In a protest against shark finning in New Zealand waters, NZ SeaWeek National Co-ordinator Mels Barton went swimming with sharks. Still legal in NZ, killing a shark for it’s fins is something the New Zealander wants to see changed. Along with Greens MP Gareth Hughes, Barton dived uncaged with seven gill and school sharks at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World in order to raise awareness of the issue.
In an interview with Auckland newspaper The Eastern Courier, Barton said it was a grounding experience and she felt more threatened by the kingfish in the tank than the sharks.
“When you’re so close to an animal with so much power it really humbles you. You also realise how much power we hold over these creatures and the responsibilities that come with it.”
Barton also spoke out about NZ’s fishing industry and the unsustainable nature of it’s current fishing practices.
“If we continue to abuse our fisheries we will have nothing left for the future. We need to show respect and we are not doing that right now.”
Of the 112 species that inhabit New Zealand waters, 79 of them are commercially caught despite 28 of these being listed as threatened by extinction.
Greens MP Gareth Hughes, who also took part in the protest, said New Zealand has been slow to act on the issue of shark finning, despite steps towards shark finning bans being taken by the international community.
“I’m not against the eating of shark per se, but killing them by cutting off their fins and throwing them away is something I won’t stand for.”
Join with us at Majestic Aquariums to stop shark finning!