On July 31, Shark Week is back! Need some ideas on how to celebrate this, the sharkiest time of year? We're here for you:
1. Share the Shark Week Love
Have your friends over for a watch party. Check out the programming schedule. I recommend "Jaws Comes Home" on July 31, but there's a full week of great shark shows to pick from.
Don‚Äôt know what to serve? Shark cookies, of course! Make a $35 donation and get a shark cookie cutter and recipe card so your friends can take a bite out of a great white while watching great whites take a bite out of seals.
2. Shark Week 2.0
Bump up your watch party guest list by a few thousand. Take photos and share them with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Have shark questions? Ask away on Facebook and Twitter and our shark experts will keep you shark savvy.
3. Save Sharks
For one week a year, over 30 million Americans are glued to their TV sets, transfixed by incredible stories of amazing, powerful sharks. But the true story is that they can‚Äôt save themselves from their top predator: us.
Caught on fishing lines and targeted for their fins, shark numbers are dropping, and fast. 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.
Make sure that Shark Week isn‚Äôt the only time we can see sharks. They are great to watch on TV, but we need them in the wild, too.
Fantastic news! Earlier this afternoon, the Chilean National Congress passed a nationwide ban on shark finning.
This groundbreaking decision comes on the heels of a very similar ban passed by the United States Congress last December, and puts both countries at the forefront of shark conservation. Oceana drafted the Chilean bill in January, and we are elated to see it pass into law ‚Äď without a single dissenter.
Shark finning is an inhumane practice that often involves throwing the rest of the shark‚Äôs body back into the water once the desired fin is obtained. Despite its cruelty, shark finning is incredibly rampant, due to culinary demand from Asian countries such as China, where shark fin soup is popular.
With the passage of this bill, Chile joins a growing list of countries leading the way in shark conservation. Because sharks do not respect national boundaries, this legislation will help protect shark populations and ocean health in Chile and beyond.
Shark Truth asks couples holding traditional Chinese wedding feasts to drop one of the traditions: the controversial soup. According to Shark Truth, every ten bowls of soup kills one shark, and many of these couples are holding weddings with hundreds of guests. That's a lot of sharks saved!
The shark-loving couples sent in pictures (some of them quite funny!) of themselves to be voted on through June 6, and the winning couple will be given a honeymoon trip to Hawaii to cage-dive with sharks and see the creatures they are saving.
The practice of slicing off a shark's fin and throwing the shark (sometimes still alive) overboard is cruel, wasteful, and could lead to the extinction of some of these ancient creatures.
Aside from nixing shark fin soup, what else can you do to help? Oceana is urging the U.S. government to do all it can to protect the most vulnerable species. Sign our petition to protect hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks from finning.
Chinese NBA basketball star Yao Ming hopes so. As center for the Houston Rockets, Ming is spreading the word to ‚ÄúSay no to shark fin soup‚ÄĚ with his new ads sponsored by Oceana and WildAid.
Ming‚Äôs message is traveling through San Francisco by bus, including those on Chinatown routes to support legislation (AB 376) to ban the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins in California.
For her second ‚ÄúScared for Sharks‚ÄĚ PSA, ‚ÄúMad Men‚ÄĚ star January Jones joined Oceana in Belize to swim with the largest fish in the ocean: the whale shark.
Last spring, I traveled with Oceana to Belize‚Äôs Gladden Spit Marine Reserve to photograph and film whale sharks for the new "Scared for Sharks" PSA. It was my second time swimming with sharks, so I wasn‚Äôt as nervous, especially since whale sharks, like most sharks, are not a threat to humans.
It‚Äôs humans, in fact, who pose the greater risk to sharks because of our insatiable desire for shark fins, shark livers, shark teeth and every other shark product you can think of. Scientists say that tens of millions of sharks are killed every year for their fins, which is directly causing some shark populations around the world to crash.
Great news from the Evergreen State: Washington State‚Äôs legislature has passed a bill banning the illegal trade of shark fins, an extraordinary step toward shark conservation on the U.S. Pacific coast. The legislation now goes to the governor‚Äôs desk to be signed into law.
While shark finning is illegal in the U.S., current federal laws banning shark finning do not address the issue of the shark fin trade. As a result, fins are being imported to the U.S. from countries with limited to zero shark protections in place. Similar legislation passed recently in Hawaii and is pending in Oregon and California.
‚ÄúThis legislation is an excellent example of a state taking action to address a global problem,‚ÄĚ said Whit Sheard, Senior Advisor and Pacific Counsel for Oceana. ‚ÄúThis bill will help us move closer to ending the wasteful and unnecessary depletion of our ocean‚Äôs top predators.‚ÄĚ
As you know, we are now accepting nominations for our third annual Ocean Heroes Contest. Throughout the nomination period, which ends April 27th, I‚Äôll be featuring a few of the past winners and finalists to get you inspired. First up, the 2010 Junior Ocean Heroes: the Shark Finatics.
To jog your memory, the Shark Finatics are a group of students at Green Chimneys School in Brewster, New York who have raised more than $2,000 for shark research and conservation organizations around the world - and an immeasurable amount of awareness about shark finning.
The Finatics‚Äô teacher Robin Culler recently wrote to us with an enthusiastic update about her students. They were recently featured in the Southeast Brewster Patch, and Culler says the ‚Äúthe kids were awesome and you couldn't get a word in edgewise! They were so thrilled to teach yet one more person about sharks.‚ÄĚ
Excellent news for sharks in Chile: Last week the Fisheries Committee of the Chilean Senate voted unanimously to advance legislation that would ban shark finning. Oceana helped promote the bill, which now heads to the Senate for a vote.
Of the 30 species of sharks caught in Chilean fisheries, at least 15 are subject to finning, and blue sharks and mako sharks are the most affected species.
Oceana filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Chilean National Customs Service, which revealed that between 2006 and 2009, 71 tons of dry shark fins were exported and corresponded to eight different species.
In 2006, the Chilean Government pledged to take conservation measures for sharks through a National Action Plan for Shark Conservation which, among other goals, aims to eliminate finning.
If the bill is approved, shark finning will be banned and sharks will have to be landed with all their fins naturally and completely attached to their bodies. Also, the presence of loose fins on-board, or the transportation or transfer of cut shark fins between vessels, will be totally prohibited.
We‚Äôll keep you posted as the bill moves through the Chilean Congress. The momentum to end shark finning around the world appears to be growing, which is great news for sharks and the oceans.
Celebrity Brit chef Gordon Ramsay spread fear into the hearts of cooking contestants on the popular reality TV show ‚ÄúHell‚Äôs Kitchen.‚ÄĚ Now he‚Äôs got a new adversary: the illegal shark fin trade.
In his new documentary ‚ÄúShark Bait,‚ÄĚ he investigates the ugly reality behind shark fin soup. His investigation into shark finning led to a swim with bull sharks, and even a confrontation with heavily armed Costa Rican gangsters, he told the UK‚Äôs Daily Mail.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a multibillion-dollar industry, completely unregulated,‚ÄĚ he said.
Take a look for yourself. Here's Part 1 of ‚ÄúShark Bait‚ÄĚ:
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 ‚Äď 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.‚Äôs 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‚Äôs version of the legislation. We‚Äôre almost there‚Ä¶
Thanks to all of you who helped us -- and the sharks -- get this far!