NATION

Strengthen Shark Finning Laws, WWF Demands

Despite the current rules, finning is still occurring even on species that are not meant to be caught, said WWF Shark and Ray Initiative Manager, Ian Campbell. He said there
28 Dec 2016 11:00
Strengthen Shark Finning Laws, WWF Demands
A massive amount of fins removed from sharks.

Despite the current rules, finning is still occurring even on species that are not meant to be caught, said WWF Shark and Ray Initiative Manager, Ian Campbell.

He said there are many scientific flaws with the current five per cent percentage calculation and the recent report by Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) regional observer programme supports his claim.

At the moment, the WCPFC allows countries to land shark carcasses completely separately from their fins.

This is allowed as long as the fins on board the vessel weigh five per cent of the bodies of the sharks on board.

According to WCPFC rules, this boat is within the laws.

A proposal from the European Union (EU), was introduced at the WCPFC’s 13th annual meeting early this month.

The proposal was supported by a number of Pacific nations, according to Mr Campbell.

“The proposal was made to make all vessels land sharks with the fins attached to their bodies, which WWF fully supports. Having fins attached to the bodies of the shark ensures that the fins come from the shark caught, and that the body hasn’t been dumped at sea (finning). The full implication of the rejection of this proposal is that finning will still continue in the Pacific,” he told the Fiji Sun.

However, WCPFC had rejected the EU’s proposal saying that it lacks consensus.

Alongside this decision, the EU’s proposal for a retention ban to protect manta and mobula rays was also rejected.

Mr Campbell said: “For any decision to be adopted at WCPFC, a consensus must be reached, which means that if only one country objects to any proposal, then it is not adopted.

“WWF is currently working with Government and non-government organisations (NGO), partners on this issue and a wide variety of shark conservation issues,” Mr Campbell said.

“We work at the national level to assist governments to develop sustainable fishery management plans to protect vulnerable species of sharks and rays, and partner with other organisations to work at the global level.

“Many governments in the Pacific are working well to tackle the issue of protecting their shark and ray populations; sharks and rays are not just fishery assets, but are also culturally significant icons and totems.

“What is not working well is at the regional level, where other countries have a say in managing national fisheries, with WCPFC being a prime example of a failing system failing to effectively protect sharks, tuna and other resources,” Mr Campbell said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

monica.aguilar@fijisun.com.fj

 

 


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