Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NIWA - White Sharks Deep Water Critters

As it turns out white sharks set even deeper diving records than first recorded with this weeks stunning news from NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in NZ.

“A big shark called ‘Shack’, the biggest shark we have tagged, at 4.8 metres, has set the world’s deepest great white shark dive record,” says NIWA Principal Scientist, Malcolm Francis. “And he made several other very deep dive records between 1000 and 1200 metres while crossing the ocean. Prior to this, we had recorded several at around 1000 metres, so it’s quite a substantial extension.”

NIWA's recent press release is a template for data sharing and once again reveals that New Zealand's white sharks are unique.

Complete article here.

Image: White shark from Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Grand Theft Shark Conservation - Update?

We posted this back in October 2009. At the time I felt that someone needed to speak up about the brazen theft of a conservation orgs name, and identity.

This issue has not gone away and in fact will come to a resolution one way or another. It has unfortunately prompted action where the focus should be for sharks. No one wanted this and no conservation org should ever be forced to demand their name and identity back.

As I pointed out in October:

"The funny thing about intellectual property though, it leaves a well defined trail for those who want to look."

Here once again is the original post. For all those involved in this heist reconsider what you have done. This theft was not done in the service of sharks, and it has set an ugly precedent within a conservation community struggling for legitimacy after the losses at Doha. What is needed now more than ever are efforts that are unique and defined, not stolen ideas, brand names, and concepts that confer instant legitimacy to groups whose motives start with theft.

Grand Theft Conservation

Recently an apparent "Grand Shark Conservation Heist" happened within the shark community, and for the most part it went unnoticed and unchallenged.

It was a theft of intellectual property, the brazen day light robbery of ideas and a two year conservation plan that was not generated by, nor did belong to, those who subsumed it.

Intellectual property is as real as personal property.

In the conservation world intellectual property is the currency of the entire movement. Conservation ideas that are unique, powerful, and visionary are what move others who lack long term vision to conserve sharks.

The shark conservation movement started many years ago with the audacity of "an idea." To get people to look at sharks differently, to conserve a predator, to be engaged with the oceans. Though that kernel of an idea sprang those with other ideas, unique conservation thoughts, vision, and leadership.

Intellectual property is the sole ownership of an idea, concept, and vision. Vision is the key component to intellectual property. Like the first hominid that invented fire, the vision behind that first fire translated into charcoal hardened spear points, the cooking of food, the making of pottery, life as we know it.

This apparent daylight conservation robbery was so brazen, so bold, that the perpetrators did not even bother to change the name of the conservation org. They ignored existing URL's with the same name, they touted this new organization as a unique entity to them, subsumed the entire concept and conservation targets, and enrolled a host of ancillary industry names as legitimate cover for this brazen act.

They even filed for a cloned name trademark after ascertaining that one had not been filed yet by the originators.

To those who had their entire conservation concept stolen, this was an act that defied even rational discussion. Conservation Visigoths had stormed their castle and made off the the crown jewels - intellectual property.

To steal intellectual property is a base act. It has nothing to do with vision, leadership, or conservation, it is an act of theft, pure and simple. What is lacking from this particular theft is vision. Those who generate intellectual property, also generate vision and myriad of possible uses for the idea and concept.

Many within our community who watched this theft from the sidelines commented that it was "unfortunate," or "sad" and then went on to ally themselves with this new stolen org setting an ugly precedent about what is shark conservation and what is not. Many are unaware that this entire concept is the result of two years of careful planning by others.

Do we as a conservation community condone eating our own?

Like jackals descending on a conservation idea, no one in this theft asked the owners of the idea, the owners of the concept and vision, if they could band together and push that vision under the originators banner.

Instead, in backroom discussions with a handful of insiders, a Faustian bargain was made. Steal the idea, call it your own by placing your names on a website as the group leaders, and bring people to this new banner...all in the service of sharks.

Except this was not in the service of sharks. To be in the service of sharks is to look at the conservation world and seek a niche that is yet untapped, an idea yet undiscovered and build on that. Through multiple efforts the conservation movement - becomes an actual movement.

The audacity of many completely original conservation ideas made manifest, is at its heart, conservation.

We had our own unpleasant discovery this these same Conservation Visigoths. Our own shark conservation URL was cloned with a new name, bought without our knowledge, for a use that we can only assume had nothing to do with our completely original conservation effort. It still remains to this day under an "ownership" that went on to completely subsume this other effort.

