From Oceana.org to a shark friend today. We have been covering the growing policy shift of NGO's worldwide toward commercial shark diving as a viable bridge solution to the protection of sharks.
As a scuba diver, I revel in the rare opportunity to see a shark swimming in the wild. In fact, according to our new report, most scuba divers are willing to pay additional money to dive with sharks and other marine life. Sea the Value: Quantifying the Value of Marine Life to Divers shows that shark conservation has economic value and that divers have a stake in conservation efforts. Fortunately, the Shark Conservation Act of 2008, a bill which would strengthen protections for sharks, recently passed the U.S. House, and is now awaiting action in the Senate. But we need your help to get it passed into law, so write to your senator today to protect sharks.
Our report reveals that shark conservation has economic value, with sharks being worth more through ecotourism ($212 million) than in fisheries ($19 million). But these top predators continue to be victims of shark finning, in which fishermen cut off their fins and discard the body at sea. This practice, as well as other unsustainable fishing practices, have decimated many shark populations, reducing some by as much as 99 percent. Smaller populations of sharks reduce the chance of seeing one in the wild, subtracting from scuba divers' experiences in the water.
Currently only sharks in the Atlantic Ocean are required to be landed with their fins attached. The good news is that recently more than 11,000 WaveMakers like you took the time to contact Congress, and as a result the House of Representatives passed the Shark Conservation Act of 2008, which requires U.S. fishermen to land sharks whole, with their fins naturally attached.
But the Shark Conservation Act of 2008 will not become law unless it is also passed in the Senate. Senator Kerry introduced the Senate companion to the House bill, S. 3231. This legislation will improve existing laws that were originally intended to prevent shark finning and will allow the United States to continue being an international leader in shark conservation.
So dive in and tell your senators to Sea the Value and support the Shark Conservation Act of 2008 today!