Thanks for celebrating shark week with us - don't forget to take action to protect threatened sharks if you haven't already!
Great news this shark week! We just got word that Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber will sign a bill this afternoon banning the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins in the state. Oceana was instrumental in the passage of this bill, which passed the State House and Senate with bipartisan support.
The bill’s passage moves the U.S. West Coast closer to a full ban on the trade of shark fins, thereby helping to protect global populations of at-risk shark species that are being targeted in unsustainable and unregulated fisheries worldwide.
While shark finning is illegal in the U.S., current federal laws banning the practice do not address the shark fin trade. As a result, fins are being imported to the U.S. from countries with few or even no shark protections in place.
Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington State signed similar legislation into law on May 12, 2011 and a bill in the California legislature passed the Assembly and is currently under consideration in committee in the Senate.
We commend Governor Kitzhaber for his extraordinary leadership to protect the ocean’s top predators, and congratulate our Pacific colleagues for their work in achieving this victory!
I might play a blood-sucking vampire on “True Blood,” but in real life I’m a devoted animal lover and conservationist.
In the past few weeks, I’ve followed the proposed ban on the shark fin trade in California, and – in honor of Shark Week – I wanted to share a letter I recently wrote to California State Senator Paul Fong asking for his help to protect sharks:
Dear Assemblymember Fong and Members of the Legislature:
Editor's note: Happy Shark Week! All week long we are re-capping some highlights from Shark Week programming. Today we review last night's "How Sharks Hunt."
Sharks have been swimming the world’s oceans for over 400 million years, which has given them plenty of time to evolve into some of the most effective marine predators. There are hundreds of species of sharks, and yet each one has its own preferred prey (fortunately, none of them prefer humans) and also a unique way of hunting.
Last night's episode, "How Sharks Hunt," featured Dave and Cody from Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival series as they explored the various methods that sharks stalk and attack their prey. There was a lot of exciting underwater footage taken by high-tech cameras showing various sharks in hunting mode.
For more info on sharks and their amazing abilities, check out Oceana’s myths versus facts sheet, where we set the record straight on some of the most common (and some of the most unusual) myths about sharks.
Here are a few examples:
Myth: Sharks are all the same.
Fact: Shark species are incredibly diverse with very different sizes, shapes, habitats, diets and behaviors. There are approximately 500 shark species, but only three (white, tiger and bull) are responsible for the majority of all bites.
Editor's note: Happy Shark Week! All week long we'll be re-capping some highlights from Shark Week programming. Today we review "Going Rogue" and "Summer of the Shark."
Would a shark ever “go rogue” and start mercilessly attacking humans? That’s the question that last night’s episode in the Shark Week lineup sought to answer. Ever since New England beachgoers were terrorized by a rogue shark in “Jaws,” it has been a common fear that sharks, particularly great whites, are ruthless, man-eating machines.
This episode shed some light on the matter with a mix of shark attack stories and scientific studies on shark behavior. The conclusions likely elicited a collective sigh of relief across America: Sharks have never in fact gone rogue like Jaws did, but instead almost always bite a human as a result of other environmental factors at play.
In reality, the likelihood of being attacked by a shark is extremely slim. So for all the readers out there who were wondering whether it was safe to go back in the water, consider the possibility of a shark going rogue to be out of the question.
Editor's note: Happy Shark Week! All week long we'll be re-capping some highlights from Shark Week programming, starting with today, and "Great White Invasion."
Great white sharks appear to be more common than ever nowadays, according to “Great White Invasion,” which aired last night as a part of Shark Week's first night of programming. The episode tracked these huge predators as they encroach on popular beaches from Australia to South Africa to southern California.
Why they are coming closer to shore is not completely understood, but scientists point to the availability of fish as well as the opportunity for sharks to sunbathe and enjoy higher oxygen levels in shallower waters as possible explanations. And even though the number of annual shark attacks worldwide has risen in recent years, it is still extremely low compared to the number of beachgoers.
So are great whites really “invading” our coastlines? Not quite. In fact, according to the Census for Marine Life, scientists estimate that there are only about 3,500 great white sharks left in the entire world. Of these, an estimated 219 live off the central California coast, so in reality, sharks aren’t exactly swarming in our oceans just yet.
