Sunday, June 8, 2008

You like it fried? They like the soup....

Looks like changing demographics in China has led to increased demand for shark fins. Currently there are quotas for sharks and there are also restrictions on finning, where the shark's fins are removed and the rest of the shark is left.

On one side of the argument:
"Sharks are the biggest mass slaughter of large wildlife happening on the planet today," said Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, a conservation group. "Sharks have been around for 400 million years, and we're looking at basically wiping them out in one human generation."

From 26 million to 73 million sharks are killed each year, said Shelley Clarke, a fisheries biologist who testified before Congress. More than 100 species are classified as threatened, including the basking shark, great white and great hammerhead.

On the other:

"This will inevitably put our fishery out of business," Hudson said. "But we can't stop it while bad math is running the show."

Joe Ludwig of New Smyrna Beach just sold his 35-foot boat, The Sea Dancer, and gave up on a 20-year shark-fishing career.

"There's no way to make a living anymore, and I made a good living, even back in the 1990s with those first quotas," Ludwig said. "And they say they're doing this because of overfishing, but I know what I see over the side of my boat, and they're thick enough to walk over."
One thing that I find interesting is that, according to this article in the Orlando Sentinal, Governor Crist has asked for federal disaster relief for the fishermen because the regulations have caused economic hardship. It just seems strange.....

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