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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

New Zealand: Nicer to elves than sharks

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sharks

New Zealand makes a spectacular film set, but it’s not much fun if you’re a shark. This small country at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is one of the strongholds of shark fishing and finning. Yes, I did say shark finning – that senseless, wasteful fishing method that most enlightened countries have abandoned… But not New Zealand*.

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New Zealand was exposed in a recent TRAFFIC report as being in the top ten countries for the slaughter and export of sharks. Many of those sharks are killed for their fins alone, and New Zealand is a major exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and the biggest exporter of dried fins to the USA. The three main species of sharks finned in New Zealand – blue sharks, porbeagle sharks and short-finned mako sharks – are all listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Globally, 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year, many of them for their fins alone, and I’m ashamed to say New Zealand well and truly has blood on its hands.

Despite the growing list of countries and states around the world that have banned shark finning, the New Zealand Government still supports finning, and the New Zealand fishing industry is only too happy to make a bit of extra money from this gruesome practice as tuna stocks decline. This is allowed under the “National Plan of Action – Sharks” a document that was written in 2008 and makes only nods towards shark protection by requiring that sharks be killed before their fins are hacked off and their bodies dumped back into the sea. I am sure “thanks New Zealand for not torturing me first” is what those sharks are thinking from the sharky afterlife as their bodies slowly and silently sink to the ocean depths, killed for so little.

But there is hope. A few months ago, following a campaign calling on airlines to opt out of the shark fin trade, national airline Air New Zealand announced it would no longer transport sharks aboard its planes – something it admits it had done in the past. And in a month’s time, the New Zealand Government must make its five-yearly review of the National Plan of Action – Sharks. This is our chance to get shark finning banned once and for all in New Zealand waters. This opportunity only happens twice a decade, so we can’t afford to let this chance pass us by.

To succeed, Greenpeace and other NGOs have set up the New Zealand Shark Alliance to pressure the Government to adopt a shark finning ban through the recommended approach of requiring that any sharks caught be released back into the water, or landed with their fins naturally attached.

As a Pacific nation, New Zealand is woefully behind the times when it comes to shark conservation. Many small Pacific Island countries and territories have designated their waters as shark sanctuaries where no shark fishing or finning is allowed. For those countries the economic, cultural and ecological value of sharks far out weights the dollar value of their fins. If Nations like Palau, only 458 square kilometers in land area, can create a vast shark sanctuary of 621,600 square kilometers – you’d think the least New Zealand could do is ensure that Pacific sharks will not be at risk in their waters of being killed and hacked up for their fins alone.

Together, we can make sure this happens. Sign up here to register your support for a ban on shark finning, and we’ll send you a quick and easy submission form as soon as the Government announces its public consultation on shark laws.

* New Zealand: The country that loves to be liked, strives to keep its “clean, green” reputation, and advertises itself as 100% pure. It’s a valuable reputation founded on New Zealand’s stunning wilderness, diverse wildlife, and global nuclear free stance. In the eighties, it was all shiny and new – but now the rust has set in. As we know, rust comes from salt water. And New Zealand’s environmental reputation is being eaten away into rusty decay by what’s happening in our oceans. Whether it be opening up our coastline to risky deep sea oil drilling, handing out permission to suck up the seabed for iron sands or phosphate nodules, operating foreign-owned slave fishing ships, driving the world’s rarest dolphin ever-closer to extinction, or hacking the fins off sharks and dumping their bodies back in the sea – the way we are treating our oceans is more 100% plunder than 100% pure.

Karli Thomas is an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace New Zealand. www.greenpeace.org

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Jenn Sandiford about the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – about the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition.

The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

In this first interview of six, Jenn tells us about the Festival and how it came about. In the following five interviews – one shared each day this week – Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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Marine Life & Conservation

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Paul Rose

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Paul Rose. A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced divers, field science and polar experts, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

He is an experienced television presenter and radio broadcaster. With a proven track record in business engagements, Paul is a sought-after speaker, chairman, host and moderator for industry, government and NGO events.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society(link is external) and Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division, Paul is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen’s Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he received the US Polar Medal.

Paul is a mountain and polar guide leading Greenland Icecap crossing and mountaineering expeditions and polar science support logistics. He worked for four years as a Mountain Safety consultant to the oil industry in the Middle East.

On his 2012 Greenland expedition, Paul led the first expedition to successfully traverse a new 275km icecap route of Knud Rasmussen Land and repeated his first ascent of the north face of Gunnsbjørnfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic.

His professional diving work includes science support diving in Antarctica as the British Antarctic Survey’s Institute Diving Officer. He ran the US Navy diver training programme at Great Lakes Naval Training Centre and trained many emergency response dive teams including the Police, Fire Department and Underwater Recovery Teams. He remains a current and active PADI Dive Instructor.

Find out more about Paul Rose at www.paulrose.org


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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