Target: India’s Union Minister of State, Minister of Forests and Environment Jayanthi Natarajan
Goal: Applaud the Indian Ministry of Forests and Environment for banning cruel shark finning practices.
High demand for shark fin soup, a delicacy in many Asian countries, has created a fishing industry called shark finning, a wasteful and inhumane practice of catching sharks only to cut off their fins and throw back their live bodies, resulting in a painful, drawn-out death. This practice contributes to huge losses in shark populations in Asian waters, threatening the health of our oceans besides perpetrating individual cruelties on innocent sharks. According to the AP, $4.8 million in shark fins was exported to China in 2012 alone. The Humane Society International/India reports that foreign vessels in or near Indian waters allegedly have been participating in this ugly industry, and HSI/India, along with the Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen, one of the largest fishing communities in India, has advocated for a ban on shark finning in India in order to protect sharks from inhumane and unsustainable practices.
Recently, India’s Ministry of Forests and Environment declared a “fins naturally attached” policy, which operates under the assumption that any detached fins come from a species protected by the Indian Wildlife Act, forcing fishermen found with lone fins to spend up to seven years in jail. This policy is believed to be a cost-effective ban that simultaneously aids in the identification of shark species and collection of relevant data, as classification by the fins alone is extremely difficult. As Gajender Sharma of the World Society for Protection of Animals put it, “It’s now important that this policy is fully enforced to safeguard the welfare of sharks, and to end the inhumane practice of finning in India. This will also provide sharks with a fair chance of survival, which in turn helps to maintain a balanced marine ecosystem.”
By signing this petition, you are thanking the Ministry of Forests and Environment for taking action on behalf of sharks and the rest of our oceans. You are encouraging the Ministry and the Indian government immediately to enforce the fins naturally attached policy to the fullest extent of their power, and to prosecute noncompliant fishermen without fail.
Dear Minister Natarajan,
I am thrilled by the Ministry of Forests and Environment’s decision to take action to protect sharks from cruel finning practices via the recently issued fins naturally attached policy. This action supports not only sustainable fishing practices and the conservation of sharks, but also the general health of all our oceans.
Thank you for your work in protecting sharks and in putting an end to the inhumane and unsustainable finning industry. I hope this policy will be enforced immediately without fail and offences punished with the severity that they merit, as practices of animal cruelty. I also hope, as an advocate for sharks and marine ecosystems worldwide, that other governments will follow in your footsteps and enact similar policies as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: suneko via Flickr