STOP SHARK SALES CAMPAIGN
STOP PRESS! 26.03.10 - CAMPAIGN SUCCESS!
Carrefour Egypt had issued a statement to confirm that they have now stopped selling shark in their stores. We thank Carrefour for complying so promptly and thank all those who added their voice to this campaign.
HEPCA will continue monitoring any such trade activities in Egypt. We urge the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries to take serious actions against all illegal shark fishing activities and show more commitment to the protection of these vulnerable species.
Sharks are currently being sold on the Egyptian market and exported overseas. Overfishing and consumption of sharks and their fins are serious threats to human health, the environment and our economy. The goal of HEPCA’s Stop Shark Sales Campaign is to avert these impacts and encourage the community to come together to put pressure on those who fish, trade and sell sharks in order to protect our health, environment and prosperity.
Four years ago we helped to secure legislation that banned shark fining in Egyptian waters, which led to widespread condemnation of those who flouted the ban (both in fishing and selling shark meat). This led to Egypt being honoured as Shark Guardian of the Year in 2006.
In 2010 we are once again faced with the same issue as we find one of the largest hypermarkets in Egypt and a brand of international standing – Carrefour – openly trading baby sharks in their store in Maadi, Cairo. Their sale of sharks is an irresponsible act that endangers the wellbeing of their clientele and the future of our planet.
HEPCA wants the Egyptian Government to intervene to stop shark trading and to ensure a ban on the exporting of shark meat. We encourage the community to challenge those endangering us like Carrefour who do not care for the health of the citizens of Egypt nor the natural and economic resources of this country.
Shark Facts: Proof that we should lobby for a complete ban on shark trading in Egypt
As top predators, sharks accumulate high concentrations of toxins present in the environment in their body, often as much as 10,000 times that of their surrounding environment. Persistent toxins such as Methyl Mercury are retained in sharks, and they are far less susceptible to the toxic effects of Methyl Mercury than humans; therefore even healthy sharks contain high concentrations of the toxicant.
The effects of this toxic compound on humans are numerous. It is estimated that more than 60,000 children are born with neurological damage due to exposure during pregnancy in the United States alone, due to the fact that this biotoxin is not held back by the natural barriers in the human body. Thousands of families each year are faced with the challenge of raising a child with severe neurological damage or disability, simply because the mother or father ingested shark meat.
The effects of Methyl Mercury are not limited to the unborn, it is also considered to be a carcinogen, its impact on the central neural system is irreversible, and it is known to cause coronary artery disease and cardiac arrest, as well as trigger autoimmune diseases and immune dysfunction.
Methyl Mercury ingestion has extensively been documented to cause male infertility and spermatozoa mutation, in addition to instigating type II diabetes.
The maximum mercury intake as indicated by The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food (JEFCA) is 0.23µg/kg of body weight per day. Therefore, a person weighing 80kg can safely ingest up to 18.4µg of Methyl Mercury per day according to JEFCA. Shark meat has been found to contain as much as 4000µg/kg of Methyl Mercury! Using an average value of 1400µg/kg of shark meat, a simple calculation reveals that an average shark steak (that is 300g in the pan, served as 200g) contains 420µg of Methyl Mercury, nearly 23 times the maximum allowable limit by JEFCA; which is more than double the limit set by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 0.1µg/kg.
Shark populations have witnessed a dramatic decline over recent decades; some regions have recorded reductions of 80% and in some areas 90% since the 1970’s! The diminution of populations can mainly be attributed to overfishing due to the demand for sharks which has skyrocketed with the proliferation of cuisines that utilise shark meat and fins, along with the development of modern commercial fishing technologies.
The implications associated with reductions of shark populations at this magnitude are horrific. Concern for the marine world’s apex predators has less to do with sentiment and is more about waking up to the devastating impacts on marine ecosystems that have been observed around the world. The removal of sharks has disrupted the entire marine food chain, with chaotic consequences, some of which are only now becoming apparent.
Eliminating the top predator in any system creates what is called a trophic cascade. The species whose numbers sharks used to police, such as ray and skates, are now exploding in population. They in turn are wiping out scallops and other shellfish, and water quality is suffering as a result.
Reefs, too, are under assault as parrot fish, which are key to controlling algae growth on reefs, are being exterminated by the fish whose numbers are no longer being regulated by sharks.
The potential socio-economic impact, of declining shark populations, in Egypt, and other countries that rely on dive tourism is extremely costly. The impact on the fishing industry coastal communities that rely on fishing shall be disastrous due to the disruption of the marine food web.
The estimated annual income, from the tourism industry, of a single shark, at Brothers Islands, is EGP 1,250,000 per year. Carrefour sells juvenile sharks at L.E. 30 per kg!
We have to take a stand! Please sign the online petition to help cease the sale of sharks at Carrefour, to protect our health environment and prosperity!
Online petition - Stop Shark Sales at Carrefour Egypt