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.

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.

BBC Worldwide promoting shark fin dish

Licence payers in the United Kingdom might be surprised to discover that BBC Worldwide (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC) has been promoting the Kay Mayfair restaurant in London, an establishment that sells a soup made with shark fins, sea cucumber and other ingredients called “Budda Jumps Over The Wall” soup. The soup gets its name, says the BBC, because “it is so delicious even a vegetarian would jump over the wall to get it”.

Viewers in the UK, however, won’t get the opportunity to read this particular article first hand, because the BBC blocks all content to its worldwide site to internet users in the UK.

It’s regretable that a media organisation with the prestige and reputation of the BBC has to stoop to cheap and ill-considered publicity stunts for such unworthy businesses such as the Kay Mayfair.

buddha-soup

Amazon Selling Sick Shark Finning Jigsaw

Stop Shark Finning has just been alerted to a sick product being sold by a company called Media Storehouse on Amazon. We call on Amazon to withdraw this product immediately and for people who care about sharks and child welfare to boycott Amazon.

What kind of company in its right mind would want to market this product? Both Media Storehouse should be ashamed of themselves.

We demand that Amazon and Media Storehouse remove the jigsaw and make a full public apology.

UPDATE: The offending items have now been removed. We are still waiting for the apology and assurances that similar cases will not occur in the future.

Shark Attack Infographic

The media portrays sharks as dangerous man-eaters. But just how many people are killed each year by sharks? And how many sharks are killed by people? The following graphic, kindly produced by Robin Richards, sets the story straight. Thank you also to Joe Chernov for his valuable involvement.

Shark attack infographic

Shark attack infographic

More Shark Friendly Businesses in Khao Lak thanks to Get Sharks Off The Hook Campaign

Whale shark. Photo See and Sea.

Whale shark. Photo See and Sea.

While there has been an outcry against shark fin soup in the West, it has taken longer to start making an impact in Asian countries – precisely the countries where change is most urgent. So it is hugely encouraging to find out about a campaign in Thailand that is starting to gain some serious momentum, according to coordinator Ric Parker. See and Sea started the “Get Sharks off the Hook” campaign to educate local people and businesses about sharks and their importance to the oceans.

Part of this is helping people to understand that a living shark is worth much more than a dead shark to the local economy. See and Sea cite a Maldives case study that showed that “a dead shark, all parts sold is worth approximately $32 to the fisherman (depending on the country in which it is sold or caught). A shark alive, if basing its monetary value on sightings per dive, will bring in $3,300 per year to the tourist industry.”

Much of the campaign’s focus is on the resort area of Khao Lak, encouraging local businesses to shark free. Businesses that sign up to the campaign receive a poster with their restaurant name on, as well as ‘Get Sharks off the Hook’ stickers to attract the shark loving community. They also get the added benefit of the extra publicity on the internet by having their details posted on the internet and showing to potential customers that they care about sharks.

 

The shark friendly businesses around Khao Lak that are supporting the Get Sharks Off The Hook campaign and which are safe for ocean lovers to patronise are listed below:

Shark Friendly Restaurants, Cafes and Bars
9 Restaurant & Bar
Chang Thong Restaurant & Bar
Chom Chunn Cafe
Chonticha Mookrata
Dao Thong Restaurant
Discovery Cafe
Dee Seafood
D.Time
Fisherman Bar
Guay Te-ow Ruer Mueng Yah
Lamuan Seafood Restaurant
Lazy Bar
Mars Bar & Cafe
O’Connors Sports Bar
Orchid Cafe
Orchid Restaurant
O’Rendez-vous Restaurant
Phulay Restaurant
Rim Bung Restaurant
Saxophone Cafe
Smoh Ruer Restaurant
Stempfer Café
Tarzan Bar
Takua Pa Restaurant
Tiffy’s Cafe
Walkers Inn

Shark Friendly Divers and Dive Shops
Dive Dimension
Eden Divers Khao Lak
Oktavia Dive Center
Rudey Ru Underwater Videographer
Similan Seven Sea Club
Thailand Dive and Sail

Hilton Hotels: Still Not Shark Fin Free

Hilton Hotels are a prestigious international hotel chain known worldwide for quality service. Like most modern businesses they like to claim that they are socially responsible and sustainable. It may come as a surprise to many, then, to find out that the company allows shark fin soup to be served to guests upon request in their hotels in the Far East. After finding a few references on the internet suggesting that the company serves shark fin soup, we wrote to their head of Corporate Responsibility, Jennifer Silberman, for confirmation. She admitted that it is indeed the case that the soup is served upon request at banquets and weddings. She also said that the company was “reviewing their policy”, but that they needed to sensitive to “the cultural environment” in which they operate. Since then we have made requests for updates on the company’s progress in reviewing their policy… but we have received no reply.

For that reason we have now launched a petition requesting that Hilton Hotels goes 100% shark fin free and bans shark fin soup (and any other shark fin dish) from their restaurants. Numerous companies and organisations are leading the way on the shark fin issue in the Far East. The Shangri-La and Swiss-Belhotel International have banned shark fin soup from their premises. Even the Chinese government is banning shark fin soup at banquets. Hilton Hotels cannot claim to be a sustainable business while at the same time selling shark fin soup. By their very nature hotels are catering to visitors from all over the world – what about the “cultural sensitivities” of their visitors who understand that selling shark fin is on a par with selling rhino horn or ivory?

Please sign the petition and tell Hilton Hotels to stop selling shark fin soup at its restaurants!

shark fin soup

Photo credit: Phing

 

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.

Ask Hilton Hotels to ban shark fin from all their restaurants

shark fin soup

A recent article described reports we had seen on the internet suggesting Hilton Hotels are serving shark fin soup at some of their hotels in Asia Pacific. We wrote to the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Jennifer Silberman, asking for official confirmation of whether or not this was actually the case. Sadly, she has admitted that the hotel chain does serve shark fin soup at its restaurants in Asia Pacific. However the company does appear to be open to change and claims it is sensitive to the issue. Ms Silberman says “At many of our hotels in Asia Pacific, we have chosen to stop promoting the inclusion of shark fin on our outlet and banqueting menus and will offer it only at the request of guests.” While falling a long way short of what we would expect from a business that prides itself on its sustainability credentials, it is at least a start.

shark-fins

We think that Hilton Hotels should be following the initiative of other hotel chains in the Far East such as Shangri-La, who announced in January of this year that they would no longer serve shark fin soup at any of their establishments. This sends a powerful message that it is just as unacceptable to serve the fins of endangered sharks as it would be to serve up tiger parts.

Many of their customers across the world would be surprised and shocked to hear that Hilton have such a flexible notion of the word “sustainable”. It seems that although they would not dream of serving shark fin soup in the USA or Europe they are perfectly willing to serve it in Asia Pacific.

If you would like to send a polite email to Hilton Hotels, the contact details of several of their staff, including the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, are at this link. We are sure that Hilton Hotels would be especially interested to hear from their customers on this issue. Thank them for the efforts they have made so far, but let them know that shark fin should be totally banned from their restaurants.