Shark campaign hits the wall

FIN END OF THE WEDGE: BMD's mural in central Wellington highlights the practice of shark-finning, which remains legal here, despite being banned in nearly 100 countries.
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
FIN END OF THE WEDGE: BMD's mural in central Wellington highlights the practice of shark-finning, which remains legal here, despite being banned in nearly 100 countries.

Wellington street artists BMD have transformed a bland inner-city wall into a colourful political statement aiming to press the Government into action against shark finning.

The duo were up until 4am yesterday working on the mural on the blank slate of a car park building on the corner of Cable and Chaffers streets for Shark Awareness Week. The awareness week began yesterday.

"We wanted to do something kind of colourful and positive but with a sinister undertone that creates awareness around shark-finning," the BMD artist known as A said.

Featuring the estimated 190 sharks that are killed every minute for their fins, the mural will be about 50 metres long and 6m high.

Shark finning is thought to cause up to 70 million shark deaths a year.

The practice, which is legal here but banned in nearly 100 countries, involves cutting off sharks' fins and dumping the animals' live bodies back into the sea.

A coalition of conservation groups, dubbed the New Zealand Shark Alliance, is calling on the Government to ban the practice.

Later this month the Ministry for Primary Industries is due to put out its national plan for action on sharks for public consultation, which will set out a strategy over the next five years.

World Wildlife Fund New Zealand marine species advocate Milena Palka said it was crucial the plan committed to a shark finning ban.

Fairfax Media