Friday, March 28, 2014

Week in Review: Endangered Sea Otters Killed, Senator Yee Arrested on Corruption, AB 376 Protecting Sharks Upheld

California Senator Leland Yee Arrested for Public Corruption




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
California State Senator, Leland Yee, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of public corruption as part of an FBI sting operation. 

Yee, a prominent figured in the community is facing an array of charges including money laundering, bribery, drug distribution, murder-for-hire and firearms trafficking. If convicted, Yee could be sentenced with over 100 years in prison.

Yee, a California State Senator known for opposition of a groundbreaking ban on shark fins and his gun control advocacy, was arrested alongside Raymond Chow, a local Mason with ex-gang afflictions. Both parties were held on bail, Yee’s bail was set at $500,000 and the provision that he remains in the state of California. 


Sea Save Foundation leadership went head to head with Yee during the heated campaign to get AB 376, the California Shark Fin ban passed.  Sea Save Foundation Director, Georgienne Bradley commented, "The AB-376 campaign was particularly challenging because opponents claimed racial discrimination.  Nothing was farther from the truth.  We were looking to protect sharks and ocean health, now and for the future generations of all people."  Recently, AB-376 was challenged and then upheld in federal court.

Leland Yee was released Wednesday afternoon and is due back in court on Monday, March 31, 2014. Due to his recent arrests, President of the California State Senate has called for Yee’s resignation from the Senate.


Three Endangered Sea Otters Found Shot to Death


Six months ago, a mother and two baby sea otters were found dead near Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, California. Cause of death? Gunshot wounds.  Officials have determined that someone is hunting these endangered creatures, which wouldn’t be hard considering they spend most of their time floating along the ocean’s surface in coastal areas.
Photo Credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

Officials speculate that someone is targeting and shooting the sea otters from the shoreline. Sea Otters are a threatened species and are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Killing one of these furry friends carries a hefty fine of $100,000 and jail time.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials currently have no leads on the murderer but are offering a $21,000 for any tips that lead to the shooters arrest. If you have any information regarding this crime, we encourage you to come forward! Tips can be reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (650) 876-9078. Or if you choose to remain anonymous, tips can be reported to (703) 358-1949. Help catch this killer before we lose any more otters.



Earth Day 2014: Give Em' The Fin Around the World!



View Give Em The Fin Worldwide Events - Earth Day Week in a larger map
 


In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 2014, Sea Save Foundation is spearheading, a creative, fun and impactful event, Earth Day 2014: Give Em The Fin Around The World!

Sea Save invites you and volunteers from around the world to host their own Give Em The Fin event so that we can unite as one voice and apply international pressure upon the shark finning industry, decision makers, and individual consumers of shark fin soup.
 
As of now, over 5,000 people have RSVP'ed to be apart of this global event and you can too! All you need to do is join our Give Em The Fin Facebook Event and then the rest is easy; just plan a fun event in honor of Earth Day. Events can be as simple as a small dinner party or as extravagant as a Earth Day pub crawl. Whatever event you choose to plan, we want to see it! Make sure to snap a few "Give Em The Fin" photos submit them to our Sea Save Mosaic. Check back at our Facebook page to see your picture featured in the mosiac and your location on the map. For more information on how to plan your own Give Em The Fin event, visit our Event in a Box page for details.


 

California Judge upholds Shark Fin Ban



Photo Credit: Nisa & Ulli Maier
Tuesday was a monumental day in the history of AB 376; Federal Judge William Orrick III ruled to uphold AB376 and dismissed a suit against AB 376 as non-discriminatory. Multiple Chinese-American business associations in the Bay Area had challenged the bill and claimed targeted the Chinese community and exceeded California’s right to regulate fishing.  "People of Chinese origin or culture undoubtedly, overwhelmingly, comprise the market for shark fin," the judge explained, "However, a law is not unconstitutional simply because it has a racially disparate impact."

This law mandates that the selling of serving of shark fins will be punishable by law and will continue to be enforced throughout the entire state of California. Shark fins are used to supply the demand for Shark Fin Soup, which leads to the deaths of millions of sharks every year. In order to obtain the fins, fishermen catch the sharks and merely cut the fins off before dumping the still living shark back into the ocean to die.
 
