The grassroots Ocean Action Projects funded and voted on by you, the Project AWARE supporter, have had a fantastic year so far working with local communities to help bring us one step closer to a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet. The Ocean Action Project winners have each been busy addressing the root causes of marine debris or shark and ray protection issues in their community. Here’s a little snapshot of what they’ve been up to.
We’ve come a long way since the horror-filled days of the 70s Jaws film that’s promoted widespread fear about, not just great whites, but sharks of any kind. But thanks to new science, advocacy and media tools – conservationists are busting long-standing shark myths and securing much needed protections for some of the world’s most vulnerable shark species like oceanic whitetips, hammerheads and porbeagles.
From September 2014, scuba divers and ocean lovers in the United Kingdom will be able to immerse themselves in the wonders of the ocean without getting wet as the International Ocean Film Festival hits UK theatres for the first time.
The festival, which originates in Australia, will feature a selection of the world’s most captivating ocean-themed short films and will be shown in 17 towns and cities across the UK including Bristol in the South West where Project AWARE will be exhibiting.
I've organized a lot of cleanups in my time. Whether it's helping a dive center organize a Dive Against Debris survey or running large scale event for Project AWARE, my life for 10 years now has been pretty much surrounded by rubbish.
September is Project AWARE’s Debris Month of Action – a time when thousands of scuba divers around the world unite and take action against marine debris – the ocean’s silent killer. But don’t think of it as just a one-time dive to take out the trash. It’s so much more than that. It’s a rallying cry. A rumble, if you will, with one of the biggest ocean issues of our time – marine debris.
With clear waters and rocky scenery, Malta and Gozo, the beautiful southern European islands in the Mediterranean Sea, boast some of the best diving in Europe. They also boast some of the most passionate and dedicated AWARE divers and shark activists. From running a marathon to Diving Against Debris to support Project AWARE’s global campaigns - Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris - no challenges are too small for Malta’s dive community.
The European Commission (EC) has expressed its disappointment with the outcomes of the 87th Annual meeting of the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which finished on 18 July in Lima, Peru.
I recently returned from South Africa where I attended a conference and a workshop to help better understand current and develop new, much needed, global conservation strategies for sharks, as well as mantas and devil rays. In the past month, Project AWARE has joined leading researchers and policy experts to envision the future, verbalize clear goals, and discuss the actions needed to protect these species.
Scuba divers are swimming to end finning as part of the Project AWARE Finathon, a year-round fundraising challenge, showing they are FINatical about protecting sharks. Their fundraising efforts are helping us Fight, Insist, Negotiate for the protection of threatened shark species.
When John Mitchell, YuDiving dive centre owner in Manchester UK, asked his team if they were up for a Finathon challenge to help raise funds for sharks, they unanimously said yes. They had a moment of hesitation though when he announced that they would have to swim the English Channel. Well, the distance of the English Channel in the pool to be more precise.
Jarret Voorhies, a 15 year old scuba diver and race car driver has gone the distance to raise awareness for shark protection and taken Project AWARE’s Finathon into overdrive. He wanted to dig deep to share his passion for ocean protection but combine his racing pursuits, creating the super rally that he calls Winning to End Finning.
The go-karts and helmets were provided on July 13, 2014 at Pole Position Raceway in Frisco, Texas where 49 drivers raced to support shark protection.
Braving chilly 9°C waters, 14 divers at Dive HQ Christchurch in New Zealand took the plunge to Dive Against Debris last weekend joining thousands of divers across the world fighting back against marine debris. “We had a great morning on Sunday and got quite a good haul considering it was a first time for us,” said Colin Wadeson from Dive HQ Christchurch.
Fishing minister George Eustice promises to argue the case for precautionary catch limits for overfished species.
The UK government has pledged to fight the unlimited fishing that leads to millions of sharks being killed by EU boats in the Atlantic every year.
Numerous species once widely fished by the EU, such as the porbeagle shark, have already been driven to near extinction in the Atlantic. But other species, like the blue shark, continue to be caught in huge numbers by EU boats because there are no limits on their exploitation.