Innovative Conservation: Shark Attack Survivors Speak About Saving Sharks

Last Monday, the Pew Environment Group’s Global Shark Conservation Campaign arranged for a brilliant PR stunt – they arranged for survivors of shark attacks to speak about shark conservation outside of the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Though very few people are ever bitten by sharks, many fear them, which makes it difficult to generate public support for their conservation. Having survivors of shark attacks speak about the need for international legal protection for sharks is a great move. As participant Debbie Salamone said, “If a group like us can see the value in saving sharks, can’t everyone?” The Pew organizers also made sure that this event was covered by the press- dozens of friends sent me this Yahoo News article, and several event participants were featured on CBS’ the Early Show.

The timing couldn’t be better. According to the Underwater Times:

“U.N. member countries have an opportunity this week and next to address this problem when they refine their annual resolution on sustainable fisheries and review the Millennium Development Goals, which include a target to reduce biodiversity loss. This is also the International Year of Biodiversity. At a press conference, meetings with U.N. missions and a panel discussion at the U.N., the survivors will ask that delegates use these opportunities to advance shark conservation.”

I hope this helps. At the very least, it resulted in some positive media coverage for sharks.


The Sierra Club Presents: WhySharksMatter!

On Thursday, September 2nd at 7:00 P.M., I will be the South Carolina Sierra Club’s Speaker of the Month! The event will be held at MUSC’s Baruch Auditorium, which is 284 Calhoun Street. I have prepared a 45 minute multimedia presentation on shark conservation, followed by a question and answer session. If any of our readers live in the area, come on by! Admission is free.


Shark Conservation: The problem, the goal, and how to get there

The problem

Sharks consistently rank near the top of lists of American’s greatest fears. In reality, they have much more to fear from us than we do from them. Because of our actions, many species of sharks are on the verge of extinction. A recent International Union for the Conservation of Nature Shark Specialist Group report shows that fully 1/3 of open-ocean species of sharks are in danger of extinction in the next few decades. Many shark species have had population declines of over 90% in the last few decades.


Fins from a blacktip shark. Photo credit: David Shiffman

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