This is the second in a series of ocean infographics by artist Don Foley. These infographics also appear in Oceana board member Ted Danson’s book, “Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them.”
With shark week fast approaching, how about a shark-related infographic to whet your appetite?
Today’s infographic illustrates how overfishing fundamentally alters ocean ecosystems, leading to fewer and smaller fish over time.
If overfishing isn’t stopped, the largest fish like sharks, tuna, cod, and salmon eventually run out and overfishing expands to previously untargeted, smaller species, some of which were considered undesirable. As a result, the world catch is now primarily made up of small fish like pollock rather than large predators like grouper, and this shift to smaller and smaller species over time is called “fishing down the food chain.”
Shark Week is almost here -- are you ready?
For the second year in a row, Oceana is partnering with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which kicks off on Sunday, July 31st at 9PM. We’re especially stoked about the host this year, comedian and Chief Shark Officer Andy Samberg.
For a one-hour special, Samberg travels to the Bahamas to swim with sharks off the shores of Nassau. Another of this year’s highlights is “Jaws Comes Home,” a Mike Rowe-narrated feature that follows five great white sharks as they make their 1,200-mile journey up and down the eastern seaboard.
Keep your eyes peeled for the nightly Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that encourage viewers to help protect sharks with Oceana.
Here are a few more ideas for how to celebrate the 24th annual sharktacular:
1. Take Action If even just 10% of all Shark Week viewers took action to protect sharks, that would equal millions of people speaking up for the animals they tune in to see each year.
2. Adopt a Shark. Make a $35 donation and get a shark cookie cutter and recipe card.
3. Play Shark Bingo. Add a little competition to your shark-watching with these Shark Week Bingo Cards. Grab a beverage, and turn it into a drinking game -- you can even use bottle caps as playing pieces.
Check out Discovery’s full programming schedule and stay tuned for our episode recaps and more shark fun next week!
Great news for the oceans: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled in favor of Oceana in a suit that will require commercial fisheries from North Carolina to the Canadian border to monitor and report the amount of bycatch, or untargeted marine life, they discard.
This victory may seem like a small step, but it is a triumph against one of the biggest problems facing our oceans today. Bycatch is a major player in the destruction of marine ecosystems, and occurs when fishing gear indiscriminately traps marine life in nets, trawls, and fishing lines.
Tons of fish are wasted and thousands of marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks and sea birds are injured or killed every year as bycatch. While the new law does not place limits on bycatch, it represents a crucial and long-awaited step in increasing the transparency in commercial fishing.
“For more than 15 years NMFS has violated the law, managing America’s fisheries without reliable information about how much fish and other marine wildlife is being shoveled over the side of boats, often dead or dying,” said Gilbert Brogan, northeast representative for Oceana. “This ruling is a significant step towards improving the management of U.S. fisheries in the Atlantic.”
Congratulations to everyone who helped win this victory for more abundant oceans!
We’ve got Shark Week fever early this year and it is contagious! Or at least, we hope so, because we’ve got 10 official Shark Week party kits on our hands. Want to get a hold of one? It’s pretty simple.
Before noon tomorrow, Tuesday July 19, pop over to Twitter and send this tweet:
I want an official #SharkWeekPartyKit, so I'm following @Oceana and saving sharks ow.ly/5BqPl
Make sure you are following us (@Oceana) on Twitter, because that’s how I’ll be getting in touch with our lucky winners later this week. Want bonus feel good points, too? Make sure to take action to save sharks, too.
But let’s back up a second. What’s even in an official Shark Week party kit? In a cool Shark Week backpack, you'll find...
- a Shark Week tee shirt
- cookie cutter
- recipe card
- bottle opener
- bingo cards
- episode guide
- shark fact sheet
- page to collect your friends’ signatures in the fight to save sharks
Whew! Are you tired reading that? I know I got a bit winded just typing it.
As for rules, I’ll be using a random generator to pick our winners, so don’t do anything sneaky like create a million accounts to try to cheat the system. Plus, I’m only going to count one tweet per person. And sorry, international fans - this one’s just for the US tweeters.
So, tweet away (just once, remember!) and share the Shark Week fever!