During 2012 Shark Guardian has been based on Bunaken Island in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Brendon and Liz have been using this location as a base for Shark Guardian operations, activities and presentations while working in a dive resort at the same time. Throughout the year Brendon and Liz have been delighted to give the Shark Guardian presentation to hundreds of people passing through the resort every week. Every Friday was designated as ‘Shark Friday’! All the dive resort staff wear the Shark Guardian t-shirts in preparation for the amazing slide show later that evening. One of the goals during the presentation was to collect as many signatures as possible for the Project Aware ‘Give Sharks a fighting chance’ petition campaign to have more sharks internationally protected. Through these presentations we have collected over 600 signatures towards this campaign for the next CITES meeting with governments in 2013 supported by Project Aware.
A big win for Shark Guardian this year was the removal of shark fins from a shop inside the Jakarta International Airport departure hall. The shop called Crown Marine Products was for years selling shark fins and other related shark products. Given Indonesia’s reputation as a tourist destination and the quantity of divers that travel to Indonesia through Jakarta airport, we felt that it was a priority to have Crown Marine Products agree to remove shark fin products from their shop as soon as possible.
During our Shark Guardian presentations we shared this information to our audiences who volunteered to deliver a letter on behalf of themselves and Shark Guardian to the Crown Marine Products shop in the airport. The letter was informing the shop manager about the state of world shark populations, the shark finning practice, contaminants in shark fin products and also the damaging effect selling shark products had on the reputation and tourism of Indonesia. Our letter formed the basis of an online petition and Jakarta Animal Aid pushed for the removal of the shop also.
In October 2012 we received news and evidence that the Crown Marine Products shop in Jakarta airport now no longer sell any shark products. In November 2012 Shark Guardian made an inspection of the shop to confirm the news. This was a great day for sharks!
Brendon Sing and Elizabeth Ward (Founders of Shark Guardian) got married in South Africa on the 27th of November on a beautiful beach on Sodwana Bay. The first part of the trip took place in England where they were registered using special shark rings as a symbol of their love and passion for sharks, as well as for each other. This was followed by an ‘Underwater Odyssey’ dress up party with Brendon as Poseidon - King of the sea and Elizabeth as a beautiful Queen Mermaid. Then it was off to South Africa a week later for the beach wedding and to also do some amazing shark diving! Congratulations to Brendon & Elizabeth!