Environmental groups are welcoming some aspects of a raft of law changes announced today in relation to shark finning, but say that overall the chance for New Zealand to catch up with international efforts in shark conservation is being missed.
“Our major trading partners – including the European Union, Australia, and the United States – have all made comprehensive changes to put a stop to the killing, finning and then dumping of sharks’ bodies at sea,” says Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas.
“Unfortunately, the new regulations announced today by the New Zealand government fall short.
“It’s great that some species of sharks will now have to be brought ashore whole, rather than being finned at sea. But we’re concerned that among the exemptions to this requirement are mako and porbeagle sharks, both vulnerable species.”
The New Zealand Shark Alliance says these species should also be required to be brought ashore whole, in line with best international best practice.
“With today’s announcement, loopholes could mean some shark finning of species like mako and porbeagle sharks could continue. Stipulating a certain weight ratio of shark fins to carcasses is simply not as effective as requiring sharks to be landed whole, with their fins naturally attached,” Karli Thomas says.
“Ratios aren’t accurate. Overseas experience shows they create loopholes that fishers will continue to exploit. It’s an approach that has been tried and rejected by many other countries, in favour of bringing these sharks back to shore whole,” she says.
“The new laws will also allow dead sharks that are brought aboard ships to be dumped overboard. With very few observers aboard New Zealand fishing vessels, particularly the tuna longline fleet, there is a real risk that fishers will simply kill and dump sharks rather than release them alive,” says Forest & Bird Marine Advocate Katrina Goddard.
“There is a clear need for much greater observer coverage onboard fishing boats operating inside New Zealand’s four million square kilometre-plus Exclusive Economic Zone.
“However, we welcome the fact that spiny dogfish, and all other non-quota management shark species, will now have to be brought ashore whole.”
Dumping finned sharks alive back into the sea is already illegal under animal welfare laws.
WWF Marine Advocate, Milena Palka: 021 0279 8501
Forest & Bird Marine Conservation Advocate Katrina Goddard: 021 426 984
The New Zealand Shark Alliance is a group of organisations and scientists working together to ban shark finning in New Zealand waters and to protect sharks. It includes Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, WWF, Shark Fin Free Auckland, Our Seas My Dinner, ECO, White Shark Conservation Trust, New Zealand Underwater, The ITM Fishing Show, Kelly Tarlton's Sealife Aquarium and Capt Wanker Pants.
ELIMINATE SHARK FINNING IN NZ - CLOSE THE LOOPHOLE !
MAKE YOUR EASY ONLINE SUBMISSION HERE (sorry finished 22 June)
Note, all submissions must be received by MPI by Sunday 22 June 2014
In January this year it was announced by Ministers that shark finning would finally be phased out in New Zealand! This was a victory for over 78,000 New Zealanders who called out to stop this abhorrent practice in our waters.
But the fight is not over just yet. We still need your help to ensure that the ban actually works and there are no loopholes…
On the 20th May the NZ Government released a proposal to bring forward the ban on all shark finning to October 2014. This is great news. However, we need to make sure the strategies adopted are based on international best practice or else certain sharks could still be at risk. Our highly migratory sharks, such as blues, makos, and porbeagles are especially vulnerable. The final policy changes can’t cut corners. Let’s do this once and let’s do this right.
We welcome a ‘fins naturally attached (FNA)’ policy which require sharks, that are not fully utilised at sea to be brought back to shore in one piece. This is the most effective way to ensure sharks aren’t killed just for their fins and that fishers comply with the finning ban. But, this is not what is proposed, the Government would see mako and porbeagle sharks finned and dumped according to a fins ratio approach.
Use the link above (sorry finished 22 June) to make an official submission and tell the Government that it must follow best international standards* and that you want FNA applied to all highly migratory sharks this October.
*The Convention on Migratory Species advises that legislation should require sharks be brought ashore whole, with their fins still naturally attached (FNA).
More detail and documents about the consultation and submission can be found here.
Written submissions should be sent directly to:
Email: NPOA-Sharks@mpi.govt.nz Post to:
Ministry for Primary Industries
P O Box 2526
New Zealand Shark Alliance welcomes the government‘s proposal to bring forward the ban on all shark finning by two years but calls for the policy to be based on international best practice.
“The sooner we can end shark finning the better but it needs to be a ban that actually works and stops this abhorrent practice. The devil will be in the detail and any policy needs to be based on international best practice, said New Zealand Shark Alliance spokesperson Milena Palka.
The government announced today that it would bring forward the ban on all sharks from 2016 to 2014.