The funny thing about intellectual property though, it leaves a well defined trail for those who want to look.

To those who have perpetrated one of the most brazen conservation heists of the past decade, rethink what you are doing. To give full and lasting credit to the originator of "your" concept would be the honorable thing to do. To turn over the website and URL's even better.

Real and lasting shark conservation is a brought about by ideas, passion, and execution of those ideas. Not theft, and re purposing for your own use.

You cannot steal the plans to an electric car, build on those plans, and call yourself green.

In the end it will be up to our community to set the standards by which shark conservation efforts are accepted. Many within the community decry the often childish backbiting that goes on between various conservation groups, with the thought of "why can't we all just get along?".

Standards. We need to accept some base level of conduct that is acceptable.

In my humble opinion, it starts with original ideas and those that would support them or callously subsume them without credit or even the knowledge of the originators.

We need to be in the service of sharks first and foremost.

To be in the service of sharks requires being unique, original, and that also requires leadership. Real and lasting leadership is not conferred by taking the hard won intellectual property of others.


Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.islandofthegreatwhiteshark.com
415.235.9410

Gone Fishing - More Adventures in New Zealand

For the next few weeks I will be in New Zealand (again) at a series of meetings, some off the track hiking, diving, and of course some fly fishing.

Something interesting about the South Island, everywhere you go proclaims to have the "largest brown trout in the world."

Fellow trout fisherman Steve Blair and myself will test that theory out with a "catch and release vengeance" and will let you know the results.

One thing is for sure, nothing comes in small sizes in New Zealand.

Shark Diver New Zealand

Shark Diver NZ is on hold while we clean up the website and consider commercial applications for this robust and unique dive site. The good news is this site has the sharks, where it goes from there is up to the local community members of Stewart Island who also dive these waters, and the professionalism of local operators. As a licensed brand Shark Diver NZ will only align with the highest standards in shark diving, no exceptions.

Conservation Shark Diving is not a tag line it is a way of conducting shark diving right, the first time, and every time.

Conservation Shark Diving also fully supports the efforts against commercial shark take and shark fining. With the global decimation of shark species and with the recent losses at Doha there can be absolutely no exceptions to that rule. As commercial shark diving operators worldwide our efforts have a direct and lasting impact on sharks, support for commercial shark take in any form runs contrary to the best efforts of a global $300 million dollar industry.

Shark Divers commitment to shark conservation goes beyond any commercial considerations.

Thanks to the many team members who helped get Shark Diver NZ to the launch stage over the past year, from RTSea video production, to press releases, to website, branding and logo development - this was a first class commercial roll out and I remain impressed with the efforts from so many talented people.

We will have updates over the next month for you. Thanks for all the emails, and the interest in our latest adventures in New Zealand...now where did I put my 5wt rod?

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410

Goblin girl on... a new goblin shark held in aquarium!


Now is the season for goblin sharks! Before I continue to tell you about the exciting adventures of Goblin girl and Goblin boy, I just want to update you on the news that Tokyo Sea Life Park again has a young male goblin shark on display. He was caught on the 28th of March on ca 140 m of depth. The shark measures ca 1 m.

The news can be found, in Japanese, here:

http://www.tokyo-zoo.net/topic/topics_detail?kind=news&inst=&link_num=14370

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A book by any other name - Beqa Lagoon

As anyone who does as much traveling as I do knows each destination has it's own feel. From the smell of cane grass in the morning air to those other less defined organic smells and sights that set a newly discovered place into your mind - and into your soul.

Discovering a book that captures these essences of travel on glossy pages is almost impossible...almost until today.

Behold, Fiji's Beqa Lagoon, a travel book that takes you to Fiji and embeds you there with imagery from the first person. One might think that a local scene with cattle has no place in a book entitled Fiji's Beqa Lagoon but it does, in the context of the wide eyed traveler, that's where this book works on so many levels.

You have to preview it with a full screen here and then purchase this book for your coffee table and public consumption.

For me the discovery of a travel book that pays homage to the "traveler within each of us" in all it's glossy, big image glory, was this months surprise.

Now if someone could just make a book like this for fly fishing in New Zealand. I am currently stuffing dive gear and fly gear into a bag for a 7.00pm flight to Dunedin, again!

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Smart Shark Conservation - Great Media

One of the smarter ideas for shark conservation can be found with the folks behind Shark Truth.

