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#1 laz217

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 07:19 PM

http://www.globeandm.../International/

Sadly, with no foreseeable solution to stopping the heinous act of shark finning, there might be hope in the near future! Strangely enough though, it might come thanks to criminals. Maybe if these gangs pose enough of a treat, these idiotic governments will realize that shark fin soup is not worth the price and ban it all together. One can only hope!

What's it take to stop the stupidity and money-making (at any cost) acts of these people?!?!
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#2 Giles

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 02:49 PM

Divernet News, dateline 26 July 2005
Poisoned shark fins could kill

Campaigners, frustrated by a perceived lack of action against shark-fin poachers in Costa Rica, have reportedly taken the law into their own hands by poisoning, with potentially fatal chemicals, a batch of fins bound for Hong Kong restaurants.

read more here

somebody found a solution !!

interesting thing is .. Costa Rica on the pacific and caribbean coast is rich and i mean RICH in HUGE lobster.

There are also many upper class Eco Lodges where the weathly visitors love eating things like lobster causght locally.

In these places though when you ask the locals why they dont jump in and catch some lobster to sell (you could live off selling say 400lbs a week and thats good living for costa rica) The reason they dont do it is cause they are scared of the sharks .. yet they apparently go out shark catching such a beautifull country but they are sure to do to it what the rest of us have done to ours.

Still you cant blame CR .. this is still an Asian crime (do any other continents do shark fin ?)

If the demand is there then someone will find a way to supply .. basic economics

I imagine it is good money too.
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#3 bvanant

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 04:34 PM

I don't know how to even begin to think about solving this kind of problem, but what is clear is that if the Chinese economy continues to grow, they will eat every single exotic creature on the earth. Bear penis is one great delicacy that is being poached, shark fins, rhino horns and so ad infinitum. When China was poor, the problems were less, now it is growing quickly.
I have heard from colleagues that the Japanese are slowing down their use of shark fin, but if they had their way, there would be no whales left pretty soon as well. Sad.
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#4 Drew

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 07:27 PM

Still you cant blame CR .. this is still an Asian crime (do any other continents do shark fin ?)
If the demand is there then someone will find a way to supply .. basic economics
I imagine it is good money too.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Spain is one of the biggest suppliers of fins to asia. A lot of the sabotaging of anti-finning laws on an international level is done by spain. It's about votes.
Governments are protecting the industry. In Thailand, when the news of too much mercury in the fins came out and consumption lowered about 30% in the restaurants (in 2 DAYS!), the thai government issued a statement that the news was nonsense and that sharks fin was safe to eat. Consumption went right back up.
It's also how much people actually understand the problem or even care. In Hong Kong, the SS anti-fin campaign was hot for about 3 mths, where it was chic to be an anti-sharksfin supporter. Consumption dropped 15%, then came back up again.
The funny thing is that places like Palau see their livelihood in the sharks. Many other tourist destinations don't. And some of the poorer countries in the world enforce no finning laws. In 2003, I heard the best news ever in protecting against shark long liners. The following article is probably what needs to be done on a global scale:
http://www.carteblan...lay.asp?Id=2271
Not that I'm for killing or even maiming, but if these guys want to do something illegal and shoot back, hell sink 'em.

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#5 ssra30

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 07:57 PM

This is a very sensitive subject especially among scuba diving community. However how are you going to convince the rest of non diving community who consume sharkfin that it is bad.
Sure shark population is being decimated but it is not the only one. General population of fish in the ocean is going way down by overfishing by just about every continent.
The way sharkfinning is done is very inhumane but is it much worse than force feeding duck/geese for foie gras, veal, harvesting for caviar, whaling, closed range hunting (for fun, and not even for food) and many others?
Being a diver, I gave up sharkfin a few years ago but to an average person where sharkfin has been a staple of regular (but expensive) food, and rather tasty in my opinion, how do you convince them that it is not ok to eat sharkfin when other animal is being exploited just as much and people also commited so many other inhumane acts to all kinds of other animals in the name of food as well.
I sure don't know the answer and I doubt I would be able to convince my brother or parents to give up shark fins either. Are they being bad, inhumane? I think they just consider themselves a regular consumer just like any other asian, caucasian or whoever else.
Environment impact issue is hard to prove just because people are not exposed to it directly and it is hard to see a short term impact for land bound people.

