Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shark conservation proposal defeated at UN meeting - No surprise

China, Japan and Russia helped defeat a U.S. endorsed proposal at a U.N. wildlife trade meeting Tuesday that would have boosted conservation efforts for sharks - is anyone surprised?

We have long been advocates of regional and commercial efforts to conserve sharks.

Some of the most effective recent campaigns have been targeted at the commercial sector like who, under sustained media pressure, targeting partners in the USA eventually banned B to B sharks fins sales on their massive trade portal.

This is shark conservation for the new decade.

It is unfortunate that the latest meetings in Doha netted little for sharks but if the shark conservation world is serious about conserving these animals we'll have to do it with regional efforts. A prime example of how to do it can be found with Beqa Adventure Divers in Fiji and elsewhere.

It's not rocket science but it is a science, and it does take dedication beyond Facebook postings, and the tired litany of other high profile yet ultimately useless "save the" campaigns that are embedded in our digital age.

Commercial shark fin operators are out on the waters every day finning the animals we profess to care about. Meanwhile the shark conservation world works from laptops and web pages, producing PowerPoint presentations and statistics for disinterested government officials when boots on the ground efforts are what are really needed.

Real and lasting change comes from ownership in the same animals that the commercial sector currently claims as their own.

It's a radical thought, but as Doha has once and for all demonstrated to the shark conservation world, we cannot expect big government and business interests to make the changes necessary to conserve wildlife.

That legacy belongs to those who create safe havens for sharks, smart regional conservation efforts, and to those who shut down supply chain - now.