Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shark fin availability lessens on China-based website

From the L.A Times this week:

Efforts to halt the open sale of shark fins on a global-marketplace website seem to be paying off.

Shark Diver reports that attempts to purchase shark fins on earlier this week were met with less success than previously. Of the 10 sellers contacted, only two responded.

This is a decline from early January when Shark Diver, using its company name and doing nothing covert, contacted 11 sellers via the website and received responses from nine that fins could be purchased, even though the site stated these sales were going to be removed.

"Closing down the channels of commerce is the trick," said Shark Diver CEO Patric Douglas. "This is a good first step, and I'm cautiously optimistic that they get it."

"Given where they [] were to where they are now is a victory. It all starts with one," added Douglas. "This is like a million army ants taking down an elephant, but as one domino falls, we move on to the next." Other websites that Douglas referred to as alleged shark-fin selling points are and

"Finning" is the practice of slicing the fins off of live sharks then throwing their bodies overboard, where they sink to the ocean floor and die.

All sharks are at risk, with the larger fins commanding a higher price. Fins from basking sharks can fetch as much as 1,000% more due to the size, for display in store windows. There has been a huge loss of West Coast blue sharks reported in California, and it was not until recent tagging revealed that these sharks were migrating seasonally to Japan and back, though many never did make the trip back.

--Kelly Burgess

Editors Note: What was not mentioned in this article were the 100's of people involved in this campaign and the "One" who started it all Wolfgang Leander.

Shark Programming

Underwater Thills:Swimming With Sharks Welcomes Shark Blogger "Goblin Girl"

One year later the UT Blog has exploded past 10K readers a month. Our blogs brand of commercial shark diving news, conservation op ed and pushing for change has struck a chord within our industry.

It has been an effective run so far. Adding to that success we are excited to introduce guest bloggers to our site who have a long track record for shark conservation and observations on sharks that change perceptions.

So without further fanfare we would like to welcome Goblin Girl to Underwater Thrills:Swimming With Sharks.

Goblin Girl you ask? Here's her bio:

I'm a marine biologist from Sweden working for the Swedish board of fisheries since nearly 15 years. In my daily job I mainly work with applications processed in the enviromental court. I review them from a fish and fishery point of view. Whenever there is a shark related question in Sweden or Sweden is involved internationally, I'm the one they consult to suggest what Swedens standpoint should be. I'm part of several shark groups like ICES WGEF (working group on elasmobranch fishes) that review data and leaves advice for fishing quotas in the northeast Atlantic. I'm also doing updates both for the national redlist as well as IUCN:s global redlist on sharks. I'm cofounder of the Swedish Elasmobranch Society.

Media often call me when there have been shark attacks and I appear regularily on Swedish nature shows on tv. I appear in a film that is sometimes shown on animal planet called "Science of shark sex".

I've been talking about sharks ever since I was a little kid (3-4 years old). I saw Ron and Valerie Taylor, on tv, diving with sharks and wanted to do the same. So far I've only seen white sharks from a boat (they got afraid when the cage went into the water), but I have snorkled with great hammerheads, nurse sharks, whitetip and blacktip reefsharks. Plus dived with sandtigers, sandbars, wobbegongs, lemons, large stingrays, blacktip reef sharks etc - all at the same time! (Yes, it WAS in an aquarium.) My holidays either goes to destinations where I can swim with sharks, see them in aquarium or see goblin sharks.

"Goblin girl" is my nickname since I simply love goblin sharks (Mitsukurina owstoni). Whenever I get the chance I trawl the net for new info and photos. I'm a dedicated collector and have more shark items than I can count! My office at work is looking more like a toy shop than anything else.

Apart from sharks, deep sea animals is a great interest as well as everything else living in the sea. I also have a great interest for music, with over a 1000 cd:s and I read probably more than I should.

Charlott - the Goblin Girl
My Space
She's a Goblin
She's a Goblin Girl (snip)
Pink all over
Some is tan
Goblin Girls
From every land
They look good...
"Goblin Girl" by Frank Zappa

Editors Note: You can see why she'll fit in perfectly here. Welcome again Goblin Girl!

David McGuire-Shark Talk, New Film

Local filmmaker David McGuire of the recent Shark Stewards film has completed new short format shark film with the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.

The subject is our own Sevengill sharks. As it turns out San Francisco Bay is teeming with these huge and reclusive critters.

David is one of a few filmmakers who think "sharks first" when it comes to making films about these magnificent animals. He has distinguished himself in the industry as s serious documentary filmmaker and serious shark advocate. Join him this month for the opening of his new film City of the Shark:

Dear Ocean friends,

I would like to invite you to my new film City of the Shark-
prescreening at a fundraising party for shark research - this coming
Thursday, the 29th at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.

This will be a first time screening of this 15 minute documentary on local sharks, including tagging and tracking the sevengill sharks of the San Francisco Bay with researchers from UC Davis and the Aquarium of the Bay. The event will include live sharks, live music by rocker Mike Gibbons who did the soundtrack for the film, food, drink and sharky conversation. Please come support our local sharks and the Aquarium of the Bay Foundation.

We will also world premiere at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
Feb 21 at 1 PM.

Ill be hosting a series of shark films at the festival, and afterwards I will be moderating a panel discussion sponsored by Greenplanet Films titled Sharks: Myths and Misconceptions. Please come if you can and pass this on to anyone interested in sharks and the ocean.

For a healthy ocean,


"City of the Shark" Preview Screening
Thursday, January 29, 2009
6:00pm - 8:30pm