#6 Drew

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 08:30 PM

Well it's about education as you say. When my chinese/thai/japanese friends take me out to dinner, they usually take me to restaurants that serve fin. I politely decline those choices and subtlely state my reasons. Sure some will say I'm a pain, but a few have tried to understand why and I've even managed to convince a very chinese girl and her family not to have sharks fin soup at her wedding.
I never use inhumane acts as a deterance. I go the sustainability and unbalanced fishing route. Killing a chicken, pig or shark is pretty much the same act. However, chickens, pigs and cows are sustainable (barring disease epidemics) and the farmers know where the limits are. The sea is the most exploited resource on earth. We dump, harvest and even convert sea water to fresh water from it. It is also the biggest oxygen producer and CO absorber. Those long liners fish in every part of the world because there are no borders they cannot reach esp in countries without a real navy.
I also think it is denial. It is a logical that 100 million sharks a year is not sustainable, yet many think they'll always be there? It's because it's convenient not to care and do whatever they want without restriction.

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#7 ssra30

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 08:59 PM

When I was young, certain area of Thailand had regular reports of shark attack. When Jaws came out, that certainly did not help my perception and everytime I ate sharkfin soup, I certainly felt pretty good, eating a good meal and let's get rid of that nasty animals who prey on innocent human being.
Nowaday, news media certainly does not help promoting the well being of shark population very much. For every one news about shark population and finning, you get 10 news about shark bitten people in half, an uncle wrestle a shark on to a beach and managed to get an arm of a boy back so the doctor can reattach the arm, etc.
After these kinds of news, I am not sure how many people will feel sorry to see those sharks gone from the water for good. I wonder after a person seeing the movie Open Water, are they more mad at the dive operators who left the couple there or at the sharks who ate the divers?
May be I am being a pessimist here :o
When I decline a bowl of sharkfin soup, the usual reactions I get from my friends/colleagues are "oh, you're one of those diver/conservationist, please pass your bowl this way" :(

#8 Giles

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 04:35 PM

Here in the Cayman Islands where turtle a protected animal has long been a delicacy (indeed in lots of the caribbean) they realised their mistake in over fishing them and started a farm (of course way too late but they did).

Our turtle numbers increase slowly every year .. to the point we have more large turtles now.

Couldn't shark fin eating places go ahead and farm sharks for this purpose .. after all that is what we do with every other animal we like to eat.
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#9 ssra30

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:36 PM

Couldn't shark fin eating places go ahead and farm sharks for this purpose .. after all that is what we do with every other animal we like to eat.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


When it is economically feasible to farm shark, I suppose someone will do it. However, it has never been easy to farm carnivores, especially those with relatively longer life cycle and slow breeding. The bigger the sharkfin, the more valuable it is so you are not going to harvest a 6 months old shark because it would be relatively worthless.
Unfortunately, Iam afraid that the rarer sharks become, the more expensive the fins will be, that will only add more to the desire for consumption.

I also can't see a government supporting a shark breeding program like turtles or sturgeons as the regular tax payer probably would say something like why wasting our tax money on such dangerous animal that might harm somebody at their favourite vacation spots.

#10 Giles

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 08:34 PM

When it is economically feasible to farm shark, I suppose someone will do it. However, it has never been easy to farm carnivores, especially those with relatively longer life cycle and slow breeding. The bigger the sharkfin, the more valuable it is so you are not going to harvest a 6 months old shark because it would be relatively worthless.
Unfortunately, Iam afraid that the rarer sharks become, the more expensive the fins will be, that will only add more to the desire for consumption.

I also can't see a government supporting a shark breeding program like turtles or sturgeons as the regular tax payer probably would say something like why wasting our tax money on such dangerous animal that might harm somebody at their favourite vacation spots.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thats a very interesting and yet it seems backward way of explaining things to me.

Economically feasible to farm shark ... there is demand .. create a supply (legal through farming) that meets criteria of quantity and price at an equilibrium.

Its like breeding turtles more than you would think .. you have to get mature ones in order to breed .. starting any farm takes time to build on you'd start off slow with your sales .. in the mean time you could make money through visitors to shark enclosures like aquariums .. people may even pet some of the smaller ones ... would make loads of money.

TThe rare a shark is the more expensive the fins .. thats awesome .. that means the farm can charge extra !! and probably still come in lower than black market fins hence economically pushing them out the market.

