Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poker Tournament Gives to Shark Conservation

The first "Shark Hunt" charity poker tournament was held in Costa Rica recently according to Pretoma. It was won by Veronica Dabul of Argentina. This tournament not only raised over $38,000 towards shark conservation but it raised awareness about the threats these awesome apex predators are encountering in all our oceans.

Although none of the players were previously involved in shark conservation, while playing, they learned about shark-finning and the global plight sharks face from illegal fishing and poaching. So it was a learning experience for all. The amount raised by the tourney, was then matched by Humberto Brenes (Costarican poker player) and by the Latin America Poker Tour.

Sort of a cool way to raise money for sharks, don't you think?

You can read the entire article at the Pretoma website, at this link:


Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Cove Makes the Short List for Oscar Consideration

Associated Press
Thursday, November 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Of the 89 documentary films this year eligible for Oscar consideration, 15 have been selected for a short list of potential nominees, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday.

Some of the year's most popular documentary features were overlooked, including Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story." The R-rated film was praised by many critics and grossed more than $14 million at the box office.

Also omitted from Oscar consideration was the well-reviewed Mike Tyson documentary "Tyson," the rock-doc "It Might Get Loud," and the story of Vogue magazine and its editor in chief, "The September Issue."

The short list of films is determined by some members of the academy's documentary branch. The committee members watch all eligible contenders and vote for their favorites by secret ballot; the top vote-getters make the short list of potential nominees.

This year's short-listed selections are "The Beaches of Agnes," "Burma VJ," "The Cove," "Every Little Step," "Facing Ali," "Food, Inc.," "Garbage Dreams," "Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders," "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," "Mugabe and the White African," "Sergio," "Soundtrack for a Revolution," "Under Our Skin," "Valentino the Last Emperor" and "Which Way Home."

Five documentary features from that list will be chosen as nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards. Nominations will be announced Feb. 2; the awards will be presented March 7.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Juvenile shark landings raise concern

From PRETOMA...Nov. 12, 2009

The Authority on Aquatic Resources of Panama (ARAP) expressed worry over the fishing of small-sized sharks - newborn and juvenile - in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.This practice seems to be spurred by the fact that, in some markets, the meat of those fish fetch higher prices than mature specimens....The ARAP informed that the most often targeted species are the hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, sharpnose, horn, latigo, tiger, thresher, blackspot, silky and galagensis, Pueblo en Linea reports.Rodriguez recalled that problems with the populations of scalloped hammerhead (Sphyman lewini) exist in Panama and in several central America countries. For this reason, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) plans on including the species on an alert listing.

Read the entire article here:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Each second 3 sharks get killed by men!

Sharks can not longer compensate the losses which experience them in all their habitats. Many kinds of sharks are threatened, some apply already today as biological extinct! Particularly from China, where the need of luxury goods and status symbols strongly increased with the introduction of the free market, threatens now the final out for the sharks. If, according to newest studies, the Chinese economy and the associated prosperity should continue equally, in approx. 5 years about 250 million Chinese will be financially able to afford shark fin soup regularly. The fishery and the world-wide operating shark fin dealers get already prepared to supply them "on time". This time might be the definitive end for the sharks! Of course it's the right of everybody to eat whatever he wants. But it is also the right of our next generation to see and discover these animals where they belong to and not just knowing them from books or television.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Extinction Crisis Continues

03 November 2009

The latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ shows that 17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed species are threatened with extinction.

The results reveal 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, and 28 percent of reptiles, 37 percent of freshwater fishes, 70 percent of plants, 35 percent of invertebrates assessed so far are under threat.

“The scientific evidence of a serious extinction crisis is mounting,” says Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “January sees the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity. The latest analysis of the IUCN Red List shows the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss will not be met. It’s time for Governments to start getting serious about saving species and make sure it’s high on their agendas for next year, as we’re rapidly running out of time.”

Scientists also added 94 molluscs, bringing the total number assessed to 2,306, of which 1,036 are threatened. All seven freshwater snails from Lake Dianchi in Yunnan Province, China, are new to the IUCN Red List and all are threatened. These join 13 freshwater fishes from the same area, 12 of which are threatened. The main threats are pollution, introduced fish species and overharvesting.

