Outrage Over Illegal Shark Fishing
Nireas Marine Research has called for authorities to bring an immediate stop to illegal shark fishing after a series of photos posted on Facebook.com caused outrage in the European diving community.
The illegal fishing activities made the rounds on Facebook and were seen in Germany - within hours they reached 10,000 views.
"Most of them are disgusted by what is going on in Cyprus," said a statement from Nireas, a non-profit marine research group.
"This is the worst advertisement Cyprus can get, especially when leading the EU presidency," said Nireas.
The shark fishing - which nets harmless nursing sharks - is carried out during cruises organised by diving and touring companies. The company in question, Napa Sea Cruises, removed the photos after the negative reaction on Facebook, but they were re-posted in many other diving community pages (please note the images are distressing).
Just a few of the hundreds of comments can be read below:
"The bluntnose six-gill shark is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List."
"Makes me so sad. Even sadder if these are Bluntnose sixgills because they are quite rare."
"I hope their boat sinks, with them in it."
Nireas has reported such incidents to the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR) but has been ignored.
Nonetheless, the DFMR recently said that none of the companies have received a fishing permit from DFMR.
“We are aware of the issue and we are looking into it. Our aim is to act immediately, so that such companies are forced to receive fishing permits, which will in turn allow us to closely monitor their activities. Our aim is to allow fishing, since that’s their livelihood, but at the same time they are required to release such species, something known as ‘catch and release’, which also takes places in other European Union countries. We are looking into this matter and we will contact these companies as we are not happy with the fact that there are some people fishing outside the regulatory legal framework,” said DFMR official Charis Charilaou.
According to Charilaou, even though the European regulation prohibits fishing for only protected shark species, DFMR went a step further and prohibited fishing for all shark species.
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