The opposition to the law has the opportunity to appeal it at a later date in court. Stay tuned to the Sea Save Foundation blog for breaking updates.


UAE and 8 other Arab Countries Jump Onboard to Protect Sharks



Last month, the UAE, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Syria and Yemen became the first Arab nations to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) pledging to improve the protection of migratory sharks. The MoU supports the development of a plan to protect migratory sharks as well as a plan to potentially add more sharks on the protected species list. These nations pledged to conserve seven different migratory species of sharks, including the Great White Shark, the Porbeagle, and the Whale Shark.
 
Many shark species are greatly threatened by unsustainable fishing practices, with shark finning being at the pinnacle of these destructive procedures. Shark fins are vastly popular in China and the Far East for the use in soup as well as traditional medicines. With the price of a single bowl of shark fin soup costing as much as $100 US, fisherman are willing to go to extreme lengths in order to acquire as many fins as possible.
 
Raising awareness on a global level is of utmost importance and must be continued through community outreach, petitions, and legislation. Sea Save Foundation's campaign, “Give Em the Fin”, is achieving this by reaching out to people locally, nationally, and internationally to raise awareness about the destructive practices carried out on sharks. The goal of the project is to collect 20,000 photographs of people from around the world giving the universal sign of the shark. These photos will be added to a mosaic printed on billboards to represent the international support for shark protection.

Get involved! Go to Sea Save's Give Em' Fin Mosiac Upload and in just a few minutes you can add your image to our mosaic. Then share on Facebook and help build momentum. "Be Part of the Global Picture. Say "NO" to Shark Fin Soup!" To read the full article, click here.


The Turf War in Australian Waters


James Delingpole voices his opinion on the Western Australian Shark Cull, a policy implemented in 2014 allowing baited cull nets to be placed around the Australian coastline, leading sharks to certain death in the name of protecting beach-goers. James summarizes that the protection of sharks versus humans in the ocean is ludicrous and that every action should be taken to protect swimmers; even if it harms the already vulnerable shark population. James goes as far to state that just because humans were not born with gills, does not mean that the ocean is not ours to conquer and if he were ever bitten by a shark, he would want the animal executed.

Sea Save Foundation writer, Nilo Far, comes back with a more sustainable, ethical approach and asserts that it is our duty to protect the ocean and more directly, preserve the shark population. “Even swimming daily in the shark-infested waters, you are 47 times more likely to die by lightening than being attacked by a shark. Less than one in every 3 million scuba dives in Western Australia result in a fatal shark attack. In fact, for every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately 2 million sharks” explains Nilo. Nilo continues with the argument that as visitors in a shark’s home, we must be aware of the risks and understand that sharks are not the killing machines that mainstream television has painted them to be.
 
It is crucial for humans to view the ocean as a co-habitant environment, not another frontier to conquer and own. Without sharks, our ocean would not be the beautiful, robust ecosystem that allows us the privilege to visit and enjoy magnificent sights and experiences. To read the full article, visit our blog or
click here.  


Read the original articles:
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/California-State-Senator-Leland-Yee-Arrested-on-Bribery-And-Corruption-Charges-252452181.html
http://sfist.com/2014/03/24/some_monster_is_hunting_montereys_a.php

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Turf War in Australian Waters

The Turf War in Australian Waters

 
Many people have a profound fear of sharks. Sharks can provoke visceral, irrational fears when we venture into their territory, especially when they challenge our supremacy at the top of the food chain. While it is okay to be wary in low visibility, waters known to be shark territory, the likelihood that a shark will try to kill you has been blown grossly out of proportion.

Photo Credit: PerthNow
I was recently browsing about white sharks and came across an article by James Delingpole about how choosing human life over sharks is a no-brainer. His argument starts with a
"careful study of a popular movie of the era, Jaws (1975)"
He summarizes that environmental campaigners in Western Australia are less concerned about the lives and limbs of swimmers and surfers. James believes that the ocean is not the shark’s territory just because humans aren't born with gills and scales and fins. To drive home this argument, he evokes word of the Almighty –
"Why did He give us surfing; and how come He gave us the brains to invent wetsuits and scuba equipment?"

