Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 Questions With Shark Stanley: Dr. Carl Safina

Carl Safina and Shark Stanley
Every week we profile an established shark champion or an up and coming ocean hero.  This week we were privileged to talk to Dr. Carl Safina, arguably the world's best science communicator.

Dr. Carl Safina is founding president of the Safina Center. Audubon magazine named him among the leading 100 conservationists of the 20th Century. His award-winning books include Song for the Blue Ocean and Voyage of the Turtle, and he’s been profiled by the New York Times, Nightline, and Bill Moyers. His awards include a Pew Fellowship, the John Burroughs Medal, Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Prize, among others.

We ask each of our ambassadors the same set of questions and they always have unique, inspiring perspectives.  Here is what Dr. Safina had to say:

Why are sharks important to you?
They don’t have to be important to me. They have been here for millions of years. With them, the world works. They help maintain the stability of natural communities in which they live. Personally I find them beautiful, exciting, and fascinating.

How are we going to save the world’s sharks? 
Leave them alone! They’ll know what to do. Honor their presence as right, because they belong in the world.

How are you working to protect sharks? 
I’ve helped work on restrictions to catches, bans on cutting off their fins, and wider appreciation. I like to fish for sharks but I don’t kill them. Sometimes I just like watching them from the boat or diving with them.

Lots of people look up to you, who are your conservation heroes? 
Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, and David Brower

What advice would you give to young conservationists?
Love nature, enjoy nature, get outside, find the right balance between enjoyment of nature and work to protect it, don’t get discouraged by small slow steps; that’s how it goes. But we have made lots of progress.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Shark Stanley and Dr. Sylvia Earle

Check out our launch in China with Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Pew Environment and National Geographic! You can learn more about the campaign and download the new Adventures of Shark Stanley & Friends children's book for free at www.sharkstanley.com

Posted by Shark Stanley on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Shark Stanley Ambassador Dr. Sylvia Earle was in China earlier this month to help us launch our campaign. She teamed up with The Pew Charitable Trusts and National Geographic to read the version of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends that we made especially for China and Hong Kong to a group of students. To find out more about our campaign, visit us at www.SharkStanley.com, or follow the #SharkStanley hashtag on social media.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Save Thresher Tala!

Guest Blog
by Leah Meth

Meet Thresher Tala – Shark Stanley’s feisty friend from the Philippines! She’s the star of the #SaveThresherTala project, which is being led by our Shark Stanley Youth Ambassador Anna Oposa, her organization Save Philippine Seas, and a coalition of conservationists and dive shops across the country.

This is part of the larger Shark Stanley campaign – a global effort to mobilize grassroots support for shark conservation, tackling the issue from three key angles: supply, trade, and demand. The campaign is all about connecting young people around the world and bringing our collective voice to decision makers, with each of us – and each of our countries – having a unique role to play. In some places, we can advocate for shark sanctuaries and protection in our home waters; for others, we can help to reduce consumption and sale of sharks and shark products.  For others still, we can look to global agreements like CITES and CMS to make sure that trade and catch is sustainable. Working together, we can make a difference.


With that, we want to share some of the amazing things happening in the Philippines, where Tala is bringing some much needed attention to the need for thresher shark protections.

Threshers are large, migratory oceanic and coastal sharks found across the world’s oceans. All are slow to grow and reproduce, meaning, like many sharks, that they’re vulnerable to overexploitation. All three species – the bigeye, common, and pelagic thresher – are assessed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, with population declines of over 80% in much of their historical range. This is in part because of the global shark fin trade.


In the Philippines, thresher sharks are incredibly important to the economy. Monad Shoal, a coastal seamount in Cebu, is the only place in the world where scuba divers can see the rare pelagic thresher shark almost every day, fueling a growing tourism and scuba diving industry that supports the local economy.  People come from all over the world to see them. Threshers can also be seen in the waters of southern Cebu (Moalboal), Siargao, Bicol, and Batangas. Threshers, like all sharks, also play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy because of their role in the food web as a top predator. However, they still remain unprotected by national law, which means they can still be fished and exported. As Anna Oposa says, “These are some of the many reasons why the Philippines should take the lead in protecting thresher sharks at home and globally.”


