Reef Life of the Andaman

The following outstanding 2 hour video shows the amazing biodiversity of the marine life in the Andaman Sea (in the northeast Indian Ocean). Produced by Nick Hope at Bubble Vision, he again amazes us while introducing us to many rarely seen marine species the way they should be met, in their home under the sea.


In Awe of the Shark

“We got some our shark scientists together to tell us how they feel about sharks….” In Awe of the Shark from Save Our Seas Foundation.

More than 90% of all top marine predators have disappeared from the oceans.

– Myers et al. 2007; MacKenzie et al. 2009

“It appears that ecosystems such as Caribbean coral reefs need sharks to ensure the stability of the entire system.”

– Enric Sala, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Visit the Save Our Seas Foundation to learn more and get involved: http://saveourseas.com

Together we can make the difference!

CITES: a “tragedy of the oceans” says Oceana

I moved in January and now (more than two months later!) I’m just getting to know my neighbors.  What does this have to do with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)? Well, it turns out they got married in Singapore and had a Chinese ceremony and reception and they chose not to include the traditional shark fin soup on the menu — much to the displeasure of some of their guests. I applaud them for that and I’m so thrilled to have such awesome next door neighbors. I’m sure it took a lot of courage.

Serving shark fin soup at weddings is a very old and very honored tradition in the Chinese culture. Keeping it off the menu might be compared to banning wedding cake from American weddings. Or flowers. Old traditions die hard and shark species are dying out as a result of the over-consumption of shark fins. Bluefin tuna is going fast too and dozens of corals are at great risk among many other marine species. Too many. Continue reading

World’s first “shark sanctuary”

Palau to create the world’s first “shark sanctuary”, banning all commercial shark fishing in its waters.

We couldn’t agree more and applaud President Toribiong’s efforts to protect the remaining sharks in our ocean. Hopefully other nations will follow suit. In 2006, French Polynesia decreed shark fishing, and therefore shark finning, illegal in its waters for all sharks except the mako shark, see page 9 of Oceana’s Report: Fishy Business [2 MB PDF]). Making shark fishing/finning illegal is the first great step. Enforcement of that law is the next, and is often where conservation efforts fail. We hope this is not the case for either Palau or French Polynesia or those that follow (come on U.S.A.).

The President of the tiny Pacific republic, Johnson Toribiong, announced the sanctuary during Friday’s session of the UN General Assembly.

With half of the world’s oceanic sharks at risk of extinction, conservationists regard the move as “game-changing”. Continue reading

Shark-Free Marina Initiative

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative has a singular purpose, to reduce worldwide shark mortality. Today the not-for-profit company launches its strategy which intends to prevent the deaths of millions of vulnerable and endangered species of shark. The initiative aims to win over the fishing community by working with game fishing societies, tackle manufacturers, competition sponsors and marinas to form community conscious policy.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative In the last five years over a half million sharks on average were harvested annually by the recreational and sport-fishing community in the United States alone. Many of these were breeding age animals and belong to vulnerable or endangered species. Research has shown that removal of adult sharks from the population is occurring at such an extreme rate that many species stand no chance of survival, severely damaging the delicate ecological balance of the oceans ecosystem. Continue reading

Good news for marine conservation/sharks

Just two weeks shy of his final day as President, George W. Bush announced today that 195,280 square miles will be designated as three new marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean. Contrary to his resistance to sign the Kyoto Protocol and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and his other unpopular environmental policies, Bush is leaving a decent legacy when it comes to the ocean. This good news combined with the good news of a bill to ban shark finning in the US put forth in the new session of Congress (sea below) put a smile on my face!

Diodon holocanthusFrom his press release:

On June 15, 2006, I established the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, and on May 15, 2007, I instructed the U.S. delegation to the International Maritime Organization to submit a proposal for international measures to enhance protection of the Monument. On April 4, 2008, the International Maritime Organization adopted our proposal, and the Papahanaumokuakea Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) was established. Continue reading

“Eating shark fin = self-poisoning”

Health Alert Over Shark Fin Consumption
May 9, 2008

Release from: Nickkita Lau
The Standard (Hong Kong)

The use of shark fin as a delicacy was once a hot ecological issue with local environmentalists forcing Disneyland to drop the popular soup from its menus.

Now, shark fin may also present a health hazard, based on a survey that showed eight of 10 samples sold in Hong Kong contain mercury levels above the legal standard. Continue reading

Sharkwater now on DVD

I HIGHLY recommend this movie. Don’t rent it on DVD. Buy it! And have a shark party to share it with your friends and family.

Though some might at first think this is another shark “slasher” movie, the film is actually a compassionate argument for shark protection. The sharks and other marine creatures are beautifully filmed, which provides a strong juxtaposition against filmaker Rob Stewart’s coverage of the brutal sharkfin trade. Not for the faint of heart, there are scenes of wholesale shark-slaughter for their fins (a delicacy in China and sold for medicinal purposes in China and other Asian countries). Continue reading

Toy exploitation

Exploiting kids’ strange fascination with fighting and gore, toy manufacturer Mattel creates a monster.

Toy a whaling ship in shark’s clothing

An irate mother has bitten back at shops for selling a “shark ship” that encourages children to fire a plastic harpoon into the head of an oversized shark.

Louise Pearse saw the Mega Rig Shark Ship advertised in a Toyworld catalogue delivered to her home in Paraparaumu Beach over the weekend.
Continue reading

Shark fin soup being sold on Amazon

A new Plankton Forums member recently posted that Amazon is selling two brands of shark fin soup. Here is the information he posted:

It seems that Amazon.com is carrying shark fin soup through two third-party vendors, Dragonfly Shark and American Roland Food Corp. With all the controversy surrounding shark fins and the horrible practices used to harvest fins, Amazon should be ashamed to be carrying shark fin soup and should rectify the problem immediately by pulling all shark fin products from their catalog.

What you can do: Continue reading

Small step toward shark conservation

World’s First International Catch Limit for Sharks Adopted

The Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) decided recently to halt targeted fishing of vulnerable sharks in the Southern Ocean. France proposed the action to the CCAMLR based on its concern over increased shark finning and fishing for the slow-reproducing deepwater sharks in Antarctica. Shark fishing will be prohibited until shark populations can be assessed and the impact of fishing quantified. The CCAMLR is also encouraging fisheries to release sharks caught as bycatch.

“This responsible yet bold action by CCAMLR establishes the world’s first limit on the amount of sharks that can be taken from international waters and is therefore a landmark agreement in global shark conservation,” said Sonja Fordham, Policy Director for The Ocean Conservancy’s shark program and the Shark Alliance. “We congratulate CCAMLR for affording sharks the precautionary protection they so urgently warrant yet rarely receive.” Continue reading