Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shark Conservation Numbers - Oops

Yeah, so as it turns out for the past five years we have been spouting out shark conservation numbers and, like everyone else in the room, we have had it all wrong.

Shockingly these numbers come from one source, you know the figure, 100 million sharks killed each year, or is it 70 million?

Either way these numbers represent an unsustainable figure, sharks are in decline and we'll run out of them soon if action is not taken.

At least that's the party line.

As a shark conservationist I had assumed that these figures often quoted by the major NGO's were sacrosanct.

As it turns out not only are these numbers a best guesstimate and not science fact, but the lower end of these numbers is 30 million sharks, and the researcher behind the cornerstone of the entire shark conservation movement is now coming forward to say, "wait one second folks".

Wait one second indeed.

If the global number is only 30 million sharks the shark conservation movement has a lot of explaining to do because there's a fine line between shark conservation and sustainable fisheries.

That's not to say that there's not a lot of anecdotal shark fisheries stories and evidence to support shark loss. The Blue sharks of California is one example.

I have to hand it to Dr Shelly Clarke for coming forward and to Sea Web for printing what amounts to shark conservation heresy. But like all movements, religious or otherwise, the facts often get in the way of the self developed narrative.

Somewhere in between a nascent global movement to protect sharks and the hard facts is the truth about shark conservation. Where we go from here and how credible that movement becomes will all rest in the numbers.

For us it's been a disturbing week of discovery.

More from Da Shark in Fiji.

Patric Douglas CEO