Saving Sharks in Indonesia

blacktip shark

From our friends at the Gili Shark Foundation:

Indonesia is the largest exporter of shark fins in the world. There is no current (or planned) legislation for the protection of reef sharks in Indonesia and CITES Appendix II (which only covers international fisheries) does not cover them either. This means that the fishermen around Indonesia are acting totally within the law by catching, killing and finning these animals. The animals are sold at the local fish markets for a small price in huge numbers. Ideally we would be able to use legislation to ban all fishing of sharks, however, this isn’t realistically going to happen any time soon. The local Indonesian fishermen will land anything they can from the sea in order to make some money. When we were at Tanjung Luar Market the array of reef fish, eels, sharks, rays and pelagics was unbelievable. They will take anything they can. Continue reading

Impact of the Gulf tragedy on marine life?

I can’t tear myself away from the coverage of the Gulf oil tragedy. It seems the solution to stopping the flow is days if not weeks away. I wonder why oil tankers aren’t being used to contain the oil from the spill?

The loss of human lives was tragic. The impact on  human lives will be tragic. What will be the impact on marine life?  This couldn’t have happened at a worse time for some of the most fragile, and important, ecosystems and breeding grounds for Gulf species that are in the midst of spawning season. It’s spring in the Gulf. Spawning, migrating, incubating, hatching. It’s all happening now. I keep hearing about how this is going to impact seafood production for a decade. OK. Well, this is going to impact the very survival of some species forever. Including Homo sapiens.

Continue reading

CITES: a “tragedy of the oceans” says Oceana

I moved in January and now (more than two months later!) I’m just getting to know my neighbors.  What does this have to do with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)? Well, it turns out they got married in Singapore and had a Chinese ceremony and reception and they chose not to include the traditional shark fin soup on the menu — much to the displeasure of some of their guests. I applaud them for that and I’m so thrilled to have such awesome next door neighbors. I’m sure it took a lot of courage.

Serving shark fin soup at weddings is a very old and very honored tradition in the Chinese culture. Keeping it off the menu might be compared to banning wedding cake from American weddings. Or flowers. Old traditions die hard and shark species are dying out as a result of the over-consumption of shark fins. Bluefin tuna is going fast too and dozens of corals are at great risk among many other marine species. Too many. Continue reading

“Endangered” is confusing?!

First Japan, now China. Not that the US is much better in terms of wildlife conservation, but I don’t understand how this can continue to happen. It’s sickening. Isn’t part of what life is all about is leaving the planet a better place than you found it for future generations? Are people who “get that” really that much in the minority? And are exotic animals really that necessary as a form of protein? They cannot possibly taste good. It’s a status thing, and that’s even more disgusting.
baby leatherback
Leatherbacks are critically endangered — and there were 44 of them on one small boat, a huge number when the species is depleted to such an extent, being smuggled into China.

‘Noah’s Ark’ of 5,000 rare animals found floating off the coast of China

· Cargo of abandoned vessel destined for restaurants
· Illegal trade drives species closer to extinction Continue reading

Small step toward shark conservation

World’s First International Catch Limit for Sharks Adopted

The Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) decided recently to halt targeted fishing of vulnerable sharks in the Southern Ocean. France proposed the action to the CCAMLR based on its concern over increased shark finning and fishing for the slow-reproducing deepwater sharks in Antarctica. Shark fishing will be prohibited until shark populations can be assessed and the impact of fishing quantified. The CCAMLR is also encouraging fisheries to release sharks caught as bycatch.

“This responsible yet bold action by CCAMLR establishes the world’s first limit on the amount of sharks that can be taken from international waters and is therefore a landmark agreement in global shark conservation,” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for The Ocean Conservancy’s shark program and the Shark Alliance. “We congratulate CCAMLR for affording sharks the precautionary protection they so urgently warrant yet rarely receive.” Continue reading

Endangered species still being sold for food

Why do endangered species tend to attract a higher demand in some markets? The higher the demand, the higher the price and the greater lengths fishermen will go to harvest them. Supply and demand, money and greed — how can we stop this vicious cycle? Here’s a recent story about a shipment that was seized by customs in Indonesia:

Humphead Wrasse

Indonesian airport authorities seized 36 endangered Humphead Wrasse Cheilinus undulatus on 30 June in Manado, Indonesia, the third seizure of this species in Indonesia this year.

The world’s largest coral reef fish, the Humphead Wrasse is a prized delicacy served in high-end restaurants with a price tag of over US$100 per kg. Hong Kong represents the largest known consumer market for this species, although upscale eateries in Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China are also known to offer servings of the electric blue fish. Continue reading