Shark alliance update 104


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Shark Alliance - Updates (Portugal, Espanha)

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Shark alliance update 104

  1. 1. Update 104March 2012 FOR SHARK ALLIANCE MEMBER GROUPS PLEASE DO NOT UPLOAD THIS DOCUMENT TO YOUR WEBSITESContents 1. Two Things to Do Now 2. Shark Alliance News and Activities 3. News from Member Groups 4. Calendar 5. New Members1 Two things to do Spread the word about debates in the European Parliament on the EU finning ban so elected representatives know we are following their deliberations EU groups, help handover the results of European Shark Week to your minister2 Shark Alliance News and Activities2.1 EU Shark Finning Regulation Debated in European ParliamentShark Alliance representatives were on hand last week as the European ParliamentFisheries Committee considered and debated for the first time the EuropeanCommission’s proposal to close major loopholes in the EU ban on shark finning. TheCommission has proposed ending special permits that allow fishermen to cut off sharkfins at sea and land them separately from the bodies, under a derogation to the overallEU requirement for landing sharks with their fins still naturally attached. Portugal andSpain are the only EU Member States still issuing these special permits, a fact that wasclearly reflected in the afternoon’s debate.Maria do Céu Patrão Neves Member of European Parliament (MEP) from Portugal startedthe discussion in her role as Committee Rapporteur. Despite insisting that she had anopen mind on the matter and was listening to all sides, all of Patrão Neves’ argumentswere based on those offered by the Portuguese and Spanish long-distance freezervessels, which make up the EU’s largest shark fishing fleet. With little supportingdocumentation or specifics, she cited concerns about economic hardship, safety,hygiene, and storage to argue against the proposed “fins naturally attached” policy, andcalled instead for delay of the regulation and compromise measures. She questioned theCommission on why they were moving forward with the proposal, apparently forgetting
  2. 2. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.that she was among the 423 MEPs to sign in 2010 the Written Declaration urging theCommission to propose a complete ban on removing shark fins on board vessels. PatrãoNeves was vigorously supported by MEP Carmen Fraga from Spain, who argued, alsowithout specific figures, against imposing this “costly measure” that would have “majorrepercussions” in the future.Other MEPs from the UK, Spain and Greece argued adeptly in favor of the Commission’sproposal, casting great doubt on industry’s arguments based on examples from othercountries, while highlighting the great number of vessels with special permits, thebiological vulnerability of sharks, and the need for the EU to lead rather than lag behinda growing number of countries effectively imposing fins-attached policies.A representative from the European Commission reviewed the loopholes associated withthe current regulation, stressed that there were practical solutions to all concerns raised,and refuted the assertion that their proposal, which has been years in the making, was“hasty”. Patrão Neves, however, was “extremely disappointed” with his response,asserted that MEPs were there to “defend the fishing industry of Europe”, and reiteratedher opposition to the proposal.Earlier in the day, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee discussed thesame issue, beginning with a draft opinion report from MEP Andrea Zanoni from Italythat strongly supported the Commission’s proposal. Zanoni’s report received enthusiasticendorsements from all MEPs taking the floor.The process to amend the EU finning ban will continue to heat up throughout the spring.Stay tuned to the Shark Alliance website for updates on this critical process and waysthat you can help us achieve a strong and enforceable EU shark finning ban.More information: Read the full report here and share on your websites and throughyour email lists. Watch a video of the fisheries committee debate here (needs InternetExplorer to access interpretation). Our press release welcoming Mr Zanoni’s report isavailable in English and Italian.2.2 Briefing paper on the EU Finning RegulationPrepared to support MEPs and EU national officials in their debates, our latest briefingdocument summarizes the background to moves to close the loopholes in the EU finningban and sets out the Shark Alliance’s support for the proposal for all sharks to be landedwith ‘fins naturally attached’. Available in English, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish,Portuguese and Spanish.2.3 Science on ratios and why they don’t work for enforcing finning bansTwo scientific articles to be published in the Journal of Fish Biology look at the variabilityof fin-to-carcass ratios and the impact this has for enforcing finning bans:‘Blue shark Prionace glauca fin-to-carcass-mass ratios in Spain and implications forfinning ban enforcement’ by Julia Santana-Garcon (who many of you will know from her 2
