Category Archives: Personal mussings

Sharks Protected in The Bahamas, but not Queensland

It is being increasingly acknowledged that this planet’s fish eco-systems are verging on collapse and major imbalance.

One aspect of this is the overfishing of sharks, mostly for Shark Fin Soup. Some nations around the world are beginning to take steps to protect sharks.

Most recently, The Bahamas banned any form of commercial shark fishing in an area of almost 2.4 million square kilometers.

Honduras and The Maldives have also banned shark fishing in their territorial waters.

The Brantford and Oakville city councils in Canada that have banned the sale of Shark Finn soup, and other cities like Toronto in Canada are now considering doing the same.

The states of Oregon, Hawaii and Washington in the USA have banned the possession and sale of shark fins. California is in the process of banning the sale of shark fins. The USA has banned shark fining in it’s waters since 2003.

The Pacific Island nation of Palau established the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, which bans the killing of sharks in an area approximately 54000 km2. That’s about the size of France.

Hammerhead caught in gil nets

But in Queensland, the government has actively EXPANDED the shark fining industry over the past 5 years.

They have done this through expansion of the East Coast Inshore Fin Fishery, located in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. As well as the ‘Gulf of Carpentaria Inshore Fin Fishery’. These fisheries were expanded explicitly to hunt sharks for their fins.

The main regulations the Qld government has put in place are: that the entire shark body is caught and used (so they don’t just slice of the fins and dump the fish); a system of licensing (S code), these licenses include the right to hunt for shark fin in Morton Bay and the Great Sandy Straits; keeping a daily log book; and that total catches are limited to 950 tonnes per year.

However Luke Tippple claims  that fishing ships that are licensed “S code” are exempt from keeping the entire carcass of a catch.

By the way, these fisheries use ‘Gil Nets’ when hunting shark. These nets have a high level of by-catch. Some of this by-catch are endangered and threatened species. One species of threatened shark is the Black-Tip Shark. The Black-Tip Shark has been found to be sold in Coles and Woolworths as Flake. There are claims dugong and turtles as also killed by East Coast Inshore Fishery practises.

In the 2010 Annual Report of East Coast Inshore Fishery (ECIF), it appears the total catch of shark has dropped by about 50% over the last 3 years. Table 2 shows that in in 2008 they took 1114 tonnes, 2009 they took 968 tonne, while in 2010 they took 501 tonne of shark .

E.C.I.F. claim this demonstrates they are fishing sustainably. With the high price and demand for shark fin, the real reason for this substantial drop is most likely the collapse of local shark numbers in the Great Barrier Reef.

Some shark species take 15 years before reach sexual maturity, and have only one or two pups per year. So numbers are not replaced easily or quickly, increasing their vulnerability to over-fishing.

To become more aware of our marine eco0systems, start by visiting Shark Fining, like Shark Savers on facebook, support Sea Sheppard.

Then boycott Flake and all restaurants that serve Shark Fin Soup (even if you aren’t going to buy it yourself). And mostly importantly, start giving hell to Anna Bligh and the Queensland government!


Death Threats against Climate Change Scientists.

High profile scientists involved in studying climate change have been targeted with numerous death threats, verbal/emailed abuse and harassment.

“It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised threats to discourage scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio,” Professor David Koroly from the University of Melbourne.

It has gotten so bad, the Australian National University has moved it’s scientists to ‘secure locations’ and began using security measures.

This parallels the ‘Right-wing Christian Movements’ in the USA, who held a co-ordinated and unco-ordinated campaign of terror and misinformation to undermine the teaching of evolution and to restrict abortion.

The motive in regard to the Climate Change issue, is that a significant number of people feel very, very, threatened by the facts of climate change. Because then they will have to face up to changing their lifestyle, accepting complicity, and possibly affect their income. We are talking about people like Hugh Morgan, who  are willing to do anything to protect their little bubble. And in the process, fuck up the rest of the world for us.

What we are seeing is the greed and selfishness of individuals coming out in the form of a campaign of serious bullying, and deliberately creating confusion. It would not surprise me, if a lot of this is linked through the networks Right Wing Think Tanks and Young Liberal Party members.

I wonder if the Federal Police, ASIS and ASIO have ‘Climate Change Deniers’ listed in their Terrorist Database? I reckon if a ‘Leftie’ or ‘Muslim’ network was doing this, the Feds would be dragging people out of homes by now.

Talisman Sabre Stall at Home Festival

Yesterday, I helped do a stall at Home Festival. It was great to see so much positive community, coming out and getting together. The vibe was chilled and friendly, with enough eccentric randoms and ‘hippies’ to keep it colourful. Chatting to a friend, she said it felt like the way West End used to be, before the gentrification push.

Highlight had to be the Bollywood dancers, and the 6 seater push bike made by Turnstyle Collective. You really had to see it to appreciate it. It was also awesome to see so many other ‘autono-leftie/activistie’ crew having stalls there or just hanging out.

The Stall I helped do was for Brisbane Community Action, a local anarchist collective. It was amazingly well received. I would say more so then any stall I ‘ve done in West End. Over half a dozen books sold and 100+ zines and flyers distributed.

We are solidly promoting the Food Not Bombs vs Talisman Sabre Kitchen, in protest against the Talisman Sabre 2011 war games. And we got a lot of support for our action. More info later, but click here for background or go to The Peace Convergence.

This is the Talisman sabre colour flyer we distributed. Please copy and distribute it everywhere.