Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Indonesian Sanctuary for Sharks and Manta Rays: Is it really for Conservation?

the Coral Triangle, site of a new Indonesian shark and manta ray sanctuary, is home to nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals

Coral Triangle, site of new Indonesian shark and manta ray sanctuary (photo source)

The Jarkata Globe, Indonesia, reported last Wednesday that Indonesia had announced establishment of a new shark and manta ray sanctuary to protect these ecologically important species.

The story has by now been rather widely broadcast.  Beel is happy to learn of the establishment of this sanctuary, but has some concerns and believes the conservation community should look at this a bit harder.

For example, the Daily Mail Online (UK) which often takes a hard look at things, briefly reiterated the postitive aspects of this preserve:

This will aid conservation of sharks, which are threatened by the demand for fins for shark fin soup.  It also will aid conservation of manta rays, which are under increased threat from the growing use of their gills in Asian medicines.

The Asian Scientist, among many other media sources, presented a similar positive account.

Yes, on surface this is good.

However, both of these sources omitted the key, final-three lines of the Jarkata Globe report, which have been glossed over almost everywhere:

“Up to 73 million sharks are killed annually, mostly for their fins, the statement said. As a result, many shark species have suffered declines greater than 75 percent and in some species up to 90 percent or more.

“Indonesia ranks as the world’s largest exporter of sharks and rays.”

Wait.  According to this Indonesian paper, what country is the largest exporter of sharks and rays?  Indonesia. What country is profiting from the overexploitation of sharks and ray?  Indonesia.  So, while they make profit off the overexploitation of sharks and rays around the world, they can bask in the praise of conservationists for setting aside a patch of reef.

Lovely, says Beel.

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2013 by in Commentary, Conservation, Fishing and angling and tagged , , , .
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