epic tiger shark diving expeditions
silky shark diving bahamas

CITES Appendix II listing for Silky Sharks

Cities Appendix II listing

PEW TRUSTS Video Transcript

    • Once considered one of the most abundant sharks in the ocean.
    • They are currently suffering declines of 70-90% wherever they are found.
    • The international shark fin trade is the principal driver behind their overexploitation.
    • There is inadequate control over the number that can be caught, sold or traded every year.
    • An Appendix II listing would limit the trade to sustainable levels.
    • This September, 182 Parties will decide whether or not to give this species the protections it so desperately needs.

Parties should vote to list silky sharks on CITES Appendix II at COP17.

A listing on CITES Appendix II means that the trade of that animal must be controlled in order to avoid endangerment and extinction. If the person/company/country etc cannot show proof of sustainability, then the animal cannot be traded. This, in effect, leads to their protection, as it is nearly impossible to prove sustainable trade of these animals.

For more information about CITES, check out their website here.

CITES Appendix II: Silky Shark

silky shark diving bahamas

no shark fin soup tiger beach

Restaurants Serving Shark Fin Soup

Many shark populations have faced steep declines due to years of exploitation. Their slow reproductive rates make them extremely vulnerable to extinction. The disappearance of sharks – apex predators in many ecosystems – causes dangerous imbalances in marine communities worldwide.

If you see shark fin products in a state where there is currently a ban (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington), please report it by contacting us so that we can verify and then add it to our list or point you to the proper oversight agency.

You can click on the map below to check out the Animal Welfare Institute’s page on Restaurants serving shark fin soup. The interactive map will allow you to click on any state and see which restaurants have this on their menu. See a restaurant missing from the list? Use this submission form to add it.

The disappearance of sharks—apex predators in many ecosystems—causes dangerous imbalances in marine communities worldwide.

Source: Restaurants Currently Offering Shark Fin Soup | Animal Welfare Institute

no shark fin soup tiger beach

tiger shark diving on the reefs of tiger beach

Sharks Play Critical Role in Ocean Food Web | Pew

As apex predators, tiger sharks and other shark species play a critical role in maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems.

But shark populations are decreasing around the world, due to overfishing and the high demand for shark fin soup. When their numbers plummet, it can have a chain reaction on ocean food webs, impacting seabirds and commercially important fish species, such as tuna and jacks. This is only one example of how removing sharks from the marine environment may have other negative effects that spread through the food web.

Learn more at http://www.pewenvironment.org/sharks


tiger shark diving on the reefs of tiger beach

oceanic whitetip sharks cat island bahamas shark diving

Follow the Oceanic Whitetips | Pew

Follow the Oceanic Whitetips

In July 2011, The Bahamas declared a shark sanctuary in its Exclusive Economic Zone. Two months earlier, scientists had tagged 12 oceanic whiteips around The Bahamas and created an animation that tracked the movement of three of those sharks. The scientists found that although they are highly migratory, oceanic whitetips spent most of their time within the sanctuary. Sanctuaries are an important refuge for sharks.

Learn more: http://www.pewenvironment.org/sharks.

Follow the Oceanic Whitetips

oceanic whitetips shark research group

great white shark

Rescued great white shark returns to Cape Cod waters

Great News From Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Big News! One year ago today (July 13, 2015), beach-goers, Chatham Harbormasters Stuart Smith and Jason Holm, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries were part of a rescue effort to save a white shark that stranded on a beach in Chatham, MA. Prior to being revived and released, Dr. Skomal tagged the shark.

We are incredibly excited to announce that the rescued white shark ‘Jamison’ has returned to Cape Cod! He was detected on a receiver off Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge on June 29, 2016. Stay tuned for updates on Jamison throughout the season!

The juvenile great white shark, which was named Jamison, became stranded on the sands of a Chatham beach on July 13, 2015

Source: Rescued great white shark returns to Cape Cod waters – CBS News

shark fin soup

Thousands of sharks slaughtered for their fins in Indonesia

Dead sharks of all sizes were photographed at the Karngsong fish auction in Indonesia’s West Java Province on Tuesday. WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES.

Horrific images show thousands of dead sharks piled up on a market floor in Indonesia as workers hack off their fins. Sharks of all sizes were photographed at the Karngsong fish auction on June 21, in Indramayu, in Indonesia’s West Java Province. The country is one of the world’s largest shark catchers due to a demand for shark fins in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. In China shark fins are regarded as a delicacy and the fins are one of the world’s most valuable fish products. They are the main ingredient in shark fin soup, which is priced as high as £68 per bowl. The soup is a symbol of wealth, hospitality and status in China and is often consumed at special occasions such as weddings and banquets.

Source: Thousands of sharks slaughtered simply for their fins in Indonesia | Daily Mail Online

shark fishing nets

WWF to buy $100k shark fishing licence – Australian Geographic

Interesting move by WWF Australia! What do you think? Comment below!

