Thursday, February 23, 2012

Counting Fiji Sharks 1...2...3

The folks in Fiji, I mean where do we start?

You want to do conservation right?

Here's where you start.

Mike aka Da Shark has unveiled a multi group effort to count the sharks in Fiji - and we like it.

You can actually join them in April if you are of the counting and diving type, hmm April in Fiji?

Take note Florida, Bahamas, elsewhere, you all have a nice new tool to use underwater and it's a winning combination of groups who are supporting this effort.

As Da Shark says:

"Everybody has been duly notified and barring the advent of a couple of Johnny-come-latelies, these are the operations who care and thus, the places where you should book your April vacation in Fiji. They are all excellent outfits and I highly recommend every single one of them. And should this be too short term, don't despair as we're likely to repeat the exercise in November!"

Hmm, November in Fiji?

Is The Shark Fin Ban Culturally Biased?

Take action now!
RTSea Blog covered Juliet Eilperin's response in the Washington Post this week to the pro-shark fin lobby, and we have to agree, this is great stuff.

Juliet knows what she is talking about and delivers her response with calm cool facts.

Cultural bias in the shark fin debate?

We think not, but racist comments that frame perceptions to this debate, absolutely so, with nasty examples all over the Internet that go unchallenged on a daily basis.

For example the Huff Post this week featured a blog on increased protections for sharks in Florida.

This was the third comment on that posts thread. It has since been removed at our request, but requests like ours are few and far between when it comes to monitoring the oppositions perception of the anti-shark fin lobby:

"There are people who catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw them back in the ocean to die on the bottom, unable to move. They sell the fins for soup and souvenirs. These people are barbarians. They are the same kind of people who run dog fights, cock fights, and are basically sociopaths. If we shot them on sight it would be a better world." 

We are tired of the response we are getting from shark conservation leadership groups who do nothing to disavow these dark, racist, comments on the net. Each and every one should be accompanied by a leadership group response disavowing ignorance, hatred, and redefining what the shark fin movement is all about.

The idea that these comments have "nothing to do" with the groups who are pushing for shark fin bans is working to the pro-shark fin lobbies benefit. Like it or not it is these folks who also sign petitions, they post on Facebook, they are the movements base.

These comments became so toxic in the recent Toronto effort to go fin free that a mysterious group appeared and threatened to poison Chinese and Asian communities all over the city.

A golden opportunity was wasted by leadership groups to get out ahead of this issue who instead stood by and said nothing. Lack of action on that issue and others have provided the opposition with talking points that will resonate on for years. 

As RTSea has aptly pointed out: 

"we should not expect the opposition to simply throw in the towel. On the contrary, they will put up one heck of a fight and it will be based on half truths, blatant misrepresentations, and diversions" 

Including three years of unchallenged comment threads and dark groups with agendas that have nothing to do with saving sharks.

The thing about racism, if you are unwilling to take a stand at the start, those who fill the vacuum you leave behind drag you down into their dark world by inaction.

If you still do not think there's a problem out there take a good look around, perhaps the problem starts with you because as far as those who are being paid to promote shark fin and counter our efforts - you don't appear to be any different.

Food for thought.

Australian Commercial Shark Permits - Good News?

"We lost our shark permits!"
JUST two shark cage diving operators will be able to operate off the Neptune Islands for five days a week.

The four existing licence holders will learn in just over a month if they will lose their licence or if they can continue operating the world-famous tourist attraction.

The licence cuts will come after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the changes were brought about after consultation with the industry and a recent study by the CSIRO that found shark behaviour was changing at Neptune Islands.

Shark dive operators will find out at the end of March if they are able to keep their licences, but the new policy means two local operators will lose their licence to conduct dives within the Neptune Islands Conservation Park.

Adventure Bay Charters owner Matt Waller said the cuts to local shark cage licence holders were an unfortunate decision for both the industry and the region.

"We will apply (for a licence) the same as anyone else," he said.

"We have a good case for our inclusion in the industry in the future and we should know the decision at the end of March, or that is their date at the moment."

The new policy claims it will ensure the sustainability of the popular tourist attraction by minimising impacts on reserve values, improving industry certainty and reducing red tape.

But, it will also change the time shark cage dive operators will be allowed to conduct dives at Neptune Islands.

No more than five designated days each week will be allocated to tourism activity under the new policy.

There will be further restrictions placed on the two operators who receive licences, with no more than one vessel per licence being able to conduct shark diving within the Neptune Islands Conservation Park at any point in time.

By Kimberlee Meier