Flannery, A. [Amanda Flannery]. (2017, April 16). Project Earth PLusOne: An Ocean Without Sharks . Retrieved April 16, 2017, from https://youtu.be/XrhnEGpDruY
An ocean without sharks is scary! Luckily there are amazing people out there who are getting involved and giving sharks and rays a voice. You can get involved and give sharks and rays a fighting chance. They have helped maintain marine ecosystems as apex and meso predators for over 400 million years. Let’s help them do it for another 400 million.
Each of these charities and organizations have a number of ways to get involved, from donating to campaigns to volunteering. Here’s how you can GET INVOLVED!
Call Your Congressman
Call your US Congress man or woman! Make sure he or she knows that sharks and rays matter! Remember sharks and rays cannot speak for themselves and legislation is incredibly difficult to pass without public support. Make sure your representatives KNOW that you care about keeping sharks and rays in our oceans for generations to come.
Congress has a bill that they are currently debating on that effects elasmobranchs: the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act. You have the ability – no – the responsibility to tell your members of Congress to support a nationwide ban on the trade of shark fins in the United States. I will make it very simple for you. Click Here. Fill in your name, your address, and this site will automatically find your representatives, construct your letter to them, and send it off. It’s that easy. All you have to do is Click Here.
Canadian readers, there is a petition that needs your signature! Canada wants to end the shark fin trade, but this petition asks the government to take it a step further and make the sell and trade of shark fins illegal in Canada. Take a minute from your day, add your name to the petition, and send a clear message to the Canadian government that you care about sharks. Enough is enough!
Check out these US restaurants that serve Shark Fin Products. Boycott, call, mail, protest, etc. Tell them you refuse to support them as a business if they continue these practices!
Make Informed Sea Food Choices
An App from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that is available for Apple and Android. It is incredibly user friendly and helps you make informed choices about sustainable seafood and better alternatives to non-sustainable choices.
Make Informed Cosmetic Choices
I discussed this a bit when we talked about Tope Sharks, but this is worth mentioning again… and again… and again. Many cosmetic companies use Squalane and Squalene in their products. Squalene is derived from shark liver oil. Squalane can be made from olives and other plant based sources, but companies have to specifically describe it in their ingredient list as “plant based Squalane” for you to know. Otherwise it is possible to derive Squalane from shark oil Squalene. Have you ever really looked at what ingredients are in your makeup? Your lipstick – if you’re lucky enough to find a company that actually lists its ingredients? Your body lotion? Your sunscreen? As a consumer you have several options here.
- You can write letters/emails to the cosmetic companies demanding accountability and transparency. You have a right to know what you are putting on your skin and absorbing into your body.
- You can write to your government representatives. Demand that the cosmetics industry be held to higher standard of accountability. Your government officials can pass laws to regulate the industry, but the call to action needs to come from the constituents: YOU.
- Change up your routine! Switch to a cosmetic company that is cruelty free (no animal testing) or vegan certified (no animal testing and no animal product/by products used). Here is a list of cruelty free companies. Here is a list of vegan companies. I personally use E.L.F. and Tarte cosmetics and Shea Moisture skin care products.
Elasmobranch Conservation Organizations
Shark Savers (A WildAid Charity)
SharkSavers has 4 wonder campaigns that you can donate to to help sharks and rays
- I’m FINished with FINS informs consumers about the health and environmental dangers of eating shark’s fin soup.
- SharksCount engages divers as citizen scientists for sharks, powering divers to count and identify sharks as they recreational dive.
- Shark Sanctuaries address both economic and environmental considerations, creating Shark Sanctuaries that are viable because they produce a tangible economic benefit to local populations and provide sustainable financed enforcement of fishing regulation.
- Manta Ray of Hope is a joint initiative that includes field investigators, leading scientists, and researchers to further the conservation of manta and mobula rays.
- Sea Shepherd’s founder Captain Paul Watson has a reputation for pursuing illegal whalers and longliners, harassing seal cullers, organizing rallies, and generally irritating governments that would rather turn a blind eye, and infuriating fishing consortium who would rather go about their illegal and often cruel practices unnoticed.
- The Sea Shepherd crew have been deported, locked up, threatened, and roughed up on many occasions.
- If Sea Shepherd seems like a worthwhile organization with which to take a stand, you can help them in a variety of ways. Joining Sea Shepherd with a modest contribution, helps with the provisioning, fueling, and maintenance of their ships. As a member you may also have the chance to sign on as a volunteer for a tour of duty on one of their campaigns. On their website they list what skills they are looking for in new crew members but they also take unskilled deckhands that are willing to work hard.
- The Shark Alliance is a not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving European fishing policy. Because of the influence of Europe in global fisheries and the importance of sharks in ocean ecosystems, these efforts have the potential to enhance the health of the marine environment in Europe and around the world.
- The mission of the Shark Alliance is two-fold: To close loopholes in European policy regarding the wasteful and unsustainable practice of shark finning; To secure responsible, science-based shark fishing limits for long-term sustainability and ecosystem health.
- The Shark Angels are raising awareness on the plight facing sharks, giving the world a new perspective on these misunderstood animals, and often, in the trenches, stopping the slaughter of sharks, protecting them from our collective greed and ignorance. Shark Angels are all about action.
- The Angels have a singular goal and believe that by harnessing the power of the passionate, together, we have the power to do what many disbarment efforts cannot: together we can save sharks. The Shark Angels raise awareness to the critical issues and also attempt to change perspectives.
- If you’re a recreational diver, Project Aware is a fantastic charity to get involved in! Focused on citizen science projects in ocean debris reporting and cleanups, as well as shark and ray responsible tourism practices, there are plenty of ways for divers to enjoy their hobbies and join a great cause at the same time.
- Not a diver? No problem! Join a charity run, or start your own event!
Coral Reef Restoration Projects
- Coral Restoration Foundation is a nonprofit ocean conservation organization working to restore coral reefs, educating others on the importance of the oceans, and using science to further research and monitoring techniques. Coral Restoration Foundation is dedicated to creating offshore nurseries and restoration programs for threatened coral species. These programs have allowed Coral Restoration Foundation to take the lead in innovative nursery and restoration techniques that are implemented worldwide.
- Originally founded in 1994 to galvanize the dive community around conservation, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into a world-renowned organization with a history of successfully working with local communities in coral reef regions around the world to protect their coral reefs. Coral believes that for conservation to be durable, their interventions must be aligned with the social, cultural, and economic needs of each community, and that local leaders must be empowered to lead the effort.
- The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to studying these complex ecosystems to inform more effective management. They work closely with NOAA scientists in the National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service.
Chow, K. [Kelvin CHOW]. (2017, April 21). Deepblu Earth Day . Retrieved April 21, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTTG7QLiw0U
If you know of any great organizations supporting shark and ray conservation, please share with me by leaving a comment! I’d be happy to include more ways for people to get involved with the organization that is the right fit for them!
Featured Image Source
Zavacki, E. (Photographer). (2016, May). Dr Stump , Rebecca Gericke, and Amanda Flannery DNA Sampling Caribbean Whiptail Ray, Exumas [Digital Image].