Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proteger a los tiburones del Sureste de México

Photo Credit: Joe Daniels
Por favor, firma nuestra petición para proteger a los tiburones en el sureste de México (Please sign our petition to protect sharks in southeastern Mexico).
Cada año, más de 73 millones de tiburones son muertos capturados para extraer sus aletas, carne, hígado y piel. De acuerdo con la Lista Roja de Especies Amenazadas de la UICN, 30% de los tiburones se encuentran amenazados o casi amenazados de extinción.

En México, los tiburones ballena son uno de los más preciados tesoros de los océanos. Aún cuando estos tiburones atraen cada año más de 100 millones de pesos a la economía local, éste y otros tiburones aún no se encuentran protegidos.

El Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA) y la organización Defensores de los Tiburones (Shark Defenders) se han unido para apoyar la conservación de los tiburones en el Sureste de México.
Here is the petition in English:
Every year, up to 73 million sharks are slaughtered for their fins, meat, cartilage, liver, and skin. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 30% of shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction.

In Mexico, whale sharks are treasured members of the ocean. Even though swimming with whale sharks brings in 100 million pesos to the local economy each year, these and other shark species are not protected.

El Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA) and international advocates Los Defensores de los Tiburones (Shark Defenders) have teamed up to support shark conservation in Southerneastern Mexico.
And the letter in English:

Dear President Felipe Calderón,

I am writing to ask you to ban the import, commerce, and exchange of shark meat and derived shark products, such as cartilage, teeth, and fins in Southeastern Mexico. Furthermore, I am asking you to ban the fishing, capture, and slaughter of sharks in southeastern Mexico.

Every year, up to 73 million sharks are slaughtered for their fins, meat, cartilage, liver, and skin. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 30% of shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction. Mexico is responsible for about 4.1% of the global catch of sharks.

In Mexico, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula, food security and economic development depends heavily on healthy coral reefs and associated healthy shark populations. In addition, the local economy benefits greatly from shark dive tourism. Studies have shown that tourists spend 100 million pesos annually to swim with the whale sharks of Holbox. This economic activity can only be protected if sharks are also protected.

A Yucatan Shark Preserve would contribute to both regional and global shark conservation efforts. A shark preserve extending to the full extent of Mexican waters on the eastern half of the Yucatan peninsula would connect with the Honduras Shark Sanctuary declared last year. If Belize and Guatemala were to also take action to protect their sharks, all sharks inhabiting the Mesoamerican reef would be safe to live and reproduce and to help restore and maintain that rich ecosystem.

I encourage you to make Mexico a leader in shark protections so that future generations can know a more perfect ocean, populated with many more sharks.
Please follow this link to sign the petition.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sharks and Oxygen: Fact or Fish Story?

Hey there, Shark Defender, we have a quick question for you. Is the following often quoted statement true or false?:
"Seventy percent of the world's oxygen comes from phytoplankton. Sharks, as an apex predator, feed on many of these plankton-eating fish. Slapped with a stigma as people-killers from the popular "Jaws" series, sharks actually save lives — they help provide the world's oxygen supply."
Let's put this one to rest -- forever. The answer is no. There are no scientific studies that link shark populations to the global supply of oxygen.  If we are mistaken, and there is a study, please forward it.

Now we are just as guilty as others in promulgating this shark-oxygen relation (here and here), and for that we apologize.  Mea culpa.

In our list of 10 Things You Can Do To Protect Sharks we list #1 as Educate yourself about the global situation of sharks. On this oxygen issue, we recommend starting your education with Rick Macpherson's recent blog at Deep Sea News and Patric Douglas' blog at Sharkdiver.com.

