long line

What are Long Lines?

Long lines are made of monofilament and are used mainly to catch tuna, swordfish and shark. Their length ranges from a mile to over 100 miles and is kept near the surface using floats made of styrofoam.

At intervals of a hundred feet or so (30 meters) secondary lines are attached and baited with whatever is at hand – fish, squid or even dolphin meat.

Long lines are a huge threat to the survival of many species of shark. The vast majority of sharks caught by this method are killed only for their fins; the rest of their body is discarded as “bycatch” and thrown back into the sea.

The practice of long lining is inextricably linked to finning. Long lining has been banned in a few specific areas such as the US Pacific coast because of its huge impact on ocean life, however in the vast majority of areas it is still legal and practiced routinely.

Long lines have been accurately described as a “curtain of death” that catches any living creature unfortunate enough to bite a baited hook.

They are indiscriminate – they catch not only the “target” (for example tuna or swordfish), but endangered sharks, leatherback and loggerhead turtles (legally protected), and seabirds, especially albatross.

Over 25% of long-line catch is thrown back into the sea, usually dead.

Long lining must be banned internationally. It is killing protected species of animals and is putting many other species in danger of extinction.

It is the main culprit in the decimation of shark populations by over 90% and must be outlawed immediately if we are not to face the collapse of fish populations and the ocean ecology.

Stop shark finning

What You Can do to Stop Shark Finning

Sharks are being driven to the brink of extinction due to a huge increase in demand for their fins over the last 20 years or so.

If you are concerned about this, there are many ways you can help to spread the message about the plight of sharks and encourage others not to consume shark fin soup (or any other shark products).

Below are a few suggestions.

1. Most importantly, don’t eat shark fin soup! Talk to your friends about shark fin soup and remember: Friends don’t let friends eat shark fin soup! Don’t patronise restaurants that serve the dish. If you live near a restaurant that serves shark fin soup, talk to the owner about shark finning and politely ask them to consider removing shark fin soup from the menu. Very often people are unaware of the effect that their eating habits have on the environment. Sign up to the “no shark fin” pledge. Download these information cards from the Humane Society International to hand to the owner/manager.

2. There are many organisations fighting to save marine wildlife such as Sea Shepherd, the Humane Society International and Wild Aid. They all need as much support as they can get, especially financially. There are many more organisations listed in the links section.

3. Sign up to the mailing list and take part in the campaigns. Sometimes it feels like sending an email, writing a letter or making a phone call won’t change anything – but if several people do it, it does make an impact. The more of us there are, the harder our message hits home – so do your part – it only takes a few minutes.

4. Social networking – spread the message on the internet. Post the banner for StopSharkFinning.net on your social network site page or website. Start up your own website or facebook page (or LiveJournal, Twitter, posterous, whatever!). And make sure you join us on Twitter and Facebook (currently over 45,000 likes).

5. If local communities realise that they can make more money by conserving sharks than by killing them, then we will ensure the survival of sharks. If you are considering a holiday in a location where there are sharks, you might want to go shark diving. This is a source of income for communities that encourages shark conservation.

6. If you enjoy speaking in public, why not give a talk about shark finning? This will not only enlighten others about the problem of shark finning, it will also make you an expert on the subject as you will probably need to do some research about it to properly inform others. Maybe you could give a talk in your school, church or community center.

7. If you have tried convincing restaurant managers to remove shark fin soup from their menu but they have refused, you could organise a protest at the restaurant. It would be best to do this with friends for a bit of moral support. Organise and prepare what you are going to do and remember to act within the law. There’s plenty you can do without getting yourself in trouble! If you are part of a group that is acting locally, please send us some contact details and information about protests that you may have planned. I would like StopSharkFinning.net to be a source of information for people looking for anti-shark finning groups near where they live.

8. If you see any of the typical “man bitten by shark” news items on TV or the internet, contact the website/TV station and ask them to produce a news item about shark finning. Remember – only about 10 people a year are killed by sharks, but 3 sharks are killed every second by humans.

9. If you come across a business or website that is promoting shark fin soup, send an email or post it on the stop shark finning facebook page so that we can complain about it and hopefully get it stopped.

10. Contact people of influence to inform about what is going on and to ask for their support in bringing an end to shark finning. This could be politicians, celebrities, non-profits such as Greenpeace, newspaper editors… basically anyone you think might be able to make a difference.

11. Spread the word on the street with a Stop Shark Finning T-shirt.

12. Use your imagination! These are just my ideas. You may have some much more original and interesting ideas of your own to help bring attention to shark finning. Please post your ideas on the facebook page or email them.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!