The Sharks International Conference made it into the newspapers this week as it saw the launch of a global strategy to protect the endangered sawfish. The sawfish faces a greater risk of extinction than any other marine fish at present primarily due to fishing, but also due to trawling where bycatch becomes an issue. The fish’s long toothed snout easily gets caught in all kinds of fishing nets. They are fished for their meat and their rostra (snouts) which are sold as curios.
At present there is a CITES ban on international commercial trade in sawfish and the strategy hopes to work in conjunction with this ban, calling for the national and regional outlawing of the intentional killing of sawfish.
Also making headlines was the seizure of pangolin scales. Amid concerns over ever increasing levels of illegal trade in various threatened wildlife, this week Hong Kong customs made the largest seizure of endangered African pangolin, discovering over 1000kg of pangolin scales in a shipping container originating in South Africa.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), international trade in pangolin is banned. However due to huge demands for pangolin flesh and scales from China, along with the willingness to pay exceptionally high prices, wildlife-trafficking remains a sad reality.
Some news of investment in the fishing industry rounded off the headlines this week. It was announced this week that I&J has made a R500 million investment in three new fishing vessels and well as the upgrading of a fish factory in Woodstock. The investment will create up to 75 new jobs.