Restore ban on Sharks killings in India - Naresh Kadyan
  • Petitioning OIPA in India

This petition will be delivered to:

OIPA in India
Minister for Environment and Forest
Smt. Jayanthi Natrajan
Prime Minister of India, New Delhi
Hon'ble Sardar Manmohan Singh
The Chairman, AWBI
The Cabinet Secretary
Hon'ble Speaker Lok Sabha
HE President of India, New Delhi
Chairperson, NAC
Smt. Sonia Gandhi
Hon'ble Vice President of India
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau - WCCB
Ministry of Environment and Forest
The Secretary
Deputy Secretary Animal welfare

Restore ban on Sharks killings in India - Naresh Kadyan

    1. Abhishek Kadyan
    2. Petition by

      Abhishek Kadyan

      Delhi, India

Why the then minister of environment and forests (MoEF), A Raja, partially revoked the ban in 2001?: I can smell some malpractice in it and ban should be restored at once, matter be given to CBI for further investigation.

- Abhishek Kadyan, Media Adviser to OIPA in India - www.oipa.org

- Sukanya Kadyan, Programme Director of PFA Haryana - www.pfaharyana.in

George and Aruldas, fishermen from near Kanyakumari, were hauling up a catch on a beach in southern Tamil Nadu. It was a warm evening and they were the only fishers on these secluded sands. The catch was special and I was privileged, as an outsider, to be invited to watch as the enormous fish was sliced and its fin, the most valuable part, handled with extreme care.

Shark fins of this size fetch a lot of money. It is not a hammerhead, which brings the best price, but a smaller milk shark. Nevertheless, the fishers told me, there were several more where this one came from, and they could be caught easily using their specialised hooks and lines. The shark’s flesh was set aside; all attention was on preserving the fin well. After all, the flesh was for their consumption while the fin would soon be exported to Southeast Asian markets.

Shark fins reportedly sell for Rs 250-400 per kg in the wholesale market and there are regular dealers in the country. As the capture and finning of sharks is not banned in India, the practice, shunned as illegal in several other countries, occurs in broad daylight here. A friend recently reported seeing an autorickshaw stuffed with shark fins to the point where it could barely be seen, on a busy Puducherry street. Over 90 per cent of the 190 fishers I spoke to during a survey in southern Tamil Nadu, admitted to catching and selling sharks. The fins they sold would reach the final destination, China, through many pathways. Some would pass through Sri Lanka, others through Singapore or Thailand, while still others were sold directly.

Southeast Asian shark fishers often remove the uppermost, characteristic shark fin and release the animal back into the sea. Unable to swim or breathe, the helpless animal dies. India responded to this by introducing a ban, but due to vociferous protests from Tamil Nadu fishers, the then minister of environment and forests (MoEF), A Raja, partially revoked the ban in 2001. Strangely, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute recommended there was scope to increase the exploitation of sharks in Indian waters, despite no studies on its stock.

Meanwhile, shark fishing continues unchecked. Fishers in the Lakshadweep who use long-lines do not always target sharks, but do not hesitate to use the extra source of income that accompanies their mistaken hooking. A source in the Lakshadweep fishery department revealed there was a recent shark fin catch weighing several tonnes from a vessel. This means several thousand sharks are killed and discarded or consumed. On the mainland, shark numbers no longer allow for such blatant extermination. The fishers I spoke to felt that shark numbers, like all the other fish they catch, were on the decline.

The picture is grim, but the Centre seems unwilling to take a stand. The Action Forum for Sustainable Shark Fishery that supports a ban on finning raises some important points. The government has no idea about how to replenish shark stocks. Since there is no enforcement, the forum argues, any attempt to conserve sharks turns futile. In a country where 60,000-70,000 tonnes of sharks are landed every year (as per FAO), choosing to overlook this industry that leaves no paper trail and operates on an apparently “small” scale, is a mistake.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the use of unsustainable gears such as trawl nets has only served to further marginalise artisanal fishers, who use selective gears. They are now forced to look at easy ways to earn money, such as by selling shark fins.

The government and its people must realise that sharks are inextricably linked to the marine world. There is no way to save them without saving their prey, and there is no way to prevent the fishing of one species while allowing indiscriminate gears to pick off anything that comes in their path. The Fisheries Department and MoEF must act together if they want to ensure a livelihood for fishers and a future for sharks.

Divya Karnad is a wildlife biologist with the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru

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    • Vivek Pant BANGALORE, INDIA
      • about 1 month ago

      Sharks have been on Earth for around 400 million years.They have evolved to become the top predator in our oceans.Without them, our marine ecosystems would collapse.

      So often, the ‘smile’ of a dolphin, a fluffy seal pup or whale dragging

      behind a fishing boat dominate our attention in the world of marine

      conservation.

      So rarely, does anyone stand up for those animals that aren’t smiling,

      cute or fluffy. But who desperately need our help.

      Their presence and role in our ecosystem is vital.

      “If I have one hope, it is that we will come to appreciate and protect

      these wonderful animals before we manage, through ignorance, stupidity and greed,

      to wipe them out altogether.”

      - Peter Benchley (author of ‘Jaws’)

      Shark populations worldwide are decreasing at alarming rates .

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Vardan Walia NEW DELHI, INDIA
      • about 1 month ago

      Shark fins trade is worthless. They don't even have any taste in the shark fin soup. It's just a billion dollar industry rising on the graves of this magnificent creature.

      Also the belief that having shark fin soup can prevent cancer is also a big myth!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • jasleen turk CHANDIGARH, INDIA
      • 2 months ago

      Saving sharks is critical if we want to save our oceans and the very oxygen we breathe.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anthony Buck SANTA ROSA, CA
      • 8 months ago

      The amount of Shark Finning in Asia is atrocious.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ashish Dugtal LUCKNOW, INDIA
      • 8 months ago

      Preserve the nature!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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