Save Philippine Seas is leading the movement with the #SaveThresherTala Campaign, calling upon the government to protect sharks nationally and to take the lead on protecting them internationally.  Specifically, they are calling on the government to (1) pass the Fisheries Administrative Order to protect thresher sharks in the Philippines and (2) propose the listing of all three species of threshers in CITES Appendix II by the end of 2015.

The campaign is like all of our other Shark Stanley campaigns.  You cut out the character, take a photo, and post it to social media using the hashtags #SharkStanley and #SaveThresherTala.

Each photo represents a signature on a unique petition that will be delivered on World Oceans Day on June 8th, 2015. Hundreds of kabayans have already shown their support and taken their photo.

Save Philippine Seas is also recruiting official “Fintastic Friends” to help the movement.  Want to learn more?  You can contact Anna at info[at]savephilippineseas[dot]org! You can also catch Tala and friends in person over the next few months at events across the country.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Youth Ambassador Profile: Dahlia Hassell

Dahlia and Shark Stanley go for a swim
As Shark Stanley circles the globe he comes across young people who are working to save sharks. These Youth Ambassadors inspire the rest of us, old and young alike, to take action to make changes in our own backyards.

Dahlia Hassell was raised on the small Dutch Caribbean island of Saba. From childhood, she participated in the after school environmental awareness programs of the Saba Conservation Foundation, where she developed her passion for protecting nature. In college, she majored in Biology and then returned to Saba to work as a Saba Bank Park Officer where she continues to help preserve the underwater environment.

All of the Youth Ambassadors are asked the same set of four questions. Here's what Dahlia had to say:

When and how did you first become interested in sharks?
I first became interested in sharks when the Saba Conservation team and I saved a baby nurse shark from a ghost trap. After that, I was hooked on learning more about sharks!

How are you working to help save the world’s sharks?
Through education in the primary and secondary schools, I am able to teach the children that sharks are not killing machines, and are desperately needed in our waters.

Who are your conservation heroes?
Susan Hurrell, Past Education Officer at the Saba Conservation Foundation; Lynn Costenaro, Founder of Sea & Learn in Saba; and Dr. Sylvia Earle.

How would you suggest other people get involved in the protection of sharks?
-Help spread awareness of the preservation of sharks through social media, education, and personal conversations.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shark Stanley promotes global shark awareness in Turks & Caicos

Shark Defender Tina Randall with Shark Stanley and some students in the Turks & Caicos Islands
Local environmental advocates are working with animated sea character Shark Stanley to reach out to schools and businesses to increase awareness of shark conservation.

Shark Stanley is the face of the global shark awareness campaign dedicated to creating shark sanctuaries and supporting the proper management of sharks and rays.

Stanley has been busy visiting schools and appearing at community events to take ‘selfies’ with children and adults.

The character has been to the Oseta Jolly Primary School, Edward Gartland Youth Centre, and others educating why sharks are important to TCI and why people should care about their conservation.

Shark Stanley is the face of the global shark awareness campaign dedicated to creating shark sanctuaries and supporting the proper management of sharks and rays.

To learn more about Stanley and his cause, people can visit sharkstanley.com or the Facebook page Caribbean Shark Defenders.

To date, ten other countries and oversea territories have stepped up for sharks and created permanent protection.

Source: TC Weekly News

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sharks4Kids Event Celebrates Bahamas Launch of Shark Stanley


Shark Stanley, the friendly cartoon hammerhead shark, landed in Bimini on April 16 at Gateway Christian Academy for the official Bahamas launch of the children’s book The Adventures of Shark Stanley & Friends. Shark Stanley is a global ambassador for shark conservation and the main character in the science-based children’s book.

