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82nd Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

More than two-dozen trout from nearly a pound to more than 4 pounds were weighed, tagged, revived and released back into Aloe Bay within the first 90 minutes the scales were open on Saturday.

One larger fish of more than 5 pounds did not survive and could not be entered in the Springhill Medical Center live weigh-in special category.

“I really think we’re going to see a lot of people this afternoon and all day Sunday,” he said. “We’d love to see the rodeo site full to capacity. It’s a little warm, so be prepared to deal with the heat, but otherwise the weather is perfect.”

Maurin also announced that there were 667 Speckled Trout Jackpot tickets sold, 82 in the King Mackerel Jackpot, 36 in the Big Game Jackpot and 19 in the new shark catch-and-release special category.

The University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Dr. Marcus Drymon, who is also an assistant rodeo judge this year, video-verified the first-ever successful shark catch-and-releases late on the first day.

“We’re making up for the loss of research data in the number of sharks being released to reproduce,” Drymon said. “The people who came in Friday evening caught 13 sharks in a single day that might have been killed in the past.”

Veteran shark fishermen know which sharks are legal to land and which are protected.

Others, however, either through a failure to educate themselves or caught the shark as bycatch while fishing for something else, quite a few federally protected sharks were being brought to the rodeo docks.

Rodeo officials decided to go to a catch-and-release format to stop that unfortunate trend.

Drymon said one of the advantages he noticed immediately while reviewing videos submitted by Danny Winstanley, Randy Winstanley, Karl Baldwin and Danny Vise was that it provided a good teaching platform to people interested in learning more about sharks.

“It was great to see the reaction on their faces. They were very excited and very happy. It was interesting to see how the category is going to provide a good opportunity for us to directly educate these fishermen about sharks and how to better identify them.”

He also praised the crew’s attention to detail to ensure the shark had the best chance of surviving.

“They were using the correct tackle, they were keeping the fights nice and short and they were releasing the sharks in good condition. I fully expect to see them back this evening and if the rest of the people competing in the category do so with the same mindset I consider it a raging success,” Drymon said.

One issue that had Rodeo Assistant Judge Dr. Sean Powers concerned was that people were bringing too many oversize or “bull” red drum (redfish) to the weigh station.

Only redfish in the Alabama slot limit of 16 to 26 inches can legally be weighed at the rodeo scales, Powers emphasized.

Besides the excellent rodeo ticket sales, Maurin also announced that 1,003 kids competed in last Saturday’s Roy Martin Young Anglers Tournament.

Proceeds from the tournament fund the Mobile Jaycees’ Kids Christmas Shopping Tour that benefits as many as 100 children annually.

“That will make for a lot of happy kids at Christmastime,” Maurin said.

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Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo changes impact shark, trout jackpot & snapper are back

The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing rodeo is still two months off, but organizers from the Mobile Jaycees have made changes they want fishermen to be well-educated about long before the cannon blasts to open the 82nd edition that third weekend in July.

Vice President of Publicity Richard Rutland said the major changes involving two of the rodeo’s premiere categories, speckled trout and shark, were made for conservation reasons.

“Worldwide, shark are heavily overfished by commercial fishermen and we want to promote their conservation because they are so important to the food chain,” Rutland said. “Over the past couple of years with the help of our partners at the University of South Alabama marine resources department we’ve also made a concerted effort to educate our fishermen to what shark are federally protected, but we still saw too many of those shark species coming to the dock.

“With the creation of this catch-and-release special category, there will be no dead shark weighed in at our dock.”

As a result, Rutland announced that shark has been removed from the list of regular rodeo categories and replaced with the new Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Catch-and-Release Shark Special Category.

The category will reward fishermen with points based on the species. Mako shark are worth 6 points, bull, tiger and hammerhead are worth 4 and blacktip and spinner shark releases are worth one point.

The top three places split a $10,000 guaranteed total purse with first winning $7,000, second $2,000 and third $1,000 based on a 30-boat field. If there are more than 30 entries, associated fees will be split evenly, with half going into the total purse.

 

See full story: http://www.al.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2015/05/alabama_deep_sea_fishing_rodeo.html

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Shark Attack Victim Stared ‘Eyeball to Eyeball’ With Predator

By Joseph Serna, Howard Blume, Marisa Gerber

A long-distance ocean swimmer who was attacked by a great white shark at
Manhattan Beach over the weekend said he stared the predator in the eye as it
sunk its teeth into his chest before finally releasing him.

Steven Robles, a 50-year-old real estate professional from Lomita, told KTLA on Sunday that
he saw the 7-foot juvenile shark just moments before it “lunged” at him and bit into the right
side of his chest.

The sharks are known for attacking prey from below, where they can make out silhouettes
against the lighter surface — and this case was no different, Robles recalled.