Claudia Li and Vivian Kwong decided to tackle the cultural and gastronomic issue of shark fin soup "one bowl at a time" with an informative website targeting wedding couples who decline shark fin soup at celebrations.

This is change from within a culture, and this duo should be congratulated for what inevitably is a tough uphill battle.

That battle recently got a boost with some very good media last week.

Congratulations to both for the website and the initiative!

Atlantis Resorts Shark Care in Dispute

When alcohol, breeding, and sharks come together generally the result is a toxic stew of gobsmackingly stupid behavior with sharks. Thanks to Jenny our web eyes for these videos purported to be from Atlantis Resorts in the Bahamas March 25th, 2010.

The question on everyone's mind, where was security?

Video One - The Discovery

I'm pettin' it, I'm pettin' it yo"



Video Two - Stupidity with Sharks

"I'm gunna pull your leg, I'm gunna punch you in the face"



Editors Note: Felix over at Oceanic Dreams suggested you contact the PR folks at Atlantis to inquire as to the ongoing safety of these animals and guests. Could be worth the phone call:

You can send an email or call Megan Marchesini - public relations contact for possible answers:

Megan Marchesini
Phone: 212-659-5203
Email: Megan.Marchesini@kerzner.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Farallones Tagging Disaster - Follow Up?

In 2009 a film/research team badly mauled a white shark at the Farallone Islands.

What is not in dispute is the fact that a circle hook, very similar to the one seen here, was embedded deeply in the throat of a white shark.

The team went on to try and remove this hook by pushing bolt cutters through the gills of the animal and only succeeded in getting a fraction back leaving the animal with a hook still embedded in it's throat.

The resulting media storm over this event sent shock waves through both the research community and the commercial shark world. Only a few of the commercial shark diving operators on the West coast of the USA got in front of this issue, we were one of them. Others who are far more commercially invested in the Farallones said and did little in the public forum for reasons that remain their own.

Our long standing commercial and conservation efforts with sharks have been predicated by one mandate "do no harm to sharks." We support all research and commercial endeavors until they break that simple tenant.

The badly mauled shark at the Farallones was tagged with a real time GPS monitor and we were told the animal was "in great health." Unfortunately since December 8. 2009, all our efforts to get this real time data monitored by an independent source seemed to have hit a wall.

To date we have sent six emails to NOAA's and GFNMS regional managers and have been told the following:

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will work with an independent, qualified reviewer with expertise in white shark behavior, husbandry, and/or health to assess the status of the sharks tagged last Fall around the Farallon Islands.

b) The independent reviewer will assess the status of the sharks by reviewing footage of the tagging operations and comparing the tracking data from Dr. Domeier's tags with the tracking data from TOPP's research project at the Farallones over a year's timeframe. The GFNMS has already contacted Dr. Domeier for his data to begin the assessment.

c) The GFNMS will notify you as soon as that person has been identified and the work has begun.

d) The GFNMS will notify you of the results and post the results of the assessment on the Gulf of Farallones website (farallones.noaa.gov)

It has been five months since this tagging disaster and we have not heard anything from NOAA or the GFNMS staff in regards to this pressing matter and it is time that we did.

Editors Note: Fiji's Da Shark has weighed in on this issue (again) and we have to agree with his take, makes for great additional reading.

Hawaii - Shark Conservation Moving Ahead

After the disasters of Doha, where the world's top NGO's were left stymied by big commercial fishing interests and sharks were not protected, it is refreshing to see local conservation efforts working in places like Hawaii.

We have long been advocates, along with a few other forward thinking industry members, of regional shark conservation as a way of getting sharks protected by invested parties.

Stefanie Brindle owner of Hawaii Shark Encounters is leading a remarkable charge in Oahu to change a loop hole that allows tons of sharks fin to be landed and dried in the state for transshipment all over the world. Her effort is a classic regional effort with a hand from thousands of shark people all over the globe jumping in with letters and phone calls when needed to keep politico's on target.

This is the same
Stefanie Brindle whose company is also under assault by anti-shark diving forces on the island seeking to shut a decades long commercial enterprise down for reasons that belong in the 1970's and the movie JAWS.

Her ups and downs have been instructive to watch, and her non profit Shark Allies looks to be a new breed of shark conservation org leveraging media and conservation in a nice little package.

