Hola Friends! I’m currently making my way across the wide Atlantic Ocean at a clip of almost 40 kilometers an hour.
The frenzy over Discovery Channel ‘Shark Week’ sweeps North American television stations beamed to television sets around the world offers an excellent opportunity to consider the plight of sharks in Canadian waters. Here in Canada we are lucky enough to host some of the most rare and unique sharks. Every year the basking shark comes into our waters. This slow moving filter feeding shark is more akin to a whale growing up to 12 meters, the second largest shark in the world. Canada is also home to one of the world’s smallest shark – the spiny dogfish and an arctic shark, the Greenland shark. Most people are surprised to find out that 28 species of shark spend at least part of their lives in our cold waters. This surprise is often followed by fear.
Happy World Oceans Day Everyone!
Over the past months, we have sent hundreds of letters in support of shark and sea turtle protection, and it seems like we are making an impact!
Just as I feared, the certification of the Canadian swordfish longline fleet has set a precedent and opened the door for MSC to give their eco-check mark to yet another harmful surface longline fleet. Now an American swordfish fleet off Florida has been assessed as sustainable – the public comment period has opened. This is deplorable. Another fishery killing sea turtles is going to be sold with the MSC label and they have used the assessment on the Canadian swordfish fleet as a reference to speed up the process.
Sorry MSC, we’re not stopping yet! MSC has responded to our letters already with an email from CEO Rupert Howes (see full letter below). They’ve even set up a special email address for all our letters - how nice. Shamefully, they are trying to avoid responsibility for their very own standard saying they “do not decide whether or not to certify a fishery as sustainable”. Well, that’s surprising because they certainly spend a lot of time ensuring that products with their brand name logo get on our shelves.
It’s no surprise that so many conservation groups and marine experts are opposed to the Marine Stewardship Council certifying an unsustainable fishery. I’m happy to say that NINE conservation groups have already signed on to my open letter at http://www.friendsofhector.org/open-letter, asking that Canadian longline swordfish not be certified.
Thank you for visiting my website! It’s great to see that so many people really care about shark and sea turtle conservation in the Atlantic, and it’s pretty exciting to be working on my first-ever blog post.
My campaign for regulations to protect my shark and sea turtle friends from the indiscriminate hooks of Canada’s longline swordfish fishery has really taken off over the past months. I’ve been making a lot of new friends and connecting with a lot of organizations that support my marine conservation goals, and I really appreciate all of the hard work that everyone’s been doing.