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  • Jul 14, 2014
  • Updated: 10:16am

Shark fin opponents dogmatic

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 3:35am

Recent letters concerning shark fin have shown unquestioning acceptance of a dogma.

There is a refusal on the part of correspondents to consider opposing viewpoints when dealing with those they consider to be the unenlightened.

Joan Miyaoka's letter ("Tuna being wiped out through greed", January 8) sees the diversity of the oceans crumbling, because the greedy "educated and wealthy" do not share her view that Chinese people should refuse to eat sharks and tuna.

Self-proclaimed "thinking people" such as Laurence Mead ("Time to stop defending the indefensible", January 11) see seafood drying on rooftops as akin to cage homes for the elderly - his logic, not mine - with no place in civilised society.

Outside of their views lies the uncivilised "la-la land" in which people are unaware that the amount of food required to feed today's human population is more than it was 150 years ago. This is a profound insight. Their mantra is not new. The [early Christian] author Tertullian said that "we weigh upon the world; its resources hardly suffice to support us. As our needs grow larger, so do our protests that already nature does not sustain us". But nature has sustained us, and with rational management will continue to do so.

Biodiversity losses in the oceans are trivial relative to those that have occurred in the swamps, rivers, forests and savannahs degraded for centuries to feed, clothe and shelter people.

If we followed Ms Miyaoka's logic, eating rice, cereals, vegetables, beef and farmed shrimps should cease, because it is clearly more damaging to biodiversity than the consequences of eating tuna or sharks. There is no more greed among consumers of seafood or fishermen than there is in humans involved in any other endeavour.

People just value marine resources for different reasons than your correspondents do, which they are quite entitled to do. Organisations such as the Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas reflect the fishing industry's determination to improve sustainability. The dogma that devaluing seafood products will automatically reduce fishing pressure is naive. As the price of a by-product like shark fin declines, the fishermen get less money, but more than if they had to discard the fins. The same numbers of fins enter trade, at a lower price, feeding more people.

Mr Mead hopes his Chinese friends will forgive him for his strong views. I suspect they have been politely doing so for some time.

Charlie Lim, chairman, conservation and management committee, Marine Products Association


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Industry propaganda of the worst kind
Wow. You could sail an industrial fishing trawler through the holes in Mr Lim's case for shark fin eating.
1. "the amount of food required to feed today's human population is more than it was 150 years ago". You think? So whyeat only the fin? We all know standard shark fin 'harvesting' results in the main body of the shark, often still alive, being dumped back in the ocean after the fins have been cut off. Wasteful.
2. "Rational management" ? Shark populaiton levels, for various reasons including harvesting shark's fin, have plummeted. Continuing to consume shark's fin at the current rates makes no sense.
3. "Biodiversity losses in the oceans are trivial relative to those that have occurred in" other areas. So, because the human race has managed to make a mess of things on land it is perfectly reasonable to do the same thing at sea? So much for progress.
4. "The fishing industry's determination to improve sustainability" - When was the last time you read an article that proclaimed "Fish stocks in **** ocean recover?" I suggest that they are not trying hard enough.
Neverthelesss, thank you Mr Lim for putting forward the case for eating shark's fin. One wonders what his motivaiton is.
Motivation is quite simple. He's paid by them. And recently appointed as "chairman, conservation and management committee" - a job I'd be very interested to see the spec for, as it's not "conservation" as any usual definition would have it!
Well done Mr Lim! I take my hats off to you! Agreed with everything you said!
You might also be interested in this view on ICCAT.
In 2008, ICCAT scientists recommended that the bluefin catch in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean be limited to between eighty-five hundred and fifteen thousand tons. ICCAT instead adopted a quota of twenty-two thousand tons. That same year, a panel of independent reviewers, hired by the commission to assess its performance, observed that ICCAT “is widely regarded as an international disgrace.” (Carl Safina, the noted marine conservationist, has nicknamed the group the International Conspiracy to Catch All the Tunas.)
talk about dogmatic support....
Oh Charlie....you must have been stewing on this letter for some time.. And who have you brought in to be your ghost writer? References to Tertullian? What next - a rebuttal of Malthus??
The arguments that are being made to conserve the marine ecosystem are not dogmatic, they are scientific and data driven. Why do you think that marine biodiversity losses are "trivial"? On what are you basing your position (aside from your unquestioning belief that we can continue to empty the oceans with no negative consequences)?
If the trade bodies (such as yours) were truly interested in the livelihoods of poor fishermen, you would be working overtime to conserve remaining fish stocks, through scientifically determined catch limits, banning over fishing and restricting supply such as to stimulate demand.
And if you don't want to listen to my "dogma" then go and ask the now redundant fishing community in Aberdeen what happens if you over exploit a fishery beyond its biological limits.

Get a life dude, and stay out of ours.
with this, dude, there's no us and them. one planet that we all share.
"Ours" ? On what basis are you differentiating 'yschk' from yourself? Is your counter-argument really that feeble, as is Mr Lim's?


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