An international dive team discovered the remains of Welshman Captain Henry Morgan’s lost frigate,
, off the coast of Haiti.
sank in 1669 as the result of an explosion believed to have been ignited by a celebratory pig roast. Rick Haupt and Bruce Leeming of Ocean Discovery Network led the team that discovered HMS Oxford, lying in 12 feet of water. The team found another of Morgan’s ships, the Jamaica Merchant, in 1999 and this led them to search for Oxford. A full archaeological survey of the site is due to take place, while Ocean Discovery Network plans to lobby the United Nations to declare the wreck a World Heritage Site. Programme producer, Paul Calverley, said, ‘The discovery of HMS Oxford is an event of real historical significance, particularly to the Caribbean. It’s also one of the greatest finds a diver could have. ‘We don’t expect to find any treasure but there are a large number of artifacts such as cannons, drawer handles, muskets, musket balls and powder barrels.’
The Practice of Shark Finning
Following our letter to the Minister (as printed in the October/November 2001, issue 66, of Dive New Zealand magazine) Dive New Zealand recently sent a follow up requesting more information for our readers.
We asked whether there is a time frame for the plan to be developed and what was the guidelines and final objectives of the plan.
The Hon. David Benson-Pope replied as follows:
‘Thank you for your letter dated 27 February 2004 enquiring about progress with the quota management of the shark fin fishery.
The key shark bycatch species of tuna longline fisheries in New Zealand fisheries waters are blue shark, mako shark, and porbeagle shark. These species are to be introduced into the QMS on I October 2004. The Ministry of Fisheries has recently consulted with fisheries stakeholders on the catch limits and other management controls that will apply within New Zealand fisheries waters as of that date.
The stock status of species managed within the QMS is reviewed annually, or as new information comes to hand. Current information suggests that, at current levels of fishing, catches of blue shark, mako shark, and porbeagle shark are sustainable (bearing in mind that the stocks of these species extend beyond New Zealand fisheries waters). The Ministry of Fisheries has commissioned independent research to assess the age and growth of blue, mako, and porbeagle sharks to assist in the determination of sustainable catches in the future.
The Ministry of Fisheries considers that the QMS will provide strong incentives to reduce the practise of only landing the fins of shark bycatch because individual catch limits will apply and fishers will attempt to maximise their returns from a fixed catch. The Ministry of Fisheries anticipates a reduction in shark finning for the pelagic sharks to be introduced into the QMS on 1 October 2004. Catches will be monitored to determine whether this is the case.
In previous correspondence my predecessor outlined the international obligation to develop a National Plan of Action for sharks and indicated that the Ministry of Fisheries is developing a plan for the New Zealand shark fisheries. The National Plan of Action for sharks will address issues that may not be resolved by QMS management, and will be a vehicle to develop any necessary management proposals for species that may remain outside of this management regime.
I hope you find the follow-up information useful.
Hon. David Benson-Pope, Minister of Fisheries.’