This is not, however, a repudiation of the fact that sharks maintain overall ocean health. There are many, many studies that link sharks to coral reefs. Also, the removal of large sharks can negatively impact whole ecosystems by, for example, allowing an increase in the abundance of their prey (fewer sharks eat less prey), or influencing prey species through non-lethal means, by causing behavioral changes to prey habitat use, activity level and diet. A science report by the Pew Environment Group titled Sharks:State of the Science is an excellent resource for referencing many of these studies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

San Francisco: You are invited to see Sanctuary, The Last Stand for Sharks

Our partners at the Pew Environment Group and Coral Reef Alliance are hosting a one-time showing of the new film Santuary, The Last Stand for Sharks next Monday, January 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM in San Francisco at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.  As a supporter and reader of Shark Defenders, you are invited to attend.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The film was shown late last year at DEMA, where it was named Best Shark Conservation Movie by the notorious Fiji Shark Blog.  The invitation and more information is pasted below.  Please register if you would like to attend (registration is free and helps the organizers know how many people are going to show up).
The Pew Environment Group and the Coral Reef Alliance
Cordially Invite You to a Film Screening

Followed by a Question and Answers Panel

WHEN
Monday, January 30, 2012
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

WHERE
Embarcadero Center Cinema, One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, San Francisco, CA 94111
Landmark Theatres
San Francisco, California


About Sanctuary: The Last Stand for Sharks
This film portrays the underwater world of sharks and paints a global picture of the threats they are facing worldwide. Globally shark populations are declining, but there is growing momentum to protect sharks. Many locations are recognizing that sharks are worth more alive than dead, contributing both to the economy and the stability of crucial marine ecosystems like coral reefs. Some countries have even established shark sanctuaries throughout the entirety of their waters.

A shark sanctuary is a place where sharks can live and reproduce without the threat of fishing. Since many shark species are migratory, the establishment of small protected areas or breeding closures is not enough to protect sharks that may leave the boundary of safety. Shark sanctuaries present an opportunity to protect sharks over a larger scale before it is too late.

About the Pew Environment Group
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands, and promote clean energy. For information, visit http://www.pewenvironment.org/.

About the Coral Reef Alliance
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) unites communities to save coral reefs. CORAL provides education, tools, and inspiration to help local communities become passionate environmental stewards of the reefs. Together, we develop well-managed marine protected areas and sustainable businesses to benefit coral reefs and people. For more information, visit http://www.coral.org/.

Registration is required for this event. Use the link below to register. Please RSVP by Friday, January 27, 2012.


The Pew Charitable Trusts makes every effort to comply with federal, state and local government ethics rules when hosting events. Please make sure that your participation is consistent with applicable ethics rules.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Julia Carabias:Proteger a los Tiburones del Caribe Mexicano

Durante más de 400 millones de años los tiburones han recorrido las aguas oceánicas del planeta. A lo largo de su evolución se han diversificado en cerca de 365 especies en todo tipo de hábitats marinos. Sin embargo, cerca de un tercio de ellas se encuentran amenazadas o en peligro de extinción debido a la sobreexplotación de las poblaciones; de seguir estas tendencias, en las próximas décadas muchas podrían desaparecer.

Los tiburones son depredadores que ocupan los niveles más altos de la cadena trófica marina y, en consecuencia, juegan un papel regulador insustituible de los ecosistemas marinos. Debido a sus características biológicas -crecimiento lento, madurez sexual tardía, limitada producción de crías y gran longevidad- este grupo de especies no resiste la pesca intensiva a la que, durante décadas, han estado sometidos por la demanda de carne y aceite de hígado, pero sobre todo por la gran presión del mercado asiático para la elaboración de sopa de aleta de tiburón que provoca la muerte de alrededor de 73 millones de tiburones anualmente.

México está considerado como uno de los principales países tiburoneros. Se capturan cerca de 26 mil toneladas anuales, principalmente para el mercado interno, de las cuales cuatro de cada cinco provienen del Pacífico y el resto del Golfo de México y Mar Caribe. A pesar de existir una Norma Oficial Mexicana para la pesca responsable de tiburones y rayas, así como un plan de acción nacional para su manejo y conservación, muchas poblaciones de estas especies están fuertemente afectadas como son los comúnmente llamados cazón de ley, tiburón sedoso, puntas negras y chato; incluso el tiburón ballena, el blanco y el peregrino se encuentran en la categoría de amenazadas o en peligro de extinción.

