Running for Reefs, Running for Sharks!

Daryl Farmer, Running For Reefs.

Daryl Farmer, Running For Reefs.

Daryl Farmer is a man with a passion for the oceans – in particular for sharks. He set up a website called Running 4 Reefs and he has set himself the admirable task of running the equivalent total length of The Great Barrier Reef (1250 miles) within 3 years – and only race miles will count, not training miles. Daryl hopes to raise funds for his chosen charity, the Shark and Coral Conservation Trust, a charity who are helping to raise awareness of shark and coral related issues, as well as lobby governments and conduct research.

Some of Daryl’s runs include the Jurassic Coast Challenge, the Brighton Marathon and the South Downs Way Challenge, but perhaps his most ambitious race to date has been the Jungle Marathon, a 5 day 140 mile trek through the Brazilian Amazon dealing with 40 degree celcius heat, 90% humidity, swamp crossings and all manner of creepy crawlies and potentially lethal creatures. The next challenge on his list is the Grand Union Canal race – that’s 145 miles non-stop from Birmingham to London! Daryl would welcome your sponsorship for this event.

It’s fantastic to see what one person can achieve given the will and the motivation. Well done Daryl and good luck with your next race!

Petition to ban shark fins in the United Kingdom

sharks-petition-uk

Contrary to popular belief shark fins are not banned in the United Kingdom, it is perfectly legal for restaurants to serve shark fin soup, and for shark cartilage to be used in so-called “health” capsules. Current UK legislation does not permit sharks to be finned in UK waters – but there is no law prohibiting trade in shark fins.

The current UK government has created an e-petition website that could lead to the subject of any petition being debated in the House of Commons – as long as it gets 100,000 signatures. A petition to ban shark fins in the UK has been created, if you are resident in the UK, please support this petition by signing it and sharing it with your contacts. 100,000 is a lot – but with word of mouth we can get there!

Please sign the petition here.

European Union proposes complete ban on shark finning

Following a consultation in 2010, the European Union is finally proposing a complete ban on shark finning by European fishing fleets. The ban is being proposed by EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki and is supported by European Parliament fisheries committee Vice-President Struan Stevenson MEP, a longstanding campaigner against the practice.

However, just because a proposal is being made does not mean it will be passed – there is every likelihood that it will be opposed by some of the largest shark catching nations in the world – notably Spain. In 2006 Spain attempted to increase the fin to fish ratio allowed from 5% to 6.5%, a move that was blocked by Struan Stevenson.

shark-fins3

Current European legislation is inadequate as it is full of loopholes put in place to appease shark killing nations such as Spain, Portugal, France and the United Kingdom. Legislation in place since 2003 requires shark carcasses to be landed but fins can be removed at sea as long as the fin to shark carcass ratio is 5% or less. Since the ratio is closer to 2% this means that at leat twice the number of sharks can be caught than are landed at port. The proposals put forward by the EU fisheries commissioner would require all sharks to be landed with fins attached. As well as reducing the number of sharks killed this would also help with scientific research and fisheries conservation.

It is vital that all shark finning be banned if sharks are to have a fighting chance of making some kind of comeback in terms of population counts. Attempts by Spain and any other shark killing nation to water down the proposal should be seen as what they are: a cynical attempt to profit from a vile industry and deprive the world of a truly magnificent – and ecologically valuable – animal.

Links:

EU proposes outright ban on shark finning.
Consultation document on the amendment of Council Regulation (EC) 1185/2003 (pdf)
Commission closes shark-finning regulatory loopholes
Maria Damanaki on Twitter

Shark fins on sale at Jakarta Airport, Indonesia

The diversity and beauty offered by destinations such as Bali, Komodo, Raja Ampat and the Banda Islands has helped establish Indonesia as a popular destination for divers. But Indonesia is causing great damage to its reputation as an idyllic destination for divers due to its promotion and trade in shark fins. The government does not seem to realise the damage they are doing to Indonesia’s credibility as a tourist destination by allowing the sale of shark fins. I was sent some pictures by a Swiss diver of a store at Jakarta Airport that specialises in shark fins – he was understandably disgusted that a store is selling shark fins so brazenly, as if they were candy. Quite frankly it is an insult to all those ocean-loving divers and tourists who visit Indonesia. It is an embarrassment and the Indonesian government should be ashamed that they are allowing this to continue.

The Jakarta tourism office should be doing all it can to stop the sale of shark fins – especially at the airport, of all places. If they are not concerned with the welfare of sharks, at the very least they should be doing all they can to encourage more tourism – and selling shark fins at the airports is not the way to do it.

The Jakarta Tourism and Culture office can be contacted via this email: info@jakarta-tourism.go.id

The Public Relations Department for the airport management company at Jakarta-Cengkareng Airport is cs@angkasapura2.co.id

Update: We have been reliably informed that this store is no longer selling shark fins.

Petition to outlaw the trade in shark fins in the USA

Over the last year several States in the US have successfully passed legislation that bans the trade in shark fins. This is generally considered to be the most effective way to stamp out this vile and irresponsible trade that has been responsible for so much suffering and such a drastic drop in shark numbers across the world.

Now the pressure is on to implement a nationwide ban in the United States. A petition has been started on the White House website to this end. Once the target 5,000 signatures has been reached, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response. The petition is just the start – but we need to reach the target 5,000 by October 22nd! Please click here to view and sign the petition!

UPDATE. As of October 20th, we have passed the minimum 5,000 signatures required to assure a response from White House staff! Thank you to everyone who signed and shared this with their friends and contacts. But the more signatures the better, so please sign if you haven’t already!