How many sharks were killed?

Saturday 23 June 2012 | Published in Smoke Signals


Responding to Thursday’s front page story ‘Vessel caught with shark fins’ and on page 6 ‘Three tonnes of shark fins allegedly found’, a smoke signaller asks three questions: ”Just how many sharks would have been killed to produce 3,000 kg of shark fins? What is the maximum fine that can be imposed on the offenders? What is the maximum jail term that can be imposed on the offenders?“ Another signaller writes: ”Assuming it’s true – and there’s no reason to doubt it – it’s no wonder the fishing fleets get so wealthy.“ SS: In Parliament on Wednesday Opposition leader Wilkie Rasmussen said he knows ‘for a fact’ that the New Zealand navy ship HMS Otago boarded a ship at sea and confiscated shark fins from the vessel. Reliable sources put the amount confiscated as being three tonnes of shark fins, with one person estimating it to have a market value of about $3 million.

A shark lover angry with reports of shark fins discovered on board vessels fishing in our waters has sent in their version (below) of what our $3 banknote might look like in a few years time. They have taken the original ‘Ina and the shark’ painting by artist Rick Welland and tweaked it to show Ina – now wearing a conical Asian bamboo hat – and the original coconut she was holding is now the shark’s dorsal fin dripping with blood. The shark is also missing its pectoral fins on the side, as well as tall caudal fin at the back. The version we publish here will be in black and white, but check online next week for the colour version at In his online blog artist Welland writes about the legend: ”The straight version of the tale is that halfway to the Sacred Isle Ina’s thirst caused her to open a coconut on the shark’s fin. When the shark raised its head Ina gave it such a nasty crack with her coconut that she raised a lump which has ever since been called ‘Ina’s bump’.“

”Thanks to Telecom for finally publishing the new internet rates in the Cook Islands News,“ a smoke signaller writes. ”The print media still is important. And some day Telecom will get around to updating their website: 21 days after the new rates became effective the old rates are still on their web page.“ SS: Very nice to see Miss Telecom Saramata Takai’s smiling face in yesterday’s advert next to the good news for Internet users of some increases in data transfer allocations, some reductions in price, and faster speeds for all broadband plans except the intro $25 plan that remains at 256 kb/s.