565 words • 2~4 min read

Send testimony to help protect Guam’s sharks!

The sharks of Guam need your help! Bill number 44-31, which would make selling or possessing shark fins illegal in Guam, was just introduced by members of the Senate. The Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the bill next Tuesday night Guam time, which is Monday night our time.

This bill is expected to face strong opposition from the fishing industry, which has a powerful voice.  However, you can help! You send a letter in support of this policy to Shark Defenders, and they will make sure that it gets into the right hands.  Many of the letters will be read out loud as testimony, and receiving a large number of letters in support of the law will be a big help!

Please send these letters to Info AT SharkDefenders DOT com by Monday afternoon U.S. East Coast time (sooner would be better).

Image from SharkDefenders.org

Shark Defenders requests that all letters include the following information:

“1. Your name.
2. Where you live.
3. Who you are and what you do.
4. Your reason for wanting to protect sharks.
5. A request to “please pass Bill No. 44-31 with no weakening amendments.”
6. Why not finish your letter saying something nice about Guam and the Pacific?”

They also list several possible reasons to support the law, though you are free to include whatever reason you want. Here are the suggestions:

“1. The IUCN Shark Specialist Group has found that 1/3 of all shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction. Another 50% of species do not have enough data to determine their conservation status.
2. Sharks are slow growing, mature late, and produce few young, and biologically are not able to adapt to modern fishing pressures.
3. Sharks have been the ocean’s top predators for 400 millions years, but only in the last 50 have they become prey. Removing predators from ecosystems has cascading effects on lower trophic levels.
4. The practice of shark finning is inhumane and wasteful. It is like cutting down a coconut tree to get a single coconut.
5. Sharks are cool! As a society we’ve stopped killing the big predators on land, the biggest fish in the sea deserve the same protections.
6. Or maybe you have your own reason for wanting to protect sharks?”

Letters should be in the following format:

Honorable Rory J. Respicio
Majority Leader
Suite 302
155 Hesler St.
Hagåtña, Guam 96910

January 25, 2010

Dear Senator Respicio:

-Reasons for supporting the bill

-“Please pass Bill 44-31 with no weakening ammendments”

Sincerely yours,

-Name

Please take a few minutes to compose and send a letter, and please tell your friends!