“Any ban will only be effective if it is based on a fins naturally attached policy. This is the best way to ensure that sharks aren’t killed just for their fins as it requires sharks to be brought back to shore in one piece,” added Ms Palka, from WWF. “This is the most effective way to make sure fishers comply with the finning ban.”
Forest & Bird Marine Conservation Advocate Katrina Goddard said: “It is great that the government is moving on shark finning but any policy can’t cut corners. Let’s do this once and let’s do this right.”
The New Zealand Shark Alliance is a group of organisations and scientists working together to ban shark finning in New Zealand waters and to protect sharks. It includes Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, WWF, Shark Fin Free Auckland, Our Seas Our Future, ECO, White Shark Conservation Trust, New Zealand Underwater, The ITM Fishing Show, Kelly Tarlton's Sealife Aquarium and Earthrace.
Ban on shark finning important step but too slow for blue sharks
Environmental groups have welcomed new laws to ban shark finning in New Zealand waters but are disappointed it will be almost three years before they take full effect.
Today the Government announced killing sharks just for their fins and dumping the bodies at sea will be illegal by October 2016.
“This is great news for the tens of thousands of Kiwis who have been calling for a ban on shark finning,” says Karli Thomas New Zealand Shark Alliance spokesperson and Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner.
“However, thousands of blue sharks, which are the species most often caught just for their fins in New Zealand waters, may be killed just for their fins before the law is in place. Most blue sharks are caught as bycatch and pulled into the boats alive. Many could be released unharmed. To continue finning blue sharks is a senseless waste and there are no excuses for a delay of almost three years.”
Globally around 270,000 sharks are killed every day and the trade in shark fins is driving much of this slaughter. This is causing a serious decline in the world's shark populations, and many species are under threat.
The new laws mean New Zealand will join around 100 countries and states, including Australia, the EU and US, to ban shark finning but the NZSA says the government needs to make sure it has closed all loopholes.
“The best international standards require highly migratory sharks to be brought back to shore in one piece. This is the most effective way to make sure fishers comply with the finning ban as they can’t hide any evidence of shark finning at sea,” says Thomas.
“While Conservation Minister Nick Smith has indicated sharks will need to be landed whole that commitment needs to be made public.”
New Zealand is among the world's top 10 nations for killing and exporting sharks and a major exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong. Recently we have also become the biggest exporter of dried shark fins to the United States.
“This announcement is an important step. We urge New Zealand’s fishing industry to respond to the wishes of most kiwis and stop shark finning as soon as possible rather than until 2015 and 2016,” says Peter Hardstaff, Head of Campaigns at WWF-New Zealand.
The New Zealand Shark Alliance is a group of organisations and scientists working together to ban shark finning in New Zealand waters and to protect sharks. It includes Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, WWF, Shark Fin Free Auckland, Our Seas Our Future, ECO, White Shark Conservation Trust, New Zealand Underwater, The ITM Fishing Show, Kelly Tarlton's Sealife Aquarium and Earthrace. Ends.
SAY NO TO SHARK FINNING IN NEW ZEALAND
*** NOTE, the first submission finished 8th December 2013. Please see top of page for the second submission June 2014
Cutting fins off live sharks is already illegal in NZ but the senseless and wasteful practice of killing sharks just for their fins and then dumping their bodies back in the sea is not.
New Zealand needs to join close to 100 countries and states around the world (including Australia, the EU and US) that have already banned shark finning.
On the 10th November the NZ Government released a proposal that would see shark finning made illegal within three years. This is a step in the right direction and shows how public pressure is working - but at this stage it's just a proposal, and even if it's adopted sharks could still be finned and dumped in NZ until 2016.
Use this form (sorry finished on the 8th December!) to make an official submission and tell the Government you support the ban on shark finning in NZ waters, that it must follow best international standards* and that you want it implemented right away.
*The Convention on Migratory Species advises that legislation should require sharks be brought ashore whole, with their fins still naturally attached.
MPI Factsheet and background info can be found here
MAKE YOUR EASY ONLINE SUBMISSION HERE (sorry finished on 8th December!)
Note, all submissions must be received by MPI by Sunday 8th December 2013
Or if you wish to write you own submission see below:
Rather than use our online submission template you may instead wish to write your own. Here is some more information on how to create and submit your own personalised submission: NZSA submission guide 2013 Once written you can email or post to The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
Email: NPOA-Sharks@mpi.govt.nz Post to:
Ministry for Primary Industries
P O Box 2526
making some lovely fins out of cardboard (any shape, size, colour, with or without text....go crazy!) and send or drop off to us at NZSA!
We'll be delivering them all to parliament steps. Check out a current selection from our Fin Gallery.
Download our great NZSA poster!
Shark mural in Wellington - corner of Cable and Chaffers St - by BMD
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