“The shark came up surface from the bottom, I saw him swimming right in front of me then he
made a very sharp left and lunged right at my chest,” Robles told KTLA. “I was staring eyeball
to eyeball with this shark.”

The attack occurred about 9:30 a.m. Saturday when fishermen off the Manhattan Beach Pier
caught the juvenile predator on a fishing line then struggled with the shark for some 45
minutes. As the battle ensued, Robles and others who were swimming from the Hermosa Beach pier to the Manhattan Beach Pier crossed the shark’s path and Robles was bit.

“But I grabbed his nose and with this hand and started pushing him, trying to pry him off my
chest and he released himself and swam away immediately,” Robles recalled, his right hand and forearm in a cast and stitches poking out from his wounds. “I never saw him again.”

Robles suffered a single bite wound on the right side of his rib cage and was helped to shore by some surfers. He was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center for treatment.

“I still feel pretty shaken up,” he told CNN on Sunday. “It was pretty scary out there.”

Robles’ wife, Glenda, told KTLA she was thankful her husband “has a second chance.”

Witnesses told authorities that 45 minutes earlier the shark bit a baited hook at the end of a
fishing line thrown by a fisherman from the edge of the pier and was thrashing around in the
water when it bit the swimmer.

Almost immediately, rumors spread that the fishermen had thrown chum into the water,
specifically to attract the young great whites, which are common in the area.

This wasn’t the case, according to the fisherman and Eric Martin, the co-director of
Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, which is located at the end of the pier.

The fisherman asked to be identified only by his first name, Jason, out of concern for his safety from angry swimmers and surfers.

He said he and two friends arrived at the pier at about 5 a.m. Their goal was to catch large bat
rays, which they catch and release. They’d gone to other piers in recent months because
fishermen were hooking mainly great whites at Manhattan Beach, which are not their target, he said.

Their bait was frozen sardines, which they attached to their fishing hooks, but nothing was
biting, Jason said, and they were thinking of going home when one of his friends got a mighty
pull.

“He was trying to get off the line,” said Capt. Tracy Lizotte, a Los Angeles County lifeguard at
the beach. “He was agitated and was probably biting everything in his way, and then the
swimmer swam right into the shark’s line.”

Lizotte said it’s not uncommon for sharks to swim in waters past the pier’s edge.

“That’s where they live,” Lizotte said. “It’s their home.”

Great white shark sightings are on the rise at some Southern California beaches, especially in the waters off Manhattan Beach, a popular spot for surfers and paddleboarders.

Last month, local photographer Bo Bridges used a drone to film a great white shark swimming close to paddleboarders in Manhattan Beach. He spotted the shark about 100 feet off the coast while he and his friends were paddleboarding.

In December, a paddleboarder shot video of three great whites between 8 and 10 feet long,
circling underneath his board. Evidence of other close encounters has been posted to YouTube recently, showing the glistening predators moving around in the waters near the shore.

Many of the sharks are juveniles learning to feed and fend for themselves, said Chris Lowe, a
marine biology professor at Cal State Long Beach. Researchers are still trying to figure out why Manhattan Beach is so popular for the predators.

There have been 13 shark-attack fatalities in California waters since 1950.

The fin of a great white shark cuts through the water, Gansbaai, South Africa

California Becomes Fourth State to Ban Shark Fin Trade

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International Laud Gov. Brown’s Signature

SACRAMENTO (Oct. 7, 2011) – The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for enacting landmark legislation that will close off Pacific U.S. ports and their role in facilitating the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.

Introduced by Assemblymembers Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, AB 376 passed the Senate in early September with a bipartisan vote of 25 to 9, having previously cleared the Assembly by a vote of 65 to 8.

The new law prohibits the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins, closing a major enforcement loophole in existing law. Similar laws have been passed in Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon and Washington.

“Sharks need their fins, and we don’t,” said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS’ California senior state director. “The HSUS and HSI thank Governor Brown for signing this bill into law and closing most of the American Pacific off to the shark fin trade. The momentum to protect sharks globally has taken a huge leap forward.”
The HSUS and HSI thank Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman for introducing this important legislation, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and State Sens. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, for their leadership in the Legislature.
The broad and diverse coalition supporting AB 376 included animal protection, Asian Pacific American, environmental, conservation, law enforcement, culinary, celebrity and political leaders.

“Finning” is an abhorrent practice that involves slicing off the fins of a shark and discarding the animal at sea to drown or bleed to death. Unsustainable fishing methods like this have led to declines by as much as 90 percent in some shark populations during recent decades.

