Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shark Conservation-Kristie Knowles

There are many passionate shark advocates out there. What's missing in many cases is "conservation eloquence". The innate ability to distill down complex eco problems and present them in a manner where ordinary people want to take action.

For conservationist Kristie Knowles, getting the message across is par for the course:

Kirstie Knowles: Human predators driving sharks to the brink of extinction

Full story

Sharks are monsters of the ocean - creatures of myth and movie. Or so they say. In reality, they are the victims of the horror stories, not the perpetrators, as shark populations worldwide decline.

Sharks are not the top ocean predators - humans in fishing boats command that spot. A total of 112 species of shark are found in New Zealand waters, 70 of which are caught in our fisheries.

Of these, 28 are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of species threatened with extinction.

Only one threatened species - the great white shark - is protected in New Zealand. It is ironic that this species, which was portrayed in the Jaws films as a relentless human killer, is now at risk of extinction largely at the hands of humans.

Fishers work under the Quota Management System but there's so little information about shark populations - with good information on only three of the 70 species caught in our fisheries - that it is hard to know if present catch levels are sustainable.

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