Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Google Bans Shark Finning Ads

From the guys over at A Couple Dives this mornings blog post and simply stunning news. For search giant Google to take on such a critical issue opens the doors to others within the search industry-namely Yahoo! who have not only allowed fining ads on their sites but have directly invested in shark fining to the tune of a billion dollars via Alibaba.com.

AdWords.jpgGoogle is following suit as the world takes a stand against the brutal practice of shark finning.

Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark's fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. Finning is illegal in America (and elsewhere) but the ban is difficult to enforce. Every year tens of millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Since the 1970s the populations of several species have been decimated by over 95%. Just a few months ago, the United States fisheries service ruled that fishermen must bring their shark catches to shore with fins still attached.

And now, since July, Google AdWords has taken the next step forward in ending this cruel practice by implementing a new policy regarding endangered or threatened species, including sharks. Google's advertising platform will no longer promote products obtained from endangered or threatened species. This includes, but is not limited to, the sale of products derived from elephants, sharks, tigers, whales, rhinoceroses, or dolphins.

The new policy comes after Coral Cay Conservation and supporter John Nunes from California wrote to Google urging them to change their policy on accepting paid advertising from shark fin product manufacturers.

Yahoo! and Alibaba.com continue to be the worlds largest online source for illegal shark products, who continue to enable the sales of thousands of tons of dried shark fin each and every month.

shark-fin.jpgHopefully this move by Google will force the hand of other companies such as Yahoo! and put an end to this barbaric practice.With a squelching of the demand for such products, fishermen will no longer profit from their sale and this kind of slaughter will be rendered obsolete.

Do you think Google should be doing more to lead the way in ending the cruel practice of shark finning? Should more action be taken against companies such as Yahoo! that condone such acts? Let us know in the comments! And make sure to check out Shark In The Pool!.

1 comment:

RTSea said...

A good step forward on Google's part and they are to be commended.

One of the major challenges in shark conservation is addressing the demand for shark products. With other commercial fish species, aquafarming presents some potential for meeting demand. But the likelihood of shark aquafarming is pretty remote, so efforts need to be made to address the fundamental consumer demand.

There is a strong demand in Asian markets supported by a long cultural history. This entrenched consumer need has to be addressed along with efforts like Google's.

All of us who are shark supporters must look to ways where we can reach the consumer: speak to Asian friends and acquaintances (no fist fights, please!), support organizations like the Humane Society International who are working to change the cultural rationales and underpinnings behind the demand, and of course, be a good example in your choices of sustainable seafood.

Shark conservation and our ongoing drug wars have strong similarities - we need to affect both the suppliers and the users. We haven't done a very good job with the drug wars; let's hope we can do a better job on behalf of the sharks.