Fact of the matter is…

Even swimming daily in the shark-infested waters, you are 47 times more likely to die by lightening than being attacked by a shark. Less than one in every 3 million scuba dives in Western Australia result in a fatal shark attack. In fact, for every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately 2 million sharks.




Photo Credit: HGM Press
Seems like it’s the landlubbers who have a misguided idea of what the ocean holds in store. Anyone who surfs or dives, knows the risks when they enter the water. In 2013 alone, 46 people drowned in Western Australia, a whopping 60% increase. When this is compared to the 6 shark attacks over two years, it makes you think: they are just trying to cure a fear of something they don’t quite understand.

Targeting sharks is only to appease ignorant land-dwellers who have derived their realisms watching television series like ‘When Sharks Attack’. While no far-reaching measures have been initiated to save more drowned by compounding lifeguards, getting rid of sharks immediately evokes a collaborative sigh of relief.

As much as it is horrific that shark attack people, we need to remember that the ocean is the shark’s territory. We choose to dip in the sea for leisure; it’s their habitat. It is stupid to think that we can control or alter the law of nature without pushing things out of balance. If you remove all the bigger fish, especially predatory ones, then either other big fish take their place, or will be replaced by smaller ones.


What surfers think…


Swimming with Sharks

When surfers enter the water, they recognize that they are entering the shark’s domain – it is part of the adventure and one of the accepted risks. As a surfer puts it,
"We respect the man in the grey suit"
You may argue that surfers who have been attacked will probably not share such optimism; the contrary however is true. A navy clearance diver Paul de Gelder, who lost a leg and a forearm in a shark attack, defends the sharks on his blog,
"It's a wild animal and you want to kill it for doing what it does"
In fact, Sharon Burden, the mother of Kyle Burden who was killed by a shark in 2011 opposes the culling of sharks and has called out the Western Australia government for a legal challenge.

The oceans belong to the creatures that inhabit it. That is the reason why fish evolved with gills to breathe under water, and humans got lungs instead.

So, why do sharks attack? 

 
Chris Neff from Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney illustrated that sharks don’t attack or go rogue. Check out his TED Talk
Why should the sharks, a species that have been in the oceans since before dinosaur and man, be penalized when people need to be made aware of the dangers and how to be responsible in waters? We need to quit our superiority complex and work with nature instead of trying to conquer it.

Aimee Pope, a commentator in The Guardian, sums up his point of view
"As long as there are people who think they own the ocean there will be attacks"
Human arrogance is appalling. Leave the sharks alone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

California Judge upholds Shark Fin Ban


California Judge upholds Shark Fin Ban


  
Photo Credit: Planet Ocean News 
Every year, millions of sharks are killed for their fins in order to supply the Shark Fin Soup demand.  Shark Fin Soup is considered a delicacy in many Asian countries and even in Asian communities within the U.S. Because of the high demand for Shark Fin Soup, which can fetch as much as $100 per bowl, the global shark population is in danger. Did you know that 1 in 4 species of shark are at risk of extinction? Sharks are a vital member of our marine ecosystem and without them, we could face major problems such as food chain imbalance and ecosystem collapse. Not only is this a senseless demand that humans strive to feed, but the method used to obtain the shark fins is extremely barbaric. Fishermen cut the fins off of the sharks while at sea and throw the living body back into the ocean to die a slow, agonizing death while drifting the bottom of the ocean.
 

Animal rights advocates from all over the globe have united in an effort to stop this horrific practice and irresponsible supply and demand model in California. Sea Save Foundation’s Director, Georgienne Bradley, testified at the AB 376 Appropriation in Sacramento and other Sea Save members have spent countless hours bringing this issue to public awareness.  Finally, in the summer of 2011, Assembly Bill 376 passed in California making the selling and serving of shark fin soup illegal. Ocean preservationists everywhere let out a sigh of relief as a battle was won in the war to save sharks.  But before they could celebrate, the Asian community in San Francisco struck back deeming the new bill as discriminatory.
 
Photograph by Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images
Multiple Chinese-American business associations in the Bay Area challenged the bill and claimed it to target the Chinese community and exceeded California’s right to regulate fishing. The suit has been gaining some momentum, even raising concerns from the Obama Administration that the law clashed with federal fishing laws. The Obama Administration later changed it’s stance when wildlife officials explained that the law could be “harmonized” and that the point of federal laws is protect and conserve the environment, which is what AB 376 aims to accomplish.