Facts:

  • The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.
  • Conservation enforcement and finning bans in the U.S. alone are not enough to conserve sharks. A ban on shark fin products, such as AB 376 proposes, is the most effective way to eliminate the demand for shark fins and to eradicate shark finning around the world.
  • Shark fin is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status. It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar international shark fin trade. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested and the precarious status of many shark populations.
  • In January, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the federal law against shark finning at sea and require that sharks be landed with their fins still attached.
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Response To Capt. Len Belcaro And The Big Game Fishing Journal

It has come to our attention that the “Big Game Fishing Journal” recently contacted many of our members by mail and telephone to openly criticize their involvement with the Shark-Free and Shark Friendly Marina Initiative. We have reached out to the author, Capt. Len Belcaro, but since he has yet to respond, we feel it is necessary to address this on our webpage.

To our members, Shark-Free Marinas and The Humane Society of the United States have nothing to do with the ‘Big Game Fishing Journal’ or their proposed “Shark Smart Marina Initiative’. We apologize for any confusion caused by the unsolicited contact made by Capt. Belcaro. As a member of our Initiative, your contact information is part of the public record. We feel this is appropriate as we aim to increase your business presence by giving your property exposure on our website. We appreciate your continued support and membership.

To address some of Capt. Belcaro’s concerns we will reiterate facts that are already available on our website:

The Shark-Free and Shark-Friendly Marina Initiative (collectively SFMI) is a voluntary program, and we do not solicit funding from our members.
The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a project of the Pegasus Foundation and the Humane Society of the United States. It is strongly supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, fishpond Inc., the National Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory, the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, and the Cape Eleuthera Institute.
Our Board of Directors and Advisory Board include reputable scientists, fishermen, social strategists, community leaders and high ranking non-profit members. It is publicly available here: http://sharkfreemarinas.com/about/board
SFMI is not connected with the Pew Charitable Trusts. We have a collegial relationship with Pew and commend their worldwide campaign to protect sharks, but our organizations are not connected at an operational level nor do we receive or share funding with Pew.
The members of SFMI include marinas and marine industry connected businesses. The latter usually fall under the ‘Shark-Friendly’ category and include marine repair businesses, restaurants, boat brokerages and many other marina-related businesses. We believe it is important to make shark protection a responsibility of the entire marine community and do not limit our membership structure to just marinas.
SFMI was started as a way to directly enable marinas, businesses and fishermen to contribute to protecting sharks worldwide. We acknowledge that the greatest part of the devastation to shark populations has been caused by commercial fishermen; however, it is evident that the recreational fishing community also has a significant impact on shark numbers, particularly those of highly desirable species of breeding age. NMFS is responsible for collecting data on shark catches and a search of their database shows recreational harvests of over 200,000 sharks per year. Our members voluntarily contribute to lowering this number by banning or discouraging their patrons from landing sharks at their facility.

As a fisherman you know what it means to launch from an SFMI-registered marina. Catching sharks is not illegal; however, a ‘Shark-Free’ marina prohibits the practice of landing sharks at the marina while a ‘Shark-Friendly’ marina discourages sharks from being harvested and does not support activities like shark kill tournaments. Both facilities encourage sport shark-fishermen to exercise catch-and-release techniques. Some SFMI-registered marinas are also access points for tagging programs and catch-and-release shark-fishing tournaments.

Although we discourage the killing of all sharks especially just for a photo at the marina dock, a sharks death should be for consumption purposes only and it’s capture must conform to the applicable Federal and State guidelines. This practice would be acceptable under our Shark Friendly Marina program.

An SFMI-registered marina is helping to protect the oceans by protecting sharks the best way it can and we appreciate your continued financial and social support of their facility.

Capt. Belcaro’s letter further alleges that some of our members were signed up without their permission. We believe this is unlikely as all submissions for membership are vetted for authenticity before appearing on our website; however, SFMI is a voluntary program and if any business feels it is incorrectly represented on our website, they should contact us directly.

We publicly and respectfully request that Capt. Len Belcaro and the Big Game Fishing Journal contact us directly should they wish to address our policies or need more information about our organization.

Luke Tipple
Managing Director of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative

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With Fins Off Many Menus, A Glimmer Of Hope For Sharks

Sharks are our seniors by about 450 million years. Yet in the last half century we’ve depleted some populations by 90 percent.

Of the world’s 1,200 or so known shark and ray species (rays can be thought of as sharks whose pectoral fins have transformed to wings), 17 percent are deemed threatened with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. But the percentage is doubtless higher because data on almost half the 1,200 are lacking. Species like angel and daggernose sharks are listed as “critically endangered.” The pondicherry shark may already be extinct.

Sharks can’t bounce back like other fish. Most give birth to dog-size litters, and those that lay eggs don’t spew big numbers. Sandbar sharks mature at age 16, then bear eight to 12 pups every other year at most. Embryos of the sand tiger swim around in each of two uteri, attacking and consuming siblings until only two survive. Duskies don’t mature until age 20, then deliver three to 16 pups every third year.

The shark crisis began with the economic boom in China and other East Asian nations. Before that most Asians couldn’t afford shark fin soup.

