Shark fin fury
ALLEGATIONS have been raised about live sharkfinning occurring in Port Douglas and Cairns, with local filmmaker and conservationist Ben Cropp taking a stand against the illegal trade.
There is a demand for shark fins, for use in traditional Chinese medicines and shark fin soup and although in some countries fishermen have to bring back the whole shark before they can defin them, Mr Cropp claims some local fishermen are taking to finning the sharks and throwing the sharks back in alive, unable to move, to suffocate or be eaten by other predators.
‘‘It is definitely happening in Cairns and we suspect also in Port Douglas, they usual go out fishing and at night to catch the sharks, de-fin them and let them go alive and hide the fins,’’ Mr Cropp said.
‘‘There’s a market for them in Cairns, an outlet in Cairns where they can be sold and a big shark like a tiger can bring $1000 just in its fins.
‘‘No one has been caught but we all know it goes on, but nothing has ever happened.’’
Mr Cropp there is still a market for it and one solution would be to ban shark fin soup and also ban the export of shark fins.
‘‘While authorities say shark-finning is illegal, Australia allows the export of shark fins,’’ he said.
‘‘In the 2011/2012 financial year, Australia export 10,789 tonnes of shark fins and that represents 13,300 tonnes of sharks but Australian fisheries and the Government reports that a total annual catch is 8000 tonnes per year - 5000 tonnes is missing, it’s a black hole.’’
Mr Cropp said the Federal Government should set an example and ban the export of shark fins and shark fin soup and get rid of the market demand.
To report illegal fishing including shark finning, phone the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116.