There are now 3,120 freshwater fishes on the IUCN Red List, up 510 species from last year. Although there is still a long way to go before the status all the world’s freshwater fishes is known, 1,147 of those assessed so far are threatened with extinction. The Brown Mudfish (Neochanna apoda), found only in New Zealand, has been moved from Near Threatened to Vulnerable as it has disappeared from many areas in its range. Approximately 85-90 percent of New Zealand's wetlands have been lost or degraded through drainage schemes, irrigation and land development.

In addition, the latest Red List shows that many species of sharks are in the "vulnerable" or "near threatened" categories, including: Common Thresher, Oceanic Whitetip, Dusky, Great White, Basking, Silky, Galapagos, Tiger and Lemon sharks.

To read the entire article from the International Union for Conservation of Nature go to this link:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shark Fin Soup – The Delicacy That is Killing our Oceans

73 million+ sharks are killed annually.

That’s the equivalent to over 220 million bowls of shark fin soup being served in restaurants all over the world. Granted, this may seem insignificant to many Americans because not many of us have ever had shark, let alone shark fin soup. But the reality is the senseless slaughter of millions of sharks is going on all over the world every day. The practice of shark finning has increased ten fold over the past 3 decades due to the increase in demand for shark fin soup.
The practice of shark finning involves taking living sharks and butchering them for their fins and then discarding the still living sharks. Since sharks rely on their fins to move they wind up sinking to the bottom of the sea where they die a slow and painful death.

Shark fin soup has been a popular delicacy in China since the Ming Dynasty around 1368. Being a delicacy it was typically reserved for the elite. If you were not elite, you may still have consumed it for a special occasion such as a wedding. However, now that China’s economy is growing exponentially, consumption has risen along with the rise of the middle class. Shark fin’s high price has made it a status symbol for many people to eat. These same high prices have made it particularly lucrative for entrepreneurial fishermen in Spain, Norway, France, Britain, Portugal and Italy to seek out sharks as their main catch. Fishermen from Spain alone contribute somewhere between 2000 and 5000 metric tons of shark fin a year, and most of these fins, approximately 50-80% of the world’s shark fins, will come through Hong Kong.

Due to shark finning, there has been a drastic decrease in the population of many species of sharks. Some species have been depleted by over 90% over the past 30 years. The white tip shark has had its population depleted by a staggering 99%. Most species have seen approximately a 70% population decline.
One of the most common ways to catch sharks is through a highly destructive practice called Long Lining. Long Lining involves setting out a line with up to 1500 hooks on it to catch as many sharks as possible (and any other marine animal as by-catch, including sea turtles). This is done over and over until the fishermen have reached their quota for fins. Some experts believe that because of long lining most species of sharks will be lost within the next decade. Since most species of sharks take 20 years to reach sexual maturity harvesting massive quantities depletes populations faster than they can reproduce.

What’s being done?
Right now there are few countries and laws that have actually banned shark fishing, and those that have restrictions on shark fishing and shark finning have not successfully enforced their rules. Organizations such as IUCN, a shark specialist group, have proposed a fin to body weight ratio for fishers. Some countries have finning legislation that stipulates fins must arrive in a 5% weight ratio of the carcasses on board, which is by no means a solution, as this does not stop the practice of shark finning, and instead, provides a loophole for savvy fishermen to continue this practice.
Although shark fining violates the UN food and agriculture organizations code of conduct it is hard to police because this process is done at sea in international waters. So the best approach to help combat shark finning is to educate the consumer.
The consumer must understand that sharks are vital to the health of our oceans, and without them, entire marine ecosystems may break down. And if this is not compelling enough of a reason to be against shark finning, the high levels of mercury in shark fins may cause sterility in men and birth defects in pregnant females.

And as one anti-shark finning campaign goes,
“When the buying stops, the killing can too”.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Remove Shark Nets

For over 70 years shark nets in NSW and QLD, Australia have been catching sharks, dolphins, whales, rays, turtles, dugongs and fish and as a result many die. This happens 24 hours a day while the nets are in operation – this is the largest fishing effort ever made on any species.

Read more about it at this link:

We encourage you to sign the petition, below, to indicate your support for the removal of shark nets throughout KwaZulu-Natal. By signing this petition you are agreeing that the practice of shark culling through the use of shark nets is archaic and a new approach that eliminates wildlife casualties must be implemented.