The slaughter has been staggering. Many countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East aren’t involved in global management treaties and, even if they were, lack resources to keep track of what shark species get killed in what quantity. Some countries with those resources are “playing games, cooking the books, and fishing illegally,” to borrow the words of shark biologist Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

Shark depletion is dangerous in ways we can only begin to understand. It’s not just about sharks. Florida State University shark scientist Dean Grubbs notes that marine food webs are so complex that it’s hard to document

In one survey in China, 85 percent of respondents reported they had stopped eating shark fin soup.

“trophic cascades,” which occur when predator removal causes ecosystem parts to collapse like dominoes.

But trophic cascades are surely happening. Among the better documented examples is the proliferation of midlevel predators following shark reduction. These predators then deplete algae-eating parrotfish, and algae then smothers the reef. And where tiger sharks have been depleted, dugongs and green sea turtles are foraging on wider, richer sea-grass beds, possibly damaging them and communities they sustain.

In the 1980s and 90s some of the grossest and most wasteful shark carnage was happening in the United States, which, having depleted species like cod, haddock, flounders, tunas, and swordfish, promoted exploitation of sharks as an “under-utilized resource.” Adding to the slaughter was a 1980 trade agreement with China and an obsession with sharks among anglers spawned by the 1975 movie “Jaws.”

With the growing demand in Asia, fishing boats from other poorly regulated nations and illegal fishermen plundered shark populations in all oceans, especially the Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific.

Recently, however, there’s been some good news about sharks. Peter Knights, director of WildAid — an international group committed to ending hurtful and illegal trafficking in wildlife — has gone so far as to proclaim that “the tide may at last be turning.”

Global fin trade is declining. During the last two years China, Hong Kong and Malaysia have banned shark fin soup at government functions. Five hotel chains have promised not to serve shark fin soup, and 26 airlines have agreed not to transport fins. WildAid reports that at least 76,000 people in Malaysia and 70,000 people in Hong Kong have signed its “I’m FINished with Fins” pledge.

In Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, 85 percent of people who responded to a WildAid survey reported that they’d stopped eating shark fin soup. Demand has fallen so dramatically that, according to fin

The U.S., the European Union, and India have banned finning, which is now illegal in about 100 countries.

traders in Guangzhou, “shark fin is the same price as squid now.”

Trinidad-Tobago and New Zealand, huge shark fin exporters, banned finning in August and October respectively. United Arab Emirates imposed a ban in September. Australia, India, the U.S., the Dominican Republic, all of Central America, and the European Union have banned it, too. Now finning is illegal in about 100 countries. Some of these define the practice as slicing off fins and dumping sharks at sea, sometimes when they’re still alive. India, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, the EU, and the U.S., for example, permit removal of fins only if carcasses are first brought to shore. That creates difficulties in handling and storage, making fin sale far less profitable.

Banning not just finning but trade in shark fins have been Cook Islands, Brunei, Bahamas, Northern Mariana Islands, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, and the U.S. states of Massachusetts, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, California, Maryland, New York, and Delaware.

In September the 180-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora protected the porbeagle shark, oceanic whitetip, great, smooth, and scalloped hammerheads, and all manta ray species by forbidding trade without certification that the take was legal and sustainable.

In November the 120 member nations of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals extended “Appendix II protection” (a pledge to devise management strategies) to silky sharks, two species of hammerheads, and all three species of threshers. Granted the same or stronger protections were all 9 species of mobula rays and all species of sawfish. Shark Advocates International president, Sonja Fordham — a fierce shark defender and not one to gush over international shark and ray initiatives — announced that she was “elated by the overwhelming commitment.”

Concurrent with improvements in global shark management have been improvements in public attitudes. In 1980 I covered a shark tournament at Bay Shore, New York. A cement pier awash with bile, blood, and stomach contents was littered with about 200 dead sandbars, makos, great whites, duskies, blues, and other shark species so hacked up I couldn’t identify them. When the crowd bulged through the ropes to break off teeth, the announcer had to yell: “Get back, get back. Are your deaf?” After prizes were distributed carcasses were swung into garbage trucks.

Sharks still get killed at tournaments, but because of draconian bag limits imposed by the more conservation-minded nations most are released. Now competition is usually by biggest fish rather than aggregate weight. And an international “Shark Friendly” initiative, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the Pegasus Foundation, and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, is reducing shark mortality by eliciting pledges from marinas to forbid or discourage the offloading of dead sharks. At this writing 205 marinas and 103 other businesses around the globe have signed up.

In the U.S., the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), charged with managing marine organisms, has come a long way in tightening protections for sharks.

In March of 1996, I attended a shark meeting in Philadelphia held by the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management, one of eight regional bodies charged with advising NMFS. Addressing the assemblage was one of the world’s preeminent shark biologists — John Musick of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He declared that in its shark plan NMFS had assumed a recovery rate three times higher “than biologically possible” and that “it’s very frustrating for those of us in the scientific community who work with

A longtime critic says U.S. shark management is now ‘among the best in the world.’

these animals to keep coming to these meetings, keep presenting the data, and have the NMFS blow us off.”

