Pupils act to stop cruelty to sharks

COLIN WILLIAMS
Last updated 16:05 05/12/2012
05-UHL-finningcropped.jpg
COLIN WILLIAMS
Biting back:Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins receives an anti-shark finning petition and individual letters from Pinehaven School’s Flynn Cosslett and Emma Ravens and year 5 and 6 classmates.

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 A Pinehaven School classroom study about the cruelty of shark finning and its continued allowance in New Zealand waters will see Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins carry the message to Parliament.

On Friday, Mr Hipkins was presented with a 100-signature petition and more than 20 individual letters from concerned year 5 and 6 students.

Flynn Cosslett and Emma Ravens outlined the class's concern about shark finning to Mr Hipkins, the culmination of a term-long project of investigation and action.

The petition will be taken to David Carter, the Primary Industries Minister, who is responsible for law changes in Parliament, Mr Hipkins told the children.

"I'm more than happy to take the petition and present it next week," he said.

"I have never received one on shark finning before."

The young students' interest was sparked by an article in Wild Things, Forest & Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club magazine, teacher Michelle Cheevers says.

"Flynn brought it to the class' attention and they all read and discussed it and decided what they could do," she says.

"Shark finning is when fishermen cut the fins off sharks and throw the rest of the shark away," the petition reads.

"Over 270,000 sharks are killed each day.

"They are left to die in a sad state. We want the New Zealand Government to ban this practice," it says.

"We would appreciate it if you banned New Zealand shark finning.

"It's disgustingly gross and cruel.

"Why can't we have a law that forbids it," Flynn's supporting letter asks. "Every year 100 million sharks are killed.

"Here are three good reasons it should be stopped: It is cruel and wasteful; sharks are important marine animals and too many sharks are being killed," Flynn says.

Shark finning is cutting the fins off a shark and dumping its body into the sea.

The shark is usually dead but sometimes it is still alive when the fins are cut off.

Finning live sharks is banned in New Zealand but finning dead sharks is legal.

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- Upper Hutt Leader

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