  3. 3. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.previous work with the Shark Alliance in Spain), Sonja Fordham (Shark AdvocatesInternational and advisor to the Alliance in the EU) and Sarah Fowler (who many of youwill also know). The paper examines the processing of fins from blue sharks caught bythe Spanish longline fleet and landed in Vigo, Spain, and implications of these practicesfor enforcing the EU ban on shark finning, which relies on a maximum fin-to-carcass-mass ratio. “The significant differences in fin-to-carcass-mass ratios between fin sets orcutting procedure demonstrates that the ratio limit is problematic and, conclusively, inorder to facilitate proper enforcement, fishermen should be required to land all sharkswith the fins still naturally attached to the bodies.”‘A global review of species-specific shark-fin-to-body-mass ratios and relevantlegislation’ by L. Biery and D. Pauly reviews ratios for 50 species with existing sharkfishery legislation. "Results suggest that currently regulated ratios may not beappropriate for all species and fin-cutting practices, and regulations based on generalizedratios for all sharks may be inadequate. Alternative policies may be necessary for theeffective management of global shark fisheries."2.4 Dr Shelley Clarke talks to the Alliance about her research on the fin tradeShelley Clarke, a fisheries scientist based in Japan, received her doctorate in quantitativefisheries science from Imperial College London in 2003 for her ground-breaking study ofthe shark fin trade. She explains how many sharks are traded for their fins, how thisinformation was gathered, the role of EU fleets (particularly Spain), and trends in themarket. She concludes by explaining the impact of finning bans and the best methods forenforcing them. Watch the short film here.2.5 Key EU shark and ray protections maintained for 2012At their December 2011 meeting, the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers accepted theEuropean Commission’s science-based proposals to maintain Total Allowable Catch (TAC)limits for porbeagle and spurdog sharks at zero. The decision came despite pressurefrom the fishing industry to once again allow landings from these Critically Endangeredpopulations.The Shark Alliance also welcomed ministers’ agreement to continue existing prohibitionson take of several other Threatened species, such as the common skate and undulateray. The Council lowered catch limits for other species of skates and rays in some areas,but reductions were less precautionary than those proposed by the Commission. Whilegenerally pleased with the outcomes from the December Council meeting, the SharkAlliance regretted that their calls to extend protections for Threatened common skate,undulate ray guitarfish, and white skate to the Mediterranean have yet to be heeded.2.6 Spain protects more shark and ray species in the MediterraneanIn January this year, Spain announced the inclusion of nine shark and ray species in theList of Wild Species under Special Protection. Inclusion in the list delivers oncommitments made by Spain as a party to the Protocol concerning Specially ProtectedAreas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean. 3
  4. 4. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.In February 2011, several shark and ray species were included for the first time in theList which prohibits the capture, injury, trade, import and export of these species, andrequires periodic evaluations of their conservation status.The Shark Alliance has campaigned for such protection in Spain and welcomed thispositive move for the protection of threatened shark and ray species in the SpanishMediterranean waters, while calling for action to ensure the fisheries sector is given thenecessary information to guarantee that none of the species included are caught orlanded, and for the Spanish Government to broaden the list of shark and ray speciesprotected.More information, with the list of protected species, here in English and Spanish.2.7 What does your country have to do with sharks?All 27 EU member states, through their MEPs and ministers, have a role in establishingsound conservation policies for sharks. Beyond the political connections, you may haveknown that the smoked belly flaps of spurdog (known as Schillerlocken) are particularlypopular in German fish markets and beer gardens but did you know that the thornbackray, a species found in the Black Sea, was featured on a Bulgarian stamp in the 1960s(and is increasingly showing up in Bulgarian fishing reports today)? Or that Poland hasyielded some of the worlds oldest fossils of early sharks from the Jurassic andCretaceous periods, including the earliest reported evidence of the ancestors of angelsharks and porbeagles?We are preparing on-line profiles of all EU countries with such fascinating facts as well asan analysis of shark and ray catches, imports and exports, and their progress on sharkconservation. Profiles have been published for Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany,Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom with othersto follow.2.8 European Shark Week: Showing fisheries ministers the concern for better shark conservation policiesSince we updated you on the results of ESW in the last Update, we have been busycollecting and collating the petition signatures and photos you generated. We’re stillcounting but have gathered over 175,000 thousand signatures with some from all 27 EUmember states and many other countries outside the EU with hundreds more photos andvideos and examples of media coverage.We want to show all EU Fisheries Ministers the level of interest across Europe for bettershark conservation measures. We are preparing large “photo books”, with a sample ofpictures and the results of the petition to present to each national minister.We can just send directly with a covering letter. But, it would be much better if youarranged to deliver it personally. We can support you with a copy of the book, and atemplate press release for your use. 4
