Your voice mattered again this week. On June 11th, 2012 Project AWARE Foundation together with Shark Advocates International, Humane Society International, and WildAid sent a letter to the United States Fish And Wildlife Service as part of a public comment process on potential U.S. proposals for listing sharks and other species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
We couldn’t be more inspired. Passionate diver, shark lover and competitive runner, Kendra Bolt, loves a challenge. This year, she’s combined her passions by establishing Project AWARE as a Charity Partner for the ING New York City Marathon in November 2012. Kendra will lead the Project AWARE team to train and raise funds for the ocean and we can’t wait to see them cross the finish line!
"I love sharks but the fight for their protection isn't just an emotional one. It's logical, it's empirical, and it's extremely important," says Bolt.
Sharks are in peril and the ability to buy and sell their fins and meat internationally is a big driver of shark over-exploitation. And regulation is sorely lacking for almost all trade in sharks which are sought for fins, meat, oil, teeth and cartilage.
Sharks, and other aquatic species, dominated the 5-day meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which ended last week in Geneva. I was there representing Project AWARE as an accredited observer NGO. And it was another great opportunity to voice our collective support for shark conservation and to connect with representatives of CITES Parties and NGOs on shark issues.
A colleague of ours, Mary Kaye Hester, recently wrote a story for the Undersea Journal, PADI’s professional membership magazine, about the prolific children’s author Dr. Seuss and his cautionary tale of The Lorax – now also a box office smash.
Project AWARE is pounding the pavement to make the ocean safer for some of the most overexploited sharks. We have less than a year to secure international trade protections for sharks at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CITES CoP16) to be held in March 2013, Thailand.
Recently, I delivered the AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course to a group of divers from Dive Centre Manly. For our dives we headed to Magic Point in south Sydney, a recognised grey nurse shark aggregation.
Overfishing. Finning. Endangered. These are all words that we should not have to associate with global shark species.
“Accumulating science tells us that sharks are critical components to healthy and thriving marine ecosystems,” says Roger McManus, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Project AWARE board member.
Only a tiny fraction of Atlantic sharks – under 1% – are under protection even though most shark species are heading towards extinction, a report warns on Tuesday.
Officials from 48 Atlantic fishing countries are meeting in Istanbul this week to try to protect bluefin tuna, swordfish and other large fish.
But existing conservation efforts are only saving a tiny proportion of sharks, the report from the Oceana conservation group said.
"It's just the tip of the iceberg, and there are a lot of shark species, many of them vulnerable species, that are still being caught and killed MORE