In conjunction with the Florida based global nonprofit Sharks4Kids, the Shark Stanley launch event included a shark lesson for the students, as well as a reading of the book to mark the official Bahamas launch of the Shark Stanley campaign. Sharks4Kids founders Jillian Morris and Duncan Brake taught the kids about sharks, specifically how scientists learn about them and why they are critically important for not only the Bahamas, but the oceans of the world.

The book, which was created in partnership with the United States-based The Pew Charitable Trusts, uses scientific and economic research about the importance of sharks to marine ecosystems, tourism, and food security in a format that is fun and accessible to young people. The accompanying social media campaign involves taking photos while holding a cutout of Shark Stanley or one of his 17 shark species friends and posting the pictures to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #SharkStanley, linking a global network of conservation-minded youth.


“We were thrilled to work with students in Bimini, home to some of the most amazing shark diving in the world,” said Sharks4Kids co-founder Jillian Morris. “We really want the students to be excited about what’s in their own backyard and also take pride in their country’s shark sanctuary. The islands of Bimini are very small, but with the shark sanctuary, shark eco-tourism and the Bimini Biological Field Station, they are really setting a global standard for protecting sharks!”

The goal of Sharks4Kids is to create the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure. The website provides students and teachers access to a dynamic range of educational materials and experiences. Curriculum, games and activities allow teachers to integrate shark education into their science programs on an introductory, intermediate or advanced level. Students can access games, activities and info sheets to satisfy their own curiosity about sharks. Classroom visits, student snorkeling trips and shark-tagging expeditions also provide hands-on experiences in the world of shark science and conservation. Sharks4Kids believes kids can make a difference and their goal is to inspire and empower them to do so.

“Sharks are in trouble in nearly every corner of the planet and the Shark Stanley campaign is an opportunity to educate the world’s youth about the plight of sharks and their importance to the oceans,” said Leah Meth, co-author of The Adventures of Shark Stanley & Friends. “Shark Stanley unites the youth of the world and we’re so thrilled to see his conservation message arrive in the Bahamas.”


Approximately 100 hundred million sharks are killed annually in commercial fisheries and scientific research shows that 30 percent of known shark species assessed by scientists are threatened with extinction. Continued declines in shark populations jeopardize the important role sharks play maintaining the health of the entire ocean. Many species of sharks are top predators, and they regulate the variety and abundance of species in the food web, including commercially important fish species. Sharks also help to maintain healthy marine habitats, such as coral reefs. Additionally, sharks are a favorite species for many SCUBA divers to see, making their presence equally critical to the tourism industry. The Bahamas proved to be a leader in shark conservation in the Caribbean by passing legislation that designated the country’s full EEZ a shark sanctuary in 2011.

The Bimini event on April 16 is one of 10 global Shark Stanley launches happening all over the world during the month of April, including events in Grenada, China, Fiji, Samoa, Canada, the United States, Turks and Caicos Islands, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Palau Marine Sanctuary Gaining Momentum


We've been following the Palau news closely for news of the operator that took the shark selfies (found this story in Tia Belau) and found that there are other great environmental initiatives taking place besides sharks.

The proposal for a fully protected marine reserve in Palau is moving closer to reality. The Island Times, a local newspaper, reports that there is near unanimous support with the country's 16 popularly elected governors.
15 Of 16 Governors Support Palau Marine Sanctuary
‘Immediate action needed to address declining fish stocks’

Fifteen of sixteen governors in this island nation are backing the plan to create a National Marine Sanctuary.

In their letter to President Remengesau dated January 26, 2015, the governors said the proposed marine sanctuary will be good for the people of Palau and all sixteen states.

The letter was signed by Governors Temmy Shmull of Peleliu, Leilani Reklai of Aimeliik, Browny Salvador of Ngarchelong, Jeffrey Titiml of Kayangel, Aloysius Tellei of Melekeok, Ellender Ngirameketii of Ngiwal, Duane Hideo of Ngchesar, Wilson Ongos of Ngaremlengui, Renguul Masahiro of Ngardmau, Tmewang Rengulbai of Airai, Isaac Bai of Ngaraard, Jersey Iyar of Ngatpang, Marvin Ngirutang of Angaur, and Thomas Patris of Hatohobei.

