What’s it all about?

Chronicaling the thoughts and actions of an Ex-Meat Eater (ie. a Vegetarian). Also embedded in this blog is, hopefully, the growing campaign against Sharksfin Soup and shark finning in general (controversially, I would add legal and illegal finning).

Responses

  1. Dear All,

    I was directed to this website through the forwarded correspondences between Peter Knights (the executive director of WildAid) and Mr Marcus Chan.

    First let me introduce myself. I am currently working for WildAid in the U.K. in their shark campaign. I am in the closing stages of producing two new reports; I also run a corporate campaign attempting to get major American and E.U. translational corporations that operate in China to remove shark fin soup. Finally I am also beginning the long process of lobbying to get further Shark species listed in both CITES and CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals).

    My own background is a zoologist working in the field of fisheries science and also I have previously worked at the London Aquarium.

    First let me begin by saying that I am really glad that people are beginning to take note of the real threat of the issue relating to sharks and rays.

    I do not want to reiterate the entire of WildAid’s and other shark groups information on this one blog page, if you are interested in a detailed summary of all of the relevant information relating to shark threats and conservation please go to: http://www.wildaid.org/index.asp?CID=72&PID=262&SUBID=275

    Having quickly read the website I would like to summarise a few critical comments:

    1) One group wrote that only 3 species were listed on CITES. This is not correct, the CITES listing for Elasmobranchii has a total of 10 species, 7 of which are guitar fish or guitar sharks. The remaining three are the great white, basking and whale shark.

    2) This was used as evidence that sharks are not declining. This is incorrect. The IUCN produces the only globally accepted list of endangered species. The total number of sharks listed is 119 out of a total of 556 shark species currently known.
    Nearly 1 in 5 sharks are therefore endangered of extinction.

    3) A growing body of evidence is showing the cataclysmic decline of sharks and rays. Peer reviewed scientific papers by numerous groups from different labs around the world have independently shown declines of major shark species ranging from 70-99%. Myers et al (2007) showed that the massive decline (80-99% depending on species) in large predatory sharks such as hammerhead, tiger sharks, bull sharks, dusky and smooth hammerhead sharks is due to the impact of fishing.

    The IUCN produced its first complete assessment of the status of Mediterranean shark and ray species. 42% of these species are immediately threatened with extinction. This has been supported by further work in the last two weeks.

    The results from Sustainability Assessment for Fishing Effects (SAFE) in Australia indicate that out of the 51 species, 19 species (when uncertainty is taken into account) would be potentially at risk of over fishing and nine species potentially at risk of being unsustainable. In particular, five species have point estimates of total population crashes (silver tip shark, dwarf ornate wobbegong shark, the angel shark, blotched fantail ray and the porcupine ray).

    4) In all of this discussion there as been as yet no mention of the high levels of mercury found in shark fin and indeed all shark products.

    Sharks are top predators and just like tuna, marlin and sailfish they retain organic pollutants and heavy metals. A growing body of evidence is showing that the methylmercury absorbed by sharks in their long lifetimes is a toxic risk for humans.

    Sharks contain such high levels of Mercury that the world health organisation sets its consumption limits at zero portions per month. One dose of 200g of shark meat or cartilage exceeds the WHO monthly mercury limit. The WHO notes that this is especially important to pregnant women as the fetus is incredibly vulnerable to damage from mercury. A study by Choy et al (2002) showed a direct link between male infertility and shark and tuna consumption in Hong Kong. For further information on shark mercury levels please see the WildAid reports on the website. I am in the process of reviewing and publishing a new report at this moment that deals exclusively with this issue.

    I have also taken up vegetarianism in several bouts during my lifetime and currently maintain a no seafood diet (and only organic free range meat). I commend anyone who is supporting animal conservation and a move towards society that has respect and compassion for the natural world.

    If anyone would like to contact me for further details or cant download any of the reports you can reach me at: stevenson@wildaid.org

    Sincerely,
    Mark Stevenson
    Shark Campaign Officer
    WildAid
    5 St Peters Street,
    London
    N1 8JD
    http://www.wildaid.org
    stevenson@wildaid.org

  2. Thanks for the support Mark!

    I hope this blog (and continuing actions) will help slow down and eventually stop the consumption of sharks fin in Malaysia.

    Will definitely be calling for some help in the near future. I’m sure I will need clarification on statistics and more creative ways to deter people from a habit that should stop.


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