Friday, 9 September 2016

New York governor sparks anger after killing threatened shark

Conservationists criticise Andrew Cuomo after he tweets photos of himself next to thresher shark caught during fishing trip

Monday 29 August 201615.22 BSTLast modified on Monday 29 August 201616.52 BST

The New York state governor, Andrew Cuomo, and his news anchor brother Chris have been criticised by conservationists and constituents after posing beside a threatened shark they killed on a fishing trip.

The governor tweeted two photos of himself and friends standing next to the bloodied shark as it hung from a marina-side gantry.

“Today’s catch: A 154.5-lb [70kg] Thresher shark off the south shore of Long Island,” Cuomo tweeted.

All three species of thresher shark are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of their declining populations. Fishing for them is regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration but it is not illegal.

Despite its legality, the UN’s patron of the oceans, Lewis Pugh, said the killing and subsequent photos were “abhorrent” and worked against those trying to conserve dwindling shark numbers.

“The environment is the primary issue on the global agenda, so it is extraordinary that a senior politician could be so ignorant about it,” he said.

“Apex predators such as sharks are crucial for the ocean ecosystems. For a public figure to kill such an animal and then boast about it on social media is dangerously irresponsible. This shows a clear lack of judgment and calls to question his capability as a public leader.”

Melissa De Rossa, Cuomo’s chief of staff, also tweeted the photo, adding that the governor had caught the fish with his brother, the co-anchor of New Day, CNN’s morning news programme.

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