Then Governor Jacob Yangilmau of Sonsorol also signed the letter. Yangilmau, who resigned from office in February of this year, was replaced by Lieutenant Governor Damien Albis, who is believed to be supportive of the sanctuary plan.

“He is hedging,” said a person with intimate knowledge of the issue. Island Times was not able to get Adachi’s reason for opposing such initiative as of press time.

The Governors said in their letter noted the acute problem of dwindling fish resources.

“There is no doubt that over the years we have seen fewer and fewer fish in our state waters. At the same time we have seen an increase in fish prices at the local fish markets. This has forced our people to rely on imported and less healthy foods that are cheaper to feed their families with. The preservation of our culture and our health required that we take steps to increase our fish stocks and thereby lower prices of fish for our citizens,” they stated.

The Governors said immediate action is needed to address declining fish stocks.

“While we understand that the Sanctuary does not cover our state waters, we do believe that the health of the Ocean in our state waters is being threatened. Moreover, our traditions taught us that we must respect the Ocean and take action to temporarily stop fishing if there are signs that fish stocks are under threat. Clearly our fish stocks are under threat,” they added.

“The Marine Sanctuary will therefore help replenish our Oceans while making more fish available for locals. It makes sense both environmentally and economically. Moreover, under new legislation funding to the states will not be reduced; in fact under existing treaties and through enhanced tourism like catch and release fishing, our state revenues could actually increase. Therefore, we collectively express our unconditional support to the proposed Marine Sanctuary legislation pending in the National Congress,” they further stated.

The proposal on the National Marine Sanctuary put forward by President Remengesau includes a complete prohibition on purse seine fishing that covers 100 percent of the EEZ; a no-take Marine Sanctuary that covers over 80 percent of the Palau EEZ; a highly regulated Fishing Zone that covers approximately 20 percent of the EEZ that will provide for only Palau’s domestic fishing needs; and a prohibition on commercial fish exports.

The proposal to create a Palau National Marine Sanctuary has been introduced and pending in the Senate as Senate Bill No. 9-30.

The plan is also backed by the Palau Chamber of Commerce, Council of Chiefs, state legislatures, Belau Boaters Association, Palau Sports Fishing Association, Northern Reef Fisheries Alliance, Ocean Elders (comprised of many prominent international figures like Queen Noor of Jordan, Prince Albert of Monaco, CNN founder Ted Turner and others), National Geographic, RMI President Christopher Loeak, and many others.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Revolution



Shark Stanley Ambassador Rob Stewart's new movie Revolution is being released online on Earth Day, April 22. You can get more details on his website therevolutionmovie.com. When you watch the film, keep an eye out for the prettiest little island in the entire world: Saipan. In 2011, school children from Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands rallied to protect sharks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Questions With Shark Stanley: Sylvia Earle

Dr. Sylvia Earle and Shark Stanley in China.
One name gets mentioned more than all others when we ask people to name their ocean heroes: Sylvia Earle.  She is our newest Shark Ambassador

Sylvia Earle, called "Her Deepness" by the New Yorker and the New York Times, "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and "Hero for the Planet" by Time, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.

Earle's work has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. Earle has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide involving more than 6,000 hours underwater. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface. In 1979, Sylvia Earle walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other woman before or since. In the 1980s she started the companies Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies with engineer Graham Hawkes to design and build undersea vehicles that allow scientists to work at previously inaccessible depths. In the early 1990s, Dr. Earle served as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. At present she is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.

Dr. Earle reading The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends to students in China
Sylvia Earle is a dedicated advocate for the world's oceans and the creatures that live in them. Her voice speaks with wonder and amazement at the glory of the oceans and with urgency to awaken the public from its ignorance about the role the oceans plays in all of our lives and the importance of maintaining their health.

