It describes the whole fin ban fisco including the ignominious role of WESPAC.
It also contains the links to the various petitions, and here is once again the post by Shark Savers with valuable pointers for your submission. Should you still be unsure, do have the Shark Defenders help you as many of the comments posted so far have been useless all the way to being harmful.
The comments period expires on July 31st, so if you haven't already, do it right away!

The oder side has not been idle.
Watch this video - it is of course propaganda, but it is never the less a correct representation of the majority of US Shark fishing insofar as the fishermen do not fin but take off the fins only once the carcasses have been landed.

Like all good propaganda, it all sounds reasonable.
But if the fin bans get overturned, you can bet that they will also land those Sharks that are now being set free because the meat has no commercial value, like the Blues, OWTs, Hammerheads, Silkies etc!

And those bans are still very much at risk.
The US Government is now actively involved in the fight to overturn the California fin ban and has filed this brief. This is not idle talk, it is a powerful document that contains strong arguments against the State, and it will be interesting to read the rebuttal by the lawyers of the pro-ban side.

If California falls, so will all other State fin bans.
With that in mind: is anybody working on compromise measures, like including language that selectively allows for fins from legal and sustainable Federal Shark fisheries - this obviously on top of continuing to vigorously fight the NMFS ruling?
Yes that would equal conceding a major defeat, especially when it comes to WESPAC and its attack on the Pacific Shark Sanctuaries - but it would at least curtail the international fin trade which is the stated aim of those bans in the continental US!

Just saying.
Remain completely inflexible and you may end up losing everything!


Samantha Whitcraft said...

Agree, mostly. In that, YES, people who have not yet commented on NMF's proposed implementation wording (including sate ban 'preemption') MUST do so before July 31, the new deadline; and MUST assure that their comments are helpful -- not 'stop shark finning' which NMFS will put in the 'supports the implementation of the Shark Conservation Act, including preemption' pile, thus counting against supporting the state bans (because the proposed implementation, in its entirety does stop shark finning). ARGGGG!

The issue is NOT about finning, which is already illegal in U.S. waters. The reason for the state bans is to address and limit the international trade in shark fins. The fins being removed in the video are certainly going to Asia, likely Hong Kong. And, as you point out, if the market re-opens through the West Coast should the California ban be preempted (by the proposed implementation of the SCA, as is) the market for fins, cut off at the dock, will re-bound perhaps even stronger. So the drive to land sharks, rather than release them, will encourage the continued take of sharks for their fins and continue to supply a mostly unregulated international market.

Even if the fins in the video are staying in a U.S. market, the world is watching. Countries in the Pacific and all over the world are watching these bans go into effect and see the writing on the wall; it helps encourage them to do the same. Should preemption go into effect, the tide will turn, globally. This is, therefor, not just a state-by-state issue; it is an international conservation issue.

And as for a negotiating a sustainable shark fin industry, that would take years; it has taken more than 1/2 a decade to get the bans in place (1000s of hours of advocacy, public education, lobbying, and negotiations already). I'm not saying it isn't a good idea but fear there isn't time for such an approach to be put in place before preemption takes place, if the SCA is enacted as is.

DaShark said...

Totally agree Sam.
All I'm saying is that one should have a plan B in case plan A fails - which is a distinct possibility.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't California already have a clause for sustainably sourced fins hidden somewhere at the end?

But yes, right now, the fight is for keeping those fin bans as they are - especially in the Pacific Sanctuaries!

Samantha Whitcraft said...

I would have to go back and look at each individual state and territory ban/law but as I recall, ALL of them included negotiations with fishermen to allow for some exceptions (except Hawaii). In fact, Oregon's ban is so 'negotiate' that I've heard the Feds don't think 'preemption' even applies to their ban. New York's ban includes an exception for dogfish, for example. (Again, I don't have the laws in front of me right please don't hold me to the specifics. -- check them. It is 11 pm Sunday night!!)

You wrote that plan B would be a FEDERALLY negotiated sustainably shark fin fishery. That was what I was saying would take years. And I don't know where in the process that is underway now (implementation of the SCA) new negotiations of the existing state bans would even 'fit'.

I think there is no 'Plan B' as you describe because it wasn't a serious consideration (as far as I know) that the Shark Conservation Act would UN-DO the state bans. Now, that it is happening, it makes sense that NMFS/WESPAC would try this but a year seemed unthinkable. How could a 'shark conservation act' be implemented to overturn shark conservation already in place?!!

DaShark said...

Nah that's not what I'm saying.

Plan B goes as follows.

If you did ask the Feds, they would undoubtedly claim that they manage Shark stocks sustainably - no?

So if the STATE fin bans did include exemptions for legal and sustainable fins, it would allow the trade of the federal fins (and eg the MSC-certified Spurdog fins), but not the foreign unsustainable ones and thus STILL be a good tool for curtailing the int'l fin trade.

As I said - not great but still better than nothing!

DaShark said...

PS and before you say that one cannot differentiate between legal & illegal fins and that therefore enforcement is impossible.

Wording needs to be that fins are illegal, but make it a rebuttable presumption - eg that the owner of the fins has to prove that they are legal and sustainable.