Great News for Great White Sharks

The New Zealand Government has announced a complete ban on catching or selling of parts of Great Whites. This is great news for a fish that is coming under increasing pressure throughout its wide range.

Now if we can only organize some kind of world boycott of fishing fleets (mainly Asian) that are involved with the truly barbaric shark finning industry. Millions of sharks are being killed every year, in horrific fashion. The sharks are hauled on board, their fins cut off, and then dumped still alive back in the water.

Too sad, especially when you know that most Asians don’t like shark’s fin ssoup. It is primarily eaten at banquets for special occasions. Originally serving shark’s fin soup endowed great prestige on the host because shark’s fin was hard to obtain.

But now, supplies are such that hopefully the diminishing prestige gained because of ready supplies will kill the whole damned industry off.

Water, Water, Everywhere…

I am in the throes of compiling over 500 (now 1000 08-2010) quotations and aphorisms on fishing, fishermen, rivers, sea, boats and the whole damn thing, to go on my website. One particular quote has been rattling around the dark recesses of my mind and it won’t seem to go away – “If you want to know the priorities of a nation and the effectiveness of their government, test their water quality.” – Jim Slinsky.

It is just so simple a judgement. Water is absolutely fundamental to human life that anything that reduces or contaminates this precious resource, contaminates our very existence. Yet all of us who fish in rivers, streams, lakes, or ponds are confronted on each trip with the clear, irrefutable evidence of of the harm we are doing to our water supplies.

Rubbish in the water, on the banks, on the foreshore. Run-off from farms containing fertiliser and animal excrement that feeds explosive growth in weed, choking streams, rivers and lakes, growth that alters natures balance. Industrial waste literally poisoning the water supply. The cutting down of native trees to make way for pine forests, poisoning the water with tannin and chemical fertilisers. Allowing the use of weed killing chemicals in catchment areas adding more poison to the system. Allowing the “development” of lake foreshores – too often leading to waste products leaching into the water – “development” indeed, bah and humbug!

Many Governments, local and national, claim that it is economically unfeasible to police contamination of waterways, except in the instances of gross pollution. One could hope that these same Governments could explain the economic gains that might be made by spending money on making water fit to drink.

Unfortunately the problem is growing exponentially. Water quality around the world is declining at an ever increasing rate – the cost of processing that water to make it drinkable is also increasing at an ever upward spiralling rate. How long will it be for Governments abrogate their accountabilities altogether and leave it up to households to treat their own drinking water, or buy it in bottled form? This unpalatable fact is now very wide-spread around the world.

So why has this quote struck such a chord in me? I guess it is because the simplicity of the notion reveals, to me at least, how far the people who govern us have retreated from the notions of governing in the best interests of the people, for the good of the people – and how far they have retreated from any concern over the basics that determine our well-being at the most fundamental level, the water we drink and the air we breath.

But then of course the famous ‘they’, the Government, is us. That sad fact whacks me around the ears just thinking about it!

5 Rules for Releasing Fish for Maximum chances of Survival

Most thinking fishermen will be aware of the need to release at least some fish – those that are undersized, or surplus to immediate requirements spring to mind, and for some anglers, releasing fish as a matter of course. But there are ‘rules’ for releasing fish that will ensure the fish has the greatest chance of surviving.

Rule 1: Speed Does Not Kill
The faster you can get a fish to the boat or shore the better its chances of survival. The longer the fight the less chance the fish has of surviving.
It is likely that the survival rates decrease exponentially as fight time increases. That is as fight-time goes up, survival chances decrease at an ever increasing rate. If you fish on a catch-and-release basis you should use gear that will minimise the fight time.

Rule 2: Get Wet
Lifting a fish out of the water, decreases its survival chances. The longer a fish is out of the water its chances of survival decrease expotentially. Try and remove the hook while the fish is in the water…

For all five rules plus a bonus rule – go here

National Geographic on Sharks – Facts

An excellent overview on the facts about sharks and their interaction with humans, no prizes for guessing who comes off worst.

Between 20 and 100 million sharks are killed very year, most in the truly barbaric ‘shark-fin’ industry.

The National Geographic site has a wealth of information on sharks.