 
Tuesday was a monumental day in the history of AB 376; Federal Judge William Orrick III ruled to uphold AB376 and dismissed the suit as non-discriminatory. "People of Chinese origin or culture undoubtedly, overwhelmingly, comprise the market for shark fin," the judge explained, "However, a law is not unconstitutional simply because it has a racially disparate impact." This law mandates that the selling of serving of shark fins will be punishable by law and will continue to be enforced throughout the entire state of California. The opposition to the law has the opportunity to appeal it at a later date in court.


Read the original article at http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Federal-judge-upholds-California-s-shark-fin-ban-5348461.php.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

UAE and 8 other Arab Countries Jump Onboard to Protect Sharks

 UAE and 8 other Arab Countries Jump Onboard to Protect Sharks




 Last month, the UAE, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Syria and Yemen became the first Arab nations to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) pledging to improve the protection of migratory sharks. The MoU was signed by these nine nations February 17th, preceding the signing by 27 other nations, supports the development of a plan to protect migratory sharks as well as a plan to potentially add more sharks on the protected species list. These nations pledged to conserve seven different migratory species of sharks, including the Great White Shark, the Porbeagle, and the Whale Shark.


Many shark species are greatly threatened by unsustainable fishing practices, with shark finning being at the pinnacle of these destructive procedures. Shark fins are vastly popular in China and the Far East for the use in soup as well as traditional medicines. With the price of a single bowl of shark fin soup costing as much as $100 US, fisherman are willing to go to extreme lengths in order to acquire as many fins as possible. In order to obtain shark fins in the most efficient manner, poachers will cut the fins off of a living shark and throw the finless body back into the water to die a slow and agonizing death. This brutal and barbaric practice is not only inhumane, but it is decimating populations of sharks worldwide. The UN estimates that 70 million sharks are killed each year merely to supply the shark fin appetite.

Many countries, including the UAE, have made the practice of shark finning illegal, as they require the shark to be landed at port with all of its fins still attached. This is a good first step, however, it is still not enough.
Great White Shark. Photo Credit: Jim Argonick/Shutterstock
Another enormous threat facing sharks is bycatch, which is the unintentional catching of non-target species. Even though fishermen are not necessarily targeting the shark meat, sharks still end up in their nets. Many fishermen view the numbers as negligible; however, evidence shows that by-catch is adding to the ever-growing pressure exerted on shark species.

Authorities are creating a framework to further enhance the protection of sharks through implementing protection measures aimed at migratory species. The importance of protecting migratory species lies in the fact that these sharks travel from country to country, crossing borders where they become otherwise unprotected by law. Therefore, there needs to be regional cooperation in order to protect the existence of these animals. The support and signing of the MoU is a major contribution to this effort.

 In an effort to protect general shark populations, including migratory sharks, possible measures to be taken are the modification of shark fishing quotas, restrictions on harmful fishing equipment, and fishing area and season restrictions.

Although the MoU is not legally binding, conservationists believe that there will be an incredible positive impact on threatened shark species and global awareness. Nine Arab countries signing the MoU is a monumental event that will only create more awareness throughout the region, hopefully to influence surrounding nations to jump on board.



Raising awareness on a global level is of utmost importance and must be continued through community outreach, petitions, and legislation. Sea Save Foundation's campaign, “Give Em the Fin”, is achieving this by reaching out to people locally, nationally, and internationally to raise awareness about the destructive practices carried out on sharks. The goal of the project is to collect 20,000 photographs of people from around the world giving the universal sign of the shark. These photos will be added to a mosaic printed on billboards to represent the international support for shark protection. 


Get involved! Go to Sea Save's Give Em' Fin Mosiac Upload and in just a few minutes you can add your image to our mosaic. Then share on Facebook and help build momentum. "Be Part of the Global Picture.  Say "NO" to Shark Fin Soup!"