  5. 5. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.This could be a quick photo-call with the minister or high ranking official in his or heroffice. Perhaps followed by a meeting where you can explain what’s needed for betterconservation in your country (we can help with talking points). Or perhaps an event inan aquarium that will attract media attention. Or an underwater round-table discussionwith an official in a wetsuit (ok, the books aren’t waterproof but you can be asimaginative, or practical as you want!)If you are in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, this is beingcoordinated through your national country coordinator. For those of you in othercountries: Let Martin Clark know if you want to discuss coordinating something.3 News from Member GroupsThank you to Shark Savers, WildAid, Humane Society International, Project AWARE, Sea FirstFoundation vzw, Sharkman’s World Organization, Hong Kong Shark Foundation, Pew EnvironmentGroup, SandyHook SeaLife Foundation, Ondine Escape and DEEPWAVE for contributing to thisShark Alliance Update.NB: Activities of Shark Alliance member groups carried out in their own names don’t necessarilyreflect the positions of the Alliance as a whole.3.1 Shark Savers and WildAid: New Report on Manta and Mobula RaysShark Savers and WildAid released a new report ‘Manta Ray of Hope: The Global Threatto Manta and Mobula Rays’. The two Alliance member groups describe how thereport provides the most far-reaching research ever conducted into both the intensiveoverfishing of mantas and mobulas as well as the trade in their gill rakers that aredriving mantas and mobulas to the point of population collapse. The destruction of raypopulations is the result of demand for their gill rakers, with an estimated market valueof $11 million annually. This value is a fraction of the value of manta and mobula raytourism, which is estimated at over $100 million per year, globally. The gill rakers arebeing used by some practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine for an unprovenhealth tonic. Click here to read more or download the report.3.2 Project AWARE: Shark Conservation Diver Specialty CoursePADI Scuba Diving Instructors can help givesharks a fighting chance by teaching the NEWAWARE Shark Conservation specialty course totheir student divers. The goals of the AWAREShark Conservation Diver course are to informstudents of the value of sharks to marineecosystems and economies, to educate themabout the causes of declining shark populations,to build an understanding of what is missing incurrent shark fisheries management, to dispelmisperceptions that may block them from takingaction, and to inspire them to help sharks by 5
  6. 6. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.taking action. PADI Instructors are encouraged to use the AWARE Shark ConservationDiver course to turn their students into informed and passionate shark defenders whotake action to protect sharks. The course is open to divers and non-divers.The Instructor Guide is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Arabic(and soon in Chinese).3.3 Humane Society International: Fin-Free Lunar New Year Campaign In late December 2011, more than a dozen Chinese NGOs participated in a media event to urge the public to adopt a ‘2012 Fin-Free Lunar New Year Celebration’ and the government to modify regulations to ban the sale of shark fins at government-certified ‘green’ hotels. During the event, co- sponsored by Humane Society International, the organizers gave out ‘Shark Guardian’ awards to hotels/restaurants that took shark fin soup off their menu and to public figures who support the fin-free campaign. Tencent, one of the largest news portals in China, is the media sponsor of the campaign. HSI launched a No Shark Fin pledge drive last 23 January, before the Lunar New Year celebration kicked off, to support the efforts of its partners and advocates in Asia.3.4 Sea First Foundation: Educational Shark Project 2012Starting March 31, high school students in Belgium will be invited by the Sea FirstFoundation (SFF) to join a shark competition, either individually or in teams. Thechallenge will be to design and execute a team project that will inform theirneighborhood of the plight of sharks. Teachers are also encouraged to get involved in theproject, by giving lessons using the information package provided to them, by helpingtheir students prepare a team project or by inviting an SFF teacher to give free lessonson sharks.The grand prize for the winning team is a one-week marine study trip to Florida, thehighlight of which is a one-day academic shark study excursion with the RJ DunlapMarine Conservation Program of the University of Miami to tag sharks. Once back home,the students will be able to track the sharks on the Internet for a year.With this project, SFF aims to raise awareness and interest for the shark cause inBelgium and hope to positively influence Belgian MEPs and the fisheries minister.More information can be obtained from Katrien Vandevelde.3.5 HK Shark Foundation: Petition, Wedding Competition, Shark-Fin Free Companies & DocumentaryThe HK Shark Foundation (HKSF) is continuing its petition to request the Hong KongGovernment to stop consuming shark products at official functions. The strategy is to get 6
