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Finning on the Front Line


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#21 Nitrogen Jones

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 01:08 PM

This is a great thread, all the poinient issues has been raised:
1) Demand is on the rise due increase of affluence in China
2) Its a honorable tradition that is generations old
3) Conservation is not a consideration for consumers
4) Like narcotics, the problem is demand, not supply
5) Changing the mindset of the youth is the only opportunity for change

I have witnessed first hand the effect of influencing the youth, albeit on a personal scale. We are close friends with a Cantonese family, the Cantonese are voracious consumers of exotic seafood. Once during a slideshow, their young son was frighted by a shark shot. I went on to explain how sharks are not scary, and brought him some books about sharks. About two years later we were dining out and the waiter suggested shark fins, before I could protest, the 7 year old demanded "NO Shark Fins"

I submit that an effective vehicle to affect the habits of the youth of China is to recruit Chinese pop & movie stars, and create cartoons to evangelize the message. For example if the producers of "Sharks Tales" made a Mandarin cartoon series. Having said all this, I am clueless as to how to instigate these actions, but a ground swell such as this forum might just be a place to start.

I also submit that developed countries like the US, Canada, and Australia should ban the sale of shark fins as an example to the rest of the world. This might be feasible in terms of reaching out to our legislative officials.
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#22 jbonehoss

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 09:12 AM

I submit that an effective vehicle to affect the habits of the youth of China is to recruit Chinese pop & movie stars, and create cartoons to evangelize the message.


A little bit ago we had a thread running on Yao Ming's representation against shark finning: http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=14624

It sounds like maybe this is not having as much success...anybody know if that is bearing fruit or having success? Has anything come of this?
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#23 Drew

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 01:50 AM

Depends on who you ask Justin. The Chinese papers shunned the story and it had little or no play in China. Of course, the Sharks Fin Association (of course there's one) were so ruffled they protested vehemently at Yao's interference in the business of other people.
Yao is not the first celebrity to go public. Academy Award winner Ang Li and a few pop stars including Jackie Chan have gone publicly to denounce sharks fin soup consumption and offer alternatives in WildAid Campaigns. Still they get no play in China because it's anti-chinese. The big boys in the politburo don't want it to stop cos they enjoy it too, especially in the new China, where the word "bling" is more apt than in LA. Sure big profile shunning of sharks fin soup by Disney and HK University help but aren't effective enough. Bordieu's Habitus is proven by the resistance of the chinese.
Even though finning is illegal in the US, boats are still being caught with fins only as cargo in US waters. Nothing short of a ban will work.

Here's an article about how globally pervasive this problem is:

Tribune article on sharks

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#24 tonywu

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 06:08 PM

An article in The Age in Australia, glorifying the therapeutic properties of shark fin soup:

http://www.theage.co...6895275432.html

And my own rant about this article: http://www.tonywublo...-melbourne.html
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#25 wagsy

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 07:41 PM

I sent theses guys and email an this is what they sent back..... :D

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your email.



Please be advised currently Basking Shark£¬Great white shark£¬Whale Shark are prohibited products on Alibaba, therefore they cannot be listed on Alibaba according to Alibaba Product Listing Policy. Our Product Listing Policy is based on the relative laws and regulations, you may refer here:
http://www.alibaba.c..._listing_policy.

Your understanding on this matter will be highly appreciated!

If you have any further question, please feel free to contact us.



Sincerely Yours,
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Email: alibaba@alibaba-inc.com
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#26 shawnh

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 09:20 PM

Well, this support drews position that an outright ban would be most effective. Sure there will be countless lawbreakers but there will also be those who consider themselves "law abiding" that will change their policies. Perhaps Alibaba would stop carrying such products, further frustrating trade.

There are three primary aspects to the market for in endangered species: Supply, Trade, and Demand. Seriously constrict one of these and you have a success. Sadly, commercial extinction is the usual supply side limiter. Trade seems most impacted by laws, regulation and enforcement. Demand by communication and eductation.
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#27 Alexxxy

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 02:29 PM

Hey there Justin - and everyone else in the discussion so far,

Myself and my photographer colleague Paul Hilton are planning a photo and video exhibition on the subject of shark fin in Hong Kong in the summer of 2007. Whilst we have a serious proposal to attract funding for this, anyone who is interested can look at our lighter myspace website aimed at the younger generation (which is more of an online presence than anything else) here: http://www.myspace.com/antisharkfin

Justin, we would be very interested in any of your high res images for our exhibition if possible. As you can imagine Hong Kong is pretty much Ground Zero of the shark fin problem and so this town is where we want to start to hitting the demand first. If the photo and video exhibition goes well we will be taking the exhibition to Mainland China and Taiwan, Singapore etc. So far we have filmed and photographed in Yemen, Mozambique and Dubai (not to mention in our home town of Hong Kong).

