Sydney - It's flank speed against shark fishing for Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - announcing a new partnership with Lush to raise global awareness of the plight of sharks and publicly shame the Queensland Fisheries Department (DPI&F) proposal to open a dedicated finfish fishery on the Great Barrier Reef.

Lush will be running an international campaign in over 550 stores worldwide in the coming months to draw attention to the fact that over 90% of the world's sharks have already been wiped out and, with 100,000,000 sharks a year being killed for their fins, flesh, cartilage and oils, that the situation for these vitally important marine animals has become critical. Lush will have a window campaign, in-store educational materials and a new product, Shark Fin Soap the sale of which will benefit Sea Shepherd, as part of the campaign.

Australia was chosen for the launch of the campaign because the decision to approve a proposed shark fishery in Queensland is expected in September 2008. The time for public action, against the proposal is now. Sea Shepherd and Lush believe that if the Queensland Fisheries Department can't see the issue for its obvious dangers, then subjecting the proposal to global public scrutiny is the only solution.

Sea Shepherd's Captain Paul Watson said, "Sharks have shaped evolution in our oceans for 450 million years, and their diminishment has already been the cause of severe damage to global oceanic eco-systems. Shark species extinctions will cause irreparable damage."

"If we can't save the sharks, we will fail to save our oceans, and if our oceans die, civilization and humanity will die. Lush and Sea Shepherd recognize that we need to save the sharks if we are to save ourselves, and we are working together to make this happen!" he said.

Andrew Butler, Global Campaigns Director, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics added "Lush are a campaigning company, and we have already tackled issues such as animal testing and over packaging. But with 100 million sharks being killed every year and time fast running out for the remaining 10% of the global shark population, the campaign against shark finning and longlining is perhaps our biggest challenge yet."

"Lush have over 550 stores in more than 50 countries, and we will be campaigning on this issue in all of them, but the nature of the global campaign very much depends on the decision made by the DPI&F in Australia next month; if it goes against the sharks we know who the target of our campaign will be," he said.

Renowned Shark Biologist Richard Fitzpatrick adds, "The proposed inshore fin fishery for sharks is completely illogical - we know nothing about the basic biology of these animals - their growth rates, reproductive cycles and movement patterns. It is the equivalent of pulling a person off the street and making them fly a plane without a manual - it's a guaranteed disaster."


Notes

Today Lush sent a letter to Environment Minster Peter Garrett and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin asking them to take action to stop the proposed shark fishery in Queensland. The letter follows.

Hon Peter Garrett, MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
P.O. Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

CC: Hon Tim Mulherin, MP
Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries

12 August 2008

Dear Minister:

Today Lush Cosmetics and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are launching an international campaign to raise awareness of the plight of sharks and to fight for their protection.

We have chosen to launch this campaign in Australia because this is potentially one of the last great shark refuges in the world. However, this status is currently severely threatened by a Queensland fisheries department (DPI&F) proposal to open a dedicated shark fishery in an area that would include the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site.

As you probably know, sharks are in serious peril, with over 90% of the world's sharks already wiped out and 100 million sharks being killed annually; a figure which is on the increase along with the value of shark fins.

It is time for bold leadership and action. Rather than sanctioning and legitimising the shark fin industry, Australia has an opportunity to lead the way in protecting our oceans by not allowing shark fishing in its waters.

We call on you to show that Australia takes its obligation to conservation seriously by speaking out against the proposed shark fishery on the Great Barrier Reef.

For our part, we would love to encourage all of our customers and members to come to Australia and enjoy its incredible wildlife, as we prepare to launch an international education campaign to target those areas of the world where the barbaric practise of killing sharks for fins and cartilage continues. We hope that Australia and Queensland will be a part of the solution to shark conservation and survival and not continue to be the problem. Where Australia leads, other nations will follow and if so, we can save the world's shark for the future benefit of us all.

Sincerely,

Andrew Butler
Lush Cosmetics
Campaigns Manager
Captain Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Founder and President
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