But this month I asked Musick how the NMFS is doing today compared to when he’d pummeled it 19 years ago. He described the change in direction as basically 180 degrees, opining that U.S. shark management is now “among the best in the world.”


The good news has encouraged and inspired, but it seems also to have created some Pollyannaism. Marine scientist Demian Chapman of New York State’s Stony Brook University says the decline in fin traffic is real but that it’s exaggerated by the media. “Rerouting from Hong Kong to Vietnam might account for some of it,” he submits. And, while a study published in the April 2015 issue of Biological Conservation demonstrated that global fin trade has dropped by about 25 percent over the last decade, co-author and shark expert Shelley Clarke warns that the demand for shark meat is increasing.

Even as coastal sharks recover in some waters they’re getting hammered when they migrate to countries that don’t manage them. It’s worse for pelagic species killed on the high seas.

Finally, the U.S. and other nations need a ban on fin trade, not just on what they call “finning.” And even the best shark management could be improved. For example, duskies have been protected by a U.S. fishing ban since 1999; but they’re dying on longlines set for tuna and swordfish. The species would recover faster along the coasts of North, Central and South America if U.S. recreational and commercial fishermen hadn’t shouted down a 2013 NMFS proposal for longline-free sanctuaries as well as an eight-foot minimum-size limit on all sharks.

Recovery of sharks that move between scores of nations in the Western Hemisphere could end quickly if a frenetic effort to weaken America’s Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act succeeds. In 2006 the U.S. Congress inserted desperately needed teeth into this law.

In many countries, sharks are worth more alive than dead because of tourism.

Now it’s basically illegal for NMFS to allow overfishing, which had been pretty much the norm for species it managed. The strengthened law requires the agency to establish annual catch limits based on biological assessments from independent scientists selected by the eight regional councils instead of advice from just the councils themselves. Traditionally the councils were dominated by special interests who profit from fishing and who are forever claiming that scientific fish surveys grossly underestimate populations.

The act is again up for reauthorization, and those same special interests are pushing to insert “flexibility,” a euphemism for emasculation. Leading the charge against a strong Magnuson is the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), an industry-financed organization that describes the law as the dirty work of “anti-fishing environmental groups” who serve “Kool-Aid” to gullible anglers. In 2014 Congress tried to re-legalize overfishing with a failed RFA-backed bill called the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.”

Is any shark fishery — even or especially the ones first-world nations allow — a good idea? No, according to Ken Hinman, president of the Virginia-based marine advocacy outfit Wild Oceans. “Ours don’t produce much,” he says. “They cost a bundle to manage. … They lose money. Any ind of concerted effort can’t be sustained anyway.”

What’s more, in many countries sharks are worth more alive than dead. Using 2002 visitor surveys, biologist Rachel Graham of Mar Alliance — a Belize-based grassroots NGO that assesses shark and ray populations, fisheries, and related tourism — estimated the value of whale-shark viewing during the six-week season at $3.7 million. And an Australian study found that over its lifetime a single reef shark can contribute 1.9 million eco-tourism dollars to the economy of Palau.

Still, humans are killing these ancient fish faster than they reproduce. Research by Canada’s Dalhousie University indicates that 100 million sharks are slaughtered every year. If the tide is indeed “turning,” it needs to turn faster.

Miami marina during a boat show.

Marinas Nationwide Enthusiastically Endorse the Shark-Free Marina Initiative

Marinas on the east and west coasts of the United States are enthusiastically joining the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative (SFMI) to help conserve the world’s imperiled shark populations. Over 70 marinas have joined SFMI in the past week. There are currently over 200 marinas participating world-wide, including 164 in the U.S., 24 in Fiji, and 6 in Bahamas (http://sharkfreemarinas.com/members).

Organized as a cooperative by the Pegasus Foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), SFMI aims to reduce shark mortality worldwide by discouraging the landing of sharks and encouraging catch-and-release of sharks in sport fishing, while rewarding forward-thinking marinas that participate in this program. Other supporting organizations include Mote Marine Laboratory, the Pew Environment Group, Fishpond, inc and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

The SFMI is a totally voluntary program that works in tandem with businesses, marinas and fishermen to increase the awareness of the need to protect our sharks and oceans. Marinas and businesses may join the program as either Shark-Free or Shark-Friendly:  A Shark-Free Marina does not allow sharks to be killed and landed at its facility; a Shark-Friendly Marina discourages killing or landing of sharks and does not serve shark products or promote activities that intentionally harm sharks.

Sharks worldwide are being killed at an unsustainable rate. Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year in global fisheries and the fins of an estimated 26 million to 73 million sharks pass through the shark fin trade annually, mainly to make shark fin soup. In addition, the U.S. government estimates that recreational fishing kills an average of over 200,000 sharks along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coast annually.