Para evitar el colapso de estas poblaciones previsto por la evidencia científica, deben aplicarse medidas urgentes para ordenar la pesca del tiburón. Ello implica conocer la abundancia del recurso y el esfuerzo pesquero actual, así como desarrollar equipos y artes de pesca sustentables, fortalecer la regulación y las medidas técnicas y administrativas para su manejo, vigilar y aplicar el cumplimiento de la normatividad e, incluso, decretar vedas en las regiones cuyas poblaciones están severamente afectadas. Sólo así podrá lograrse la pesca sustentable de tiburones, es decir, una pesquería que beneficie a miles de familias de pescadores que dependen de este recurso sin perjudicar a sus poblaciones.

Un caso diferente es el del Mar Caribe en donde las poblaciones de tiburones, además de estar en riesgo, desempeñan un papel muy importante para la salud de los ecosistemas marinos más diversos y frágiles que existen: los arrecifes de coral. En este caso las medidas tendrían que ser mucho más ambiciosas respondiendo a la altura de las delicadas condiciones ecológicas de esta región y a su destacada importancia a nivel global.

El gobierno mexicano, mediante un decreto presidencial, debería decretar en las aguas marinas nacionales del Mar Caribe un Santuario de Tiburón. Ésta es una propuesta bien fundada que han venido impulsando varios grupos nacionales e internacionales, investigadores, buzos deportivos y personalidades de diversa índole, así como organizaciones no gubernamentales, entre ellas Pew Environment Group. El objetivo del Santuario es el de recuperar las poblaciones de tiburones y garantizar su conservación en el largo plazo mediante la prohibición de la pesca comercial de tiburón en las aguas de jurisdicción nacional, desde las costas de Holbox en Yucatán hasta la Bahía de Chetumal en Quintana Roo. En Bahamas, Honduras y Palao se decretaron con gran éxito santuarios que abarcan todas las aguas oceánicas de esos países.

No debe soslayarse que esta medida tendría, en el corto plazo, impactos sociales y económicos para las familias de pescadores que dependen de esta actividad. No obstante, éste es un problema con solución viable. El gobierno podría promover inmediatamente, mediante los apoyos económicos necesarios, la reconversión productiva de las actividades que realizan estas familias hacia otras opciones como son el ecoturismo de buceo y observación de tiburones y la pesca deportiva de captura y liberación, las cuales, sin duda, en poco tiempo resultarán mucho más rentables y también sustentables. Existen experiencias muy exitosas con el tiburón ballena, bien conocidas en México por los pescadores locales, que podrían extenderse a otras especies.

La gran diversidad y cantidad de tiburones del Mar Caribe mexicano puede convertir a esta región en uno de los destinos ecoturísticos más importantes del mundo para la convivencia con estas especies marinas. Su protección no sólo es una responsabilidad ineludible de México, sino que esta medida colocaría al país como un líder de la conservación de uno de los grupos más vulnerables de los océanos. Además, las medidas de conservación propuestas son compatibles con el bienestar social. Como bien se dice, los tiburones valen más vivos que muertos.

Julia Carabias es una Bióloga mexicana y ambientalista. Fue Secretaria Mexicana de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca desde 1994 hasta 2000. Publicado en Reforma el 21 de enero 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conservation's Top 10 Shark Dives

Swimming with sharks is a sustainable economic activity that provides coastal countries with millions of dollars in tourist revenues.  Making the case for the economic importance of sharks is one way to convince governments that they need protection.  So, in no particular order, here are Conservation's Top 10 Shark Dives (each of the countries listed have either passed or are considering shark protections):

#1: Honduras, The Deepest Shark Dive
Photo Credit: Steve Box
There’s a giant lurking in the deep waters around Roatan and it’s not the giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Sixgill sharks, which can grow up to 18 feet in length, are rarely seen by divers, but your chance of seeing one increases exponentially by taking a submarine down to 1500 feet on a dark night. These sharks, and other species like the Caribbean reef sharks that swim closer to shore, have been fully protected in Honduras since 2010.

