Shark Stewards Appeals to WA Premiere to Stop Shark Fin Trade

Join Shark Stewards and other ocean conservation groups urging the West Australian Government support shark conservation and anti shark fining policy, and to stop the shark fin exports to China.

You can help us maintain protections on White Sharks in Australia by sigining the following petition addressed to Norman Moore, Western Australia's Fisheries Minister.


The Honourable Colin Barnett MLA Premier of Western Australia 197 St Georges Terrace PERTH WA 6000
25th October, 2012
Dear Premier
RE: Shark Fin Trade from Western Australia

The undersigned groups write to express our grave concern about recent revelations in the media (Sunday Times, 7th October, Hungry for WA Shark Fins) that the Western Australian Government has been undertaking trade missions to China to promote the export of shark fins.

Every year an average of 38 million sharks are killed to fuel the shark fin trade1. This has led to a global crisis in shark conservation, with many shark species in decline due to the value of their fins. One third of open ocean sharks now face risk of extinction2. The practice of fining, cutting the fins off a shark and throwing the animal back into the ocean to die, is inherently cruel as well as being ecologically destructive. Sharks act as apex predators in their environment, maintaining the balance of all life beneath them.

Thankfully in many jurisdictions including Australia’s Commonwealth waters this practice is now banned, and regulations have been introduced that requires all sharks to be landed with their fins still attached. However, the removal of shark fins at sea continues to be legal in much of the world’s oceans, or is
pursued as part of a lucrative international criminal trade that is undermining efforts to protect sharks and the marine environment in many parts of the world.

The fight against this destructive trade in shark fins depends on reducing the demand for shark fin soup. This will be a generational cultural change. To this end a number of the undersigned groups have run long campaigns to have shark fin soup removed from restaurant menus, prohibit the sale and possession of shark fins and to ensure that fisheries management measures are imposed to control the take of these species. Legislation has also been passed in a number of countries to ban the sale of shark fins, such as in a number of US states including Hawaii and California and in Guam. Other countries have gone a step further by prohibiting all shark fishing as well as the sale of all shark products, including the Marshall Islands, the Bahamas and Sabah in Malaysia. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you the potential for the Western Australian Government to support the campaign against the shark fin trade, by prohibiting the sale and possession of shark fins in Western Australia.
As a result, countries and businesses are increasingly aware of the plight of sharks and many individuals are now beginning to avoid shark fin soup. Action is also being taken internationally, with the regulation of trade being proposed for a number of shark species including hammerhead sharks and the oceanic whitetip shark, at the upcoming meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in March 2013.
We understand that some of the companies who have agreed to stop serving shark fin soup have been approached by your Government to put the product back on their menu if the fins came from fisheries in Western Australia that have applied for MSC certification. The actions of your Government directly threaten the gains made in the abovementioned campaigns to end the trade and overfishing that support the supply of shark fins. Even if a sustainable product could be supplied from Western Australia, the volumes of supply could never meet demand and thus would simply promote the continuation of the cultural connection to shark fin soup and the global problem of overfishing of sharks for their fins.

We also note that even in Australia, many of the target shark fisheries continue to have significant uncertainty around the status of target stocks, what the impact of removal of these species from the marine environment will be, and the by-catch impacts of some fishing techniques on marine mammals and other fish species.
We seek your reassurance that further attempts to generate a market for the export shark fins from Western Australia will not be pursued.

Yours Sincerely,

Piers Verstegen
Director, Conservation Council of WA
Michael Kennedy
Director, Humane Society International
Darren Kindleysides
Director, Australian Marine Conservation Society
On behalf of the following organisations:
 International Fund for Animal Welfare
 Organisation for Respect and Care of Animals (ORCA), Serbia
 Shark Stewards, USA
 DEEPWAVE, Organization for Marine Conservation, Germany
 COARE – The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research & Education
 Shark Stewards
 Support Our Sharks
 The Global Shark Conservation Initiative, UK
 Shark Angels
 Sea First, Belgium
 The Black Fish, Netherlands
 Shark Savers, USA
 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
 Norman Moore, WA Fisheries Minister
 Stuart Smith, Director General, WA Department of Fisheries
 Bill Marmion, WA Environment Minister
 The Hon Tony Burke MP, Commonwealth Minister for Environment
 The Hon Joe Ludwig, Commonwealth Fisheries Minister