President, Shark Advocates International
Sonja Fordham founded Shark Advocates International as a project of The Ocean Foundation in 2010 based on her two decades of shark conservation experience at Ocean Conservancy. She is Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Conservation Committee Chair for the American Elasmobranch Society, has co-authored numerous publications on shark fisheries management, and serves on most of the U.S. federal and state government advisory panels relevant to sharks and rays. Her awards include the U.S. Department of Commerce Environmental Hero Award, the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award, and the IUCN Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership.
After many months of intense attention to advances in international shark conservation policy through CITES and the European Parliament, it’s time to refocus on sharks in my backyard. A potentially terrible shark policy precedent has been brewing through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), and threatens to weaken that body’s coast-wide ban on finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea) smoothhounds and other sharks. Help from the concerned public is needed in the final few days of the official public comment for this proposal!
Continue reading Guest post: A Call to Action: Preventing a Potential Setback in U.S. Atlantic Shark Finning Policy
Aquaman has an unpleasant lunch. From New 52 Aquaman #1 DC Comics.
Two weeks ago, I challenged the world to consider how the greatest hero in the DC Universe would fair if forced to survive in the real world. The result was a hypothermic, brain-dead lump of jerky with brittle bones forced to suffer through constant screams of agony even as he consumes sea life at a rate that would impress Galactus. In short, the ocean is a rough place, even for Aquaman.
Since that post made its way across the internet, several people have asked me to discuss what adaptations Aquaman would need to survive in this, science-based, ocean. So I went back to my comic books and my textbooks to assemble an Aquaman with a suite of evolutionary adaptations that would allow a largely humanoid organism to rule the waves, trident triumphantly raised.
Continue reading The importance of being Aquaman, or how to save the Atlantean from his briny fate
One of the many unfortunate consequences of the decline in traditional media has been a reduction in science reporting. The formerly great CNN science unit closed in 2008, followed soon after by the health and science page of the Boston Globe. Alarmingly few trained science journalists are left, and people without proper training are being asked to cover the few science stories that still make it on the air ( I was once interviewed about shark research by the weatherman from CNN’s “American Morning”). With few exceptions, science and conservation stories are no longer considered a priority to the major news networks and newspapers. However, science is no less important to our everyday lives.
Continue reading Core themes of 2012: Underrepresented issues in marine science and conservation