#2: The Bahamas, Shark Diving Capital of the World
Photo Credit: Jim Abernathy
Bahamian leaders had the foresight to ban longline fishing nearly 20 years ago and tour operators have been reaping the benefits ever since. Each year, shark diving brings in about $78 million to this small Caribbean nation; that’s equivalent to about $200 for every person living there. The Bahamian leaders of today recognize the importance of sharks and in recent years have strengthened the laws protecting them.

#3: Palau, The World’s First Shark Sanctuary
Photo Credit: Todd Essick
The currents at several dive sites in the Rock Islands are so strong that you have to use a reef hook – a stainless steel hook on a six foot line that latches to your slightly inflated BCD – in order to not be swept away. As you float with both hands free, nutrient rich upwellings wash over you, attracting a buffet of smaller fish and scores of grey reef sharks and other large predators.

#4: Mexico, The Biggest School of the Biggest Fish
Photo Credit: Joe Daniels/Shark Defenders
Whale sharks grow to be as big as a school bus. They are usually solitary creatures, but at certain times of year in only a few places, they aggregate into huge schools to feed on zooplankton. The largest school congregates offshore of Isla Holbox on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. In 2011, over 400 sharks were counted in an area the size of just a few football fields.

#5: Marshall Islands, The Biggest Shark Sanctuary

Photo Credit: Angelo Villagomez
 The little island that inspired 28 Godzilla movies and gave name to the skimpy bathing suit is known among divers as one of the world’s best kept secrets. Closed to outsiders for most of the second half of the 20th Century, Bikini Atoll is now open to divers, provided they have the time and fuel to get there. Sharks are protected in all 34 atolls that make up the Marshall Islands, a sanctuary for sharks four times the size of California.

#6: Maldives, Best Manta Ray Diving

Photo Credit: Guy Stevens
 Manta Rays are close relatives of sharks; think of them as vegetarian flat sharks. The largest mantas grow to 7.6 meters (25 feet) from wing to wing. At Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll divers can witness over 250 of these gentle giants swimming and feeding on zooplankton in a giant swirling vortex.

#7: Fiji, Best Shark Dive in the World

Photo Credit: Mike Neumann
 There is a legend of an ancient shark in Fiji named Dakuwaqa. Many Fijians believe this shark guardian is their protector and do not fear him, but they do respect him. Swimming with sharks in Fiji is not for the faint of heart. Shark Reef is the only place in the world where you can encounter up to 8 species of shark on a single dive, including over 100 individual enormous bull sharks. Oh, did I mention they don’t use a cage?

#8: French Polynesia, Heaven for Shark Lovers

Photo Credit: Tahiti Private Expeditions
 Since ancient times, Tahitian people have demonstrated great respect to sharks. Therefore it is not surprising that French Polynesia became one of the first places in the world to protect sharks, closing down the shark trade in 2006. Shark diving is the highlight of a trip to these remote tropical islands, with up to 15 different species of sharks swimming naturally in schools by the hundreds.

#9: Cocos, Galapagos, and Malpelo, The Hammerhead Triangle

Photo Credit: Tahiti Private Expeditions
 Cocos, Galapagos, and Malpelo are the three corners of the Hammerhead Triangle in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. At each location, hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of hammerhead sharks are attracted by schools of fish feeding on nutrient rich upwellings around seamounts and isolated islands.

