Wellington, 13 September 2013 – One hundred shark fins have appeared in a lagoon on the capital city's waterfront, close to Te Papa, on Black Friday.
The floating, handmade fins are part of an art installation commissioned by Greenpeace for New Zealand’s first-ever shark awareness week. The week of activities is being promoted by the New Zealand Shark Alliance (1) which is calling for a ban on shark finning New Zealand waters. Shark finning is the practice of catching and killing a shark, slicing off its fins and dumping its body back in the sea.
Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas says most Kiwis are unaware that shark finning is legal in New Zealand and are often shocked when they find out.
“For sharks swimming in New Zealand waters every day is Black Friday,” she says.
The grey fins in the lagoon represent the almost 100 countries and states, including Australia, USA and all the EU countries, to have banned shark finning. One floating orange fin represents New Zealand as the outsider.
“Our government must join those other countries and ban shark finning in our waters.
“New Zealand’s clean green brand is under threat while we allow shark finning to continue off our coasts while other countries ban finning or create shark sanctuaries.”
Since Wednesday evening bright orange shark fins have been appearing in highly visible spots around the central city like errant road cones and are linked to the lagoon installation.
“They symbolize how bizarre it is that 100 per cent pure New Zealand allows the senseless and wasteful practice of shark finning to happen in its waters, says Thomas.
New Zealand is among the world's top 10 nations for killing and exporting sharks (1) and a major exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong. Recently we became the biggest exporter of dried shark fins to the United States.(2)
Every day around 27,000 sharks are killed globally, and the trade in shark fins is driving much of this slaughter (3). This is causing a serious decline in the world's shark populations, and many species are under threat. In New Zealand that includes porbeagle, shortfin mako and blue sharks which are the three main species to be finned. (4)
The government has announced it will soon review its policies around shark fishing and conservation.
"We need more people than ever before to show their support for a ban on shark finning in New Zealand. The sharks need as much backing as possible, so register you support on our website and we'll let you know what to do when the government asks for public feedback," says Thomas.
Photos from today’s event in Wellington will be available shortly from here.
For video footage please contact Phil Crawford on 021 22 99 594.
For more info:
Phil Crawford, Greenpeace Media & Communications, 021 22 99 594
Karli Thomas, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, 021 905 582
Notes to editor:
1) Greenpeace is part of the New Zealand Shark Alliance, a group of organisations and scientists working together to ban shark finning in our waters and protect our sharks.