John West Supplier Using Indiscriminate and Destructive Fishing Devices

Greenpeace UK have just released a video showing a destructive fishing device used by one of John West’s suppliers. The ship Esperanza found the “FAD” (Fish Aggregation Device) had been deployed by a French-flagged ship in the Indian Ocean, and that fish caught by this vessel had been packaged and sold by John West as well as French company Petit Navire.

FADs are used to attract fish to a location; these fish are then scooped up in huge nets. The target species is often tuna but many other species are also trapped and die in the nets, including silky sharks (classified as near threatened by the IUCN), whitetip shark (vulnerable), mako sharks (vulnerable) and the galapagos shark (near threatened). However, it is not just these sharks that get caught up in the catch – any animal that is unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the FAD will get scooped up.

Read more here.

Public Pressure Brings Forward New Zealand Shark Fin Ban


Tiger shark photo (Albert Kok)

Tiger shark photo (Albert Kok)

Public pressure has convinced the New Zealand government to put in place a shark finning ban earlier than anticipated. The ban will come into effect on October 1st and will make it is illegal to kill sharks solely for their fins. The law applies to all species of sharks.

New Zealand waters are home to 113 species of shark so the country has a pivotal role to play in the conservation of sharks and the oceans.

Currently the Animal Welfare Act bans the slicing off of shark fins and dumping the still living shark back into the ocean; the new law strengthens shark finning legislation by also making it illegal to dump dead fin-less sharks back into the ocean.

The new law does not make it illegal to kill sharks if their carcasses are fully utilised. It will, however, enable better monitoring of the numbers of sharks that are being killed. More information is available at the New Zealand government’s Ministry for Primary Industries website.

NOAA Proposal Could Negate Hawaii Shark Fin Ban

Recently removed shark fins.

Recently removed shark fins.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – the agency responsible for “fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce” – believes that Hawaii’s shark fin ban is incompatible with federal fishing rules. They could turn back the clock on shark conservation by introducing an amendment to the Shark Conservation Act that would negate Hawaii’s ban on the shark fin trade.

Hawaii was the first state to prohibit the shark fin trade back in 2010 and since then several other states including California, Oregon and New York have also abolished the trade. The Pew Charitable Trusts have introduced a petition to support Hawaii’s shark fin ban.

Sign the petition here.

Sharks Decapitated Off Shelly Beach, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa


Photo by Jean-Pierre Els


Disturbing photographs have surfaced of decapitated sharks. They have apparently been targeted by a certain fishing charter operator off Shelley Beach, Kaw-Zulu Natal, in South Africa. An article on The Dive Site identifies the operator in question as Eddie Redlinghuis of Mighty Charters. The actions of Redlinghuis are in direct contravention of the agreement signed by all users of the Sonny Evans Small Craft Harbour launch site at Shelly Beach, which states:

“Any sharks caught and landed should be returned to the sea. No sharks to be brought to shore unless it is your intention to eat them.”

For a full description of what has been happening read the full article.

What can you do about it? Well, local divers are suggesting that concerned individuals contact the following:

Kwa-Zulu Natal tourism department – website – email: – facebook page
The head of Department KZN Dept Economic Development and Tourism – email: /
Minister of tourism: /

It is best to use your own words, but here is a suggested email:

It has come to my attention that certain fisherman are targeting and catching sharks out of hatred or money from charters. This is happening off Shelly Beach, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. They are brutally hacking off their heads and leaving the bodies out at sea, which is illegal. They are cutting out the jaws for trophies and leaving the heads to rot. This is not only an disrespectful act against maritime-wildlife, it also causes damage to the rising tourism industry in the whole region. All eyes are now focused on Shelly beach – so please help to stop this senseless slaughter!

Photo by Jean-Pierre Els

Photo by Jean-Pierre Els

Petition to Ban Shark Fin Trade in Hong Kong

Photo credit: Greggman

Photo credit: Greggman

A petition has been launched on the Avaaz website aimed at bringing an end to the grisly and unsustainable shark fin trade that has its epicentre in Hong Kong. For years now there has been steady progress in outlawing both shark finning the shark fin trade in a number of forward thinking locations, but in order to make real progress towards preventing the extinction of endangered sharks, it is necessary to have a real impact in locations like Hong Kong.