Written by Paige Henderson

Friday, March 21, 2014

Week in Review: China's Largest Shark Slaughterhouse, Woman Face Charges for Shark Finning and US Fisheries Waste Half a Billion Dollars


Week in Review


1. Woman Face Charges for Shark Finning  

2. China's Largest Shark Slaughterhouse

3. US Fisheries Waste Half a Billion Dollars



Photo Credit: Interpol
1. Costa Rican Woman Set to Face Charges for Shark Finning

 A Costa Rican woman is set to face charges for Shark Finning this week after officials discovered 625 shark fins in her possession in September 2011. In an attempt to skirt the anti-shark finning regulations, the woman and her team of fisherman have resorted to a practice known as “back-boning” in which all of the shark’s flesh is stripped at sea so that the fins are still technically attached to the spinal column.  Costa Rica is amongst the leading countries in shark fin production, killing as many as 400,000 thousands sharks in 2011 alone. Californian non-profit, Ethical Traveler, has removed Costa Rica from its 2014 list of The Developing World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations, because of its non-adherence to shark finning laws and open prosecution of anti-finning activists. To read the full story, click here.


2. China’s Largest Shark Slaughterhouse linked to the United States

Photo Credit: WildLife Risk
The shark processing plant discovered in Puqi, China has been manufacturing shark products that have been sold in the United States. The products include medicinal oils and Omega-3 vitamins, which contain the oils of Whale Sharks, Great White Sharks and Basking Sharks, all protected under the CITES Appendix II. These products were found in a Washington health supply store labelled as “Tilapia”, with bills of lading showing delivery as recently as 2011. The manufacturing plant in China continues to produce these oils and ship them all over the world, the labels now show “shark liver oil” or “squalene”. To find out more about where shark oils are being used, click here for full article

3. U.S. Fisheries Waste Half a Billion Seafood Meals
Photo Credit: Oceana Carlos Perez
9 U.S. fisheries were found to have wasted almost half a billion dollars worth of seafood meals due to bycatch. Fishermen target a specific type of fish and oftentimes, other species are caught as well; this is known as bycatch. It is estimated that fisheries discard as much as 66% of what they catch which can add up to almost 2 billion dollars worth of a seafood a year. Scientists also speculate that as amany as 400,000 sharks are caught and discarded in fisheries' by-catch every year. To read more about by-catch and fisheries click here.

Earth Day 2014: Give Em The Fin Around The World!




"Giving Em The Fin" at the Grand Canyon
Friends, Conservationists, Shark Lovers, lend me your ears… In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 2014, Sea Save is spearheading, a creative, fun and impactful event, Earth Day 2014: Give Em The Fin Around The World!

This event begins April 11th 2014, and will end on April 27th 2014. It is very similar to the 1986 campaign Hands Across America, in which over 6 million people united to form a human chain across the continental United States.


 Sea Save invites you and volunteers from around the world to host their own Give Em The Fin event so that we can unite as one voice and apply international pressure upon the shark finning industry, decision makers, and individual consumers of shark fin soup.


"Giving Em The Fin" in Costa Rica
Give Em The Fin events can be as big or small as you like.  For example, you may wish to host a backyard bar-b-que with friends as your event, or you could choose to showcase a Give Em The Fin booth in one of the many Earth Day festivals that will be held worldwide. Perhaps hosting a quiz night at a local bar is more your idea of a fun event. Whatever you decide, our goal is to have you personally involved.  By hosting your own event, we can direct your friends to upload more Give Em The Fin pictures for our mosaic and raise awareness for shark conservation.


We are hoping that you personally, would be willing to host one of these events. It would be amazing to have you on board, as we know this will create lots of enthusiasm and interest in our Give Em The Fin campaign.



"Giving Em The Fin" in the Philippines
If you would like to participate, please contact Charlotte Payne, or Jay Martinez at GiveEmFin@seasave.org. They can assist you with every detail of this project and will provide you with all the necessary information for hosting your own event.


“It’s your ocean. Do something about it!”
 
Put your city on the map..."Get Pinned" by "Giving Em The Fin!" 
 