Congratulations to all who are working to get the job done in Hawaii and thanks to the many who responded to
Stefanie's latest call for letters and phone calls. Thanks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Excellent Conservation Messaging

The shark conservation world needs more directed PSA's. Specifically Asian language PSA's to bring home the point about sustainable shark fisheries, and declining shark populations.

Here's is one example of fine work with Asian language PSA's. Nicely done to all who were involved in this effort. Now, who's next?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Urgent - Hawaii Shark Fin Bill Needs a Push

If you have some time in your busy schedule over the next two days please add your voice to excellent efforts in Hawaii to help conserve sharks with a new bill SB2169:

Hello everyone,

For some reason the Representative that is the chair of our LAST
committee, Riki Karamatsu, is unresponsive and hasn't scheduled a hearing for our shark finning bill.

If you have the time today or tomorrow, please take a minute and send a message/call to to urge him to hear SB2169.

We have come so far with this bill and I can't believe it is stuck now! Very frustrating.

Tell him how important this is for Hawaii, but also the rest of the US/world.

Tell him that the desire for people to eat shark fin soup should not
override the decision to pass this bill. A delicacy should not cause
the destruction of the ocean... etc

Express yourself as strongly as you can and if you are from Hawaii
make sure you let him know that too.

We have been sending messages and have been stopping by his office. We
have given him photos, letters and videos.

Apparently he needs more pressure to be convinced. I think there are a couple of member in the House that really like to eat their shark fin soup that may have asked him to not hear the bill.

I will go to the capitol this afternoon to park myself outside his
office until he speaks to me.

Here is his info:

Jon Riki Karamatsu
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
phone 808-586-8490; fax 808-586-8494
E-mail repkaramatsu@Capitol.hawaii.gov

thank you
Stefanie

Goblin girl in a goblin shark accident!

Today blood was flowing in my office today. MY blood!




(If you look carefully, you will see blood stains on my dress!)

Three years ago I sent out the - for me - earth rocking news about a live goblin shark kept in captivity in Japan, to my fellow shark friends. I immediately got the reply from my friend Guzman in the Basque country "funny you write to me now about this, because only yesterday I got a specimen from a fisherman". The shark was a caught in the Bay of Biscay on the 9th of February 2007. It's an immature male, ca 115 cm long. I replied to Guzman and told him that the shark was mine! The shark was then put in a freezer and forgotten until last summer when Guzman found it again. He put it in formalin and we started to check for transportation. Yesterday he asked me to confirm the delivery address to my office and today I got an e-mail that I should confirm to him when it arrived. Only half an hour later I was called to the reception of my office, where a tube was waiting for me!




I was of course very eager to see it. Also, it is now wrapped in formalin drenched paper and plastic so I will soon have to find a suitable container and put it in alcohol. Because of the stench, I went out on a balcony and started to unwrap it. Suddenly I felt a sting in my finger and blood was flowing. My finger had got snugged on one of the needle sharp teeth. They are just like a fishing hook. I had to stop the bleeding before I was ruining the shark so I went to the bathroom to put my finger under cold water. When I pulled off the tight rubber glove I was wearing, blood and water sprayed over the whole room, over my nice dress, me... Everywhere! I felt like Carrie from the movie with the same name. I'm lucky my colleagues are used to me, but I've never looked like this in my office before. And it's usually fish blood.





Since it wouldn't stop bleeding my colleague put on a big bandage. I wonder if I will get a scar... Maybe a first inflicted from a goblin shark? Although dead...

Ok, you are allowed to laugh now!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brilliant Fakery? Or Real Deal?

The jury is out on this video. We were going to call it a big fake and then the tail fin appeared for a brief instant at 0:55, hard to fake a tail fin if you're towing a decoy behind your sail boat.

So we leave it to you, is this the real deal of a monster shark stalking a sailboat, or a complete fake?

Taking into account over the past 20 years of video at sea no one has come up with anything like this one and the kid in the video seems less than realistic:


CITES and Doha - Reconsidering the effort

While the conservation world bemoans the stunning losses at Doha, both for sharks and tuna, it is high time to reconsider what exactly are the goals for conservation and are we even coming in with the right strategies for a new decade of hyper inflated species loss?

The failures of Doha all lead back to one source and one source only. Too many people on the planet, too much commercial pressure on a few species.

All the eco efforts in the world amount to a street sweeper at the end of an elephant parade and unfortunately, humanity is the elephant.