We ask our Shark Ambassadors the same set of five questions. Here's what Dr. Earle had to say:

Why are sharks important to you?
Sharks are important to the health of the ocean. Healthy oceans are important for people. If the ocean is in trouble, we are in trouble. If sharks are in trouble, we are in trouble. Taking care of sharks means taking care of the ocean and taking care of us.

How are we going to save the world’s sharks?
The best way is to stop killing them. The next important step is to protect the ocean, where sharks live. There is more than one way to kill a shark – poison with pollution, take their food, destroy their habitat. The most important thing people must know is why sharks matter and to take action individually and together to respect them, stop killing them, and protect the ocean from harm.

How are you working to protect sharks?
I speak for sharks to fellow scientists, the general public, and anyone and everyone to inspire them to know to care about sharks. I continue to explore the ocean to observe what’s happening as a witness. If people know about sharks, they might care. They can’t care if they don’t know. I do what I can to convey the importance of sharks wherever and however I can.

Lots of people look up to you, who are your conservation heroes?
My heroes range from children who are doing what they can to influence the people around them to care for sharks, the ocean, and the natural world. Also, teachers, artists, musicians, scientists, business leaders, and politicians who individually and together use their power to take care of nature and work to make the world a better place.

What advice would you give to young scientists?
Be glad you are an aspiring scientist early in the 21st century armed with the opportunities that didn’t exist any time in the past. Never before could we know the importance of understanding the natural world and our place in it. Never again will there be a better time to use the power of knowing to ensure the enduring future of human kind. 90% of the ocean has never been seen by anyone. There are mysteries to be solved everywhere. The greatest era of exploration has just begun and you can be a part of it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bad Korean Tourist

There are photos circulating on the Internet today of a young Korean girl in Palau holding a shark.  She posted the photos to her Instagram profile (which has since been deleted).  We're reposting the photos here so that the authorities in Palau can investigate.

The photo getting the most attention shows her holding a juvenile grey reef shark out of the water.  I think that's her dive master or boat captain on the right.  Anyone know his name?


A few minutes later she posted a second photo holding the shark.  Palau is a shark sanctuary and it is illegal to fish for sharks.  If you accidentally catch a shark, it should be released while still in the water, not brought on board for selfies.


They were also collecting giant clams.  I don't think that's Tridacna gigas, but is this legal for tourists to do in the Rock Islands?


So can you help?  Here's a photo she posted of her dive boat.  Can you help identify which shop this is?  I hope that the authorities can go pay them a visit and remind them not to harass sharks.



UPDATE:

The Palauan authorities are investigating the tour operator. We will follow the story and post updates.

Also, there has been much discussion on social media about how the shark was caught accidentally.  The catching of the shark was not illegal; the law was broken when the shark was brought on board the vessel.

The Palau Shark Sanctuary law reads:
(i)f any shark is inadvertently caught or captured, it shall be immediately released, whether dead or alive; if the shark is caught or captured alive, it shall be released in the manner that affords it the greatest opportunity for survival.
The law continues:
to possess, receive, sell, transfer, store, have on board, or transship any shark, or any part of any shark. For the purpose of this subsection, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that if any shark, or any part of a shark, is found aboard a vessel the shark, or shark part, was possessed or transferred in violation of this subsection.
The criminal penalties for violating this law are "punishable by a fine of not more than $250,000."

The dive shop should be worried because the authorities in Palau are known to enforce their laws.  Just last month they handed out a $100,000 fine to a vessel that was illegally fishing in Palauan waters and found with 304 sharks aboard their vessel.  In neighboring Saipan, a dive master was recently jailed for six months after he posted a photo to Facebook of an eagle ray he killed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Shark Stanley News From Grenada


Nearly 350 Grenadians showed up for the global launch of Shark Stanley last Thursday. The day's events were reported on by local media Community Channel 6. Here's the video:

international organization on a drive to preserve the lives of sharks

A global organization is in Grenada on a drive to protect sharks, which they say are being killed for commercial reasons, and the group recently staged a shark Stanley launch campaign in the Isle of Spice.

