The Beacon

Blog Tags: Shark Fin Soup

Victory! Senate Passes Shark Finning Bill

Yet another victory today, if you can believe it. In a last minute vote, the U.S. Senate passed the Shark Conservation Act, which will end shark finning in U.S. waters.

Each year, commercial fishing gear kills more than 100 million sharks worldwide – including tens of millions for just their fins, for use in shark fin soup. Landing sharks with their fins still attached allows for better enforcement and data collection for stock assessments and quota monitoring.

The Shark Conservation Act improves the existing law originally intended to prevent shark finning, and it also allows the U.S. to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous. The passage of this bill signals the U.S.’s ongoing commitment to shark conservation.

Only one step stands in the way of this bill becoming law -- it returns to the House for one final vote to accept the Senate’s version of the legislation. We’re almost there…

Thanks to all of you who helped us -- and the sharks -- get this far!


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Five Ways to Help Protect Sharks

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You know that sharks are in trouble around the world. Their populations are crashing as a result of overfishing, shark finning and bycatch, and the oceans are suffering as a result.

So this shark week, what can you do to help save sharks? Here are five ways. Have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

1. Tell Congress to stop shark finning

The Shark Conservation Act would end shark finning in U.S. waters and make us world leaders in shark conservation. Tell your Senators to support shark protections by passing this bill.

2. Keep shark off the menu

Not only is it ecologically irresponsible to serve shark meat, it is also unhealthy. Since they are at the top of the ocean food chain, sharks bioaccumulate high amounts of mercury. For women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, this is especially dangerous. The bottom line? Stay away from shark meat.

3. Adopt a shark

Yes, sharks can be soft and cuddly -- when you adopt one from Oceana. When you adopt a hammerhead shark, you’ll receive a hammerhead stuffed animal with a personalized adoption certificate, and your donation will help our work to protect them. 

4. Educate yourself and others about sharks

There are dozens of species of sharks, from toothy great whites to filter-feeding whale sharks. The more you learn about these creatures, the more you will love them. So educate yourself and your loved ones -- especially the shark-fearing ones.

5. Spread the word: We should be scared for sharks

As our shark spokeswoman, January Jones, said in her PSA, we shouldn’t be scared of sharks, we should be scared for them. Spread this message on Facebook and Twitter -- and any other way you know how.


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Predators as Prey: 10 Threatened Shark Species

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A man unloads shark fins from a longliner in the Canary Islands. © Oceana/LX

We often tell you about the threats facing sharks globally -- finning, bycatch, overfishing -- but we don’t regularly shine a spotlight on the individual species affected.

To continue our ongoing shark-themed posts in honor of Shark Week, here are 10 of the most threatened shark species in the world:

1. Basking sharks are the second largest shark, easily distinguished by their huge, filter-feeding mouths. Basking sharks are caught in target fisheries around the world for their oil, meat and fins, and they are also caught as bycatch in other fisheries.

2. Blue sharks are one of the most previously abundant shark species. Now they are the most heavily fished shark in the world. An estimated 10-20 million individuals are killed by fisheries annually, mostly as bycatch. Blue shark meat is beginning to replace swordfish in many Mediterranean countries and the fins are commonly used in shark fin soup.

3. Deep-sea sharks have huge livers that contain high amounts of oil to regulate their buoyancy at depths. As a result, they are caught by deep-sea trawls, gillnets and longlines for an oily substance found in their livers called squalene. Squalene, or its derivative squalane, is found in many cosmetic products.


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Sam Lardner's 'Oceans Are Talking'

Sam Lardner is a musician making a difference for the oceans. Lardner started a musical awareness and outreach campaign to enlighten children ages 5 to 13 and their families about the issues facing the world’s oceans.

I just listened to his CD, “Oceans are Talking” and I have to say -- I know it’s for kids, but I found the melodies quite catchy. Lardner manages to communicate serious issues about the oceans in a fun and engaging way through song. His voice is reminiscent of James Taylor, and he has backup from some talented young voices.


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