Thursday, November 19, 2009

That's one small step for sharks...

Senate Committee Passes Bill to End Shark Finning in U.S.

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2009 - Oceana commends the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today for passing the Shark Conservation Act of 2009.

"Shark management in the U.S. has suffered for long enough," said Beth Lowell, federal policy director at Oceana. "It's time to enact this shark finning bill into law."

The Act would require all sharks caught in U.S. waters to be landed whole with their fins still attached. This would put an end to shark finning, the wasteful process of cutting off the fins and discarding the carcass at sea.

Landing sharks with their fins still attached allows for better enforcement and data collection for stock assessments and quota monitoring. The Act would also close a loophole that allows the transfer of fins at sea as a way to get around current law. Additionally, the bill would allow the United States to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous.

"Finning is threatening shark populations worldwide," said Elizabeth Griffin, marine scientist at Oceana. "The U.S. should be a leader in helping to solve the problem of shark finning."

The Act was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in April. Similar legislation (H.R. 81), introduced by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), passed the House of Representatives in March.


Sharks have been swimming the world's oceans since before the age of the dinosaur, but today some species face extinction. Each year, commercial fishing kills more than 100 million sharks worldwide - including tens of millions for just their fins. Sharks are especially vulnerable to pressure from human activities because of their slow growth and low reproductive potential.

Sharks can be found in almost every ocean and play a vital role in maintaining the health of the oceans. Many shark populations have declined to levels where they are unable to perform their roles as top predators in the ecosystem, causing drastic and possibly irreversible damage to the oceans. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, more than half of the highly migratory shark species are now considered overexploited or depleted.

For more information about Oceana's campaign to safeguard sharks, please visit

Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans. Our teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America, Europe and South America. For more information, please visit

Guadalupe Island PSA - RTSea Productions

The commercial shark diving industry knows that exposing the public to sharks leads to conservation. It is a fact, and to those that would dispute this fact, to those few who only see sharks through the myopic lens of fear, we present to following PSA by RTSea Productions.

Now seen on Google Oceans:

Maldives Whale Shark Research Q and A

Frontline research with Whale Sharks is critical and none more so than at remote sites like the Maldives.

Enter the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program.

We featured these guys and their terrific outreach website earlier this year as a template for other research sites interested in well networked and well defined public access sites.

This week we stumbled across a Q and A with team members about their work and the need for shark research in the Maldives.

A very good read.

Shark Skin Tech and Fluid Dynamics

It is well known that sharks, after millions of years of evolution, have developed a remarkable skin that all but allows them to "slip" though the oceans.

For the folks who study fluid dynamics natures millions year old testing lab is a case for reverse engineering.

Armed with $200,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation, the NASA Alabama Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and the Lindbergh Foundation, researcher Amy Lang continues research on what designers of aircraft and underwater vehicles could learn by imitating nature's design of shark skins.

Lang is collaborating with Dr. Phil Motta, professor of integrative biology from the University of South Florida, and Dr. Robert Hueter, director of shark research for Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla.

Complete Story