Conservationists are outraged at what took place at a recent seafood festival in the port city Plymouth, on the south coast of Devon, England. A shark on the verge of becoming endangered was paraded through the city prior to being cut up, cooked, and served to passersby. After the blue shark was raised into the air by two people and marched through Plymouth, it was placed on a stage where it became a sideshow cooking attraction for onlookers.
Helen Gowans from the Ocean Conservation Trust, said, “As an ocean conservation charity, we do not condone the eating of blue shark and were disappointed to see that a blue shark was shown off as well as being featured on the chef’s stage.”
The public’s response
The shark is thought to have been acquired as by-catch, where a host of marine life is unintentionally caught by commercial fishing boats. Several people expressed their disapproval on Facebook.
One lady commented, “In a time and city where we are encouraged to help with the protection and conservation of sharks, many people think this is just terrible, especially with shark numbers dwindling.”
Another individual said, “Totally out of order, killed and paraded. I thought these days were over.”
The Plymouth city council stated, “Unfortunately during this year’s Seafood festival a shark was inadvertently caught as a by-catch by a local fisherman on one of their regular commercial fishing activities and was then brought to the ‘catch of the day’ session on the main stage of the Seafood festival. We and our partners are committed to protecting our marine environment and sustainable fishing, especially around endangered species such as sharks, and we do not condone what happened and we want to make sure this does not happen again in future events.”
On the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, the blue shark is considered as “near threatened” worldwide.