#10: Isla Guadalupe, Greatest Great White Shark Dive

Photo: Patric Douglas
 At Isla Guadalupe, divers can get eye to eye with the shark that made millions afraid to get in the water. Great white sharks may be the ocean’s top predator, but they are assessed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

BONUS: Mariana Islands, Home of Eagle Ray City
Photo Credit: Angelo Villagomez
Home to one of the world’s largest marine protected areas, the small island chain running along the famed Mariana Trench is famous for schools of spotted eagle rays. With a wing span of up to three meters (10 feet), as many as 80 of these graceful creatures can be seen interacting with cleaner wrasses that live on coral heads just outside Saipan Island’s fringing reef. With an economy that depends almost entirely on tourism, island leaders saw the need to protect these important species and banned the fishing of all shark and rays in 2008.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Saving Semporna’s Sharks

Guest Blog
By Ric Owen

Sharks are apex predators in our oceans. They have been around for over 400 million years and have maintained prey diversity and shaped the coral reef systems into what we see today. Without them the marine biodiversity as we know it would collapse.

Unfortunately, sharks are being systematically wiped out around the world and an extinction of many species is very likely in the coming years if current fishing trends and attitudes towards this beautiful and misunderstood creature do not change and change fast. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, nearly one-third of all shark species are nearly threatened or near threatened with extinction. Some species of sharks, such as the hammerheads, have declined by up to 90% in the last 50 years.

Semporna, on east coast of Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo, is home to over 83 islands, including the world famous dive destinations of Sipadan and Mabul. The Semporna Sea is home to many species of shark, including the extremely rare and elusive Borneo shark, several species of hammerhead shark, and the largest fish in the sea, the graceful whale shark.

In Sabah and Semporna many species of shark are encountered on a daily basis and we are one of the lucky places that can still claim to have relatively healthy shark populations. In order to keep the population this way, local people are proposing to create a shark sanctuary off the coast of Semporna, whereby all species of sharks, rays, and mobulas will be protected from any type of fishing. Additionally, it is proposed that any transportation, transshipment, or landing of these important species will also be prohibited.

The proposal to protect sharks in Semporna is run by Sabah based NGO, Borneo Conservancy and is supported by members of the local community and the tourism industry. It is hoped that within the next 3-4 weeks this proposal will be presented to the state government. Together with the proposal we hope to present the Sabah government with a petition of as many supporters of this sanctuary as possible to show that there is great international interest for such a shark sanctuary. It is crucial that the Semporna Shark Sanctuary get the support of people like you from around the world as it will help show that dive tourism can be a successful and sustainable economic driver for the local community.

By signing the petition in support of protecting Semporna’s sharks you are not only signing for the future of these incredible creatures for future generations, but securing the health of one of the most bio-diverse marine eco systems in the world and the future economy for the thousands of people who make a daily living from ecotourism in the area.

Become a fan of Semporna Shark Sanctuary Facebook and sign their petition to show your support.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cayman Islands Seeing Fewer Sharks

International marine scientists working in the Cayman Islands over the last few years studying local populations of mega marine fauna, in particular sharks and rays, have found far fewer species of sharks in local waters than they would have expected. Dr Mauvis Gore revealed that although researchers have counted sixteen different types of sharks and rays the scientists had expected to see more than a dozen other species in Cayman. Speaking at a special presentation hosted by the department of the environment, summarising their work the scientists said there was a strong case for Cayman to introduce protection for sharks in local waters.

Dr Gore explained that shark populations are under tremendous pressure all over the world as a result of fishing driven by the fin and other shark product trades as well as for the flesh. Up to 73 million sharks are caught every year which is why “populations are collapsing” and at least 20 of the 360 species worldwide face extinction in the next five years. She explained that the loss of sharks threaten ocean eco-systems as these top predators help maintain healthy reefs.

With no protection against shark fishing in Cayman it is not known how many are killed in local waters each year. “We just don’t have that information,” she added.

