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CDNN :: Ecuador: Sharks and other politicians

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Shark finning
Shark fin soup
More than a billion Chinese continue to push the demand side of the shark fin market while environmentalists and politicans battle over the supply side.

ECUADOR (20 Sep 2007) — Sharks do not evoke the same kind of cuddly feelings as dolphins or baby seals.

But when last month Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, relaxed a ban on the trade in sharks' fins (a highly-prized delicacy in east Asia), he unleashed a storm of protest.

That was partly because his government ordered the arrest of a member of an American green group, for taking part in a police raid on fin traffickers.

But it was also because the episode highlighted an inconsistent approach to environmental policy by a government that has several green activists in its ranks.

On taking office in January, Mr Correa inherited a pressing environmental problem. For its size, Ecuador is the world's most biodiverse country.

With just 0.2% of the earth's land surface, it hosts 18% of its bird species. Tourism, much of it ecological, is now the third-biggest foreign-exchange earner...

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