Let's skip over South Africa for the time being (seems to be an uphill battle on a slope covered in mud over there) and go to Australia, another first world country that "cares about the ocean". Their feds are trampled all over existing laws and the opinions of its voters to push an expensive, ineffective, and ecologically disastrous slaughter of sharks. Yes, by the government that simultaneously lists the animals its killing as protected and vulnerable. From a shark's perspective I'd be thinking, "with friends like this, who needs enemies?"
We continue to spill oil although we haven't recovered from the last ones. We pursue drilling in the arctic when it's already proven that the arctic is melting away from use of the very thing we're drilling for. Rain forests are destroyed, proposals to dump sediment onto the Great barrier Reef, natives pushed off their land, poison allowed in approved food, and we worry about offending the cultures of people who's cultures seem to be hell bent on killing every last thing on the planet.
Maybe the government knows something we don't know. Maybe it really is too late. Maybe it's better for them to help their buddies make as much cash as possible on the limited time left on this planet. Maybe they'll be the ones who can afford a flight to an off-planet living facility.
Remember foot binding? Probably not. That's because it went the way of the dodo, as should other cultural practices that are outdated or should never have existed in the first place. Let's be honest with ourselves, humans come up with some pretty messed up cultural traditions so it doesn't exactly break my heart when certain cultural practices are forcibly brought to an end (read more about my particular take on culture here).
But in all honesty the shark fin battle is about money, not about culture. That's why I almost cheered aloud in the theatre when a female Chinese-American stood up on the senate floor and stated the quote on the left in response to a paid-off lobbyist who claimed the anti-fin ban was a racist attack against the Chinese. You can see this wonderful moment in Phil Waller's new movie Extinction Soup.
California won another battle in the ongoing struggle to get its own shark fin ban going full force. Sadly its the feds that the state has had to deal with. A federal judge on Tuesday upheld California's ban on possession or sale of shark fins, rejecting claims that the law discriminates against the Chinese community - where shark fin soup is a traditional delicacy - or interferes with federal management of ocean fishing.
The law, passed in 2011, took full effect in July, when selling and serving shark fin soup became illegal. It was challenged by Bay Area organizations of Chinese American businesses and by shark fin suppliers, who argued that the legislation targeted the Chinese community and exceeded the state's authority to regulate fishing.
The federal law "is intended to preserve the nation's fishery resources and to promote conservation," purposes consistent with those of the California law, Orrick said in his most significant ruling since Obama appointed him to the bench in May. He said Congress did not intend to "maximize fishing or the sale of fish" and did not require states to "allow the possession or trading of shark fin - even shark fin lawfully landed."
Orrick also said the state law would have more of an effect on the Chinese American community than it would elsewhere, but federal courts require proof of intentional discrimination to overturn a law, and there was no such evidence in this case.
"People of Chinese origin or culture undoubtedly overwhelmingly comprise the market for shark fin," the judge wrote. "However, a law is not unconstitutional simply because it has a racially disparate impact."
The law applies equally throughout the state, Orrick said, and was based on legislative findings that the California shark fin market boosted the market for shark finning, which was contributing to the decline of a species critical to the health of the ocean's ecosystem.
Lawyers for the law's opponents were unavailable for comment. They could appeal the ruling.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has given the WA Government an exemption from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to set baited drum lines to catch sharks until April 30, agreeing it was in the national interest.
However, most of the sharks caught have been tiger sharks, rather than the great white shark species blamed for attacks on people off WA.
The Greens will push for a vote on its private members' Save our Sharks Bill this week. This is the final sitting week before the WA Senate vote and Parliament does not resume until May, after this year's cull is meant to finish.
Greens leader Christine Milne, in WA for the party's campaign launch on Saturday, told _The West Australian _Mr Barnett had underestimated the level of public opposition to the shark cull.
The poll commissioned by the Greens found 57 per cent of WA voters thought the Abbott Government should use its powers to halt the cull, with 38 per cent strongly agreeing.