Pointing to a history of shark fishing and export from 1935 the doctor said this had an impact on the local populations. “Sharks mature late and have very few young so they are vulnerable to fishing,” Dr Gore added as she pointed to the modest numbers of sharks and species in Cayman waters. (See list of those found right in white while scientists also expected to see the species listed in yellow)

Over the last three years the experts have not only been counting sharks but have also tagged some to track the movements of the various species and they found that larger species such as tiger sharks or oceanic white tips are covering considerable ground. This means that any fishing ban or sanctuary that Cayman establishes to try and save its sharks will require the co-operation of other countries in the region. Around the Caribbean so far Mexico, Honduras, the Bahamas and Florida have introduced bans on all or some species of shark fishing.

Although the tracking has helped the scientists learn more about the sharks their failure to even find key species in the area to tag such as hammerheads has limited the research but so far the scientists are able to conclude that Cayman has only a modest number of sharks and a lower than expected variety of species. She also warned that because the sharks do not remain in the country’s marine parks. Dr Gore said the scarcity of hammerheads was a concern given that in the 1970s it was possible to sea schools of this type of shark in local waters. “People think I’m mad when I say this,” she said, given the current scarcity of the species here.

Professor Rupert Ormond explained the studies that have been undertaken to demonstrate the economic value of sharks in the ocean versus being fished. He said that the consumptive value of sharks was around $1.6million a year while the tourism value when they are protected was as much as $60million.

Researchers found around half of the fishermen in Cayman said they rarely or never fish sharks and few admitted to actually deliberately fishing them as most said they caught sharks by accident. Dr Ormond noted however with the lower than expected count there was a strong case for the Cayman Islands to introduce some form of sanctuary or protection and to try and work with neighbouring countries to introduce wider regional protections. He pointed out that mega marine fauna can bring in significant tourist dollars as there is enormous interest among visitors for swimming and diving among local shark species.

Given the important of economics when it comes to persuading people to act to save species he said the case for the tourism dollar that could be generated from people willing to pay to see and swim with sharks and other mega marine fauna was persuasive. But Ormond also noted that a strong population of sharks denotes a healthy reefs and general marine and beach environments that are important to all visitors and residents alike.

Mark Scotland the environment minister referred to the revelations by the scientists as “eye opening” when he spoke part way through the presentations stating that he was looking forward to hearing the recommendations of the scientists.

The shark research is a major collaborative research project coordinated by the DoE between the Save Our Seas Foundation, Marine Conservation International and part funded by the UK’s Overseas Territory Environment Programme (OTEP) it has also been supported by local artist Guy Harvey and his foundation. More recently local beer makers, Caybrew, stepped in to offer financial help from the sales of their award winning beer named for the oceanic white tip. The brewery handed over a check for over $3300 to the DoE, at the event, after collecting 5 cents on every can of White Tip sold since the new beer was launched in the summer.

Published by the Cayman News Service on Friday, January 6, 2011.

Monday, January 9, 2012

100,000 Pledges NOT to eat shark fin soup on Chinese New Year

Lunar New Year is January 23, 2012. Can we get 100,000 Facebook users to pledge to NOT eat shark fin soup on Chinese New Year? Follow the link, say you'll attend, and then please invite, invite, invite all of your Facebook friends to attend, too!

P.S. The first person to correctly state where this dragon was photographed wins a copy of Sharkwater and an autographed photo of Rob Stewart.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Top 10 Chuck Norris Shark Facts

In an attempt to generate broader interest in sharks, Shark Defenders is going to create a series of Top 10 Lists for Sharks. These lists will be informative and well-researched and will hopefully bring more people into our cause. Our first Top 10 List, however, is nothing of the sort. Inspired by the world famous Chuck Norris Facts, here are the Top 10 Chuck Norris Shark Facts, in no particular order:
1. Sharks have a week dedicated to Chuck Norris.

