Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I read about this in the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education newsletter recently, and it seemed quite interesting. Apparently law enforcement agencies are using genetic tests to identify fins of the highly protected white sharks in the shark fin trade. In 2003, NOAA confiscated over 1 ton of dried shark fins on its way to Asian markets from an US east coast seafood dealer. One container was labeled "porbeagle" which is a cousin of the white shark, but inside the container another label read "blanco," Spanish for white. NOAA researchers, as well as those from the Guy Harvey Institute at Nova Southeastern University took samples from these fins, ran the samples through DNA analysis and discovered that the fins were indeed from white sharks. For more about this story see the full article.
This is terrible. It is bad enough that they illegally kill thousands of sharks by cutting off their fins and tossing them back into the water (I don't understand why they can't use the whole damn thing), but also the Japanese are developing high powered harpoons to kill endangered humpback whales and fin whales off the coast of Antarctica. This comes after Japan backed out of an international consensus to protect them. And Japan does this under the disguise of "scientific research" when it is really for commercial purposes. They are one of the only countries that does this and they also do not recognize the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
We need to do something as responsible consumers. The problem is what??? If the Japanese did not make such good efficient products, and America was actually good at building things and keeping up with technology, I would say boycott products made in Japan but that is unlikely. A Disney boycott did lead to Disney-Asia stopping the sale of shark fin soup, but that won't work here. We need to urge our representatives to do something about this. At a time when it is vitally important that we protect our resources and our earth, we generate waste, continue to pollute and decimate populations. When will we get smart???