Posted by CC6 on Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shark Stanley is Live!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BOOK AND CHARACTER CUTOUTS
We are in St. Georges, Grenada today to launch the next chapter of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends!  Won't you help us spread the word to create shark sanctuaries around the world?

You can start by visiting out instructions page and then share our Healthy Reefs Need Sharks Youtube video with Richard Branson.  Thanks for your help!  To get you started, here are the books and 18 characters:

Books
English | Mandarin | Cantonese | Dutch | Papiamento | Spanish | French

Cutouts
Hammerhead | Oceanic Whitetip | Manta | Spotted Eagle Ray | Porbeagle | Mako | Thresher | Silky | Great White | Whale | Basking | Blacktip Reef | Caribbean Reef | Nurse | Tiger | Lemon | Blue | Grey Reef

Grenada Event Kicks off Global “Shark Stanley” Campaign and Celebrates Grenada National Learn to Swim Week

On April 9 from 3:30-5:30 pm, St. George’s Youth Center in St. George's, Grenada will serve as the site for the global launch of the “Shark Stanley” campaign. Shark Stanley—a friendly cartoon hammerhead—is the global ambassador for shark conservation. He’s the star of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends, a science-based children’s book, as well as its accompanying social media campaign.

In conjunction with Grenada National Learn to Swim Week, the event will welcome participating children from across Grenada to mark the official global launch of the Shark Stanley campaign, while celebrating swimming education and marine conservation. The event will feature fun activities for kids including face-painting, music, temporary shark tattoos, and a bouncy castle, as well as a reading of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends by author, Leah Meth.

The book uses scientific and economic research about the importance of sharks to the marine ecosystem, tourism, and food security in a format that is fun and accessible to young people. The accompanying social media campaign involves taking photos holding a cutout of Shark Stanley or one of his seventeen shark species friends and posting them to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #SharkStanley, linking a global network of conservation-minded youth.

“It is incredibly exciting that our island is serving as the global launch site for the Shark Stanley campaign,” said Krisma Moore, Grenadian marine biologist and graduate of the St. George’s University. “Shark Stanley’s educational message is so important for helping Grenada’s youth understand the importance of marine conservation and we’re so proud to link this message with the good work of Grenada National Learn to Swim Week.”

One hundred million sharks are killed annually in commercial fisheries. Scientific research has demonstrated that thirty percent of known shark species assessed by scientists are threatened with extinction. `Sharks play an important role in maintaining the health of the entire ocean. Many species of sharks are top predators, and they regulate the variety and abundance of species in the food web, including commercially important fish species. Sharks also help to maintain healthy marine habitats, such as coral reefs. Sharks are one of the top species that SCUBA divers want to see, thus their presence is critical to the tourism industry.

Thursday’s event is first of 10 global Shark Stanley launches happening all over the world including events in China, The Bahamas, Fiji, Samoa, Canada, the United States, Turks and Caicos Islands, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 Questions With Shark Stanley: Rob Stewart

Rob Stewart and Shark Stanley
As we prepare for the global launch of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends tomorrow, I thought I'd introduce you to our next Shark Ambassador, Rob Stewart.  Do we really need to introduce who he is?  You're reading a shark blog right now.  Everyone in the shark world knows Rob, right?

Rob Stewart is an award winning wildlife photographer, filmmaker, conservationist and educator from Canada. Rob studied biology and photography at schools in Jamaica, Kenya, Ontario and New York. Stewart produced, directed and starred in the award-winning film, Sharkwater. His photography and cinematography has appeared in media around the world including BBC Wildlife, Discovery Channel, ABC, Asian Diver, and Entertainment Tonight.

We've had to good fortune to work with Rob for several years now.  He was instrumental in passing the shark fin trade bans in Saipan and Guam and is now helping out in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

We ask our Shark Ambassadors the same set of five questions.  Here's what Rob had to say:

Why are sharks important to you?
Sharks are important to me because as a child they fascinated me. They were like dragons but they were real. As I learned more about them, I understood their significance to life on earth, and to our survival as a species. They're part of the framework for life in the oceans, upon which we depend on for survival.

