Greenpeace encounters the Oleg Naydenov fishing illegally in 2012
Have you heard the one about Greenpeace controlling the
French Navy? No, me neither. But you might be forgiven for being confused by some
recent reports about the Russian trawler seized in West Africa.
Pirate fishing is a big problem. Sometimes it’s fishing over
quota (catching more than you should, or species that you shouldn’t), sometimes
it’s fishing in ways or places you shouldn’t. Overfishing may seem like a victimless
crime – but it isn’t, and the ultimate effect is bad news for our oceans, the
creatures that live in them, and the humans whose livelihoods or
future food source depends on them.
Posted by Daniel — 9 January 2014 at 3:00pm
In the summer of 2012, small-scale Senegalese fishermen reported a rapid and
significant increase in their catches. They attributed their rising
fortunes to newly elected President Macky Sall's decision to revoke the
licences of 29 large foreign trawlers, which together were taking as much as
half of the country's catch of pelagic fish. The licences had been granted
under dubious circumstances by the previous fisheries minister, as exposed in this report by
University of Aberdeen research is being used to justify Iceland's whaling programme.
always get a lot of breaks, it’s constantly twisted and misrepresented in the
media, and sometimes the best intentions end up being used in ways the
scientists themselves would never want them to be or condone. Who’d have thought,
for example, that UK universities could be used to defend commercial whaling?
Yet, that's exactlly what's happening right now.
The government has at long last made an announcement on the
first wave of marine
conservation zones (MCZs) in UK waters. This is long overdue, but frankly fails
to deliver. Today’s announcement to designate only 27 sites is a whopping 100
sites short of what the government’s
own consultation said was necessary. So what’s going on?
Charities and campaigning groups have lined up to condemn the 'charity gagging bill'
When David Cameron described the access
of business lobbyists to government as "the next big scandal", we thought he was making a prediction.
But his lobbying bill, otherwise known as
the 'charity gagging bill', seems so deliberately controversial, and is being
rushed through parliament with such unseemly haste, that we're wondering if he
was actually making a promise.
Shark finning: not big, not clever, not defensible
There’s nothing defensible about shark
finning. It’s the marine equivalent of the poachers who kill rhinos to hack
off their horns or kill elephants to hack off their tusks. It’s not dissimilar
to killing bears or tigers for spurious ‘traditional’ cures either. But it
happens out at sea, to animals which don’t have big brown eyes, and which aren’t
usually touted as cuddly toys or ‘adoptable’. They rarely win public polls on favourite
animals, yet they fill column inches every silly
scaremongering summer season in the tabloids.
Down with scare stories - how about some positive shark news for a change?
At the end of Shark Week, it’s time for some good news on
sharks. Despite all the earlier blogs this week, this is not me trying to
convince you sharks are huggable and loveable (though, they are, obviously), rather
a round-up of some good conservation news for the world’s
often-underappreciated shark species.
Sharks have a never-ending supply of teeth. They regenerate
replacement dentition on an inexhaustible toothy conveyor belt ... which
explains why you see so few shark dentists.
But sharks are not all about teeth, despite the bad press.
Filter feeders like the megamouth
shark, are mostly big (but harmless) mouths; the winghead
shark has a head half the length of its body, and; the thresher
sharks have a huge tai (ideal for stunning fish before eating them) that can be
the same length as its body.