Diving with the sharks at Kelly Tarlton’s is probably a bit tame for Matt Watson who gained a global audience with a video showing him jumping out of a chopper and hugging a marlin several years ago.
But, visitors to the Auckland aquarium appeared to be almost as surprised as the marlin must have been when they saw Matt in the tank yesterday, surrounded by sharks, holding up a banner calling on New Zealand to ban shark finning.
Surprised, obviously, to see Matt and three other divers happily swimming with the sharks but also shocked to learn that shark finning is not only happening in New Zealand waters but that it’s completely legal to kill sharks just for their fins and dump their bodies overboard. Not clean, not green and an appalling waste.
New Zealand is one of a dwindling number of countries that still condone this wasteful practice while 98 countries around the world have banned shark finning. Even with these bans in place there is a global concern that shark finning is contributing to serious population declines of shark species. Internationally, up to 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins. Matt says he’s noticed a decline in shark numbers here in New Zealand, particularly in the last decade.
This was just one of the reasons he took part yesterday to launch a campaign by the New Zealand Shark Alliance urging New Zealand to ban shark finning. Our Government is just about to review the laws around fishing for sharks so needs to know Kiwis want an end to this shameful practice.
You can help by signing the petition calling for a ban on shark finning in our waters.
The NZ Shark Alliance members are Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, WWF, ECO, Our Seas Our Future, White Shark Conservation Trust, Kelly Tarlton’s Sealife Aquarium, New Zealand Underwater, The ITM Fishing Show and Shark Fin Free Auckland.