View Give Em The Fin Worldwide Events - Earth Day Week in a larger map

Friday, March 14, 2014

Week in Review: Shark Finning in China, 2014 Pews Fellowship Award & Invertebrate Pain Research


Week in Review
Shark Finning in China, 2014 Pews Fellowship Award & Invertebrae Pain Research
 

Do lobsters feel pain? Continued research yields new answers

Photo Credit: National Geographic
Most animal lovers become queasy at the thought of tossing a live lobster into a boiling pot of water as a main course for dinner tonight. The idea of the lobster slowly boiling to death while you melt the butter is pretty unappetizing actually, but the decade old question remains – do the lobsters actually feel the pain? Many people would say no, they die instantly and no pain is felt but new studies on crustaceans and other invertebrates may prove otherwise.

Testing an animal’s reaction to pain in uncomfortable, to say the least. How do you know if an animal is in pain? Researchers recently ran tests on crabs, shrimp and squids to determine if they react to pain and how. When acid was brushed on the antennae of a shrimp, the animal immediately began to groom the area but when acid was applied after a local anesthetic, the animal did not react. The results of this experiment would lead most people to believe the animal is experiencing discomfort, but scientists took it a step further. Crabs were placed in a brightly lit tank with two shelters, under which they hid during the time that the lights were lit. While under the shelters, the crabs were given an electric shock to see if they would give up a basic necessity, shelter, due to pain. Eventually, the crabs retreated into the light to avoid the shock. This tells researchers that not only do crustaceans feel pain, but they are capable of juggling the need of a basic necessity over the need to avoid pain and over time, they choose to avoid pain.

 We can now say that some invertebrates feel pain, but do they feel it differently than humans? That may be the case with squid. Researchers found that squid are more likely to squirt ink and move away when a wound is touched than when a non-wounded area is touched. This reaction appears to be involuntary, similar to when a human is pricked by a sharp object; they immediately retreat without thinking. Shortly after an injury, a squid’s sense receptors become active across the entire body leading scientists to think that squids may feel pain all over when injured, as opposed to one central area like with humans.  

 Unfortunately, when certain marine species become protected from barbaric fishing practices, invertebrates seem to be forgotten. Crab fisherman often rip the claws off crabs and throw the live body back into the ocean to die, very similar to shark finning. Now that we know these creatures do feel pain, our society may need to take that into account when rallying to protect other ocean species from harmful fishing methods.

  
Sharp Decline of Shark Processing Plant in Eastern China

China is one of the final countries to continue with the killing of sharks in order to supply the country with the highly desired shark fin soup. A bowl of shark fin soup may cost the consumer upwards of $65 USD, creating a very lucrative market for Chinese fisherman who simply cut the needed fins from the shark’s body and throw the still thrashing carcass back into the sea to die. China’s demand for shark fin soup exploded in the early 80’s and over 30 years later, we may finally be seeing a decline.

 A large shark processing plant in Puqi, China, which is main hub for the processing of sharks in Eastern China, has now become defunct due to the decreasing demand for shark fins. Puqi has been known to process over 600 sharks per year, including threatened species such as the Great White. However Puqi processed more than just shark fins at the plant, entire shark bodies were harvested to be used in medication, gels and other foods. At its climax, Puqi supplied almost 90% of the shark sold in China and reaped over 400 million yuan in revenues.

In 2013, international animal welfare groups shined a white hot spotlight on the shark industry in Puqi. A full investigation lead to the discovery of inhumane killings and the overfishing of protected species. In addition, organizations urged the community to discontinue purchasing shark bi-products and avoid eating shark-laced foods. These actions lead the shark demand in Puqi to plummet, leaving only 4 factories to date.  The decline in the shark finning business in China has been seen as a victory by animal rights groups everywhere. While although we may have won the battle in China, we are still fighting a war with other irresponsible countries still practicing shark finning.


 Demian Chapman is awarded the 2014 Fellowship in Marine Conservation

 Shark Scientist Demian Chapman is awarded the 2014 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, a prestigious fellows program in which the winner is given $150,000 to use in a 3 year conservation project. Chapman holds a Ph.D in Marine Biology and is currently working as a research scientist with Stony Brook’s University of Marine and Atmospheric science. Chapman also serves as the head of the University’s Shark Research program and is a fellow at the Blue Ocean Institute. Chapman plans to use his fellowship to assist in the preservations of sharks listed on the CITES protection species list.