For the record I was onboard the Greenpeace vessel MY Esperanza in Micronesia in September and we found a great deal of evidence of sharkfining activity taking place in the capital Pohnpei. Images and video can be seen here: http://oceans.greenp...ark-fin-mystery

So if you can spare your images please do not hesitate to get in touch with me via our myspace website or this messgage board.

cheers
Alex Hofford

#28 jbonehoss

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 03:41 PM

Alex,

I would be happy to have the images used for such a great cause. Hong Kong (and my current home in Singapore) certainly seems to be the root of a lot of the darkness and a fantastic place to get the word out. Let me know when you need the hi res shots or PM me an email address and I can send them over.

I am really excited at the number of projects that seem to be going on around shark finning. People have been PMing me on their projects and there seems to be a number of great ideas out there. I am going to update the current images I have out on flickr - a number of people seem to want slightly higher res and cleaner with a name on them, etc. so I will get to that right away.

Good luck on the project Alex - I support it 100%! Let me know when and how to get the images to you and how the project goes.

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#29 Alexxxy

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 07:25 AM

Hi Justin,

Just sent you a PM....

cheers
Alex

#30 shawnh

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 10:05 PM

Folks,

As Justin mentioned in the original post, i was with him when we came across the shark finning. While Justin captured some excellent stills, i was busy shooting above water HD footage then doing a quick switch for some underwater shots. To be honest, these were some of the most difficult takes i have shot to date. I absolutely love sharks. Seeing the brutality this close was just a little too real:(

Rather than post raw clips, i decided i wanted to try and capture more of the experience and also send a message. As such, i have assembled a quick shark conservation video composed entirely of this footage. Watch it, think about it, share it, and above all, do something about it.

-shawn

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Click on the link below to go to my shark conservation page. Here you will find a link to the video.

http://www.bluespher...nservation.html
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#31 shawnh

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:00 PM

For anyone intersted, i upated the video with a cleaner cut and some more messaging.
http://www.bluespher...nservation.html

Also, check out the lower part of gallery on the same page. My buddy in Bali just sent these to me. Insane what they are doing to the rays and wobegongs:(
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#32 Graham Abbott

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 12:11 AM

This is very sad news indeed. It's the first time I have seen this reported in the Raja Ampat. I thought this kind of thing had stopped, I had been seeing quite a few reef sharks on my last few visits to Misool.

One thing that should help soon is the National Park going into a full Park status, this should be happening very soon, in the next few months even! However it was very sad that many of the liveaboard operators whi dive in the area where not so keen on a liscensing fee for to operate in the Raja Ampat. This is what pisses me off over here. So many of the oeprators here can only think about their own personal income and don't give a damn about the environment! It seems that a few operators made objecitons to paying a liscense fee to operate their own boat up there, thoguht they all thought that other boats from outside of Indonesia should have to pay a big fee for diving there... How else is this area ever going to recieve any income?

The sad truth is -- if more money comes in from fishing, mining or other environmentally impacting businesses than it does from dive operators then it may be that the mining and fishing industries will indeed rule over diving!

I hope that soon a liscense fee is put in place so that a little more income comes in from all the live aboard operators, I know that the resort operators certainly put in much more to the local communities than the live aboard operators do though there needs to be systems in place to ensure the diving gets number one priority over fishing and mining in this area!

#33 jbonehoss

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:15 AM

Graham,

I agree very strongly with the dive fees. Even if the shark license only brings in 30 dollars, the diving from livaboards literally brings in nothing at all right now.

On our trip from Sorong to Misool, we rode on board a Conservation International boat and visited villages on the way to discuss this topic with them. CI is looking to put into place economic measures to provide income from the diving that is going on (fee system, livaboard purchase of fresh fruit from local villages, etc.). It sounds like they are going to work hard to bring a fee system into place that works for everybody and actually makes a difference.

