Shark Protection: In the Hell of Shark Finning

Many scuba divers are concerned about sharks. While initiatives are numerous, it is not always clear how to take action to help protect sharks. While actions affecting shark survival are multiplying (overfishing, “punitive” fishing, shark finning, accidental catches, etc.), the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that 60% of pelagic sharks are currently in danger of extinction.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that the disappearance of sharks at the top of the food chain would have serious consequences for the ecosystems of our oceans.

But what can be done to help protect sharks?

There are many actions to actively participate in the protection of sharks. We can choose to help many associations. Or to target a particular issue that is close to our hearts.

This time, I suggest you take concrete action!

Read also: Should we really be afraid of sharks?

Killed for their fins and thrown into the sea

About 73 million sharks are killed each year just for their fins. Essentially through the fin fishing also called Shark finning.

Shark fins that will be the prestigious ingredient of the famous fin soup. Offered as a luxury product or served on special occasions such as weddings and other banquets, this soup of Chinese origin is very popular in Asia.

Mathieu, a fervent defender of the shark cause explained to me that the saddest thing was that, as shark fins have little taste, they are cooked with… Chicken broth!

Unfortunately, this dish is prized and represents a social marker of ascension symbolizing wealth, prestige and honor. This makes shark fins one of the most expensive fishing products in the world!

It’s a shame when you can imagine the mess caused by fin fishing.

Un bac contenant des ailerons de requins probablement prélevés lors de Shark finning.
Ailerons de requins | @ Sea Shepherd

Read also: Diving And Eating Fish: The Unavoidable Contradiction 

Shark finning, brutal fishing

Shark fin fishing is a non-selective method that does not take into account the size or age of sharks.

The method involves targeting sharks, collecting them and amputating them from their fins. Before throwing them back alive into the ocean !!

Since they no longer have fins, they no longer have any opportunity to swim. From then on, they will sink into the bottom to die asphyxiated. When it is not by draining their blood or being eaten alive.

Shark finning  is also carried out during accidental catches, for example during tuna or swordfish fishing. Rather than losing space on their boats, fishermen then more easily choose to dump the carcass of the animal, which has little market value, into the ocean.

A real waste condemned by all animal advocates. But also by many scientists.

So, through the Stop Finning Citizen Initiative I decided to take action.

Stop Finning: the initiative to ban shark fin fishing in Europe

Stop Finning was born on the initiative of European citizens including Nils, a diving instructor and Alex the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global. But also from Andrew, Julian, Ioannis, Luis, Fernando, Chrysoula, Monica, Veerle and Katrien… All passionate about sharks and oceans.

While fin fishing is still permitted in many countries, others have enacted a Fins Naturally Attached Act requiring sharks to be caught and brought back to port in their entirety.

This is also the case in Europe where the sale of fins is permitted under these same conditions. For example, Spain officially landed 53,000 tons of blue shark just for the year 2016. That’s 1, 75 million sharks!

Of course, it is very difficult for the authorities to verify that the ships respect this Fins Naturally Attached Act. The European Union exports about 3,500 tonnes of fins per year.

Un gros stock d'ailerons de requins.
Entassés… | @ Sea Shepherd

Expansion of the Shark Fin Act

The Stop Finning initiative aims to extend the existing Act to a ban on the export, import and transit of fishing products for sharks and rays.

This is to bring more coherence to the Fins Naturally Attached  Act, which still states that  “sharks are not a traditional European food, and they are a necessary part of European marine ecosystems”.  And yet, the European Union continues to allow fishing for a trade that is certainly lucrative, but it generates this brutal and insolent wasteful fishing practice.

In 2019, following a petition with 300,000 signatures, Canada was the first country in the world to ban the import and export of shark fins.

A beautiful glimmer of hope and proof that it is possible to make your voice heard!

Stop Finning has chosen the path of the citizens’ initiative to achieve this.

When Europe gives us the opportunity to take action against shark finning

Since 2012, Europeans have been able, through a citizens’ initiative, to address the European Commission directly. Indeed, any group of at least 7 citizens can propose a concrete legislative amendment. If the group manages to collect one million signatures in one year, the application is then considered in the European Parliament. A godsend for us to make our voices heard!

➡️ More info HERE

Today, therefore, we have the opportunity to take action to ban this fin fishery in Europe with just a few clicks. However, for the Stop Finning initiative to be eligible,  1,000,000 signatures must be collected by January 31, 2021.

Your participation is directly registered on the Website of Europe and asks for certain nationalities to be a little clever (this is the case for Belgians, because you have to register your national number in a particular way).

But of course, that’s not going to stop us.

Partners of choice

Many associations, organizations and personalities have already joined the cause.

This is the case for Sea Shepherd, Shark Mission France, SharkCitizen. Also put many dive centers or even Mares, SSI and now Different Dive.

I understand that others are also about to join the movement and that is fantastic.

I have signed, and I shares the initiative through this article, because I think that divers can make the weight in this fight for the protection of sharks.

It is all together that we can succeed in this bet.

So I can only encourage you to participate and share all over the social medias with all your diving contacts. But also to lovers of the oceans. Or simply to anyone concerned with the preservation of marine life.

Discover all the action of Stop finning directly on their website.

Will you choose to take part in this action to stop shark fin fishing?

Tell me this in a comment below.

And above all … remember to be happy 🤗

Hélène

Thanks to Gerald Nowak for and Sea Shepherd for the photos.

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