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Shark Finning Media Release

Media  Release 12-11-2012:

Say No to Shark Finning

It’s not surprising that scuba divers worldwide are supporting more control of shark fisheries. Millions of sharks of different species are taken every year primarily for shark fin soup. Sharks have caught our interest as a top marine predator and the mere mention of white pointer sends a shiver down your spin. It has only been in recent years that that research has been conducted into shark behaviour. What makes researching sharks difficult is that many shark species migrate, especially with white pointer. We now know from data retrieved from tagging that they can travel thousands of kilometres.


Sharks have been around since the dawn of history and play an important part in balancing the ocean’s ecology. We all know the effects on wild animals if a top predator is taken out. Wolves were hunted to near extinction and this, in turn, caused numbers of deer populations to explode causing the destruction of their food source and habitat. Once this habitat had basically gone, there was a domino effect on other species that relied on the same habitat. Relate this to the marine environment and you could have a serious problem. The situation becomes even more frustrating because we are very limited in our access to the marine environment to see what is going on. Consequently it’s a lot harder to gauge a marine environment’s state of play compared to a terrestrial environment.


To understand the demand for shark fin one has to go back over a thousand years. Shark fin soup plays a huge part in Chinese culture. The story goes that shark fin soup was created by an emperor in the Sung Dynasty (AD 968) who wanted to show how powerful, wealthy and generous he was to his banquet guests. Serving the expensive dish came to be seen as a sign of respect. The dish has now been engrained in Chinese tradition of status, face and respect.  It actually goes a lot further – shark fin soup is served as an act of generosity of sharing ones fortune. Needless to say prices for shark fin vary, but expensive is always the norm. An Auckland Chinese Restaurant has on its menu – Shark’s Fin with Bamboo Pith Soup $35.00 – Shark’s Fin with Vegetables (for six person & more) $240.00.


The New Zealand Underwater Association (NZUA) stance on New Zealand’s fishery is to apply the very best practise methods to support the sustainability of all shark species – something has to done to curb the wasteful exploitation of sharks. We want the practise of shark finning and discarding the carcass at sea to stop. Shark finning uses just 2% of the shark – bring the whole thing back to shore. Join us to ‘Say No to Shark Finning’. Good on the Auckland University Underwater Club for their ‘Top to Bottom’ against shark finning campaign. Basically the weekend of October 6 they went from the slopes of Mt Ruapehu to the coast and then for a Tauranga dive, at Shark Tooth Bay (Karewa Island) wearing shark hoods and promoting awareness against shark finning. The NZUA is also part of the newly formed New Zealand Shark Alliance (NZSA).  We have to do better than this – we created this problem and it is up to us to put it right.

• NZSA members are the New Zealand Underwater Association, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, WWF, ECO, Our Seas Our Future, White Shark Conservation Trust, Kelly Tarlton’s Sealife Aquarium.  The ITM Fishing Show and Shark Fin Free Auckland.

Mike Percy (NZUA Environmental Section )

For more information contact -

New Zealand Underwater Association:

Mike Percy:   or phone 021 661 832



Auckland University Underwater Club:

Hannah Thompson:  or phone 021 042 8676

Will Stone: or phone 027 340 4850.



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