And why does a farm have to be funded by the government .. this business would have to make money to be successfully like any other ... i dont know of a governtment who knows how to run a business to make money .. havent seen it happen yet (well anyway)

If this was a successfull venture it may even consider releasing sharks .. young ones back to their natural environment also in order to build up wild shark numbers ... this is exactly how all the turtle farms in the caribbean work .. and regarless of the type of animal and what they eat .. it is still possible .. initial set up may be high but the idea is very feasible (in my quickly thought out mind) not that me talking about it will help .. but still
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#11 ssra30

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 09:02 PM

Thats a very interesting and yet it seems backward way of explaining things to me.

Economically feasible to farm shark ... there is demand .. create a supply (legal through farming) that meets criteria of quantity and price at an equilibrium.


Well, I think at this time, it is still cheaper to harvest them from ocean rather than raising them. In Burma, a fisherman can earn about $US500 for an entire mature shark (don't know how much it is for fins alone). I imagine that to raise a shark from baby to harvesting age still cost quite a bit more than that for now. Hmmm, we need shark hormones like those farmed chicken :o

Its like breeding turtles more than you would think .. you have to get mature ones in order to breed .. starting any farm takes time to build on you'd start off slow with your sales .. in the mean time you could make money through visitors to shark enclosures like aquariums .. people may even pet some of the smaller ones ... would make loads of money.

One difference is that one turtle will lay lots of eggs, not sure about shark but I assume that one shark probably only give birth to a few baby sharks during each pregnancy. It will cost a lot more to feed, need a lot more space and I imagine that it will take longer to grow a shark to a decent size. I also don't know if we can breed sharks in captivity yet? I think Japan did try breeding whale sharks in captivity (in one of their net thing that you can also dive with whaleshark) but have not been successful.

And why does a farm have to be funded by the government .. this business would have to make money to be successfully like any other ... i dont know of a governtment who knows how to run a business to make money .. havent seen it happen yet (well anyway)

opps, sorry for not being very clear. I did not mean the government should do the farming but was thinking more of breeding program.
We also have a turtle breeding program over here that is sponsored by the governement to repopulate turtles in the sea.

If this was a successfull venture it may even consider releasing sharks .. young ones back to their natural environment also in order to build up wild shark numbers ... this is exactly how all the turtle farms in the caribbean work .


This is one area where turtle will be different from sharks. What would an average person reaction be if a government breeds shark and release them back into the ocean? I think an average beach vacationers would be horrified since most still perceived sharks as incredibly dangerous and they share similar habitat to those vacationers :( Releasing tigers back into the wild is ok since I won't be anywhere near it ;) but through bad publicity, misconception etc, sharks still don't have quite the same public sympathy as other endangered species, I think.

I agree with Scubadru that education is going to be very important but it will be hard to change the perception of sharks to most people who don't dive.

#12 red3

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 03:03 AM

I am uneducated about this topic in any real sense but I am very passionate about the problem of shark fining, so please bear with while I rant.

I am a shark-aholic and it drives me crazy to think about 100 million sharks being killed every year, mostly for thier fins. The galapagos, south africa, cocos and the bahamas are all having thier shark populations decimated, primarily, by longliners. It seems to me that little of the meat is utilized and all they want is some weak ass cartilage soup to appease thier miniscule egos (this is very expensive soup that tastes like crap) or to solve a percieved sexual malfunction(you dont want me to even get started on that topic). Tiger penises, black bear gall bladders and shark fin soup all seem to go to the same places for the same reasons.
with china coming on line as an economic force to be reconned with, we are only going to see this type of whole-sale slaughter get worse and worse. Education is a great long term goal in a utopian world but totally unrealistic in the forseable future. U would think that the little blue pill (viagra) would have solved the need for tiger penis or rhino horn but it hasen't. japan is on of the most highly educated countrys in the world but they still purchase and sell these illegally obtained items.

I would venture to say that there are hundreds of millions of people that would need to be re-educated as to the error of thier ways but how many boats are involved? 50? 500? I honestly have no idea how many are involved but I do know that if a hand full are confiscated and maybe turned into artificial reefs you would find that the effects would be a lot quicker than trying to re-educate the majority of the plant.

the captains and the boat owners are quite aware of where they are fishing(marine parks , preserves and world heritage sites) and what they are catching. they know the rules yet they continue to violate international laws. lets teach a few of them what resposiblity is.......

