Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shark Saturdays -- the Good Kind!

Tom Sergent has successfully kept shark products out of the restaurants in Rockford, Illinois, spends countless hours educating children about sharks as a volunteer for Iemanya Oceanica and is always available to help and coach others who want to get involved with shark conservation.

Tom's latest effort to educate his community will take place on Saturday, November 14th at the Discovery Center Children's Museum. If you live in or around Rockford, Illinois, please come by to show your support!

Shark Saturdays - Discovery Center Children's Museum, Rockford, IL

Second Saturday Science Series: Learn about sharks! Meet ocean and shark conservationist and professional diver Thomas Sergent of Shark Diver Magazine. Find out more about these fascinating creatures as well as the oceans they live in, and discover what you can do to help save them. Breathe through scuba gear, make a shark model, touch real shark teeth, see what underwater pressure does to your lungs, and more! No registration required. Included with Museum admission: $6 adults, $5 children ages 2-17.

And Happy Birthday to Tom - Amphibious Warrior and Shark Hero!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Great Turnout at the Lemon Shark Workshops!!

The lemon sharks were well represented on Monday and Tuesday at the Workshops held in Ft Myers and Dania Beach, Florida!

There was an excellent turnout of shark scientists, dive operators, conservation groups and concerned citizens who came together to present a coordinated and factual appeal to the FWC for protection of lemon sharks and the other large coastal shark species. Several people even drove three hours to attend to the Workshop in Fort Myers -- thank you!!

The case presented for the sharks was very compelling. Both the scientific evidence and the economic case for the value of a live shark vs a dead shark was overwhelming.

The group of commercial shark fishermen at the Dania Beach meeting felt outnumbered and were understandably unhappy. They expressed concerns that the closures and restrictions on one species after another was gradually putting them out of business. Other attendees, however, urged them to consider ecotourism as an alternative. Jim Abernethy offered his assistance in making this change, and another gentlemen spoke about his personal experience of changing from commercial fishing to ecotourism. For him it has been both profitable and rewarding. The fishermen weren't particularly open to the idea, but at least the seed has been planted. Hopefully some of them will consider it.

In summary, we're confident and very optimistic, but it's not time to relax yet. The two FWC analysts who conducted the Workshops will now work on their recommendation to the Commissioners. These recommendations should be made public sometime in November.

At the December 10th Commission meeting in Clewiston, Florida the FWC Commissioners will vote on whether or not to add Lemon Sharks to the Prohibited Species list. It will be important to have another good turnout at this meeting.

Other coastal species are on the schedule for 2010 and we've been told that shark issues - including more protections for Hammerheads, Tiger and Bull Sharks, and mandated use of circle hooks - are a top priority.

Thanks to all who made the effort to show up at the Lemon Shark Workshops and to all of you who signed the Lemon Shark petition. Great job, thank you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Florida Lemon Shark Update!

Lemon Shark Public Workshops start today. If you can attend one of these meetings, it would make a big difference in the effort to protect these sharks!

Monday October 19th in Fort Myers, FL - 6pm till 8pm
Joseph P. D'Alessandro Office Complex -- 2295 Victoria Ave.

Tuesday October 20th in Dania Beach, FL - 6pm till 8pm
IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum - 300 Gulfstream Way

And if you haven't signed yet, please sign the Petition: Urgent Help Needed to Protect Lemon Sharks!!

Over 4000 people have signed in just one week! This petition along with selected comments will be presented at the Dania Beach Beach Workshop on Tuesday. So let's make a big push to get many more signatures in the next two days!

Thanks to everyone who signed, shared and blogged so far. Your support is very much appreciated!! Please check back later in the week for a full report on the Workshops.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why All Shark Tournaments Should be Catch and Release

Destin, Florida's Annual Fishing Rodeo draws crowds and brings business to local retailers and charter boats. Their addition of the "Shark Saturdays" category, however, in which a $250 prize is awarded for the biggest shark brought in every Saturday in October, gives this family event a big black eye.

The photo at the left shows a juvenile tiger shark - only 78 pounds - brought to the dock on October 10th. Because of their biology (they basically pee through their skin), shark meat is not edible unless the animal is immediately gutted on put on ice.

The winning shark was a 140 pound bull shark that probably hadn't even reached reproductive age yet. On the first Shark Saturday, October 3rd, a Hammerhead (classified by the IUCN as 'Endangered') was brought to the docks and then discarded.

Yet this very same tournament has a Billfish Division, for which anglers bring a photo to the weigh station --- yes, all catch and release! Why not make all fishing tournaments catch and release for sharks as well. Please see these Seven Vital Reasons Why Shark Tournaments are Changing to 'Catch and Release':

Shark Safe Network and Oceanic Defense are working together on this important issue. Fishing tournaments can be family friendly community events that benefit everyone and don't harm the environment. Killing the most ecologically important animals in the sea is not family friendly and it's not necessary.

Thank you to Omar Mulla and friends for his photo and report.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Florida's Lemon Sharks Need Your Help

This is an urgent posting asking your help to protect Florida's lemon sharks. Since lemon sharks are not protected, and other species of coastal sharks and fish are, fishermen are already targeting these fascinating and eco-vital creatures for slaughter this winter.

Divers, scientists and conservationists have united to form a petition to be delivered at the upcoming public workshops hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission on October 19th and 20th. We need your support to reach our goal of 10,000 signatures. Please pass along the petition to everyone you know. The sharks need your help!
If you live in Florida please join us:
October 19th - Fort Myers, FL - 6:00pm - 8:00pm - Joseph P. D'Alessandro Office Complex, 2295 Victoria Ave.
October 20th - Dania Beach, FL - 6:00pm - 8:00pm - IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum, 300 Gulf Stream Way.
You can also list the petition site as your Twitter or Facebook status. Any form of reaching the masses is appreciated.
Let's do our best to put an end to this senseless slaughter!
Thank you for your help!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Peter Fang, House of Nanking, is a hero to sharks and the oceans!

Thank you Peter Fang for being a hero to sharks and the oceans!!

The House of Nanking is one of the most famous and popular restaurants in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  Chef Owner Peter Fang also recently opened a new hotspot in the SOMA district -- Fang Restaurant (660 Howard Street).


Peter Fang cares about the health of his customers and wants to do his part to protect sharks and our oceans from the devastating overfishing that is being driven by the demand for shark fin soup.  Both of Peter’s restaurants are now proudly displaying Shark Safe Network’s brand new stickers in their front windows: 

For the health of our customers and the planet ... no shark products are served at this establishment.

As an award winning chef with one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Chinatown and now in SOMA as well, Peter Fang is setting a brilliant example.  Proving that Chinese restaurants do not have to serve shark fin soup to be successful!

Quote from World Travel Guide’s City Guide to San Francisco – House of Nanking was one of only 25 restaurants chosen for this listing.

“San Francisco's Chinatown is bursting with eateries, but this is king among them. Owner and chef Peter Fang has perfected the Chinese art of serving an array of delicious dishes in the shortest possible time.”