Southern California - After weeks of failed attempts to have Supervalu/Albertson's recognize the err in their environmental ways, we are now forced to publicize their lack of global eco-awareness regarding the plight of sharks. As we launch our campaign the company continues to drag its heels as shark populations teeter closer to extinction.
Ignorance is no longer a defense:
We are in a time where we must think on a global scale in regards to the impact we have on our environment. We must not be oblivious to what happens outside our own backyard. Everything we do as individuals, consumers and decision makers has far reaching global implications. Our failure to act once supplied with facts is by far the largest immoral act against nature.
After initially contacting Albertson's we were referred to Stephanie Martin, the director of communications for parent company Supervalu. We supplied the information she would require to make a swift executive decision, to immediately remove all shark products from their sea food counters - Facts including: 60 times more mercury than is recommended by the FDA. The fact that shark populations on a global scale are close to 90% extinct. Ms. Martin replied to our urging with a form letter that did not even touch on nor seem to grasp the urgency of their actions.
In a follow-up email to Supervalu, Ms Martin briefly responded, ensuring us that our inquiries were escalated to a higher department and that we would receive a response shortly. We never heard from Ms. Martin nor Supervalu again despite several attempts. Their silence speaks volumes to the environmental urgency we face as shark populations continue to be decimated. Supervalu/Albertson's is clearly more interested in selling a product which no doubt accounts for minimal profits rather than remove a product with devastating global implications. Or, is it that they still do not see their local involvement as a problematic contribution from a global perspective.
In thier own words
The following screen shot from their website outlines the company's stance of environmental stewardship. Although their printed message is encouraging their actions regarding the sale of shark completely unravels any positive environmental progression as an organization.
(excerpt from Supervalu website professing global awareness)
Why selling shark is wrong
The Environmental Defense Fund and the IUCN lists Thresher Shark as an ECO-WORST choice due to dangerous levels of mercury and the fact that all shark species are under threat of global collapse. Sharks are typically caught using equipment called longlines. These are fishing lines usually miles long with thousands of baited hooks. The impact from this type of fishing is really recognized with the amount of bycatch which includes sea turtles, sea birds and any other animal that gets close to the floating mass of hooks.
Sharks suffer from bad PR
Why are sharks so endangered yet so unprotected? Simply because of the media and our opinions of these magnificent creatures. Sharks are often portrayed as voracious eating machines with gaping bloody jaws lunging out of the water at their prey. Yet the fact is these animal are some of the most misunderstood species in the world. To see them in their natural habitat is truly a life changing experience. You find that they have no interest in hurting you, they are calm timid creatures that are more inquisitive and shy than aggressive and predatory.
Think of sharks as the elephants of southern California
We know it's wrong to kill an elephant for its tusks or to use it for bush meat right? We know that there is a movement that we all support to stop the pouching of these beautiful gentle giants. We do not have an elephant pouching problem here in the US. It is not a local issue yet we would be outraged if we heard of such a violent act being carried out in our own backyard. So why should it be any different for the shark?
We will loose many shark species in our life time
Many shark species have been driven close to 90% extinct but there is still a large Asian shark fin industry and sharks continue to be killed in American waters everyday. Why don't we care about them? Simple. We fear what we do not understand. If sharks are wiped out as the top apex predator it will have far reaching and devastating effects here on land. We have already seen other fisheries collapse because sharks have been removed from the food chain on the east coast. Mollusk fisheries are now under attack by the Atlantic Cow nose bat rays whose populations where once controlled by sharks.
What the experts say:
"The experts found that the sharks and rays, including the Thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus), the Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) and the Shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) are at risk of extinction due to targeted fishing for valuable fins and meat, as well as indirect bycatch in other fisheries. In most cases, these catches are unregulated and unsustainable."
The International Union for Conservation of Nature warns against the consumption of shark
Supervalu's own website professes global awareness yet continues to participate in the selling of a product known by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be not only seriously depleted but extremely dangerous to consume. Women; both pregnant or otherwise and children should NEVER eat shark according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (IUCN)
What the Environmental Defense Fund says about Albertson's product
The following screen shot from the EDF website illustrates the product Albertson's/Supervalu continues to sell to its customers:
(from the Environmental Defense Fund website: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=15755)
Ask them why
It's time to ask Alberton's/Supervalu why they continue to sell endangered shark even after being supplied with endless facts and figures. It's time to demand that, as consumers we will no longer patronize a store with such little regard for our environment on a global scale.
Have your say
We are asking the public to contact the following Supervalu executives and tell them that we will no longer shop in their stores until endangered sharks are removed permanently from their sea food counters.
Please contact the following:
Director of Communications
Supervalu Corporate contact:
The International Union for Conservation of Nature: http://www.iucn.org/
IUCN Redlist: http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Environmental Defense Fund: http://www.edf.org
EDF ECO-watch: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=16301
Join our Aquatic Army: http://www.facebook.com/OceanicDefense