02/02/2011 - A joint report by the British wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC and the US Pew Environment Group essentially called the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) a failure. The report, released last week, says that Indonesia, India, Spain, Taiwan and 16 other major shark-catching countries and entities are responsible for this failure.
Indonesia is No. 1 on the report’s list of the top 20 shark catchers with 13 percent of the global catch, followed by India (9 percent), Spain (7.3 percent) and Taiwan (5.8 percent). Together, these top 20 countries and entities catch 640,000 tonnes of shark every year, accounting for 80 percent of the global catch. As a result, almost one-third of all shark species are close to extinction.
The main reason for the diminishing shark populations is the East Asian taste for shark’s fin. Chinese see it as a delicacy and Taiwanese consume large amounts of shark’s fin every year, causing many sharks to be killed to meet this massive demand. A quick look at shark fin dishes on the menus in many restaurants shows why the number of sharks being killed must be huge.
Read the full editorial Just Say No to Shark’s Fin on the Taipei Times Web site.