“This will save at least 10,000 sharks each year, prevent dugongs, turtles and dolphins being killed as bycatch, and help the reef heal after the worst coral bleaching in its history,”

shark fishing nets

Source: WWF to buy $100k shark fishing licence – Australian Geographic

Take a look at a few other shark fishing posts:

Shark fishing tournaments face growing pressure

A Huge Shark Fishing Tournament

Mako Shark Sport Fishing

Beheaded shark found in fishing cooler – Miami man arrested

Thousands of sharks slaughtered for their fins in Indonesia

14-foot tiger shark caught off Folly Beach

Great Hammerhead Sharks: Killing for Sport

whale shark endangered

Whale Sharks now considered Endangered by IUCN

The IUCN have announced that whale sharks are sliding towards ‪#‎extinction‬. The worlds largest fish, is now listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (previously listed as Vulnerable).

Major Threats

IUCN threat categories endangered

Major contemporary threats to Whale Sharks include fisheries catches, bycatch in nets, and vessel strikes. Other threats affect Whale Shark on local or regional scales.

Whale Sharks are presently fished in several locations. In southern China, large-scale commercial take of Whale Sharks appears to be increasing (Li et al. 2012). Although Whale Sharks are not necessarily targeted, they are routinely captured and retained when sighted (Li et al. 2012). A small-scale opportunistic fishery for Whale Sharks is also present in Oman (D. Robinson, pers. comm).

Whale Sharks have previously been targeted in large-scale fisheries from India, the Philippines and Taiwan, with hundreds of sharks caught annually in each country until species-level protections were implemented (Rowat and Brooks 2012). A smaller directed fishery occurred in the Maldives until Whale Sharks were protected in 1995 (Anderson and Ahmed 1993). Broader-scale subpopulation reduction caused by these fisheries was raised as a possible driver of declining sightings in Thailand (Theberge and Dearden 2006) and Western Australia (Bradshaw et al. 2008). Occasional directed catch or bycatch of Whale Sharks has been documented from many of their range states, particularly where large-mesh gillnets are in common use (Rowat and Brooks 2012).

Tuna are often associated with Whale Sharks, and tuna purse-seine fisheries often use Whale Sharks as an indicator of tuna presence, even setting nets around the sharks (Capietto et al. 2014). Direct mortality in purse-seine fisheries appears to generally be low, recorded as 0.91% (one of 107) and 2.56% (one of 38) of sharks where fate was reported by observers in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, respectively (Capietto et al. 2014). However, estimated mortality rates in the Western Central Pacific purse-seine fishery were higher: 12% for 2007–2009 and 5% in 2010. This extrapolated to a total mortality of 56 sharks in 2009 and 19 in 2010 (Harley et al. 2013). Observer reports on release condition from this region from 2010–2014 were generally consistent, with 50–60% of encircled sharks released alive, 5–10% dying and 30–40% of status unknown (Clarke 2015). Assuming a poor outcome for the latter category, potential mortalities in 2014 range from a minimum of 11 to 42, with a higher number possible depending on longer-term survival of the sharks released alive (Clarke 2015). Available data on the number of Whale Sharks caught are likely to underestimate total catch (Clarke 2015). The longer-term survivorship of Whale Sharks released from nets has not been examined at this stage. Common release practices, such as being lifted or towed by the caudal peduncle, are likely to cause stress, injury and possibly death to the sharks.

Shipping lanes, where they are placed close to Whale Shark feeding areas, can create a serious risk of vessel strikes. Whale Sharks routinely feed at the surface (Motta et al. 2010, Gleiss et al. 2013), and propeller injuries are commonly recorded during monitoring programs (Rowat et al. 2006, Speed et al. 2008, Fox et al. 2013). While mortality events are seldom reported in the contemporary scientific literature, they were often noted from slower-moving vessels in the past (Gudger 1941). It is likely that fast-moving, large ships do not register or report impacts, and as Whale Sharks will typically sink upon death, these are unlikely to be documented (Speed et al. 2008). Areas where Whale Sharks appear to be at particular risk include the Mesoamerican reef countries in the Western Caribbean (Graham 2007, R. de la Parra-Venegas pers. comm.) and Gulf states (D. Robinson pers. comm.), where a high frequency of serious propeller injuries are observed during monitoring.

Inappropriate tourism may be an indirect threat to Whale Shark in some circumstances (for example from interference, crowding or provisioning). Marine pollution events occurring in Whale Shark hotspots, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 (Hoffmayer et al. 2005, McKinney et al. 2012), may result in mortality or displacement from preferred habitats. These more local threats, as well as potential future concerns such as climate change impacts (Sequiera et al. 2014), should be closely monitored.

