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protect oceanic whitetip sharks

Protect Oceanic Whitetip Sharks

oceanic whitetip sharks at CITES

Proposed Threatened Listing for the Oceanic Whitetip SharkOceanic Whitetip Sharks proposed for CITES protection

This information was sent out by PEW to help get people involved in this part of shark legislation. You can find the info on PEW’s site here.

On the site, you can enter your information and send the email out to your Senators, Representative, and Secretary Kenneth ‘Ken’ Lee Salazar. The whole process takes less than a minute, and could help raise awareness among the decision makers about the depth of the problem.

Here’s the email that will be forwarded on your behalf:

Dear [Decision Maker],
The global demand for shark fins, meat, liver oil, and other products has driven numerous shark populations to the brink of extinction. Their life history characteristics, such as slow growth, late maturation, and production of few offspring, make sharks particularly vulnerable to overfishing and slow to recover from decline.

In particular, global populations of oceanic whitetip sharks have fallen significantly. They are listed as Critically Endangered in the Northwest and Central Atlantic Ocean, and Vulnerable globally, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. In the Gulf of Mexico, scientists estimate that oceanic whitetip populations have dropped by 99 percent in just over four decades.

Although a few countries and regional fisheries management organizations have started to take steps to address the worldwide decline of oceanic whitetip sharks, these measures do not have the global reach that a listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) would have in helping this vulnerable species. The next opportunity to protect additional species under CITES will be in March 2013 in Bangkok.

The United States proposed listin oceanic whitetip sharks at the last CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP), but it narrowly missed being adopted. A U.S. proposal for oceanic whitetip sharks for the March 2013 CoP could help protect an extremely vulnerable shark species and would be noncontroversial in the United States, considering that only $1,057 worth of oceanic whitetip sharks landings have been reported to the National Marine Fisheries Service in the past decade. Although the clock is ticking, the U.S. government has not formally announced its intentions for the upcoming CITES CoP.
I am writing to urge you to ensure that the United States submits a proposal to list oceanic whitetip sharks on Appendix II of CITES and to do so far enough in advance of the Oct. 4 deadline to allow other governments to co-sponsor it.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

It really only takes under one minute to get it done, and you’ll receive a confirmation from each of the officials letting you know your voice was heard.

Oceanic Whitetip Sharks

Interested in diving with this rare shark species? Click here to learn more about our oceanic whitetip shark diving expeditions.

Map of the Bahamas

A win for shark protection proponents

GREAT news today! The government of the Bahamas agreed to pass legislation to prohibit the export of any shark or shark product from the Bahamas. Thanks to the Bahamas National Trust, PEW, Guy Harvey Research Institute, and all those who who supported this project. A special thanks to the local community on Cat Island for joining us at the meeting and signing the petition. It was an honor to be a part of this!

Read the full story here

pew trust

PEW fights for Sharks at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

The Pew Environment Group for sharks

PEW remains one of the leading conservation groups with an active voice towards shark protection. The group is attending the IUCN World Conservation Congress, sometimes described as the world’s biggest “trade show” for conservation and development. This year it will be held Sept. 6-15 in Jeju, South Korea.

This large global conservation event, bringing together some 4,000 delegates from governments and conservation organizations, aims to improve how we manage our interactions with the natural environment.

Pew is attending the conference to highlight a number of conservation issues and ensure that some of the biggest marine and terrestrial conservation challenges facing the world today are adequately addressed.

This is their statement on Global Shark Conservation:

The overfishing of sharks and resulting depletion of shark populations and species around the world risks the health of entire ocean ecosystems. Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year primarily to support the global shark fin industry, which supplies the market for an Asian luxury dish, shark fin soup.

Pew is extremely concerned that 30 percent of assessed shark and ray species around the world are classified by the IUCN Red List as threatened or near-threatened with extinction, and alarmed that approximately two-thirds of the shark species commonly caught in high seas fisheries are classified as vulnerable.

At the Congress, Pew is working with many partners on a motion to urge all shark range and fishing States to prohibit fishing vessels from retaining any sharks listed as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near-threatened on the IUCN Red List, unless a science-based management plan is in place for the species.

