JIM COOK, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, claims that "ISLE SHARKS AREN'T ENDANGERED". So, read his editorial which appeared in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 7, 1999 and think about it. Our rebuttal to some of the points is below. I'm sure you can find many more.
........OK, so what is Cook saying
1) "Sharks arent endangered" - but neither were the buffalo until man indiscriminately slaughtered them. How many sharks do we need to FIN before they too are gone. What made endangered species endangered in the first place?
2) "Blue Sharks have an average of 20-40 pups a year" - but so do many other species, often indicating that there is a low survival rate among the young. As with many of the other statistics presented by the Western Pacific Regional Fisher Management Council to justify their position, what aren't we hearing? Interestingly enough, we were also shocked to learn that there is an agreement between WPRFMC and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service not to reveal most of the statistics regarding sharks and other fisheries to the public!
3) "Do we want to limit recreational fishing for yellowfin tuna to a 3-fish bag limit because the east coast does?" How in the world does a 3 fish-limit on recreational fishermen compare to professionally fishing for sharks, or any other species? There are rules regarding bag limits for recreational fishing and hunting all over the country - for a reason.
4)"Fishers land shark fin for money" - Of course they do, and there probably will never be a market for the remainder of the shark that will reach the same price that fins do. So, unless there are rules, the fishers will continue to pack their boats full of fin and throw the rest away. How many fin can you pack in the space of a shark body?
5) "Firms hope to produce a cancer-fighting dietary supplement" - So, maybe a market will appear, but by that time it may be too late for sharks to sustain or reach a level to support a miracle drug.
6) "Enforcing laws would require the resources and energies of state and federal enforcement officers with already demanding schedules" - if that is the case, why do we have laws if it costs us so much to enforce them?
7) "no shark fin soup in Hawaii" and "a 4,000-year-old-culture of a prominent section of Hawaiis populace esteem it as important" -- did we say no shark fins at all? Or just not waste resources by using such a small portion of them. Is Jim Cook playing an emotional race card or what?
8) "Hawaii fishers account for only 1 percent of the shark fins on the world market". Is that accurate? [and 1% is worth $65 million? which is, by the way, "the crews beer money" according to Cook in another of his editorials]. If it is 1% there should still be plenty of soup around even if we completely ban Shark FISHING in Hawaii, which we are not. We are just asking to ban shark FINNING. There is a big difference - just look at a bundle of fins. Protecting resources is everyones business but it has to start somewhere [and apparently it has on the East Coast, with CITES, and with the U.N. International Plan of Action sited in the editorial by Cook....]
9) Cook finishes his editorial by talking about the fact that there are management plans to utilize the sharks in the works. which will be completed by 2001. So even he and the WPRFMC recognize that we need action on this subject. Why not start now and lead the way!