Washington, DC – Today Oceana announced its second “Scared for Sharks” public service announcement (PSA) starring actress January Jones. The campaign co-stars the world’s biggest fish – the whale shark – and Jones swimming together in Belize’s Gladden Spit Marine Reserve.
Jones, who is best known for her roles in AMC’s critically acclaimed series “Mad Men”, the blockbuster thriller “Unknown” and her upcoming turn in “X-Men: First Class”, is quickly becoming a seasoned veteran when it comes to swimming with sharks. In 2009, she filmed the first “Scared for Sharks” PSA while swimming with Caribbean reef sharks at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas.
“Sharks are amazing animals and most, like whale sharks, are not interested in us,” Jones said. “Sharks play a critical role in our oceans as top predators. Without them, things go out of balance. Tens of millions of sharks are caught, mostly for their fins, every year. So it’s silly to be scared of them. We should be scared for them.”
Also in 2009, Jones took the issue of shark finning to Capitol Hill where she met with members of Congress to urge the passing of the Shark Conservation Act. In December 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the Shark Conservation Act, strengthening and ensuring a shark finning prohibition in U.S. waters.
“January has an extraordinary passion for sharks and her partnership with Oceana has been invaluable,” said Oceana Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpless. “Having a person of her visibility take up this issue has helped Oceana to get policies in place in the US that curtail the wasteful and unsustainable practice of shark finning.”
The practice of shark finning is largely responsible for the decline in shark populations worldwide. Each year, tens of millions of sharks are taken from the oceans solely for their fins. The Shark Conservation Act requires that sharks caught in U.S. waters be landed with their fins attached.
“While the U.S. has strong protections against shark finning in its waters, the practice remains unchecked throughout much of the world,” said Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Griffin. “We know that our oceans need sharks, yet we’re fishing many species to the brink of extinction.”
January’s new video PSA and information on Oceana’s work to protect sharks can be seen at www.oceana.org/scaredforsharks. For a Q&A with January and photographs from the trip, please contact Michael Gardner at [email protected]
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.