World-renowned artist, angler and conservationist, Dr. Guy Harvey, is urging marinas to join SFMI.  Dr. Harvey stated: “Shark populations worldwide have suffered severe declines due to over-fishing; Marinas can now do their part to help conserve these ecologically vital animals by joining the SFMI.”

“Recreational fishing in the U.S. has contributed to the serious historical decline in shark populations,” notes Dr. Robert Hueter, senior scientist and director, Mote Marine Laboratory’s National Center for Shark Research. “Sustaining these species is in the interest of recreational anglers as well as commercial fishermen and marine conservationists.”

Marinas are major players in the recreational fishing community and can help inform fishermen and reduce the number of sharks being killed by joining the SFMI and preventing dead sharks from being brought back to their docks. “Marinas are key to the success of this initiative in the United States,” says Luke Tipple, managing director of the SFMI.

Shark tournaments offer anglers thousands of dollars for landing sharks, but many anglers believe that there are greater rewards from catch-and-release efforts that help to preserve shark fisheries.  SFMI is supportive of catch-and-release tournaments and promotes marine businesses. When asked to comment on SFMI and its tournament policy, Doug Olander, editor-in-chief, Sport Fishing Magazine agrees that shark kill tournaments send the wrong message. “I think hanging up dead sharks in a marina is wrong, but more important, I think it is just plain stupid.”

SFMI supporter John Land LeCoq, co-founder of well known outdoor apparel and fishing equipment retailer, Fishpond, inc stresses that “Sharks are the guardians of the ocean and play an essential part in the health of the ocean. Most anglers I know are very concerned about the status of sharks. I hope every marina joins this important program. ”

Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States adds, “Only with more help from recreational anglers can we erase the misinformed notion that ‘the only good shark is a dead shark.’”

The Shark Free Marina Initiative unites the interests of recreational fishermen, the scientific community, conservation and animal protection, and commercial interests around the over-riding goal of saving the world’s sharks. The SFMI is a project of The Humane Society of United States.

The enthusiastic support of marinas for the Shark Free Marina Initiative is the most recent indication that shark protection is now accepted and expected throughout knowledgeable fishing communities, worldwide.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced it would protect four imperiled shark species (tiger sharks, and great, scalloped and smooth hammerheads) in Florida waters. Recently, Asia’s oldest hotel chain, The Peninsula Hotels, announced it would stop serving shark fin at all its hotels. And, Hawaii, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, Oregon and California, have all passed legislation to prohibit the trade and sale of shark fins.

Dr. Harvey summarizes: “I encourage recreational fishermen everywhere to join with me and SFMI to help protect sharks and our oceans. Our world needs sharks.”

Well over 200,000 coastal sharks are killed each year by recreational fishermen in the US, largely along coast the southeastern US.

In 2009, close to 2,000 shortfin mako sharks were killed in recreational and commercial fisheries in the US, leading the National Marine Fisheries Service to declare that “overfishing” was occurring.  Despite asking fishermen to voluntarily release them unharmed, tournaments targeting makos have continued.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has estimated that recreational shark fishing was largely responsible for a 50% decline in dusky sharks along the Gulf Coast.
Big money shark tournaments offer tens of thousands in top prizes but some, such as in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, pay side bets by fishermen netting $200,000 or more for a winner.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a program of The Humane Society of the United States. It is strongly supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Fishpond, inc., Mote Marine Laboratory, Oceanic Defense, The Fisheries Conservation Foundation, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Pegasus Foundation.

SFMI has support from the following celebrity endorsers: Alec Baldwin; Nigel Barker; Steve Bartkowski; Elizabeth Berkley; Josh Madden; Bill Maher; Patrick McDonnell; Slash; and, Jim Toomey.

Media Contacts:
Luke Tipple, Managing Director, SFMI: 1-619-565-0108; staff@sharkfreemarinas.com

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Environmentalists Target Improved Fisheries And Natural Ecosystems In Latest Mega Cleanup In Puerto Rico

PRESS RELEASE

Marinas on the east and west coasts of the United States are enthusiastically joining the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative (SFMI) to help conserve the world’s imperiled shark populations. Over 70 marinas have joined SFMI in the past week. There are currently over 200 marinas participating world-wide, including 164 in the U.S., 24 in Fiji, and 6 in Bahamas (http://sharkfreemarinas.com/members).