I realise that people are trying to make a living, but so are drug dealers and I dont much care for them either. If you want to hurt the drug trade you go after the suppliers, not the users. If you make it too expensive to produce a bowl of shark fin soup then maybe the market will just go away.

Put a few thousand people out of work and a couple of hundred million dollars worth of equiment on the bottom of the ocean and see what happens...I think things wil happen a lot faster than you thimk

#13 Drew

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 03:32 AM

Well, I think at this time, it is still cheaper to harvest them from ocean rather than raising them. In Burma, a fisherman can earn about $US500 for an entire mature shark (don't know how much it is for fins alone).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Geee... in PI, they only get $30 for a grown thresher. Thank goodness for that otherwise there'd really be no sharks life in the SEA.

I am a shark-aholic and it drives me crazy to think about 100 million sharks being killed every year, mostly for thier fins. The galapagos, south africa, cocos and the bahamas are all having thier shark populations decimated, primarily, by longliners. It seems to me that little of the meat is utilized and all they want is some weak ass cartilage soup to appease thier miniscule egos (this is very expensive soup that tastes like crap) or to solve a percieved sexual malfunction(you dont want me to even get started on that topic). Tiger penises, black bear gall bladders and shark fin soup all seem to go to the same places for the same reasons.
Put a few thousand people out of work and a couple of hundred million dollars worth of equiment on the bottom of the ocean and see what happens...I think things wil happen a lot faster than you thimk

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If you read that article I linked in my other post... WWF and the Mozambique marines did just that.

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#14 ssra30

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 07:23 AM

all they want is some weak ass cartilage soup to appease thier miniscule egos (this is very expensive soup that tastes like crap)

This kind of comment seems rather petty and does not serve any purpose. Millions other would disagree that sharkfin soup taste like crap. I also happen to think that it tastes pretty good even if I don't eat it anymore.

or to solve a percieved sexual malfunction(you dont want me to even get started on that topic)

another rather bad misconception. I did not realized that when my parents gave me my first bowl of shark fin soup when I was about 6-7 years old, they were worrying about my sexual performence. I know sharkfinning is not exactly desirable but trying to ridicule a cultural practice with lots of prejudice and ignorance is not going to help any cause. FYI, bear paw is considered delicacy, snake gall bladder is considered good for health. Yes, tiger penis and rhino horn is considered an aphrodisiac but idea of various food as aphrodisiac is not inherently an asian belief only. Some may seems strange and rather outrageous but there's a lot of insecured men out there all over the world.

I would venture to say that there are hundreds of millions of people that would need to be re-educated as to the error of thier ways

yeh, lets educate everyone that they should not be eating any salt water fish that were not farmed. If you eat any of the fish that were caught in open sea, you are all contributing to the annihilation of fish population of the ocean. Picking only shark seems rather convenient if you don't eat sharkfin and hypocritical when you look at the big picture.

#15 Drew

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 09:50 AM

This kind of comment seems rather petty and does not serve any purpose. Millions other would disagree that sharkfin soup taste like crap. I also happen to think that it tastes pretty good even if I don't eat it anymore.

another rather bad misconception. I did not realized that when my parents gave me my first bowl of shark fin soup when I was about 6-7 years old, they were worrying about my sexual performence. I know sharkfinning is not exactly desirable but trying to ridicule a cultural practice with lots of prejudice and ignorance is not going to help any cause. FYI, bear paw is considered delicacy, snake gall bladder is considered good for health. Yes, tiger penis and rhino horn is considered an aphrodisiac but idea of various food as aphrodisiac is not inherently an asian belief only. Some may seems strange and rather outrageous but there's a lot of insecured men out there all over the world.

yeh, lets educate everyone that they should not be eating any salt water fish that were not farmed. If you eat any of the fish that were caught in open sea, you are all contributing to the annihilation of fish population of the ocean. Picking only shark seems rather convenient if you don't eat sharkfin and hypocritical when you look at the big picture.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think what he meant by tasteless is if you eat the fin without all the rest of the soup's ingredients. Shark cartilage was also actually marketed as an anticancer drug (apparently based on reasearch at MIT no less) in the west in the late 80s. Later proved to be a dud but the damage is done. There's actually no stats on the production of shark cartilage and how much of the overall shark killing is based on that but many countries including the US produce shark cartilage products. Internet claims of miracle cures lure thousands of cancer patients to buy. Shark consumption on a large scale is not a totally asian thing.
Here are a few reading sources:
http://www.jhu.edu/~...0web/shark.html
http://my.webmd.com/.../106/108170.htm http://www.scienceda...50523093339.htm http://www.healthwat...hark-cartilage/

