Sunday, June 24, 2012

The "Crime" Ridden Fight To Save Sharks

Shark finning is a major issue in the world today and it is one that is largely unregulated. Several countries have enacted laws that prohibit shark finning, but the countries are so poor that they simply cannot enforce the laws because they cannot afford to have boats monitoring shark fishing. As a result, the poaching of sharks continues to spread like wildfire. You might ask yourself why this is a huge deal, after all, there are other animals in the world that are being poached, so why is this such a big deal? The answer can be found in the statistics. For example, scientists now believe that there are fewer great white sharks in the Oceans than tigers on land. Tiger are incredibly endangered. What does that say for the great white? The list goes on and on with the names of sharks threatened with extinction, but that blog is for another day. It's needless to say that sharks are in an incredible amount of danger and need people to protect them.

There are many conservation groups out there that fight to save sharks. Most of them do it through political means and gaining popular opinion. One group, the ever controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (Yes, the same ones from Whale Wars), goes out and physically patrols areas where shark poaching runs rampant. For example, Sea Shepherd plays an active role in the protection of sharks around the Galapagos Islands and is able to prevent illegal activities from occurring with permission from the Galapagos officials. Sadly though, protecting these animals runs both a high risk and a high price...

Back in 2002, Sea Shepherd interuppted an illegal shark finning campaign off the coast of Guatemala, with the permission of the Guatamalan Government. No body was injured and the entire operation of shutting the illegal activities down was documented on video. The poachers went on to complain to the Costa Rican government claiming that the Sea Shepherds had threatened their lives. Sea Shepherd was chased out of Costa Rican waters ending the relationship between the organization and the country of Costa Rica. It is clearly documented that the Sea Shepherds did not intervene against the poachers until permission was granted by the government of Guatemala. Fast forward ten years and a major event occurs. The Sea Shepherd founder and captain Paul Watson is arrested in Germany due to a warrent that was put out from Costa Rica ten years earlier.The captain now waits for word that will either lead to his release or ultimately his death. For more information on this story PLEASE VISIT http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/2012/06/22/the-scandalous-crime-of-saving-sharks-in-shady-costa-rica-1396

In New Jersey and other states, fisherman have argued that it would be a crime to ban the possession of shark fins. They claim that none of the bills in state houses have any credit to them and should not be considered. Economically, there would be no backlash at all from banning the possession of shark fins. Yes that would mean buisnesses would have to remove shark fin soup from their menus, but the laws in California, Hawaii, Washington and Illinois have not by any means injured the economy. The fisherman have no real ground to stand on, but their intentions are clear. They wish to continue the slaughter of "man eaters".

Other countries have banned shark finning as well. Four days ago, the country of Venezuela banned the practice of shark finning and created an area deemed a shark sanctuary where any shark caught must be landed with its fins naturally attached. Remember though, just because a law is in place, does not mean that everyone will follow it. Shark poachers are sure to show up in Venezuela, but the question is whether or not the country will be able to do anything about it. 



The fight to save sharks rages on. Both sides claim that crimes are being committed by the opposite side. That rights are being trampled. That lively hoods are being taken away. The question is. What's more impossible? A career change or coming back to life. Extinction is forever and that is the direction that sharks are heading in if we don't realize that shark finning MUST be stopped worldwide NOW.

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