We're rapidly getting to the point where regional conservation efforts like the ones being rolled out in Fiji with commercial shark diving operations at Beqa will be the accepted model for conservation worldwide.

It is the ONLY way to go. Take control of your own piece of the planet by monetizing species sustainably and shepherd those species through the increasing eco pressures of the region.

That's it.

Unless we can show tuna interests how to make $70,000 per fish on something else the future of these critters is bleak to say the least. The more tuna stocks we lose, the higher the price goes for individual animals.

That's basic economics.

Unless the shark fin industry is shown a way to make money that does not rely on 2001 gold price standards for dried sharks fin we're just hoping for the best.

Sadly we're about 15 years behind where we should be in terms of strategy and implementation for this "new decade of species loss."

Frustration? You bet.

Throwing in the towel? No, not yet.

But let's not bemoan the losses at Doha like it was any kind of surprise. Doha was the end of an era and an eye opener for those who thought that 1970's eco strategy could net us any gains with international consensus on critically commercialized species. Since the 1970's we have added one billion more mouths to feed, a billion more commercial interests, and a billion more reasons why commercialized species will be hunted to the point of extinction and beyond.

New thinking, new strategy, and regional efforts might, if applied in time, slow the losses to effect conservation change.

The question now on the table, do we have any leadership to make these changes in time?

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deep-Sea News Scoop "Chimaera Country"

Deep-Sea News usually get's the goods on all things cool underwater. This week was no exception.

Sea Shepherd - Culinary Imperialism with a dark side of Racist Propaganda?

We have been less than fans of the continuing media antics of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

From patently faked media events such as Paul Watson being shot in the chest by Japanese whalers, to ongoing SSCS anti-Japanese propaganda that harkens back to the ugliest moments of WW2.

Governments, such as Australia and New Zealand, lack the will to confront this radical and somewhat disingenuous eco group who invent eco news ad hoc whenever it suits their cause. A cause which, after 20 years of effort, has shown no real conservation changes to international whaling, seal harvests or shark finning, an effort that has devolved into an odd brand of cultural imperialism against Japan and Asia.

Sea Shepherd is an eco group attempting to dictate the cultural and culinary norms of another culture with the use of rotten butter, faked news clips, and a skillful use of Internet.

Wagging the Conservation Dog at every opportunity SSCS has skillfully made a mockery of every domestic and international law on the high seas.

Only Canada has taken any kind of stance against SSCS radicalism, impounding and then selling off the SSCS vessel Farley Mowat, leading to SSCS complete withdrawal from Canadian shores.

We're not alone in our online distaste with Sea Shepherd as an organization that has failed to effect any real and lasting eco change for the past 20 years. Since 2004 the legion of non radicalized eco folks who are becoming anti-Sea Shepherd is growing steadily.

One only has to look at online postings, and even popular culture commentator South Park to begin to understand the level and depth of this movement.

Recently blogger Nae Hauf-Way Hoos posted their observations of Paul Watson at a recent rally in New Zealand attended by "small crowd." Their observations of this event and the radical and racist tone being spewed forth by Paul Watson is concerning if not outright frightening.

"There is a worrying undercurrent of anti-Asian racism that permeates Sea Shepherd’s publicity and arguments. Most people, rightly, oppose whaling: the Sea Shepherd campaign connects this genuine environmental concern to much older, and dangerous, currents in Australian and New Zealand politics: nationalism, especially ‘left’ nationalism, and the racism that accompanies it. Facing an environmental challenge like the slaughter of endangered whales, we start to see a choice between an internationalist approach, stressing the potential for a politics which can unite, and a nationalism which turns genuine concerns into props for reactionary and toxic ideas. Greens Senator Bob Brown – with his talk of “our” whales, as if New Zealand and Australia ‘owned’ these creatures – and his anti-immigrant comments, re-enforces a long tradition of anti-Asian racism in this part of the world."

Complete Post.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daniel Botelho - Capturing Underwater Grace

So they're not sharks, but they are beautiful, and they were recently shot by shark diver Daniel Botelho who joined us at Isla Guadalupe a few years ago.

Daniel Botelho is well known as a first class underwater photographer in Brazil and Europe.

We have come to know him as a first class guy as well.

Enjoy his series on Salifish Run off Isla Mujeres,México.

Nicely done Daniel!

Tigers, Dead Whales, and Aussies, Oh My!

One thing is for certain, wherever you have sharks you'll always have those who want to interact with them.