Organized as a cooperative by the Pegasus Foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), SFMI aims to reduce shark mortality worldwide by discouraging the landing of sharks and encouraging catch-and-release of sharks in sport fishing, while rewarding forward-thinking marinas that participate in this program. Other supporting organizations include Mote Marine Laboratory, the Pew Environment Group, Fishpond, inc and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

The SFMI is a totally voluntary program that works in tandem with businesses, marinas and fishermen to increase the awareness of the need to protect our sharks and oceans. Marinas and businesses may join the program as either Shark-Free or Shark-Friendly:  A Shark-Free Marina does not allow sharks to be killed and landed at its facility; a Shark-Friendly Marina discourages killing or landing of sharks and does not serve shark products or promote activities that intentionally harm sharks.

Sharks worldwide are being killed at an unsustainable rate. Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year in global fisheries and the fins of an estimated 26 million to 73 million sharks pass through the shark fin trade annually, mainly to make shark fin soup. In addition, the U.S. government estimates that recreational fishing kills an average of over 200,000 sharks along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coast annually.

World-renowned artist, angler and conservationist, Dr. Guy Harvey, is urging marinas to join SFMI.  Dr. Harvey stated: “Shark populations worldwide have suffered severe declines due to over-fishing; Marinas can now do their part to help conserve these ecologically vital animals by joining the SFMI.”

“Recreational fishing in the U.S. has contributed to the serious historical decline in shark populations,” notes Dr. Robert Hueter, senior scientist and director, Mote Marine Laboratory’s National Center for Shark Research. “Sustaining these species is in the interest of recreational anglers as well as commercial fishermen and marine conservationists.”

Marinas are major players in the recreational fishing community and can help inform fishermen and reduce the number of sharks being killed by joining the SFMI and preventing dead sharks from being brought back to their docks. “Marinas are key to the success of this initiative in the United States,” says Luke Tipple, managing director of the SFMI.

Shark tournaments offer anglers thousands of dollars for landing sharks, but many anglers believe that there are greater rewards from catch-and-release efforts that help to preserve shark fisheries.  SFMI is supportive of catch-and-release tournaments and promotes marine businesses. When asked to comment on SFMI and its tournament policy, Doug Olander, editor-in-chief, Sport Fishing Magazine agrees that shark kill tournaments send the wrong message. “I think hanging up dead sharks in a marina is wrong, but more important, I think it is just plain stupid.”

SFMI supporter John Land LeCoq, co-founder of well known outdoor apparel and fishing equipment retailer, Fishpond, inc stresses that “Sharks are the guardians of the ocean and play an essential part in the health of the ocean. Most anglers I know are very concerned about the status of sharks. I hope every marina joins this important program. ”

Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States adds, “Only with more help from recreational anglers can we erase the misinformed notion that ‘the only good shark is a dead shark.’”

The Shark Free Marina Initiative unites the interests of recreational fishermen, the scientific community, conservation and animal protection, and commercial interests around the over-riding goal of saving the world’s sharks. The SFMI is a project of The Humane Society of United States.

The enthusiastic support of marinas for the Shark Free Marina Initiative is the most recent indication that shark protection is now accepted and expected throughout knowledgeable fishing communities, worldwide.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced it would protect four imperiled shark species (tiger sharks, and great, scalloped and smooth hammerheads) in Florida waters. Recently, Asia’s oldest hotel chain, The Peninsula Hotels, announced it would stop serving shark fin at all its hotels. And, Hawaii, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, Oregon and California, have all passed legislation to prohibit the trade and sale of shark fins.

Dr. Harvey summarizes: “I encourage recreational fishermen everywhere to join with me and SFMI to help protect sharks and our oceans. Our world needs sharks.”

Well over 200,000 coastal sharks are killed each year by recreational fishermen in the US, largely along coast the southeastern US.

In 2009, close to 2,000 shortfin mako sharks were killed in recreational and commercial fisheries in the US, leading the National Marine Fisheries Service to declare that “overfishing” was occurring.  Despite asking fishermen to voluntarily release them unharmed, tournaments targeting makos have continued.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has estimated that recreational shark fishing was largely responsible for a 50% decline in dusky sharks along the Gulf Coast.
Big money shark tournaments offer tens of thousands in top prizes but some, such as in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, pay side bets by fishermen netting $200,000 or more for a winner.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a program of The Humane Society of the United States. It is strongly supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Fishpond, inc., Mote Marine Laboratory, Oceanic Defense, The Fisheries Conservation Foundation, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Pegasus Foundation.

SFMI has support from the following celebrity endorsers: Alec Baldwin; Nigel Barker; Steve Bartkowski; Elizabeth Berkley; Josh Madden; Bill Maher; Patrick McDonnell; Slash; and, Jim Toomey.