“Many shark species, including those listed on CITES, simply can’t keep up with the current rate of exploitation and demand,” explains Chapman. Chapman’s project would research different areas to see where more advocacy is needed for those sharks protected by CITES. CITES has recently added 5 new sharks to the protected list, including the Porbeagle, Oceanic Whitetip and three types of Hammerhead sharks, while currently protecting over 30,000 other species of animals.

 Chapman recognizes that shark finning still occurs in exorbitant amounts, even on the CITES protected species. He explains that the fins of the Porbeagle, Oceanic Whitetip and Hammerheads are easily identifiable which helps trade agencies enforce penalties for violators. Chapman’s project plans to investigate the state of the shark fin trade and better grasp sustainability of these species while also assisting in discovering areas that need more penalties

 

Photo & Information Credit:
http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20140312000007&cid=1505&MainCatID=0

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gilly Up!

The Polar Vortex may have killed some of the nastiest invasive insets in the Midwest, but sharks across the globe remain in hot water. At the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean, sharks are a keystone to the marine ecosystem.

Shark species have been on the planet for 890 million years; 175 million years before the first dinosaur. They have survived through 5 major extinctions that wiped most life from the planet, yet their future is now under threat by a species only 200,000 years old - man.


Humans are the biggest threat to the sharks. 3 sharks are killed every second! Once uncontrollably hunted for their fins, which were hacked for shark fin soup, sharks are still butchered for popular and pointless shark products derived from shark cartilage for a myriad of pills, creams and treatments.

Sharks groom many populations of marine life to the right size so that those prey species don’t cause harm to the ecosystem by becoming too populous. Depletion of sharks has resulted in the loss of commercially important fish and shellfish species down the food chain. Removing the sharks can result in the loss of important foods that humans depend upon for survival.

Picture taken at Georgia Aquarium, pictured is one of the two resident male whale sharks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The general misconception that sharks are vicious man-eaters is a panic started with the media frenzy surrounding the movie “Jaws”. Fishing advocates pegged that they are protecting us from deadly shark attacks. Humans are not part of any shark's diet, and the unlucky ones have been accidentally bitten. Truly, only 10 out of 400 the shark species are considered potentially harmful to humans.

Sharks produce few young, and reach sexual maturity at a relatively late age, sometimes as late as 25. Unsustainable shark fishing has dwindled shark populations, pushing 126 shark species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as threatened with extinction on a global scale.

What is Sea Save Foundation doing?

To raise awareness and concern about the impact of shark fishing on the marine biodiversity, Sea Save Foundation has launched our Give 'em a Fin campaign. Together let’s collect 20,000 photographs of people from around the world giving the international sign of the shark. These photos will be added to our beautiful mosaic, painted by Phil Coles. We will send the message that we support Shark protection.

What can you do?

Help us to protect these fascinating predators with Give 'em a Fin. Pose for a portrait giving the international sign of the shark, and upload your picture.

Want to host your own Give ‘em a Fin Event? Download details from here.

Go on, don't be shy. Give 'em a Fin!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Adventures of Ginger: Sea Save's Catfish

Our Sea Save office in Malibu had an unexpected visitor today and new addition to the pod - our very own catfish, Ginger! This little kitty belongs to Office Manager, Lisa Levinson and was brought in to the Sea Save office to shake things up a bit and has she ever. Ginger has made herself right at home at Sea Save by curiously exploring the entire office and even taking over Director, Georgienne Bradley's desk chair!

Ginger has definitely livened things up at Sea Save central and we love having her here. Sadly, Ginger's visit was brought about due to very tragic circumstances - Ginger has been diagnosed with cancer. "When I first found out Ginger had cancer, I was so sad to be separated from her. She was depressed and lonely at home, despite her feline friends. Ginger now accompanies me to the office every day" says owner, Lisa. Thanks to the caring and compassionate hearts of everyone in our Sea Save pod, Ginger is now able to stay with Lisa and receive the around the clock attention she deserves and needs.
Many animals fall into a depression and become lethargic as an illness progresses, but not this little fighter. Since arriving at Sea Save, Ginger has almost become a kitten again, prowling and prancing throughout the office. Ginger relishes the extra special attention and has enjoyed having a place to call her own. Being at the office is giving Ginger another reason for living, which is very important at this stage of her illness and we hope we can make her time here at Sea Save as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. Stay tuned for more updates and adventures of our office catfish!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SEA SAVE FOUNDATION BITES BACK AGAINST AUSTRALIAN SHARK CULL