Recently folks in Australia decided to get into the interaction game and shot some amazing video. You cannot miss the sequence starting at 1.20 - it is pretty stuff.

Unfortunately the broader world does not seem to share the joys of these interactions (see You Tube comments). Perhaps when framed by the media as this clip was recently, the natural comment blow back is to be expected.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shark conservation proposal defeated at UN meeting - No surprise

China, Japan and Russia helped defeat a U.S. endorsed proposal at a U.N. wildlife trade meeting Tuesday that would have boosted conservation efforts for sharks - is anyone surprised?

We have long been advocates of regional and commercial efforts to conserve sharks.

Some of the most effective recent campaigns have been targeted at the commercial sector like Alibaba.com who, under sustained media pressure, targeting partners in the USA eventually banned B to B sharks fins sales on their massive trade portal.

This is shark conservation for the new decade.

It is unfortunate that the latest meetings in Doha netted little for sharks but if the shark conservation world is serious about conserving these animals we'll have to do it with regional efforts. A prime example of how to do it can be found with Beqa Adventure Divers in Fiji and elsewhere.

It's not rocket science but it is a science, and it does take dedication beyond Facebook postings, and the tired litany of other high profile yet ultimately useless "save the" campaigns that are embedded in our digital age.

Commercial shark fin operators are out on the waters every day finning the animals we profess to care about. Meanwhile the shark conservation world works from laptops and web pages, producing PowerPoint presentations and statistics for disinterested government officials when boots on the ground efforts are what are really needed.

Real and lasting change comes from ownership in the same animals that the commercial sector currently claims as their own.

It's a radical thought, but as Doha has once and for all demonstrated to the shark conservation world, we cannot expect big government and business interests to make the changes necessary to conserve wildlife.

That legacy belongs to those who create safe havens for sharks, smart regional conservation efforts, and to those who shut down supply chain - now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beqa Adventure Divers - Pro Industry Media

The global shark diving industry is lead by a few forward thinking operations who lead by example. Consistency is the name of the game.

Positive shark media for our industry comes with solid relationships with good story tellers.

Showing that sharks are not playthings, or cheap props for a diver/filmmakers resume, is another of Beqa Adventure Divers forays into positive industry media, and a fine example of how to work with sharks in a manner that benefits all.

Kudos!


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Humane Society of the United States Joins Shark-Free Marinas to Reduce Killing of Ocean’s Great Predators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Humane Society of the United States Joins Shark-Free Marinas to Reduce Killing of Ocean’s Great Predators

‘Shark-Free Marina Initiative’ promotes catch-and-release

Note: There are Shark-Free Marinas in Harwich, Mass.; Key Largo, Fla.; Miami; Tequesta, Fla.; Vero Beach, Fla.; West Alton, Mo, Fiji, Tonga, and the U.K


(March 15, 2010) — The Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with Shark-Free Marinas in a campaign to significantly reduce worldwide shark mortality.

Fittingly, the effort is called the “Shark-Free Marina Initiative” and seeks the support of marina operators worldwide to prohibit the landing of any shark on their premises, thus encouraging catch-and-release fishing. To help publicize the plight of sharks and the need for their protection, The HSUS and SFMI are supplying signs and public information to participating marinas in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to join the efforts of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative,” said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS. “The HSUS works tirelessly to end animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect and is deeply concerned by the deteriorating status of shark populations.”

Luke Tipple, executive director of the Initiative, said, “The Shark-Free Marina Initiative welcomes the support of The Humane Society of the United States and its members to protect beleaguered shark species.”

The HSUS, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, strives to end the killing of sharks in sport tournaments around the United States, and works to raise public awareness about celebrating ocean life instead of destroying it. The Shark-Free Marina Initiative encourages marinas to adopt shark-friendly policies, preventing kill tournaments from using those facilities.
Facts Dozens of marinas in the United States, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have registered as Shark-Free Marinas since the initiative began in 2008. The HSUS also works to protect sharks by campaigning against shark finning, and the organization recently petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the porbeagle shark as endangered.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative runs a Regional Ambassador program where anyone can get involved in their important work. Visit the SFMI Web site (sharkfreemarinas.com) or The HSUS Web site (humanesociety.org/protectsharks) for more information.

Other groups supporting the Shark-Free Marina Initiative include the Fisheries Conservation Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Institute.

Media Contact: Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455, ebergstrom@humanesociety.org