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European Union bans all shark finning.

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http://oceana.org/en/blog/2013/07/vic...

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  1. Wonderful news.

    1. So happy this has happened!

      1. A good start. Maybe an Asian Union ban someday....

        7 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          That might be a tad optimistic but we can always hope.

          1. re: Veggo

            There was a recent thread on the SF board from a CH who wanted to mail order it or somehow get it. One of his arguments in favor of the dish is that sharks are dangerous animals who eat us so why shouldn't we eat (part of) them and let them die. This did not seem to be an Asian person and no amount of persuading ever changed his mind.

            1. re: c oliver

              I remember that one. Rather flawed logic when the ratio is about a million dead sharks for every human.

              1. re: Veggo

                I read (here?) that sharks rarely or never actually eat humans. They bite thinking it's food, don't like the taste and leave. I believe I also read that the majority of the sharks being killed aren't even aggressive ones.

                But it's good news and, on the environment front, I'll take any good news that comes along.

                1. re: c oliver

                  A surfer in a wetsuit resembles a delicious seal, until the first bite. Adult tiger sharks will snack on people, and they are common in the Indian Ocean and are the reason why diving at the Great Barrier Reef is done on the inside of the reef where most sharks are juveniles. Further south around Brisbane's Gold Coast, swimming areas are protected by KM's of nets.

              2. re: c oliver

                What logic! "I reject reality and substitute my own."Although I am generalizing here, I can say from what I've read and experienced that many in Asian countries don't hold animal lives to the standards we tend to. Although I'm speaking from a poor, 3rd world stand point and shark fin soup tends to be for the rich...

                Is it that dang Chinese medicine that keeps this afloat? Alongside bears slaughtered for just their bladders, sea horses crumbled into powder, Etc

                1. re: youareabunny

                  Sorry, were you replying to me? If so, I sincerely don't understand what you're saying. I reject shark finning because it #1 is decimating the shark population. Some records show that 100 million sharks a year are killed for their fins. This dimunition is in sharks, which can lead to extinction, is causing a major upheaval in the food chain. The fact that I hate to see a whole animal killed in order to keep a tiny fraction of that animal is certainly A factor but not THE factor.

          2. Fantastic!

            1. I'm in big-time favor of that.

              1. What is far more encouraging is that shark's fin soup is declining in popularity in China. Reducing demand is always more effective. At the rate it is declining now, there may be only minimal demand, if any. No demand, no fins.

                1 Reply
                1. re: EricMM

                  That's great news!

                2. Hate to rain on the parade, but this does nothing for the depredation of shark species by long lining, drift nets, and as a targeted species for commercial fisherman.

                  There is always a pirate or a loophole.

                  As stated above, reducing the desire will be much more effective in the long run.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    As I say about many things, just because we can't accomplish everything is no excuse to do nothing.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Strongly agree. Tiny steps add up.

                  2. I don't have problems with banning finning because its wasteful and cruel. It was about time for the EU to ban finning and join countries like Taiwan which haave already done that.

                    But, I take issues with targeting and singling out Chinese eaters for a decline in shark populations as if there weren't other factors like the ones INDIANRIVERFL posted.

                    Its been estimated that half of the sharks that die are as a result of by-catch, yet nobody ever talks about it as if a ban against shark fin soup will solve everything. If we're going to ban finning on the grounds that its wasteful, then how we turn around and pretend that throwing all that bycatch overboard to die isn't as wasteful too.

                    Or, that the biggest threat to sharks in the north-east Atlantic isn't finning, but "most of the damage is inflicted by overfishing and by sharks caught as a by-product either in nets or on long-lines."

                    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/eart...

                    If the real goal is to save shark populations, then we'll need a comprehensive fishing management system in place that bans finning, addresses the sharks getting killed as by-catch, prevents over-fishing of endangered species, establishes habitat protection, etc..

                    That will be more effective than a feel-good legislation banning shark fin soup in the US which won't do that much because it doesn't address those other factors as long as it singles out shark fin soup as the only reason for the decline of sharks.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hobbess

                      As I wrote above, just because we can't solve the whole problem doesn't mean we should do nothing.

                    2. What took them so long?

                      1. [QUOTE]just because we can't solve the whole problem doesn't mean we should do nothing[QUOTE]

                        If we're talking about multipronged steps that will actually do something like ban finning, then I would agree with that.

                        But, its when we take steps that don't actually do anything just for the sake of feeling good about ourselves is where I disagree with.

                        My question is do you want to actually do something that works or something that just makes you feel good?

                        There's a couple of problems with this thought process to do something simply for the sake of doing something to make yourself feel good.

                        First of all, if we're doing something that prevents better or more effective solutions from being initiated or adopted, then I don't know if that's something to celebrate.

                        Without shark fin soup bans, shark populations in the US, with a few notable exceptions like the hammerheads, are stabilizing and/or increasing.