How are we going to save the world’s sharks?
Education is paramount. When people understand a problem, their morals and feelings engage, they make better decisions and hold their friends and families accountable for the same decisions. Once people understand the problem, some of those will take on the challenge of doing something about it in a bigger way - getting shark fin banned, creating shark sanctuaries, and working on decreasing the demand for shark products.

How are you working to protect sharks?
I'm trying to empower humanity to be the best it can be to tackle this challenge, and others threatening our world. I work with an open source conservation campaign called Fin Free - that provides tools to any group or individual working on shark fin bans; I'm on the boards of a few great shark conservation charities, and try to use my media to bolster any shark conservation campaign that could use it.

Lots of people look up to you, who are your conservation heroes?
Martin Luther King Jr, David Suzuki, Paul Watson, Bob Marley, and Fela Kuti.

What advice would you give to young filmmakers?
Take the first step, don't be afraid. Lean in. By working for good, for life, or for conservation, your task will call out the best in you. There has never been a better time to be a filmmaker or conservationist and the world has never needed you more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Healthy Reefs Need Sharks


The global Shark Stanley campaign to create shark sanctuaries in islands around the world kicks off on Thursday. Want to join us? Download a Shark Stanley cutout, take your photo with him, and upload it to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #SharkStanley.

Need inspiration? Here are 10 tips for taking great Shark Stanley photos.

Or, you can just do like Richard Branson:

Discussing shark conservation in the Caribbean

A photo posted by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on


Stay tuned for updates from the global launch on Grenada on Thursday. Photos from regional launches around the world will follow in the upcoming days and weeks.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Shark Weekend Success

Guest Blog
by Tina Randall

When I watched Sharkwater while studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands five years ago I never thought meeting shark conservationist Rob Stewart, let alone diving with him would be a reality. Well last week during the Turks and Caicos first annual Shark Conservation Weekend #TCIShark crew slipped beneath the turquoise water with Rob and other influential shark conservationists.

It all started with the annual Turks and Caicos Reef fundraiser with an amazing turnout and over $10,000 earned for local reef conservation. Guests were greeted at the door with a hug from our 6-foot tall (and handsome) shark! Rob Stewart kicked off the night as the keynote speaker and everyone talked about sharks all night.

The next day was filled with school visits with  13 schools in attendance and over 400 children listening to Rob Stewart. There was a dancing shark, smiling faces, and questions galore! We couldn’t believe how much these kids already knew about sharks and how technical their questions were! Later that night our dancing shark got his groove on at the famous Island Fish Fry where he danced with Henry the Conch and was hugged by hundreds of tourists and locals. He was one sweaty shark!

Rob Stewart and Shark Stanley

Posted by Shark Defenders on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Friday was a treat when TCI shark crew went to Amanyara resort for a brunch where the future effort of shark protection was discussed. Then the shark crew whisked away to dive with Big Blue Unlimited and the Reef Action Team of British West Collegiate. The kids were ecstatic to dive with Rob and they even saw two sharks!

Saturday night was the biggest success of all. Over 250 people from the community came to discuss shark conservation with Rob and attend the public screening of his award winning film Sharkwater. Jackie Walker from Amanyara’s Nature Discovery Centre held a poster competition on why sharks are important to the marine ecosystem and how we need to protect them. Many local schools participated and one school alone had 63 entries! There were sharks posters everywhere and the top two winners of each school came on stage to receive their hard earned shark goodies!



Shark conservation weekend was wrapped up with a hop over to Grand Turk for a public screening of Rob’s film. The national museum’s theatre was full of interested folks who wanted to learn about what they can do to protect sharks.



TCI’s first  Shark Conservation Weekend was proudly sponsored and supported by Pew Charitable Trusts, Amanyara, the Department of Environmental & Maritime Affairs (DEMA), Big Blue Unlimited, TC Reef Fund and the Wine Cellar. TCI Government has taken the first steps towards shark protections by banning export of all shark products! There are more shark conservation in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Shark Stanley’s snapshots on Facebook!