2. Sharks are apex predators only because Chuck Norris doesn’t hunt sharks.

3. Most fish in the sea evolved in response to predation from sharks. Sharks evolved in response to Chuck Norris.

4. There are over 400 species of shark because Chuck Norris wants it that way.

5. It took 400 million years for sharks to develop 7 senses. Chuck Norris gave sharks a well-developed sense of fear the first time he went swimming.

6. When sharks encounter Chuck Norris they are taught to remain calm and slowly swim away.

7. Chuck Norris was originally cast as the lead in Jaws, but producers wanted the film to be longer than 2 minutes.

8. Chuck Norris’ beard is revered in many indigenous shark cultures.

9. Sharks are most active at dusk because that is when Chuck Norris calls his mother.

10. Sharks can smell one drop of Chuck Norris from a mile away, but by then it is often too late.
Feel free to leave more "facts" in the comments of this blog or on our Facebook Page. And we're looking for suggestions on our next Top 10 lists, so feel free to make them.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top 10 in 2012

Shark Defenders is working on a few Top 10 lists for sharks and we need your help. Can you nominate 'Best of' in the following categories:

Top 10 Places to Dive with Sharks
Top 10 Conservation Organizations Protecting Sharks
Top 10 Individuals Protecting Sharks

You can leave your suggestions in the comments of this blog or on our Facebook page. You can also email if you prefer at info @ sharkdefenders dot com.

We've asked for help on our Facebook page, too. As soon as we reach 100 likes and 20 comments in each of the categories, we will post our First Top 10 List of 2012. It promises to have a lot of punch.

Educating the Chinese Masses

Last year, several of our supporters donated photos to Humane Society International for use in a photo exhibit in Beijing, China:
Humane Society International and the Jane Goodall Institute China's Roots & Shoots Beijing program have teamed up with the Beijing Zoo to promote shark protection with a photo exhibit that showcases these magnificent creatures.

A wide range of Chinese animal welfare and conservation groups, media professionals, businesses and students joined HSI and JGI China representatives at a press conference held at the Zoo to launch the exhibit and to enlist public support for shark protection.
The BBC covered the exhibit in an article back in September:
The Jane Goodall Institute has had an exhibition of gory photographs at Beijing Zoo, next to the tropical bird house.

It showed sharks swimming majestically through the water alongside graphic pictures of fishermen cutting off their fins.

The aim was to remind people of the cost paid by sharks for a bowl of soup, which can sell for $100 (£64) each.

"There is this myth in China that sharks will regenerate their fins, but that's not true. They actually die a very slow, painful and cruel death," said Lei Chen Wong, the institute's executive director in China.

The photographs had an impact on some of the people at the exhibition.

"I was very moved by that particular photo," said Li Zhongwen, pointing to a picture showing a row of dead sharks, minus their fins.

"People really are the cruellest (sic) animals," added the 20-year-old student.
Thanks to all of you for continuing to support our efforts around the world (only in today's world could supporters in French Polynesia, Honduras, and England donate photos for an exhibit in China!) and Congrats to HSI and the Jane Goodall Institute for a successful outreach event.

Several Shark Defenders donated photos for this exhibit including Joe Daniels, Israel Sánchez Alcántara, Rodolph Holler, and Enrico Nanni. You can learn how to donate high-quality, royalty-free photos to support our advocacy efforts on the Shark Defenders blog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shark Sanctuaries Flying High This Month

Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines, has a feature on the six shark sanctuaries created in the last three years.  This cool graphic was designed by Tim Vienckowski.

2011 was a banner year for shark conservation (see what WhySharksMatter, DaShark, and OfficetoOcean had to say about the year in sharks).  2012 is looking just as promising.  We'll keep you informed and ask you to take the Shark Defenders pledge.  We hope to have some fun along the way, too.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Join Shark Defenders on Klout.com

Just read about a new social network on a CNN article about the American Presidential Election. Klout.com ranks your social network connections and assigns you a score on a scale of 1 to 100. The website also tells you who you influence and who influences you. Pretty cool. Still not really sure how it works, but it looks like fun. You can find our profile here.
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