                        If we're banning shark fin soups in the US, we're ignoring sustainable shark fisheries that have been MSC certified and hurting fishermen following best practices and regulations.

                        Instead of setting a standard for how other countries can sustainably manage their shark populations, we'd be telling the rest of the world not to emulate our practices.

                        The United States National Marine Fisheries Service, which manages the most sustainable shark fisheries on this planet, is speaking against some of these statues:

                        "These statutes have the potential to undermine significantly conservation and management of federal shark fisheries"

                        https://www.federalregister.gov/artic...

                        Secondly, what this ineffective feel good legislation ends up doing is that it gives a pass to people and countries that pass shark fin soup bans even though they don't consume it in large amounts.

                        By blaming all the shark problems on shark fin soup, it lets those countries off the hook where now they don't have to take responsibility or do anything about the various ways their actions are harming shark populations.

                        Studies have shown that when people buy green products, participants actually behaved worse afterwards as if buying green gave them a pass to behave poorly or irresponsibly.

                        http://pss.sagepub.com/content/21/4/4...

                        Once those countries ban shark fin soup, I'll be very skeptical if those countries then also tackle all those other issues that harm sharks. Those countries will think they've solved the problem because they've banned shark fin soup, even though arguably shark fin soup doesn't even account for the majority behind the deaths for sharks.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: hobbess

                          You're clearly more knowledgeable about this subject than I and I applaud you for that. However, I did read (and, no, I don't have the citation) that as many as a hundred million sharks are killed for their fins. That seems, in any calculation, a significant number. And while I'm sure the data you've given here is correct, you do connect the dots in a certain biased way. Just my opinion, of course. I have warm and fuzzy feelings on this subject.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Oops, typo. I have NO warm and fuzzy feelings...."

                        2. [QUOTE]However, I did read (and, no, I don't have the citation) that as many as a hundred million sharks are killed for their fins. That seems, in any calculation, a significant number.[QUOTE]

                          There's no need to try to locate that citation because you won't find any citation with any scientific evidence to verify that claim.

                          I don't know where or how they came up with that number, but its been discredited and debunked even though I last saw that number on Gordon Ramsay's recent Sharkbait documentary. But, that documentary was obviously so distorted and wrong that I don't who would have taken it seriously.

                          Everybody who ever talks about shark fins always uses the data of the fisheries scientist, Dr. Shelley Clarke. When she came out with her data, it showed that the shark fin trade was much, much higher than previously estimated.

                          But, read how Dr. Shelley Clarke has been very critical of that 100 million number:

                          "There were inevitably many unknowns in the formula, and being a scientist, I did my best to bracket these with high and low estimates and to carry through these unknowns as a range. My conclusion was that as of 2000, the fins of 38 million sharks per year were being traded through the fin markets, but that the number could range as low as 26 million or as high as 73 million.

                          In 2011, with many conservation organizations escalating their campaigns and rhetoric against the shark fin trade, there are few news articles, web sites or blogs that don’t mention the millions of sharks killed each year. But I almost never see any reference to the 38 million, which was after all, my best estimate. Frequently I see “73 million” without any reference to this being my highest estimate, and almost as often I see “100 million,” an estimate that was published in Time magazine in 1997 but for which I can find no scientific basis. Even more troubling, some sources quote these figures as “the number of sharks killed for their fins”, or “the number of sharks finned” (carcasses discarded at sea), or the “number of sharks finned alive” every year.

                          I’m inevitably interrupted at this point by the question “Who cares about the actual number anyway?” We all should. First, we should seek to ground our positions on these issues in the best available science. Selective and slanted use of information devalues and marginalizes researchers who are working hard to impartially present the data. Second, unless our aim is to prohibit killing all sharks worldwide, we need to know how many sharks can be killed without damaging the long-term sustainability of shark populations and ocean ecosystems. These numbers are hard to calculate and getting accurate estimates of current shark catches, using fin trade data if necessary, is incredibly important to fisheries management. Third, exaggeration and hyperbole run the risk of undermining conservation campaigns. Presenting a high but scientifically unsubstantiated number like 100 million can discredit otherwise valuable advocacy for better resource management and monitoring. "

                          http://www.seaweb.org/getinvolved/oce...

                          And, since that data was published, shark fin trade has actually decreased so there's no way that number could have shot up from 38 million to 100 million.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: hobbess

                            Well, I'm totally cool with using the 38 million number.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              38 million dead 6 foot sharks, nose to tail, would circle the planet 1.8 times.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                I came back to this thread to elaborate just a smidge. Let's take the 38 million number and tell the scientists to start with that and see what else needs to be done. I assume hobbess would be super happy with that. And if we, as a planet, could stop ALL shark finning then the rest of the job might be a little or a lot easier?

                          2. Maybe that horrible Sharknado on SyFy Channel could have been avoided if the sharks had been informed of this!