Letter: Sharkfinning

Last updated 12:14 18/11/2013

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OPINION: It is with weary resignation that I, a retired paua and rock lobster diver, with other fishing experience, read your latest editorial demanding that when the industry catches sharks, ''it does so in a sustainable and accountable way''.

Have you actually spoken to an official of the Ministry for Primary Industries to ascertain the truth?

Have you simply parrotted the propaganda of the Green lobby?

Sharkfinning is already illegal here, for more than one reason, but you would not know that from the mendacious utterances of the Greens.

Under the strictly-controlled Quota Management System, every fish, sharks included, is already taken ''accountably and sustainably''.

You don't have to shout at us in an editorial to make us do it - the QMS, with its draconian rules and penalties - fines up to $250,000 and confiscation of boats and gear (some worth millions) - makes us do it.

Fins are a valuable byproduct of those species, such as school shark, rig, ghost shark and elephant fish which are all sold as fillet - much of it in the popular fish and chip trade.

As the paper for Bluff, you must know all this already, so why the nonsensical demand that fishermen do what they are doing already? In sheer self-defence, the industry is planning to adopt a code of practice, in line with the ministry's recently released plan, but both are redundant in that they are merely restating what is happening now.

Sharkfinning is a ''straw man'' - the media and the public, gullibly lead by the nose by crusading Greens, will be able to bask in the glow of a job well done when it is officially knocked over by adoption of the plan of action.

Green organisations will triumphantly proclaim that they have scored a great victory, but the ministry and the fishing industry will simply carry on applying and complying with existing legislation.

Have you printed any letters from fishermen in rebuttal of your editorial? I suspect not. So much for balanced journalism.

R LEA CLOUGH
Napier

The editorial acknowledged and took no issue with the existence of a shark quota and we agree with the use of as much of the targetted shark as possible.

It did point out that it was already illegal to cut the fins off sharks and return them live to the sea. The change is to prevent sharks being finned and the carcasses dumped overboard. We welcome that move too.

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We have rejected no letters in response to our editorial. - Editor.

- The Southland Times

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