Shark meat sale banned
Written By : NANISE LOANAKADAVU. The Ministry of Fisheries is drafting a legislation to ban the trade of shark meat in Fiji.
During the Fiji National Climate Change Country meeting in Suva yesterday, Permanent Secretary for Fisheries, Viliame Naupoto says Government is developing its own papers with the view of protecting sharks.
He said their papers would go to cabinet sometimes soon. Mr Naupoto said this was part of their intention to protect sharks.
He said they had circulated the paper once and was in its second circulation.
“We are currently looking at reviewing some of our fisheries laws so we want to get this to Cabinet to see what they say and then we can factor it into our fisheries laws,” Mr Naupoto said.
He said they hoped the legislation would be approved by the end of the year. Earlier this year prominent conservationists called for the ban of shark fining and trade of shark meat in Fiji.
Director of Beqa Adventure Divers (BAD), Mike Neumann says the trade of shark meat would affect the health of local marine ecosystems.
“We are lobbying Government to stop all shark fishing and trade in shark products as we know that all fishing for sharks is not sustainable and of grave consequences to the health of our marine ecosystems,” Mr Neumann said.
“If we limit our efforts to combating fining only, we are not solving the problem.”
Founding member of the Econesian Society, Teddy Fong said sharks were an economically viable commodity in the fish trade.
“No longer are their fins the only target, whole carcasses are traded for huge sums,” Mr Fong said.
He said tuna long liners were responsible for a good percentage of shark deaths in the Pacific Ocean.
“Far too many are killed as by-catch.”
Local shipping companies have also lent their support to stopping the trade of shark meat and the practice.