SEA SAVE FOUNDATION BITES BACK AGAINST WESTERN AUSTRALIAN SHARK CULL

London, England - March 1, 2014: Western Australian Shark Cull Rally


Some of our fearless Sea Save Leaders took a stand against the Australian Shark Cull this past weekend in London, England. Protesters from all over gathered outside the Australian High Commission adorning signs, shirts and“Giving the Fin” to the recently implemented 2014 policy which allows baited cull nets to be placed around the Australian coast to reduce the shark population. Australia is the natural home to many large species of sharks that have become vulnerable over the years due to sport fishing, shark finning and media-fanned killings, including the threatened Great White Shark. The act of luring these creatures to their death has been a concern to animal rights activists everywhere and Sea Save has been doing everything they can to raise public awareness and work towards reversing this inhumane policy.

Donna Whitbread and Ian Allsop met with over 150 protesters in the heart of London to bring light to this environmentally irresponsible issue. The protest was organized by Shark Aid International, the protest was held due to a horrific breach of animal rights, the feeling of unity and hopefulness was overwhelming. “I am very proud to be part of Sea Save's team and for getting a chance to represent Sea Save Foundation at the London rally against Australia’s Shark Cull. Sharks are already under threat due the shark finning trade and to have this cull killing an endangered species is in my opinion, madness!” says Sea Save leader, Donna Whitbread. The London rally allowed animal rights activists to voice their opinions on the new policy as well as plan for further actions to be taken in response, all while meeting new friends to join in the stand against shark culling.

How YOU Can Help!


 So what can you do to help? Raising awareness is key. Use social media to get the word out against the cull or organize events and protests in your city to show support and bring in new advocates. Use the Sea Save “Event in a Box” to even print your own T-shirts, signs, and pamphlets to attract others and engage your community. Volunteer at your local marine foundation or donate money to the cause. Join the “Give Em’ The Fin” program and upload pictures of you Giving the Fin and your event for the Sea Save website and mosaic. Together, we can put a stop to shark culling but we need you!

London protest was organized by www.sharkaidinternational.org and attended by conservationists and NGOs from around the world.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Boudicca, Celtic Warrior, Continues to Inspire




The photograph of me doing the Sea Save Foundation ‘GiveEmTheFin’ in front of a statue of Queen Boudicca is probably not what you would consider as a stereotypical London landmark. After all, there are far more recognisable sites, like the Tower of London, Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace, yet for me this statue of a long dead queen has always inspired me. 

Boudicca more commonly known by many as, Boadicea, was the wife of Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia. The Romans had conquered Southern England in 43 AD but had allowed Prasutagus to keep his lands and tribe. When Prasutagus died, the Romans went back on the agreement they had originally made and confiscated all the land, property, wealth etc. When Boudicca protested against this she was punished for her 'insolence'! This fuelled an already growing resentment of the Roman occupation and the Iceni tribe lead by Boudicca revolted.

Boudicca died but it is believed that she took poison rather than be captured by her enemy. Some historians see her as a vengeful queen, but for me Boudicca is a heroine who stood up against an injustice to her people! 

I admire her, first because she was a strong woman and, more important,  she was prepared to stand up against an enemy that was far more powerful! 

British history remembers her as the Celtic Warrior Queen.  Thankfully in today’s more enlightened society, we use diplomatic means to bring about change!! The power of people, the pen, peaceful pressure on governments, corporations etc. have replaced the sword, but Boudicca’s power and courage, has inspired me not to give up when I see injustice in the world today! 

For me, the destruction of this beautiful planet and all the species on it is analogous to Boudicca plight.  I see much of that same courage in many people across the world as we pull together to protect sharks, a species that has been historically vilified.   Our battles may be different, but the courage is the same! To me she is a symbolic courageous woman! This is why I chose to have a Sea Save Foundation ‘GiveEmTheFin’ picture taken in front of The Celtic Warrior Queen!

Please join me, Boudicca and the entire Sea Save pod as we fight injustice, add your picture to our Give Em the Fin Campaign.  

-  Donna Whitbread