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The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of closing loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea), the culmination of six years of campaigning and debate. Members of the European Parliament voted 566-47 in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to impose the best practice for finning ban enforcement: a prohibition on removing shark fins at sea. The measure faced formidable opposition from representatives of Spain and Portugal, Europe’s leaders in catch of oceanic sharks.
“Parliament’s overwhelming support for strengthening the EU finning ban represents a significant victory for shark conservation in the EU and beyond,” said Ali Hood, Shark Trust Director of Conservation. “Because of the EU’s influence at international fisheries bodies, this action holds great promise for combating this wasteful practice on a global scale.”
The EU banned finning in 2003, but the associated regulation includes loopholes that allow shark fins to be removed on board and landed separately from shark bodies, which hampers enforcement.
“We owe so much of our success to the tens of thousands of divers across Europe who voiced their concern for sharks,” said Suzanne Pleydell, Director for Project AWARE…
How do you identify a shark? Save Our Seas Supported Scientist Demian Chapman sent us an update about a new website that addresses this intriguing subject.
His team developed a guide for law enforcement personnel and customs agents to be able to distinguish fins of oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and three species of hammerheads from other species in trade. This guide (versions in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic) is primarily designed to help with the implementation of ICCAT and other RFMO protections for these species, as well as CITES appendix II listing should the votes be there in March 2013. The team are currently developing an app for this as well. In any event, it is all part of their efforts to improve international management for oceanic whitetips.
You can see Demian’s video about tagging oceanic whitetip sharks here: http://youtu.be/207s61M_AQc
The work of Save Our Seas Supported Scientist Ryan Saunders was recently featured in the Irish Times.
Ryan updates us: “After a frustrating summer of not seeing any sharks, we managed to get all our tags deployed (7 tags) and 2 CEFAS tags two weeks ago. We got our two SPOT tags away and we now have an interactive map on our websites where you can follow the sharks movements. This work made the national news, and the full article can be read on the website of the Irish Times.
You can track the porbeagles on the site of the Irish Elasmobranch Group.
Save Our Seas Supported Scientist Peter Bushnell sent us a link to a video clip, made during a research cruise with R/V Dana from the Technical University of Denmark to Angmagssalik Fjord, Greenland with 18 scientist from 7 nations.
The general aim of this project is deployment of satellite tags and collection of tissues from Greenland sharks for age determination in order to better understand their movements and the age structure of the population(s).
You can watch the clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LfDC_AbXuM
Visit http://saveourseas.com/projects/greenland_sharks for more information about this fascinating project!
An international, shark-focused meeting of more than 50 nations, convened under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), concluded this week in Bonn with adoption of a global conservation plan for great white sharks, porbeagles, basking sharks, spiny dogfish, whale sharks, and two species of makos.
The plan aims to complement and promote the objectives of the 2010 CMS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the first intergovernmental treaty dedicated specifically to global shark conservation. To date, the MoU has 25 Signatories, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Australia, Senegal, and the United States.
“We congratulate the Signatories and CMS Secretariat on the adoption of a sound basis for conserving several threatened, highly migratory shark species,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International. “The success of the new conservation plan depends on immediate and concrete, follow-up actions to not only improve our understanding of sharks, but also to limit shark fishing, bycatch, and trade to sustainable levels.”
Through the Shark MoU and accompanying conservation plan, signatories are encouraged to cooperate in national and regional actions to:facilitate research, data collection, and monitoring of shark populations and fisheries; set fishing limits based on scientific advice and the precautionary approach; prevent…
Last month, Save Our Seas launched a media campaign about the BRUV project in False Bay (read more at here). This project is executed by Project leaders Colin Attwood, Albrecht Götz and Lauren de Vos. Partners are The Marine Research Institute, UCT & South African Environmental Observation Netwok (SAEON). It is funded by Save Our Seas.
The Save Our Seas Media Team, consisting of Georgina Wiersma, Stefan Kubicki and Christopher Neff, will launch a special campaign each month. The BRUV project was the first featured project. Lauren De Vos made several great videos of the BRUVs in action, one of them with an octopus trying to open a bait container, and fending off a shark. This video went viral. It was featured by countless media, a.o. Discovery, BBC and CNN and NBC! Lauren was interviewed for the South African television.
Read all blog entries and watch the videos for this great project at http://saveourseas.com/projects/bruvs_false_bay
Greg Skomal, whose work has been sponsored by Save Our Seas Foundation, has been featured in a New York Times article on great white tagging and tracking off Cape Code, Mass. Speaking about the expedition’s tagging methods, which involve removing the shark from the water into a cradle, he noted:
“[The Ocearch] vessel is one of the only platforms that gives scientists unprecedented access to the great fish,” he said. “Any time you capture a fish by any methodology, you’re going to expose it to some level of stress. But we try to minimize that.”
He said he took this opportunity to study the sharks’ stress levels when they are “exposed to this level of handling.” Through blood samples, he said, “we saw clear evidence that the animals were undergoing physiological stress.” He said he could not tell how bad it was because there was no point of comparison.
But through an instrument called an accelerometer — similar to a “black box” in an airplane that was attached to the sharks for several hours — he could follow their behavior after they were released and see if they were lying on the ocean bottom, how…