Scuba Divers Rally Worldwide for Sharks in Danger

The Big Shark Shout Out 15th to 23rd Oct

This October, Project AWARE Foundation, volunteer divers and shark supporters around the world are pulling out all the stops for sharks during the “Big Shark Shout Out”. Coinciding with Shark Alliance’s fifth annual European Shark Week and Project AWARE’s Give Sharks a Fighting Chance signature campaign – we’re calling on European Union (EU) fisheries ministers and parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to protect sharks from overexploitation.

What can you do during the Big Shark Shout Out? Help push for greater protections for vulnerable shark species. Sign and help collect more signatures for the critical Unfinished Business and Give Sharks a Fighting Chance petitions.

The Big Shark Shout Out opens with a push for the Unfinished Business petition and a call on EU fisheries ministers to “Make the Push” for a complete ban on removing shark fins at sea, shark and ray catch limits based on scientific advice and the precautionary approach, and EU and national protections for endangered shark and ray species.

As a steering group member of the Shark Alliance, Project AWARE together with other conservation organizations and aquaria worldwide are urging policy makers to resist industry pressure and push to protect sharks.

“The EU is a leader in the global catch, consumption and trade of sharks, and every EU Member State has the duty to press for sound shark conservation policies at the EU level as well as in international waters,” says Suzanne Pleydell, Project AWARE Director.

Two years ago, EU Fisheries Ministers endorsed a sound EU Shark Action Plan that led to significant strides toward conservation of theses exceptionally vulnerable species yet, targeted EU shark fisheries continue without limits and many endangered species remain unprotected. The EU Commission’s long-awaited proposal for strengthening the EU finning regulation represents a critical opportunity to close existing loopholes and positively influence finning policies around the world.

Despite the depletion of sharks worldwide, restrictions on international trade are in place for only three shark species - whale shark, great white shark and basking shark. Through the Give Sharks a Fighting Chance petition, Project AWARE divers and activists worldwide are adding their voice in calling on CITES Parties, between now and the next CITES Conference in March 2013, to fully protect shark species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN, work with other countries to prepare and promote shark listing proposals for the next CITES Conference; and improve shark trade data collection by taking national action to list all species proposed at CITES 2010 on Appendix III before the next CITES meeting in 2013.

“AWARE divers worldwide are anxious to support shark protection,” says Pleydell. “And it’s essential that we continue focusing our support on measures that have teeth and result in measurable change.”

By shouting out loud for sharks, divers have the power to put pressure on decision makers to ensure the most vulnerable shark species get the management and trade protections they desperately need and that existing regulations, including shark finning bans, are fully and properly enforced.

For more information about the two petitions and further opportunities to take action during the Big Shark Shout Out this October visit ww.projectaware.org. 

Notes to Editors:

Project AWARE Foundation is a global movement of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet - one dive at a time. Focused on the critical issues of Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, Project AWARE empowers thousands of divers in more than 180 countries to work together for a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet. Project AWARE Foundation is a registered non-profit organization.

The Shark Alliance was initiated and is coordinated by the Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organisation that is working to end overfishing in the world’s oceans.

The Big Shark Shout Out is a Project AWARE initiative in support of Project AWARE’s Sharks in Peril program.

European Shark Week is a project supported and funded in part by the Save Our Seas Foundation.

For further press information, an interview or images, please contact:

Domino Albert, PR & Communications coordinator
Tel: +44 (0)117 300 7313 - Email: domino.albert@projectaware.org.uk

Tiffany Leite, Associate Director, Communications & Outreach
Tel: +1 949 858 7657 Ext. 2448 – Email: tiffany.leite@projectaware.org