Stab Magazine | Live Now: A Discussion About Shark Finning
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Live Now: A Discussion About Shark Finning

Stab broadcasts via Facebook.

news // May 27, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Alright, before we dive deep, it’s gotta be said: This isn’t about shark culling.

This is about the culture and trade of shark finning.

Shark finning, in case you’re unaware, entails pulling sharks aboard a fishing vessel and, at its most extreme, hacking the fins off before throwing the shark back into the ocean to suffocate or starve, and eventually die, on the ocean floor. It is the marine equivalent of killing an elephant for its ivory tusks.

And it’s fucking brutal.

Regardless of your feelings towards sharks – and yeah, this is certainly a divisive creature among surfers – watching the footage is highly confronting. Any creature (including a prehistoric predator) helplessly writhing in pain and sinking to a slow, excruciating death on the ocean floor will unsettle even the staunchest pro-culler. 

In many cultures, shark fin is a delicacy. But just as ivory tusks have no medicinal benefits, shark fin is simply an unnecessary food source. Needless killing? Yeah, shark finning wastes 95-99 percent of the animal. But it isn’t a practice that will be ending anytime soon, so long as there’s still a trade for it. Out of the 100 million sharks killed annually, at least 38 percent of ‘em end up the fin trade. Last year, Oz exported 10,575 kg of shark fin, while importing 3,933 kg (I’m no numbers guy, but that seems odd).

And so, it’s this topic that Semi Permanent, Sea Shepherd, 72andSunny and AFTRS will be addressing at this year’s Semi Permanent conference.

Semi Permanent is the most creatively-stimulating three days on Australia’s calendar. And this year’s widely-varying program comes with the hope of social change through design. For the parties involved in this live brief, shark finning requires change. And at the very least, needs a conversation:

“In a live experiment at Carriageworks on May 26 at 4pm, Semi Permanent, 72andSunny, AFTRS and Sea Shepherd will engage the audience to help tackle the issue in Australia by kickstarting a cultural conversation to put the shark finning debate on the national agenda. The session will involve a discussion led by key leaders from Sea Shepherd and 72andSunny, and will include design and creative assets from world-renowned designer David Carson, the famous photographer Michael Muller, alongside the next generation of creative talent from AFTRS.”

Your pals at Stab will be live streaming the session right now, via our Facebook (which you can find, here). Presumably, you’re currently on this dot com because you enjoy spending time in the ocean. There could well come a time when this issue affects you. Tune into Stab’s FB at 4pm on May 26 (Oz time) to involve yourself in an important conversation.

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