According to the creator of the petition: “Banning shark fin from the streets of Hong Kong will be the single most important marine conservation achievement of the year. It will be an important step towards protecting the health of our oceans. It will also remove the stain on Hong Kong’s reputation as a world-class tourism hub.”

Let’s get behind this petition. Please sign it, then share it with your friends and contacts!

Click here to sign the petition to ban the shark fin trade in Hong Kong!

What is a Finathon™ and how does it help sharks?

finathon project aware

The first Finathon™ took place in Stoke-on-Trent in the middle of the UK. The idea is that divers put on their fins, get in the water (wherever that may be) and swim a significant distance in order to raise funds for shark conservartion. It’s like a marathon except that you do it under the water! The organisation behind the Finathon™ is an international movement of scuba divers called the Project AWARE Foundation. Project AWARE focus on two main issues, Sharks in Peril and Ocean Debris.

2013 will be the first year that Project AWARE has launched a global Finathon™. One of those people taking part is Lucas Schmitz, he has so far raised over $150 and he would like you to help him raise even more. He has created a page on the Finathon™ website to tell people about why we need to look after sharks where people can make a donation.

This is what another diver, Caitlin Hale, had to say about her involvement: “Having seen the effects of shark finning first hand in Thailand, it was really important to me to get involved and all of this has really shown me just how dedicated many of us are to this cause.”

Find out more about Finathon 2013™.

Slash Speaks Out For Sharks

Slash has spoken out in support of sharks in a video message produced for the Shark Friendly Marina Initiative:

“Recent data shows that over 100 million sharks are being killed a year,” says our Saul. “That’s three sharks every second. That’s unsustainable and it’s not cool. We need sharks to have a healthy ocean. Please get involved by ending the harvest. Don’t buy shark products, don’t fish for sharks and if you happen to catch one, catch and release. Let it go.”

Click here to find out more about the Shark Friendly Marina Initiative’s work.

Tell CITES leaders to support the shark and ray listing proposals

Despite the precarious status of many shark and ray species, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has only added three species of shark to Appendix II, (listing on Appendix “obliges” member countries to implement plans to protect them). CITES record of protecting marine animals is not good. Despite more than sufficient evidence to list numerous shark species, no more species have been added in recent years.

This March, CITES are being asked to protect eleven more species of shark and ray, including the hammerhead (Scalloped, Great and Smooth), oceanic whitetip, and porbeagle sharks, manta rays, and the sawfish.This time CITES must not let sharks down They must do what they were set up to do – protect wildlife – without yielding to political and financial distractions.

Please go to the Project Aware website and tell CITES leaders to support the shark and ray listing proposals.

Photo courtesy Guy Incogneato

Photo credit Guy Incogneato

Petition to CITES to clean up their act

I’ve written before about how CITES appears to have become corrupted and is being used as a cover for people and businesses who trade in endangered animals. A recent article from Sea Shepherd provides more evidence to support this claim. It sheds light on CITES unusual regulations which allow “secret ballots” – in fact, in 6 recent CITES meetings, a total of 69 votes were taken by secret ballot. Regulations like this encourage corruption – CITES desperately needs to be more transparent to be taken seriously. It is beyond belief that an organisation with such a pivotal and important role has been allowed to continue to operate the way it has.

Please take the time to sign this petition to John Scanlon, Secretary General of CITES, demanding that action is taken to clean up CITES.

Zebra shark - another shark species which is listed as vulnerable and whose numbers are dwindling. Image courtesy of Peter Thurgood.

Zebra shark – another shark species which is listed as vulnerable and whose numbers are dwindling. Image courtesy of Peter Thurgood.

Great White Shark shot to death in Tunisian Waters

A truly shocking video has emerged of a Great White shark (possibly pregnant) being shot multiple times by Tunisian fishermen. The incident appears to have happened off the coast of Sousse, 140 km south of the capital Tunis.

People who are concerned about this are being urged to write to the head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Enviroment of Tunisia, as well as the government, and anyone else they think may be able to exert pressure to bring the culprits to justice (eg members of the European parliament).

The contact details are:

M.Mokhtar Jalleli
30, rue Alain Savary 1002-Tunis

Phone : (+216) 71 786 833
Fax : (+216) 71 780 391 ; 71 799 457

e-mail :

The government can be emailed at this contact form.

Video original link:


Please note that the video has now been removed, for unknown reasons.