Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sharks! the red corpcuscles in our life blood sea.

Shark Fins stored fins aboard a longlining vessel captured off the US coast!

Sharks are the real cleaners of the sea, they rid the oceans of the sick and dying, preventing the stagnation of the seas, in much the same manner as the red corpuscles in our Blood, for without them our planet will die. (A 1968)

It's a pretty gruesome practice. Net a shark, slice off its fins, then throw the bleeding, limbless fish back into the water. This is the source of the primary ingredient in shark-fin soup, a pricey staple of Chinese restaurants throughout Asia and parts of the West.
A tiny portion of the fins on board the King Diamond II when it was stopped at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard 2 years ago.U.S. Coast Guard
The problem is not that people eat cartilage-rich shark fins, but that most of the crews harvesting those fins discard the rest of the huge animal—wasting its protein in a remarkably inhumane fashion. In the West, where the allure of shark fins is low, nearly everyone from shark conservationists to U.S. government officials has condemned the practice. Indeed, 2 years ago the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the Commerce Department, formally banned shark finning throughout U.S. waters.
However, those rules applied only to fishing vessels flying under a U.S. flag while at sea. Foreign vessels continued to plunder sharks throughout the seas, including U.S. waters, with impunity.
At least in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, that situation may be about to end. On Nov. 23, 63 member nations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)—an intergovernmental fishery organization that concerns itself with large fish in the open seas—unanimously agreed to ban shark finning in those two bodies of water.
The decision had been prodded by measures from several influential bodies. In May, for example, the American Elasmobranch Society, made up of biologists who study sharks and related species, passed a resolution urging an international ban on shark finning by the United Nations General Assembly at its fall meeting. And on Nov. 17, the General Assembly complied by "urging" member nations to ban "directed shark fisheries conducted solely for the purpose of harvesting shark fins . . . and to encourage the full use of dead sharks." Who are we to make this descision?

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