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#16 bmyates

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 11:34 AM

I certainly agree with most of the sentiments in this thread; I am disgusted by the wanton butchering of sharks worldwide. Unfortunately, much of the ranting here amounts to "preaching to the choir." <_<

I'm sure it was covered in some way here on Wetpixel, but for those who weren't aware of it, one small (and I do mean small, but at least it's something) victory was won when Disney was pressured into taking shark fin soup off their Hong Kong Disneyland menus in June. To their credit, the Peter Hughes organization spearheaded a rally for e-mail letters to Disney, and ended up submitting over 1,600 of them (including mine). Hard to say if those letters helped change Disney management's mind, but it at least felt good to be doing SOMETHING constructive about the problem.

Below is part of the PH write-up after the fact. As discouraging as the worldwide shark situation still is, this at least serves as one bit of positive news:
------------------------------------------------------------
Early this month, on June 3, we wrote to our guests regarding the Disney Corporation and the practice of finning sharks in order to make Shark Fin Soup, in order to cater to "Chinese Culture".

The response was simply phenomenal, with just over 1,600 email letters received to date. As promised, PHD compiled the first 1,000 letters, bound the 400 plus pages of printed emails into a "BOOK" and sent them via FED X to ALL members of the Disney Board of Directors, including outgoing CEO Michael Eisner and Incoming CEO Robert Iger.

The letters are some of the most heartfelt and profound that we've read in all of our diving years, and expressed every hue of the emotional rainbow.

We are also delighted to announce that as of Saturday, June 25th, in direct response to the pressure from divers and other groups, The Walt Disney Company announced that "it will no longer serve or offer Shark Fin Soup".

The voices of a few thousand people, worldwide, have truly been heard, and Disney has responded as we hoped they would. While we have already notified the 1,600 people who wrote to Disney via separate email (The Mouse Who Roared Back, June 25th), we also wish to thank them again, publicly, here. You may view the story which appeared in the Hong Kong Standard here:

http://www.thestanda...o/GF25Ak01.html

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#17 ssra30

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 03:35 PM

I think what he meant by tasteless is if you eat the fin without all the rest of the soup's ingredients. Shark cartilage was also actually marketed as an anticancer drug (apparently based on reasearch at MIT no less) in the west in the late 80s. Later proved to be a dud but the damage is done. There's actually no stats on the production of shark cartilage and how much of the overall shark killing is based on that but many countries including the US produce shark cartilage products. Internet claims of miracle cures lure thousands of cancer patients to buy. Shark consumption on a large scale is not a totally asian thing.
Here are a few reading sources:
http://www.jhu.edu/~...0web/shark.html
http://my.webmd.com/.../106/108170.htm http://www.scienceda...50523093339.htm http://www.healthwat...hark-cartilage/

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I knew about shark cartilage deal but did not mention anything about it as I think the myth has pretty much died down. Actually, in the 1990's, while I was doing all of my medical education/training in the US I certainly saw enough patients with cancer whom modern medicine failed to cure them and they were trying out many other alternative medicines including shark cartilage etc. By early 2000's, I did not see as much of shark cartilage hype or as many cancer patients taken shark cartilage anymore as the premise that shark do not get cancer has been proven false.

There are certainly demands for shark beside sharkfin. there is demand for skin, liver for cosmetic industry etc. When I lived in New Zealand, shark meat was used a lot in Fish'n Chips store. However that was a long time ago and not sure if that is still the case today. A friend told me that a few years ago, he offered local fishermen to buy whole shark, as long as the body is not badly damage, ie intact skin, liver etc (he was acting as an agent for a company) and could not find a supplier as fishermen thought the whole shark took up too much space and they could make more money just packing all the fins they could get on the boat. That was pretty sad.

In Thailand, the last time I saw a real shark was well over 10 years ago (not including a few whale shark sightings in the last couple of years).
In the 80's when I started diving, you could still see sharks even around Pattaya, just a little over an hour drive away from Bangkok.