Greens leader Christine Milne says there is overwhelming opposition to the cull, introduced by the WA government with support from the federal government following a spate of attacks.
"We will stand up for the great white shark and the marine ecosystem against Tony Abbott and Colin Barnett," she told reporters.
"There is huge support to say end this cull and never do it again."
Greens marine and WA spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said the federal government facilitated the WA government going ahead with the shark cull through an exemption granted under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Senator Siewert said the private member's bill would retrospectively bar federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt from granting an exemption.
"The federal government should never have used that provision," she said.
Now this is what I call taking action. Kudos to everyone involved and let's see more of it. The following article was copied from WA Today.
Protesters say there have been no repercussions for illegally removing a shark drum line off a Perth beach on the weekend.
A group created what they referred to as a "late entry to Sculpture by the Sea" on Saturday after they removed a shark drum line from the ocean.
Members of the Forest Rescue group, which is against the state's shark mitigation program which involves killing large sharks that come within one kilometre of the coast, posed with the item while dressed as mermaids on Cottesloe beach.
Enjoy your commute...especially if you are employed by Colin Barnett's Administration.
Whether you love sharks, hate sharks, or are indifferent, can the niche of the shark...its purpose and contribution to the planet be questioned? Of course that requires one to have a clue what the shark does on a daily routine, which, believe it or not, has nothing to do with eating people. Now, examine your contribution to the planet today, this week, this year...maybe even your lifetime. How has the planet benefitted from your presence?
white sharks, great whites, white shark video, tiger sharks, shark cull
A little bit of humor in this video. This white shark, Mau, returns to Guadalupe looking pretty beaten up from bite marks before having his pride beaten up as well by repeatedly missing "dead targets"
Shot in 2009 by WSV
great white shark eating prey. a great white shark attempting to eat bait. great white shark video. great white shark humor.
Just want to share a few thoughts from a quick excerpt of an interview with Phil Waller, Director of Extinction Soup, while we were at the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival.
For those that don’t know, Phil and executive producer Stefanie Brendl made a movie documenting the battle to pass a shark fin ban in Hawaii. The film provides gorgeous footage and takes the viewer on an emotional ride as we see the beauty of sharks juxtaposed against the same animals being slaughtered in inhumane fashion. But I found the political battle particularly unnerving as it brought back memories of California’s own struggle to pass a shark fin ban only a few years ago. Just like in San Francisco, the fishing industry resorted to hiring lobbyists to declare the ban as racist attack on Chinese culture (If you still want to send him hate mail, the senator in San Francisco was Leland Yee).
"Almost nothing under the moon kills less people than sharks do!" - pw
Politics led our discussion to Western Australia where sharks are being slaughtered in the very waters they are supposed to be protected in. Public Safety, not culture, is the scapegoat for this political agenda, and it was while discussing the concept of trying to make people safe from sharks that Phil stated the glaringly obvious; not only do sharks kill a very small number of people, but they KILL LESS PEOPLE than almost ANYTHING ELSE on this planet. Repeat that in your head a few times. We’ve all heard the stats about coconuts and vending machines, etc., but I think the concept really sinks in when you try to list things that DON’T kill more people than sharks rather than what DO. How can public safety be a reason to kill sharks when it’s not enough of a reason to dispose of the rest of the offenders on the list?
Phil did a great job of being positive, but I’m obviously a bit of a pessimist when it comes to conservation and politics living happily together. But as he said, all we can do is keep trying and spreading the word because ignorance still outweighs knowledge and that can only change by sharing information. So, keep spreading the word and fighting the fight!
And yes, I know I look homeless in this interview. I’ll clean up when the film is over.
The Price of Existence is the blog and film series from WSV
Debra Canabal of Epic Diving in the WSV hoodie. Get yours!
About the Author
Skyler Thomas is the primary blog contributor, cinematographer, and lead editor at White Shark Video.
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