Pew would like to see the IUCN Congress adopt a motion urging governments to take strong, meaningful action for shark conservation—whether within their waters or on the high seas—including strong management and enforcement efforts, and international cooperation.

Pew Protects Sharks

Pew is extremely concerned that 30 percent of assessed shark and ray species around the world are classified by the IUCN Red List as threatened or near-threatened with extinction
nternational union for conservation of nature

Oceanic Whitetip Shark – IUCN’s Assessment

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

The IUCN, or International Union for Conservation of Nature, recently published the report from their Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group. The report can be downloaded in it’s entirety here.

Here’s an excerpt from their section on Oceanic Whitetip Sharks. It’s scary to see the dramatic reduction of animals throughout the oceans, particularly what’s happening in the Nothwest and Western Central Atlantic. The regional data their suggests a 99.3% reduction of the Oceanic Whitetip Shark population over just the past 40 years. While data varies in quality and there is not doubt insufficient data for precise measurements, fishing pressures need to be dramatically reduced while these calculations are fine-tuned. The current pace is moving at a terrifyingly unsustainable pace.

Global: Vulnerable

The Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) is a formerly widespread and abundant large oceanic shark subjected to fishing pressure virtually throughout its range. It is caught in large numbers as a bycatch in pelagic fisheries, with pelagic longlines, probably pelagic gillnets and handlines, and occasionally pelagic and even bottom trawls. Catches, particularly in international waters, are inadequately monitored. Its large fins are highly prized in international trade although the carcass is often discarded. Fishery pressure is likely to persist if not increase in the future. Outside of the areas detailed below, this species is under similar fishing pressure from multiple pelagic fisheries and there are no data to suggest that declines have not also occurred in these areas, given there are similar fisheries throughout the range. As such, a precautionary global assessment of Vulnerable is considered appropriate for the Oceanic Whitetip Shark. Efforts are underway to improve the collection of data from some regions and effective conservation and management of this species will require international agreements.

Northwest & Western Central Atlantic: Critically Endangered

The Oceanic Whitetip Shark is assessed as Critically Endangered in the Northwest and Western Central Atlantic because of the enormous declines that have been reported. Two estimates of trends in abundance from standardized catch rate indices were made from independent datasets. An analysis of the U.S. pelagic longline logbook data between 1992 and 2000, which covers the Northwest and Western Central Atlantic regions, estimated declines of 70%. An analysis of the Gulf of Mexico, which used data from U.S. pelagic longline surveys in the mid-1950s and U.S. pelagic longline observer data in the late-1990s, estimated a decline of 99.3% over this 40 year time period or 98% over three generations (30 years). However, changes in fishing gear and practices over this time period were not fully taken into account in the latter analysis, and there is currently debate as to whether or not these changes may have resulted in an under- or overestimation of the magnitude of these declines.

nternational union for conservation of nature

The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List

Interested in seeing this rare shark species? Click here to learn more about our oceanic whitetip shark diving expeditions.

Published by: IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group, Vancouver, Canada.
Copyright: © 2012 IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group.

man vs shark infographic

Sharks! It’s a Numbers Game.

Spend 1 minute and take a look at this video below. It’s well organized PSA on the problems facing sharks, and the oceans in general. Spread the word and help shark conservation!

Here’s an infographic showing the danger to sharks.

bahamas shark sanctuary

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary


elebrating one year since the government of the Bahamas announced that all commercial shark fishing in the approximately 630,000 square kilometers (243,244 square miles) of the country’s waters is now prohibited, establishing a national Bahamas Shark Sanctuary.

bahamas shark sanctuary

Sharks are now protected against commercial fishing in all the waters surrounding the Bahamas.

The Bahamas National Shark Sanctuary permanently protects more than 40 shark species in Bahamian waters.

bnt bahamas national trust bahamas shark sanctuary

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

shark conservation bahamas shark sanctuary

Locals on Cat Island sign the petition to help establish the Bahamas National Sanctuary

Read more about the sanctuary on PEW’s website.

Thanks again to all those involved in this legislation!

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary