Good news on the marine stewardship front
In an age when Andrew Zimmern has made a show-biz career of gross-out eating by ingesting disgusting and/or live foods, probably including threatened species, as a spectator sport, I often think of foods considered to be Asian delicacies, regardless of how cruel they are to individual creatures of how they harm the planet. Take, for instance, shark fin soup. Shark fisherman catch sharks, cut off their fins and return the bleeding, traumatized (or dead) animals to the sea.
According to a report in The Times (London, not New York), Britain is enacting a ban on what they call “shark-finning, the fishermen’s practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea. The move is aimed at preserving the UK’s remaining sharks from destruction by fishermen exploiting Asia’s booming market for shark-fin soup. As usual, moneyed industry lobbyist have weakened earlier EU efforts to curtail such fishing practices.
Environment editor Jonathan Leake wrote: “British-licensed boats kill thousands of the animals each year, targeting species such as hammerheads, mako, threshers and blue sharks, prized for their long tails. Typically, the fishermen cut the fins off the shark and discard the rest of it into the sea. Conservationists say many are still alive and die later in agony. Huw Irranca-Davies, the fisheries minister, said Britain could no longer tolerate the trade and would revoke permits for fin removal.”
…. “He said: ‘I want the UK to lead the way in helping protect these vulnerable species. By stopping these permits we will ensure that the wasteful practice that sees fins cut from sharks and the bodies left at sea does not happen.’
Fishermen would be required to bring the sharks intact to land before removing their fins, drastically reducing the number they could catch on each trip. Conservationists have long questioned Britain’s support for a practice widely viewed as abhorrent and cruel, especially since the European Union introduced legislation to ban it in 2003. Those rules reduced the trade a little but industry lobbying left it full of loopholes. One clause allowed EU members to grant their vessels special permits to slash fins from the majority of sharks caught, provided a few were landed intact.”
…The trade is driven by the high price of shark fins compared with other fish products. The fins can sell for more than £100 for 1lb. Ali Hood of the Shark Trust, which has led the fight to ban finning, said the British move was welcome but long overdue.”