Friday, April 24, 2009

EU Shark Conservation Politics

"Ach Aye Laddie, yer shark plan works fer me!"

That's the good news coming from Scotland this week - recently signaling government approval to tougher shark fishing restrictions on a comprehensive shark management plan coming out of the EU. The Shark Action Plan has been hailed by many as a good first step to curbing rampant and unrestricted shark fisheries across the entire region:

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead today welcomed the decision to adopt the European Union's Shark Action Plan. Speaking from the Fisheries Council in Luxembourg today, where he signalled Scotland's support for tougher restrictions, Mr Lochhead said:

"I welcome and support the decision to prioritise this Shark Action Plan which is a well-balanced approach.

"Our scientists tell us that some shark populations are critically endangered, and we need to respond to that advice.

"In Scotland we are working closely with the industry and NGOs to ensure that sharks are given adequate protection and that our waters remain healthy and our fish stocks sustainable.

"We are one of Europe's most important fishing nations and we have a huge interest in maintaining the sustainability of our seas, their stocks and the wider marine ecosystem."

Sen John Kerry - Sharks

Let's face it, he would have made a terrible president, but as an advocate for sharks we like him a lot.

This week Sen John Kerry introduced a bill - The Shark Conservation Act, to the senate following the houses o.k that will hopefully slow down shark takes in US waters:

Bill Number: H.R. 81/S. 850
Bill Status: Passed House
Bill Sponsor(s): Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
Legislature Status: In Session

To protect sharks from the cruel practice of shark finning (cutting off sharks' fins and throwing the sharks back in the water, often while still alive). Congress banned this practice in 2000, but enforcement is complex and there is room for cheating. This legislation closes a loophole that currently permits a vessel to transport fins obtained illegally as long as the sharks were not finned aboard that vessel.

Editors Note: The Humane Society USA has been following this issue closely.

Hanging with the Vandenberg

Local Florida dive boat captain Scotty Grey has been closely following the twists and turns of the Vandenberg Project soon to be the second largest reef project in Florida's history and an amazing dive site. Scotty has worked with us on a few film projects over the past two years in the Bahamas:

Hi Shark Diver,

Today I got to take a private tour of the Vandenberg. She is sitting at the Truman waterfront in Key West. Thanks so much to Joe Weatherby of Reefmakers, your twelve years of hard work and dedication has really paid off. Joe took Captain Slate of Atlantis Dive Center, Mike Hanna of Tusa Dive Gear and myself for a private tour from bow to stern. All I can say is the old girl sure is impressive. There are so many rooms and hallways; it’s going to be a diver’s paradise. We took lots of pictures so be sure and check them out on the Blue Iguana webpage photo gallery.

The biggest diving event of the year is happening in Key West near the end of May. A chance of a lifetime to see this magnificent vessel slipping into the sky blue waters of Key West to become a major attraction for millions of divers to explore. This multimillion dollar event is a onetime offer for the bragging rights to say “I was there” and be among some of the first to get to dive the old girl. This will be in every dive magazine in the industry for years to come, don’t read about it, live it, and be a part of history.

Blue Iguana Charters is offering you a chance to be a part of this with ring side seats. We will be as close as possible so bring your cameras and let’s watch history together from atop of the lido deck of the MV Kate .

We are going to spend ten days diving some of the best shipwrecks the world has to offer right here in the Florida Keys. We will dive all the major wrecks from Key Largo to Key West with the Spiegel Grove and Vandenberg being the anchor ship at each end. The price for this trip is $3,500 per person. This price includes all your meals, lodging and diving onboard the liveaboard vessel MV Kate. We will have nitrox available for an additional fee on this wonderful journey. We only have a few spots left so if you are interested please contact us as soon as possible.

If you would like more information about this trip just drop me a email at or you can give me a call at 561-385-2385.

Capt Scotty