Friday, September 2, 2011

Furious Finning

Reuters (From Outlook, August 15, 2011)
Market abroad Much of the shark caught in India is for export

Burdensome Catch...
  • India has been ranked second on the top-20 list of shark-fishing nations of the world
  • With little local consumption, most of the catch is exported
  • Around 18 species, such as the Tiger Shark and the Smooth Hammerhead, are fished in India
  • Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are important shark-fishing centres
  • A national plan for sustainable shark-fishing is being drafted
The word ‘shark’ may well be used to describe a rapacious person, but the fate of the real shark seems quite pitiable. Much of India’s conservation efforts focus on the tiger; meanwhile, indiscriminate shark-fishing in Indian waters to feed markets abroad may be driving the shark to extinction. Compiling international data, TRAFFIC (a global wildlife trade monitor) and the Pew Environment Group have ranked India second on a list of the top 20 shark-catching nations. With an annual average yield of over 74,000 tonnes, India accounts for nine per cent of the global catch. It is surpassed only by Indonesia (13 per cent) and followed by Spain (7.3 per cent) in the ranking, announced early this year. A 2008 report had placed India third; to conservationists, the improvement is really nothing to be proud of.
While most people associate sharks with the ferocious kind of the film Jaws, few realise there are over 400 species of shark, many of them critically endangered. In fact, the Union ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) had even banned shark-fishing. However, the ban was revoked in 2004 on pressure from groups representing fisherfolk.

Full story on Outlook

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