The finning of dead sharks will be completely banned by 2016.
The NZ govt has spelt out its plan for managing shark populations for the next three years.
Finning of live sharks was banned in 2009, but fishermen were still able to cut fins off dead sharks and throw away the carcasses. Now, fishing companies will be required to release sharks alive or bring them ashore with fins attached for processing.
Finning involves catching and killing a shark, removing the fins and dumping the body overboard. Only 2% of the shark is actually used. It's unnecessarily contributing to declining shark numbers, some of which are already dangerously low.
The first stage of species will be protected from finning in October this year. All other species except blue sharks will be protected from Oct.2015. The blue shark ban will apply from Oct.2016.
Ever since that damned Jaws movie (1975), I've been too scared to swim in the ocean - because of sharks! Even so, I don't want to see whole species decimated and creatures die in agony! Annually, over 100 million sharks are killed globally, just for their fins: that's about 1800 in the time it takes to read this post. Between 50,000-150,000 blue sharks are believed to be killed in NZ waters every year.
In southern China, it's said anything that walks, flies or swims is fit for the dinner table. Much like Japan's puzzling determination to keep hunting whales, some Chinese feel it's their nationalistic duty to eat whatever they want. Fins exported from here can earn up to $1200kg., mostly sent to Asia for soups or traditional medicines. To our shame, NZ is among the world's top 20 exporters of shark fins (NZ$4.5million p.a.).
I'm not against shark fin soup as such, if the killing is humane. But this sort of butchery has been a wasteful and inhumane practice, and was long overdue to be banned.
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