Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shark Defenders Quiz Answers

Did you take the Shark Defenders Conservation Quiz?  Here are the answers:
1. E
2. B
3. C
4. C
5. D
In our 10 Things You Can Do To Protect Sharks, our very first item is to educate yourself about the global situation of sharks.  Getting all five questions here correct should have been difficult, but if you did it, you are on your way to becoming a true Shark Defender.  Here are explanations for each of the answers:
1. What is the best definition of ‘shark finning?’
a. Killing a shark
b. Killing a shark for its fins
c. Fishing for sharks
d. Cutting off a shark’s fins at sea
e. Cutting off a shark’s fins and discarding the body in the ocean
Wikipedia has the best definition of ‘shark finning’ on the Internet.  Shark finning is defined as the cutting off of a shark's fin and discarding the body at sea.  Finning is more an issue of animal cruelty and welfare than of conservation, as banning the practice of finning does not mandate catch limits or the number of sharks killed for their fins, or rather, the number of sharks allowed to stay alive in our oceans.
2. How many sharks are killed each year?
a. Less than 26 million
b. On average 38 million
c. More than 73 million
d. 100 million+
e. 200 million
The only peer-reviewed scientific study to estimate the number of sharks killed each year is Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets by Shelley Clarke, published in Ecology Letters in 2006. Using trade data from several years in the 1990s, she estimated that between 26-73 million sharks are killed each year, with a mean of 38 million.  Conservation organizations will simplify this number by saying something like "up to 73 million" or "as many as 73 million" sharks are killed each year.  More than 73 million is wrong, as are 100 and 200 million.  This number will be updated in the near future, however, as Shark Defenders knows of two independent studies currently underway that are trying to estimate the number of sharks killed each year.  The take home message, of course, is that tens of millions of sharks are dying each year and scientists think this is too many.
3. The Shark Conservation Act in the United States does which of the following:
a. Bans the sale, trade, and possession of shark fin
b. Makes it illegal to kill sharks for their fins
c. Requires that sharks be brought to port with their fins naturally attached
d. Mandates that certain endangered shark species be released alive
e. Sets catch limits for the number of sharks fishermen can catch
The Shark Conservation Act changed the finning rule of the United States from the 5% rule to fins naturally attached.  Under the 5% rule, fins could be removed from sharks at sea as long as the shark bodies were brought to port (the heads and intestines were usually cut off and thrown overboard).  At the port, the weight of the fins had to be no less than 5% of weight of the shark bodies, or else the fishermen were in violation of the law.  For a number of reasons, this management scheme opened up a number of loopholes.  Fins naturally attached attempts to close those loopholes by requiring that sharks must be landed in port whole, with their fins naturally attached to their bodies.  The Pew Environment Group explains the US Shark Conservation Act in this Youtube video.
4. The shark finning ban being considered by the European Union would:
a. Ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark fin
b. Make it illegal to kill sharks for their fins
c. Require that sharks be brought to port with their fins naturally attached
d. Mandate that certain endangered shark species be released alive
e. Set catch limits for the number of sharks fishermen can catch
The European Union currently uses the 5% rule and is considering switching to fins naturally attached, similar to what the United States, Chile, and Venezuela have done in the last two years.  The Shark Alliance explains the shark protections being considered by the EU in this video.
5. The shark sanctuaries in Palau, The Bahamas, and Honduras:
a. Ban shark finning
b. Protect only endangered species of shark
c. Ban all commercial fishing
d. Ban all commercial shark fishing
Shark Sanctuaries ban the commercial fishing of all shark species in a nation's entire exclusive economic zone.  Some countries have created smaller reserves for shark species, such as Los Roques in Venezuela, but these are not the all encompassing protections of a full shark sanctuary.  Discovery News reports on the 2011 creation of shark sanctuaries in Honduras and The Bahamas and how they protect sharks.

Again, as we like to say, the shark conservation movement requires educated, dedicated individuals to create informed campaigns to develop policy to protect sharks.  We hope that you take the time to learn about the different mechanisms available because it will help you better advocate for the protection of sharks.

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