|Government issues new guidelines to protect sharks
By Shailvee Sharda, TNN |
26 Aug, 2013, 01.35PM
The ministry of environment and forests has issued a 'fins naturally
attached' policy requiring fisheries to land sharks in coastal states
with their fins intact. The policy is a strong tool in the fight to end
shark finning, a cruel practice that occurs when fishermen catch
sharks, cut off their fins and throw the still-living animals back into
the water where they die slow and painful deaths.
studies cite India as the world's second-largest shark catching nation.
Indian fishermen target and catch sharks primarily for their meat;
however, they do export fins from sharks they catch. Additionally,
fishermen on foreign vessels in or just outside of Indian waters have
been reported to engage in shark finning.
International/India first began dialogue with the ministry to highlight
the need for shark conservation measures through a joint initiative
with one of India's largest fishing communities, the Association of
Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen.
groups CPR Environmental Education Centre, Wildlife Protection Society
of India, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations, World
Society for Protection of Animals India and Researchers for Wildlife
Conservation India supported HSI's initiative and also appealed to the
Ministry to adopt a fins naturally attached policy. The following
groups issued statements applauding the Ministry's action and urging
coastal state governments to adhere to the policy: C. Samyukta,
wildlife campaign manager for HSI/India said: "We are overjoyed at
India's decision to adopt a fins naturally attached policy, which
experts worldwide agree is necessary to protect sharks from the cruelty
of finning. Humane Society International has been campaigning hard to
see this policy enacted, and we are delighted authorities have taken
this crucial step."
Belinda Wright of WPSI said: "This is a
commendable step towards ending the barbaric practice of finning and
for enforcing our laws concerning protected shark species. Given the
perilous status of many shark species, we urge the state governments to
act quickly and work to enforce the policy." Nandita Krishna, Honorary
Director, CPREEC said: "We congratulate the Ministry on this landmark
decision. Shark conservation, which is now a growing global concern,
requires implementable solutions such as the fins attached policy to
end the loss of large numbers of shark populations. We hope the policy
provides a strong deterrent to the cruel and wasteful practice of
finning that leaves numerous sharks to die a slow and painful death
when they are discarded back into the ocean after their fins are
harvested. We hope the state governments shall be prudent and act
expeditiously in enforcement of the policy."