Here's a batch of shark news items, some good, some not so good . . .
Scotland to ban shark finning:
In a bold and welcomed move, Scotland has proposed a total ban on shark finning by Scottish or any other registered vessel operating in Scottish waters. European Union nations constitute the largest exporting group of shark fins to the Asian marketplace and their has been discussion for a new EU policy regarding sharks, but Scotland decided that there's no time like the present.
"As one of Europe's most important fishing nations we have a duty to show that we are serious about protecting the sustainability of our seas, their stocks and the wider marine ecosystem, not just through words but with action," said Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
(BBC News story.)
Shark nets to stay in Queensland:
According to the Brisbane Times, sharks nets in Queensland, Australia will remain for now. There had been discussion about their removal - albeit temporary - due to a higher number of whale calves that have been caught in the nets during the whale's migration season.
Shark control program manager Tony Ham says, "The program has been in place since 1962 and in that time we've had one fatal attack on a protected beach, at North Stradbroke island in 2006. There were a number of attacks prior to the program going in - some of those were pretty horrific and fatal. We believe the program does work."
Shark nets have often been controversial because on the one hand, they seem to prevent unwanted shark-human interaction, but on the other hand, it prioritizes the rights of humans to enter the ocean over the rights of sharks to be in their natural habitat.
Spanish supermarkets to no longer sell endangered shark:
Two of Spain's larger supermarket chains, Alcampo and Sabeco, have decided to no longer carry endangered shark meat in their stores, only distributing species that are not threatened (effectively eliminating all commercial shark species). One year ago, the same chains decided to stop selling bluefin tuna, which has been pushed to near extinction in European waters.
The stores are promoting the sale of sustainable or aquafarmed species such as talapia and farmed cod, in addition to working with smaller companies to supply mussels, trout, and salmon. In September, Spain's Ministry of Environment and Rural and marine Affairs initiated a ruling to begin on January 1, 2010 that prohibits Spanish fishing boats from taking thresher and scalloped hammerhead sharks - two species that have suffered major population declines.
(FiS Worldnews story.)
Petition to protect Lemon Sharks:
In the winter, lemon sharks congregate off the east Florida coast and with the demand of shark fins combined with the decrease in numbers of many other commercial sharks like the sandbar shark, the lemon shark is coming under consideration by local fisherman as a way to meet demand.
A coalition of scientists, divers, and shark conservation groups have enlisted the aid of Care2petitionsite.com to help circulate a petition to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, asking for the commission to take action on behalf of the lemon shark by adding the species to the Prohibited Species List. The coalition is hoping to generate 10,000 signatures and they are currently about a third of the way there. To sign the petition, click here.