Tina Randall lives in the Turks & Caicos Islands and has a BSc. Environmental Biology. She is TCI's Shark Stanley Ambassador. You can follow her adventures saving sharks in the Caribbean on Twitter.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sharks Demystified

Sharks Demystified from Chizzilala on Vimeo.

Sharks Demystified is film produced by Chizzilala for the Saba Conservation Foundation, STENAPA, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and the the DCNA. Short documentary program about how sharks are perceived on the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten. The film will be broadcast on the local cable channels of those 3 islands.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Shark Stanley Visits SXM

Shark Stanley Visits SXM

Shark Stanley visits the beaches of St. Maarten.

Posted by Shark Defenders on Wednesday, April 1, 2015
We just spent a week in the Dutch Caribbean meeting with the government and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance to discuss shark conservation in the islands. During a break I took Shark Stanley to Maho Beach in St. Maarten to watch the airplanes land at Princess Juliana International Airport. There will be lots of exciting news and conservation coming out of these islands in the coming months, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Youth Ambassador Profile: Anna Oposa

Anna Oposa and Waqi Whitetip
As Shark Stanley circles the globe he comes across young people who are working to save sharks.  These Youth Ambassadors inspire the rest of us, old and young alike, to take action to make changes in our own backyards.

Our first Youth Ambassador is Anna Oposa, the co-founder and "Chief Mermaid" of Save Philippine Seas. She's the Project Director and Founder of the Shark Shelter Project, which aims to protect thresher sharks and other coastal and marine resources of Daanbantayan, Cebu, and the Sea and Earth Advocates Camp, a project to empower young Filipinos to play leadership roles in marine conservation. Anna is currently taking her MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London through the Chevening scholarship.

All of the Youth Ambassadors are asked the same set of four questions.  Here's what Anna had to say:

When and how did you first become interested in sharks?
I've always been fascinated by sharks because my brothers and my dad - who all became scuba divers before I did - talked about them with such excitement. In 2010, I was a junior facilitator of an environmental youth program in Japan, and one of the participants was so passionate about sharks that I started reading more about it, then I got a bit obsessed. I knew I became extremely emotionally invested when I attended a business lunch and they served shark's fin soup, and I started crying! I couldn't help it! It was pretty embarrassing to cry in front of my bosses, but hey, they never ordered shark's fin soup in their business meetings and events again, so I guess it all turned out okay.

How are you working to help save the world’s sharks?
I founded the Shark Shelter Project in 2012 which is a multi-stakeholder, community-based initiative to protect sharks through empowerment, enforcement, and education. The dream is to have Daanbantayan's municipal waters to be declared as the first shark and ray reserve of the Philippines.

I've also written to restaurants to remove shark's fin soup from the menu, Manila Ocean Park to change their exhibit's name from Shark Attack to Shark Encounter, and proposed language for several bills to protect sharks on a national level. I give a lot of talks on environmental issues that highlight the need for shark conservation, and co-founded the first Shark Summit in the Philippines. We're also co-producing a documentary on shark conservation in the Philippines with the advocacy communications company called ChannelGood, due for release this year.

Who are your conservation heroes?
Locally it would be my dad, environmental lawyer Tony Oposa; AA Yaptinchay of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines; Dennis Bait-it of SharkLink; Golly Ramos of Oceana Philippines; and Vince Cinches of Greenpeace. Internationally, Sylvia Earle (I cried when I met her!), Enric Sala, and my course director at Imperial College, Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland.

How would you suggest other people get involved in the protection of sharks?
Everyone can play a role in protecting sharks through our daily habits, from not eating in restaurants that serve shark's fin soup, avoiding seafood that catches sharks as by-catch, choosing personal care products that don't harm the sea, reducing plastic wastes, and learning more about sharks!

You can follow Anna on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Successful Shark Weekend in Turks & Caicos


Shark Awareness Weekend in the Turks & Caicos Islands had drawn to a close and was a great success! Details and photos to follow!
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