  7. 7. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.a quick win that will open the discussion about a full trade ban whilst also setting apositive message to the Hong Kong public. Please help by signing and sharing thepetition (non-US users can select the non-US option but still need to enter a postcode,so they can put 0000 if they dont have one).Sharkfin-free wedding competition: HKSF has also developed an exclusive Hong Kongedition of the Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest that was originally created byShark Truth in Canada. Twelve couples already signed up, preventing over 3,500 bowlsof shark fin soup from being served at their weddings, and HKSF is trying to get 90 morecouples to join in! The winners will be selected by a public vote in May 2012. In themeantime, if you are interested in running Happy Hearts Love Sharks in their city orcountry, please contact See contest promo here.Sharkfin-free companies: HKSF was able to sign-up the Bank of China (Hong Kong)Limited, a leading listed commercial banking group in Hong Kong, to WWF-Hong KongsSay No To Shark Fin corporate pledge, setting an example of positive environmentalaction to other Hong Kong companies.Documentary: The short film “The Tide is Turning” highlights how nations, cities andpeople around the globe are saying No to shark fin. It should remind viewers of the early80s and a similar movement that swept the globe- the call to ban the ivory trade.3.6 Pew Environment Group: Sanctuary: The Last Stand for Sharks screeningOn the evening of 30 January, the PewEnvironment Group and the Coral Reef Alliance(CORAL) held a screening of Sanctuary: The LastStand for Sharks in San Francisco. The filmportrays the underwater world of sharks andpaints a global picture of the threats they faceworldwide. Globally, shark populations aredeclining, but there is growing momentum toprotect sharks. Many locations are recognizingthat sharks are worth more alive than dead,contributing both to the economy and the stabilityof crucial marine ecosystems like coral reefs. Some countries have even establishedshark sanctuaries throughout the entirety of their waters. Following the film, there was aquestion and answer panel with Matt Rand (Director of Global Shark Conservation, PewEnvironment Group), Rick MacPherson (Conservation Programs Director, CORAL), JasonVasques (Assistant Director of Conservation Programs, CORAL), and Dr. Michael Webster(Executive Director, CORAL).3.7 SandyHook SeaLife: The Swordfish Hunters Film ProjectResponding to recent polls that indicate Americans lack a deep understanding of, andinvolvement in, issues affecting the ocean, SandyHook SeaLife (SHSL) Foundation willbegin a public awareness initiative through the power of film. ‘The Swordfish Hunters’written by SHSL Foundation’s founder, a movie, in the planning stage, will take global 7
  8. 8. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.audiences to sea, to experience the raw reality of what fishermen and marinersencounter - the devastating changes wrought by humans on this ecosystem.SHSL Foundation invites like-minded organisations to join them in this film projectand advance their own mission. SHSL Foundation welcomes partners who can helpprovide funding, talent and expertise. For more information on ‘The Swordfish Hunters’please visit SHSL Foundation’s website or contact Mary Hamilton, SHSL Foundation’sExecutive Director.3.8 Ondine Escape: Upcoming Data Collection Projects in MallorcaOndine Escape has recently created its own conservation department and is planning toset-up two new elasmobranch programs in Mallorca. The first is a small data collectionprogram for the common stingray, Dasyatis pastinica. This is a volunteer-based programworking with local divers. Ondine Escape will be working with Gabriel Morey, IUCN SharkSpecialist Group member, and a former department of fisheries biologist and a localshark expert to monitor, over a 12-month period, two areas within the Bay of Palma withthe view to Gabriel writing a report on the migrations of this species. The second project,also a data collection program, aims to increasing the data base of MEDLEM (TheMediterranean Large Elasmobranchs Monitoring Program). Both programs are in theearly stages of planning. Watch this space for more details.3.9 DEEPWAVE: Dr. Gross Speaks at the Sealife Aquarium TimmendorfOn the 22nd of January, Dr. Onno Gross from DEEPWAVE gave a speech about sharkthreats and conservation at the Sealife Aquarium Timmendorf, Germany. It was a goodopportunity to get the audience interested in learning more about the big EU sharkfishing fleet and its intense activities in the international shark fin trade.3.10 New Sharkman’s World Organization WebsiteThe new Sharkman’s World Organization website is now up and running. The new url Please update your links! If you wish Sharkman’s WorldOrganization to link to your website, please contact Alex Sharkman Buttigieg. 8
  9. 9. For Shark Alliance member groups. Please do not upload this document to your website.4 CalendarNB: There is a more detailed calendar relating to the EU process for strengthening thefinning ban that we can share with all those who are interested.March 15-20 CITES 26th Meeting of the Animals Committee, Geneva, SwitzerlandMarch 14-21 Palau Shark WeekMarch 26-30 Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Session, GuamApril, week of 22nd Project AWARE’s Big Shark Shout Out 2012June 8 World Oceans DayJune 11-15 ICCAT Sharks Meeting (Ecological Risk Analysis), PortugalJune 20-22 Rio +20 (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), Rio de Janeiro, BrazilJune 25-29 IATTC, La Jolla, CaliforniaJuly 9-13 30th Session of FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), Rome, ItalyJuly 12 CITES 62nd Meeting of the Standing Committee, Geneva, SwitzerlandSeptember Debris Month of ActionSeptember 6-8 10th International Seafood Summit, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong KongSeptember 6-15 IUCN World Conservation Congress, Jeju, KoreaNovember 12-19 ICCAT Special Meeting of the Commission, Agadir, MoroccoPlease let us know of other upcoming events and key dates.5 Shark Alliance Member GroupsThe Shark Alliance now has 122 member groups. Welcome to our newest members: 1. Tiny Island Conservation (Maldives) 2. Danishark Elasmobranch Research (Italy)The full list of member groups can be found on the website: Member Groups For help regarding Shark Alliance administration, please contact Ronna Mercado at 9