As you say - if no money is made from the divers, then of course they will turn to other sources of income like logging, fishing, mining, etc. Its up to us divers to make sure we make a positive economic difference and position diving as more valuable than other pursuits.

Cheers!
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#34 solenostomus

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 07:11 AM

I have used your photos in an email to amazon.com customer service as a reaction to their selling "Dragonfly Shark Fin Soup" through their affiliate "Pacific Rim Gourmet".

I have not received a response yet, but I will post it once I have heard from amazon.

Thanks for some great photos and for letting us use them in campaigning to stop shark finning.

Cheers.

#35 Graham Abbott

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 06:22 PM

Another problem in these areas where there are National Park fees in place that the does the actual fee go the right people and right places. It is well and good if they do, if they don't then they are not doing their job, I do think that that have worked to a certain extent in Komodo, though the issue there is that is the people living on Komodo get virtually nothing from the tourists and have now resorted to really hassling people for purchasing dragons, carvings, pearls etc. The fishing impact in Komodo has certainly changed for the better, I have seen more and more fish on certain sites within the park, though sadly fewer and fewer fish outside the park, where the are also fantastic sites.

I am very confident in that CI, especially with Mark Erdmann at the helm in Irian Jaya will do a great job of organising a fee. What I would like to do is also donate an amount from every diver who books through me towards the National Park, I will also set up a system that divers will pay their set National Park fee, it looks like $50/person and then give the option to donate more if they wish. Not mandatory but just something extra for those who are conservation minded and would like to make an extra donation. I believe all operators should do this. If they did, the National Park would benefit much more...

#36 shawnh

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 11:30 PM

Good for you Graham! If i were on your boat i would donate. The issue of corruption is a serious one however. I recall paying my Similans park fee. Upon arriving at the first site (and virtually every site thereafter) we came across fishing boats anchored on the dives sites. We never once saw a patrol boat nor any form of enforcement. Where were these fees going?

Perhaps if the all the dive operators set up a secondary 'voluntary' fee system that they managed, we might see greater results. Imagine a system were villages were rewarded cash each year based upon review of the condition of their reefs, the abudnace of marine life and the absence of observed fishing violations. Someone trustworthy would have to administer this fund. Hopefully, certain guests with much greater financial abilities, would make sizable contributions. All this would rely on an honor system of course. If operators were no more trustworthy than the illegal fishermen, then i suppose we get what we deserve.

Could it work?
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#37 photovan

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 06:03 PM

An article in The Age in Australia, glorifying the therapeutic properties of shark fin soup:

http://www.theage.co...6895275432.html

And my own rant about this article: http://www.tonywublo...-melbourne.html



I wrote to the Age suggesting the story was inappropriate, and had a reply today from the Journo. Apparantley Shark Fin House suggest that their fins are sourced from the legal gummy and school shark fisheries from which the" flake" for the "fish and chips" and other uses comes from. Even if they are, this assessment by the Austrlain Federal Govt suggests the southern Australia School Shark fishery is not sustainable.

Important to note the journo has also said they will be following up with a column about shark fin, so we'll see what that has to say.

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#38 Alexxxy

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 08:29 PM

Hi Justin

Just wondering if you received my PM....

cheers
Alex

#39 Spazm

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 05:16 PM

That doesn't look like a proper license issued by any agency what else a shark finning license. It looked more like someone out there made a quick buck of USD30 because they could scribble some mumbo-jumbo on shitty piece of paper and I think those fisherman were illiterate not knowing they had been conned..

#40 shawnh

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 07:44 PM

Well...i would like to agree with you...but in this case it was "authentic". Raja Ampat is a special territory in Indonesia that has two levels of law. National Law administered in Jakarta and local law adminstered by tribal leaders. Understand, there are only 30,000 local residents in Raja Ampat (vs. almost 200Million in Indonesia). It is a kingdom of small "states", all governed by elders. In addition, the local laws extend beyond land and include the reefs....they consider it all one ecology.

From what I understand from the follow up to this encounter, a senior village elder had actaully signed this "license", not fully aware that it was in the marine protected area. Upon follow up, he has apologized for this error and committed to more sternly uphold the no fishing provisions.
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