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Selling Shark Jaw As Trophy, Sick!

Media Release

For Immediate Release 27 November


These are supposed to be enlightened times of protection of native flora and fauna. There is a ban in the trade in endangered species and many conservationists work hard daily to restore animals on the brink of extinction.

A week ago a certain fisher was "remorseful" for killing a magnificent pregnant female white shark and pleaded "mitigation-by-media" through the release of at lease two of the sharks five pups discovered in her abdomen. Mr Daniel Scott is now demanding the highest price for the jawbone and now the shark jaws is for sale we learn that it was 7m long.

This is truly a sick act of exploitation and encourages others to target white sharks, says marine biologist, Peter Crabb. Mr Scott should donate the jawbone to Niwa or the Museum so others can study it and see it rather than it becoming a trophy. That it should become a source of monetary reward is unfortunate says, Crabb.

If a shark swims across the Tasman, and was protected in Australian waters and can be captured and drowned here, this undoes much of the progress in marine conservation achieved by our Australian Neighbours.

Because sharks give live birth, are slow growing and long lived, when they are taken out of the system it is ecologically similar to killing mammals like dolphins. Apex predators like large white sharks perform important ecological functions like weeding out the sick and the weak to maintain a healthy marine ecosystem, says Crabb.

The Ministry of Fisheries must ban the use of set nets and New Zealand is one of the few countries that do not ban recreational set nets. New Zealand has a seriously endangered inshore dolphin species, a penguin fauna and other underwater swimming birds like gannets shags and ducks.

The use of set nets in mangroves in Northland is taking out large numbers of parore, who as herbivores keep the weed growth in check, says naturalist, diver, author and film maker, Wade Doak. Parore are seen as worthless fish, yet the weed growth chokes the shellfish beds says, Doak.

The indiscriminate capture of marine life in set nets is undermining New Zealand's Reputation as a country for "world leading" sustainability of natural resources. In recent time's the media has shown us the set net capture of Hectors dolphins and sooty shear water birds, which is upsetting enough.

The distressing capture of a pregnant mature white shark really makes us wonder if these are enlightened times. Crabb Wonders if in fifty years time will this kind of behaviour be akin to thinking that the earth was flat?


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