On Monday, the New Jersey State Senate passed the bill that will see the banning of the sale, possession, and trade of shark fins in the state. As mentioned in an earlier blog this bill does have a couple exceptions to help protect both recreational and commercial fishermen. If a fisherman catches a shark and removes it's fins on dry land the fisherman is allowed to posses those fins, but he or she would not be able to trade or sell them. The fins of dogfish (both smooth and spiny) are exempt from this bill which means commercial fishermen will still be able to sell those sharks to Europe and the fins to Asia. The bill will now move to the New Jersey House of Representatives. So I'd like to say a big thank you to the New Jersey Senate for passing this bill. While it does not put an end to the sale of fins, it does act to make it harder for people to utilize the fins of larger species such as mako and thresher that continue to feel more and more pressure from overfishing.
On the other side of the world, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society continues to tail the icefish poaching vessel "Thunder". The two ships are now approaching the Gulf of Guinea, an area notorious for piracy. Sea Shepherd will continue to pursue the poachers into these vessels and have prepared the Bob Barker with anti boarding spikes that are now jutting out from the ship. The two ships continue to slowly inch North as the poachers continue to try and outlast the larger and better supplied in fuel and food, conservation vessel. Elsewhere, the efforts of New Zealand and Sea Shepherd may soon be rewarded. Currently the poaching vessel "Kunlun" is being detained in Thailand as the government has agreed to assist in New Zealand and Australia's request to bring these ships to justice! In hopes of defending themselves the crew of the Kunlun had resorted to calling their catch grouper and not toothfish. Needless to say that that did not get the fishermen anywhere. Members of the Spanish crime syndicate Vidal Armadores have arrived at the scene and are trying to get their boat released as Thailand does not have any domestic fishing laws (will hopefully begin enforcement in June). So the ship is being held on two basis. One, the fishermen claiming the fish is something that they are not is a crime. Two, the ship did not reach port with the name Kunlun and it was not flying the flag it was originally seen flying, but the flag of Indonesia, and had a different name, the "Tiachan". This facade did not fool authorities though as authorities were told by Indonesia that no such ship was registered there. So Thailand can detain the ship as a stateless ship.