Read more about the Whale Shark on the IUNC’s website

whale sharks endangered

Read about Protecting Oceanic Whitetip Sharks

bahamas shark sanctuary

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary 5th Anniversary

bnt bahamas national trust shark sanctuary

Epic Diving participates in town hall meeting with the Bahamas National Trust

Here’s a video put together by PEW back in 2011 when the Bahamas was working to establish a National Shark Sanctuary. The Bahamas has long been a safe haven for sharks since the Long Line ban of 1992. Over the past 20-30 years, shark populations have remained healthy and the nation has certainly experienced the benefits of shark tourism. We were proud to work alongside PEW and the Bahamas National Trust back in 2011 to raise public awareness and help pass the sanctuary!

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary

Sharks are in trouble globally, and there are few locations where healthy shark populations still exist. In The Bahamas, a 20 year-old ban on longline fishing gear has left its waters as one of the few places in the world with relatively healthy shark populations. This has paid off for the small island nation. According to The Bahamas Diving Association, diving tourism has contributed up to $800 million to the Bahamian economy since the longline ban. There are, however, no laws there that specifically protect sharks. Pew is currently working with The Bahamas National Trust to gain permanent protections in all of The Bahamas’ Exclusive Economic Zone, an area encompassing approximately 630,000 square kilometers of ocean. By establishing comprehensive protections for sharks, not only will sharks be permanently safeguarded against other threats, but the health of the marine environment and the economy of The Bahamas will be conserved for generations to come.

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary

bahamas shark sanctuary

Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.

Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016

Very proud of the 5 US senators for proposing the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.  Cory Booker (D, NJ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) hope to eliminate the selling of shark fins in every state in the nation.

Sharks are one of the ocean’s apex predators, meaning they control the rest of the food chain and countless interactions in the blue abyss. They regulate populations, as well as provide economic value for humans, like tourist boating trips. 

There are currently 11 states (TX, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, NY, OR, RI, CA, WA) as well as the territories of American Somoa, Guam, and the North Mariana Islands that have implemented a ban.

Sharks are one of the ocean’s apex predators, meaning they control the rest of the food chain and countless interactions in the blue abyss. They regulate populations, as well as provide economic value for humans, like tourist boating trips.

“Every year, it is estimated that over 70 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade, and fining is pushing some species of sharks to the brink of extinction,” Senator Booker said. “With this bipartisan measure, America can become a global leader by shutting down the domestic market for shark fins. Sharks play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems, and we must do more to protect them.”

If the act is approved, it will remove the United States contribution of shark fins to the global market, lowering demand and hopefully creating a lull in finning. It will also allow for stronger enforcement of the “no finning” ban in the United States and put the country in a stronger position to advocate internationally for abolishing the fin trade in other countries.

Please take 60 seconds to electronically sign this letter to congress through Oceana’s website.

Letter to Congress

Dear Members of Congress:

I am writing to urge you to support the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016, which would prohibit the sale and trade of shark fins in the United States. Sharks have been on our planet for over 420 million years – 200 million years before dinosaurs walked the Earth. Although sharks have survived major mass extinction events, human activities including overfishing, bycatch and the demand for shark fins now pose the greatest threat to their survival.

In fact, every year, fins from up to 73 million sharks enter the global shark fin trade. Many of these sharks have been finned. Shark finning involves cutting the fins off the body of the shark and saving them for sale, while dumping the body of the shark back into the sea to drown, bleed to death or be eaten alive. This cruel, wasteful practice puts many shark species at risk of extinction.

Although the practice of shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, the United States still participates in the shark fin trade. Shark fins continue to be imported into the United States either from countries that do not have similar shark finning restrictions, from sharks finned on the high seas, or from illegal shark finning in U.S. waters. Since 2010, the United States has imported fins from 11 countries, five of which do not have any type of finning ban.

Many of the sharks targeted for their fins have long lifespans, mature slowly, and produce relatively few young, making them especially vulnerable to overexploitation and population loss. In fact, more than 70 percent of the most common species in the fin trade are at a high or very high risk of extinction. Due to the difficulty in identifying shark species based on detached and processed fins, it is easy for threatened species to end up in the shark fin market.

What is equally troubling is that the trade data reported to the FAO does not match NOAA’s own fin data. For example, between 2000 and 2011, NOAA reported that, on average, the United States imported 75,000 pounds of fins every year, yet the total number reported as having been exported to the U.S. by the exporting countries was a staggering 580,000 pounds —more than seven times NOAA’s amount!

The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, introduced by Senator Booker (D-NJ), Senator Capito (R-WV), Representative Sablan (D-MP) and Representative Royce (R-CA) would create a nationwide prohibition on the trade of shark fins, therefore reinforcing the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.

Eleven states and three territories already have passed bills to ban the trade of shark fins—Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Rhode Island, Guam, the North Mariana Islands and American Samoa. A number of leading companies have also banned the selling and shipment of shark fin products, including GrubHub, Amazon, Disney, UPS, American Airlines and Hilton Worldwide. Please join them by supporting the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act.


Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.

Source: 5 US senators take a stand for sharks – Business Insider


Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016.

Here’s another side to the story: The Shark Fin Ban That Should Be Banned