|Diminutive. (Wiki Commons).|
Some people use the term ‘diminutive’ when talking about little sharks like this, but I’m not having that. No sir. It’s a shark. And like most sharks it’s bitey, toothy, quick, alert: adept. It mastered the art of predation millions and millions of years ago, and has found little need to change, other than in size; unlike us and almost everything else that has come since.The spined pygmy shark is small yes, but no-one would use the term ‘diminutive’ when referring to a technological marvel that is shrunken to a tiny size. No-one ever called an iPod Nano or a MicroSD card “diminutive” – why so with tiny sharks? Like a 32GB MicroSD, the pygmy sharks pack the same punch as the man-eaters for their size, it’s just that, well, they have smaller slots I guess. Don’t they deserve more of our respect, rather than less? There’s more to spined pygmy sharks than their size though. Did I tell you that spined pygmy sharks are bioluminescent? And that they have placentas? Ridiculous!
You have to ask yourself some more questions at this point…Does your MicroSD glow in the dark? No. Does Tom Cruise have a placenta? No. Would your MicroSD card (or Tom Cruise) work at depths of 500 metres and 200 metres equally well? No. No, they wouldn’t. So we’re agreed? Spined pygmy sharks are better than Tom Cruise and MicroSD cards. Fact. Excellent…
Anyway, there’s a reason for all of my blabbering on.The deep-sea. I’ve blogged before about the deep-sea a few times, and it’s not a subject that electrifies my blog ratings (believe me)… but! BUT! HOLD ON! Next week sees what could be a final step in a long battle to end the barbaric practice of deep-sea trawling in EU waters.
The practice involves super-trawlers dropping bloody enormous nets into the sea which they then drag along the bottom, catching all manner of sharks (including the Greenland shark and, of course, the spined pygmy shark), rays and plenty else in the process (including buggering up a host of rare and unusual coral species). It is heavily subsidised, serves the interests of only a handful of EU nations and (frankly) it belongs in the Victorian era.In summary, here’s how it has gone so far. 1. EU threatens to get rid of deep-sea trawling. 2. Industry lobbyists become agitated and lobby EU Fisheries Committee for months on end. 3. EU Fisheries Committee is swayed, and votes on a recommendation to allow deep-sea trawling to continue (with added “monitoring and evaluation”) - this was last month. 4. Next Tuesday…! NEXT TUESDAY! Next Tuesday it comes to a head. All of the EU bigwigs get to vote on whether or not to accept or bin-off the Fisheries Committee opinion that deep-sea fishing should continue.
Get that? Basically next Tuesday is the day when the EU sees sense or… sees senseless abuse of the deep-sea as an ok thing. If they bin-off the Fisheries Committee’s recommendation, then it’s a great day for the oceans and an accessible win for conservationists like you. Yes, you. Here’s the thing: these MEPs can be swayed. They’ve had less time to be lobbied by industry bodies. There is a chance that at least some will listen to public opinion on this, and vote to oppose it going through.Want in?
Though there is a petition, perhaps the simplest and most effective thing you can do is lobby the MEPs involved with a simple message via Twitter. The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition has provided excellent advice on who to target and what to say. Say what you feel though and make it personal.In Britain the MEPs you should target are:
@LindaMcAvanMEP… all of them big fish, with the power to save the small ones... including sharks. Good luck, and please help spread the word where you can.
(With thanks to Allison Perry of Oceana for the head’s up. She’s at @_allisonperry and worth a follow along with @DeepSeaConserve and Greenpeace’s lead on this, Saskia Richards @seafishinfuture).