Media Contacts:
Luke Tipple, Managing Director, SFMI: 1-619-565-0108;staff@sharkfreemarinas.com
Kathryn Kullberg, Marine Wildlife Director, HSUS: 1-301-258-3109;
kkullberg@humanesociety.org

Shark-Free Marinas Brief

Organized as a cooperative by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Mote Marine Laboratory,  The Humane Society of the United States, and FishPond USA,  the Shark Free Marina Initiative  (www.sharkfreemarinas.com) aims to reduce shark mortality worldwide by discouraging the landing of sharks and encouraging catch-and-release of sharks in sport fishing, while rewarding forward-thinking marinas that participate in this program. Additional supporting and organizing organizations include the Pegasus Foundation, Humane Society International, the Pew Environment Group, Fishpond USA and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.  
The SFMI is a totally voluntary program, that works in tandem with marinas, businesses and fishermen to increase the awareness of the need to protect our sharks and oceans. It is directed by Managing Director Luke Tipple (staff@sharkfreemarinas.com), and Patricia H. Ragan, Operations Director (pragan@sharkfreemarinas.com).

There are two different levels of commitment for an interested marina. It can either become a “Shark-Free Marina” that completely prohibits the landing of all sharks on its docks or a “Shark-Friendly Marina” — a facility that discourages the killing and landing of sharks and does not promote any activity that could harm sharks.  There are currently more 130 marinas participating worldwide, including 96 in the United States, 24 in Fiji, and 6 in the Bahamas. 

The enduring strength of this innovative and unique program is that it brings together under the banner of shark protection the diverse interests of recreational fishing, scientific inquiry and expertise, commercial interests and animal protection and conservation.  It has been endorsed by noted Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, Alec Baldwin, Nigel Barker, Elizabeth Berkeley, Bill Maher, Conservation Writer, Ted Williams, and Legendary Guitarist, Slash.  

As the world famous artist, ocean conservationist and fisherman, Dr. Guy Harvey has said (see attached video DVD), “I encourage marinas and anglers to join with me and the Shark Free Marina Initiative to help protect sharks and our oceans. Our world needs sharks.”    Or link to the video at www.sharkfreemarina.com/florida . 
Also, please view, Guy Harvey’s outstanding new film, This is Your Ocean: Sharks.  The trailer may be viewed at http://www.thisisyourocean.com/thefilm.html or a demo video may be viewed at http://vimeo.com/32198573.

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The Humane Society of the United States (the HSUS) and the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) applaud the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision Decision to Protect Four Shark Species

LOS ANGELES (November 29,  2011) —The Humane Society of the United States (the HSUS) and the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) SFM-Badge-thcommend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their recent decision to increase protection for four imperiled shark species (tiger sharks, and great, scalloped and smooth hammerheads) in Florida waters beginning January 1, 2012.

“This important decision will ensure much needed conservation and respect for these vulnerable species,” notes Dr. Robert Hueter, senior scientist and director, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research. “Many shark species have declined because of overfishing, which recreational fishing has contributed to in the U.S.”

“The coalition that makes up the Shark Free Marina Initiative is very excited about what Florida has done,” says Luke Tipple, managing director, the SFMI. “Increasing protection for these four species has provided a positive and affirming educational message to anglers and other citizens alike that sharks are indeed threatened and need protection.”

The SFMI  is an independent project of the Humane Society of the United States that is designed to reduce worldwide shark mortality by educating fishermen to the plight of sharks and asking marinas and businesses all over the world to voluntarily designate themselves as Shark Free or Shark Friendly, thereby prohibiting the killing or landing of sharks. Over 120 marinas world-wide have joined this initiative. (www.sharkfreemarinas.com)

“SFMI is a truly cooperative program receiving strong and sustained support from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Mote Marine Laboratory, the Pegasus Foundation, Fishpond USA and the Pew Environment Group,” adds John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of The HSUS.

The SFMI has just launched a major campaign in Florida to encourage marinas to register as Shark Free or Shark Friendly. More than 70 marinas in Florida have registered and include some the biggest and most well -known marinas Florida including Bahia Mar, home of the Fort Lauderdale boat show.

“The state of Florida is key to reducing shark mortality,” according to Guy Harvey, world-renowned artist, angler and conservationist. “Our SFMI campaign and attendant publicity for participating marinas will provide additional education and support for the recent FWC decision.

“We all need to work together to ensure a healthy ocean environment for future generations,” says John Land LeCoq, co-founder, Fishpond USA. “I am proud to be part of this critically important effort.”

Additional Facts about shark protection:

  • More than a year ago the FWC designated the lemon shark as fully protected in state waters.
  • Last week, Asia’s oldest hotel chain, The Peninsula Hotels, announced it will stop serving shark fin at all its hotels starting January 1, in an effort to recognize the threat facing the global shark population. Peninsula Hotels can be found in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chicago, Beverley Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila. One is due to open in Paris in 2013.
  • In the U.S., for the past two years, The HSUS and the Humane Society International (HSI) have worked to enact legislation prohibiting the trade and sale of shark fins in Hawaii, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, Oregon and California, closing off U.S. Pacific ports and their role in facilitating the global shark fin trade.

Contacts:
Pat Ragan, operations director, the Shark Free Marina Initiative: 703-801-3213