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UK Government to introduce ban on shark fin trade

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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The UK will ban the import and export of detached shark fins and products containing them.

The UK will go further than any other country to stop the cruel practice of shark finning International Ocean Minister Lord Goldsmith announced today, thanks to new legislation set to ban the import and export of shark fin products.

The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation and has been pressing for stronger international action to protect sharks against unsustainable fishing practices and shark finning, which is the practice of removing a shark’s fins at sea and discarding the finless body back into the water.

Many species of shark face significant population pressures. Out of over 500 species of shark, 143 are listed as ‘under threat’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature – with different species ranging from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘critically endangered’. The presence and variety of sharks in marine areas acts as a key indicator for ocean health while the animals also play a vital role in marine ecosystems by helping to maintain healthy levels of fish below them in the food chain.

Demand for shark fin products is a significant driver for these pressures, alongside over-fishing. Banning detached fins from being brought into the UK will help to protect wild populations of shark species, such as the endangered short fin mako shark and overfished blue shark, which have both declined rapidly as a result of unsustainable fishing practices.

The ban will maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in protecting animal welfare restricting the import of and export of detached shark fins as well as products which contain shark fins including soup and other products.

Image: Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science)

Animal Welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Shark finning is indescribably cruel and causes thousands of shark to die terrible deaths. It is also unforgivably wasteful. The practice is rightly banned in UK waters, but the trade continues, with serious implications for the future of these magnificent creatures.

That is why we are now banning the import both of detached shark fins and shark fin products. Our action will not only help boost shark numbers, it will send a clear message that we do not support an industry that is forcing many species to the brink of extinction

The UK is a global leader in marine protection, with our ‘blue belt’ programme protecting an area of ocean around British Overseas Territories the size of India, as well as plans to pilot Highly Protected Marine Areas in our domestic waters. The UK is also leading a global campaign, supported by over 80 countries, for at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean to be protected by 2030.”

  • Import and export of detached shark fins banned to promote shark conservation
  • World-leading trade ban will extend to shark fin products including tinned shark fin soup
  • Endangered and overfished species including shortfin mako and blue shark are among those to benefit from greater protections

Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust said: “The Shark Trust welcomes the prohibition in trade in detached fins as the next action in a history of proactive moves by the UK Government, which supported leaving fins naturally attached as best practice years before adoption of the policy by the EU in 2013.

It is encouraging to see the UK addressing the fin trade as an element of overfishing: the principal threat to sharks and rays. And we’re noting that the UK is ramping up its engagement in domestic and international shark conservation issues, currently championing the science-based advice for a prohibition on mako in North Atlantic high-seas fisheries.”

To find out more about the work of the Shark Trust visit their website by clicking here.

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New North Wales dive boat for 2023 season

UK DTA Team

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Duttons Divers, the North Wales based Scuba diving company, have been going from strength to strength with the expansion of a new dive centre last year, and now the addition of a second dive boat.

Duttons already offer guided shore and boat dives around the North Wales area, with their current dive boat, Little Viv, taking divers around the Llyn Peninsula. The area offers an array of marine life and variety of dive sites, including wrecks, caverns, scenic wall dives and of course their colony of curious seals at the Tudwals Islands.

The new hard boat has a diver capacity of 10, which can be booked as a single diver or as a group charter booking. The boat has toilet facilities, a kitchen for refreshments between dives and dedicated storage areas for kit.

Clare Dutton says: “We are extremely excited for the addition of the new boat. Little Viv is a great asset to our activities, but now being able to offer dive space only trips too for divers to explore the stunning area around here will make it even better.

The dive sites within this location offer something for all level of diver interest, from shallow interactions with the seals to deeper wrecks with tonnes of history. We are all very excited for the 2023 season!”

Duttons are now taking bookings for the 2023 season. Follow the link for more information: www.duttonsdivers.com/dive-boat

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Palaemon Divers to open new dive centre in Warrington

UK DTA Team

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Hugely popular scuba dive centre in the North West, Palaemon Divers have expanded and are opening their second dive centre, this time in Warrington!

Spreading across two floors, the new dive centre will become the only scuba centre in Warrington, with an in house compressor to provide air fills to both members and the public, classroom, workshop and fully stocked retail scuba floor.

With the new site opening, also comes a second pool night for those new to the sport and experienced divers to jump in and try it out or practice skills. With a pool night already on a Wednesday in Speke, and the second pool night starting on a Tuesday in the Warrington area it will allow easy access to training nights.

The existing 5 Star PADI dive centre in Liverpool offers training and scuba experiences within the dock itself along with a scuba club in which the divers take monthly litter pick dips and regular trips around the UK and abroad, and try dive experiences available for beginners all the way through to professional level courses.

After opening the site in Princes Dock in January 2022, the site has trained and introduced 100s of new divers from Merseyside to the sport, ran regular scuba kids clubs (aged 8+) in the pool and the Docks and numerous team building exercises for companies in and around Merseyside and is looking to introduce Warrington to the same!

Director Leanne Clowes said:

“We are really excited to open our second dive centre after the huge success of our Princes Dock site in Liverpool, and can not wait to introduce the Warrington community to the amazing sport that is scuba diving!

We have been looking for a while where our second site would open, and we have had are minds set on Warrington the entire time so really happy to find our perfect second centre at Evans House Business Centre, Norman Street WA2 in a previously converted micro brewery site!

Palaemon Divers Warrington will be open fully from January 2023, however we are available now to get in touch with for queries regarding courses starting in the new year. For further information on our open day please check out our socials!”

David (Director of Evans House Business Centre) says:

“We can’t wait to have Palaemon Divers on board, they will be joining an impressive number diverse companies that call Evans House Business Centre their base from an Escape Room, to specialist fitness suites, craft workshops and a number of trades. Evans House Business Centre really is an excellent facility to visit!”

Whether you have always wanted to see what scuba is like or you are a certified diver looking to join in all over the UK and abroad on sociable dive trips – get in touch, Palaemon Divers would love to have a chat!

To contact the Palaemon Divers team or find out more:

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