June 4, 2010 Featured Article Read More →

Sharkatag recognised in World Ocean’s Day debate

Stuart McMillan MSP, (SNP) recently spoke in the Scottish Parliament chamber to promote the upcoming World Oceans Day which raises awareness of the oceans of the world and encourages their sustainable development and protection.

World Oceans day was formally established last year by UN to occur on June 8th of every year. The 2nd Annual World Oceans Day is to be celebrated next week.

In the following Members’ debate, Elaine Murray (Dumfries) (Lab): congratulated Stuart McMillan on securing the debate and as part of her contribution to it went on to highlight the issues associated with sharks and the work of SSACN with a focus on Sharkatag, saying…..

“At least 30 species of shark occur in UK waters. Some are resident off our coasts all the time; others are migratory. Half of British shark species appear on the red list of the IUCN—the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources—which assesses species’ risk of extinction. Sharks are vulnerable, because their development, both before and after birth, is slow, meaning that they mature very slowly and grow slowly. They also have few young, so they are highly susceptible to overfishing, either for their meat and fins or as bycatch.

“Organisations such as the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network believe that more effort should be made by Government and fisheries managers to protect shark species. The network’s argument for that requires to be backed up by evidence, which is why the SSACN has organised the Scottish shark tagging programme. The next event, Sharkatag 2010, takes place during the weekend of 18 June in the western Solway.

“Last year’s event in the Solway tagged 222 sharks, which at first seems a reasonable figure, although the majority were immature females, with a small number of larger females—and the male breeding stock that would have been expected was absent across the region. In addition, only a handful of rays were tagged. Twenty years ago, mature rays and tope were plentiful in that part of the Solway. The good news for humans in Dumfries and Galloway—in contrast to the sharks—was that, of the 175 sea anglers who registered for the event, 90 per cent came from outwith the region and over a third from outside Scotland, so the event was shown to contribute to the local economy.”

Stuart McMillan MSP’s Parliamentary motion;

S3M-05940# Stuart McMillan (West of Scotland) (Scottish National Party): World Oceans Day— That the Parliament recognises World Oceans Day 2010 on 8 June and congratulates the United Nations for designating a day with the aim of improving the health of the world’s oceans; considers that lobbying by the Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network encouraged the UN to officially recognise 8 June as World Oceans Day; acknowledges that there will be events to mark the date across the world and hopes that communities across Scotland may take part or organise their own events; further considers that the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Scotland’s first such Act, goes a long way in improving awareness and responsibility for the sustainability of Scotland’s seas and hopes that the events on 8 June will take up this message; hopes that the theme of the day, Our Oceans, Our Responsibility, will be widely spread, and wishes World Oceans Day much success in future years.

Supported by: Dr Alasdair Allan, Aileen Campbell, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Dr Bill Wilson, Gil Paterson, Sandra White, Maureen Watt, Kenneth Gibson, Joe FitzPatrick, Robin Harper, Brian Adam, Dr Elaine Murray, Mike Pringle, Sarah Boyack, Jamie Hepburn, Linda Fabiani, Liam McArthur

Lodged on Thursday, March 11, 2010; taken in the Chamber on Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Posted in: Shark Bites
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