Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shark Tournaments - Change From Within

How do you effect conservation change?

That question is the million dollar or million shark question depending on which side of the conservation fence you are currently sitting.

Smart conservationists know that conservation change, real and long lasting change, does not come from direct action, protests, or petitions.

Conservation change comes from new ways of thinking, alliances with forward thinking individuals and groups, and effecting change from within.

That's why we support the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge.

We know hard core shark folks will decry the "support" of any shark tournaments but the bottom line is this - until today no one had taken a leadership role combining shark research, shark conservation, and catch and release into a certified tournament model. A model that will soon become the accepted tournament model to replace the 300 or so catch and kill tournaments currently operating in the USA.

Think about it.

Shark tournaments will not stop because they are money making propositions. Asking anyone to stop making money is hard, demanding that they stop without a sustainable replacement is a fools errand.

To change the shark tournament world you will first have to come up with a tournament model that is so successful that everyone will want to copy it.

Kudos to the team from the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge, and to Guy and his crew for supporting the evolution of shark catch and release tournaments in the USA.

Taking "marlin tournament model" into the world of ongoing shark research and conservation is the way you effect conservation change.

SFMI Regional Ambassador named for Honduras

The Shark-Free marina initiative would like to welcome and old friend of ours to the SFMI Ambassador program. Peter Wilcox is a Canadian born Dive Instructor and shark conservation advocate that has been working in the Bay Islands of Honduras for several years.

Pete’s organization the Shark Legacy Project was recently instrumental in pushing for a complete moratorium on shark fishing in Honduran Waters, a tentative status that for the moment protects all sharks from slaughter. Pete’s work is now really cut out for him as he works with the givernment and their officials to make this temporary bill permanent and regulated.

From Peter Wilcox Director of the Shark Legacy Project:

"We’ve had a major victory down here. After our meetings with DIGIPESCA they pushed up the passing of a bill that has now gone into practice. It puts a moratorium on the fishing of all shark species in all the waters of Honduras! Think that makes Honduras the first in the Caribbean to have a shark sanctuary! Part of the drive behind this measure was to cease use of sharks as a resource until research can be done to evaluate the population/species of sharks here. So finally, a government willing to step in before the problem gets unmanageable.

We met with the government this last weekend to discuss how we can assist in this research (as you may be able to guess they do not have much in the way of funding for their own research). We are travelling to Tegucigalpa this week to discuss further research and affiliations to benefit the goals of protecting sharks here."

As if his work isn’t already cut out for him we’ve asked Pete to step up for SFMI and represent the Initiative in Honduras.

Please support the Shark Legacy Project by visiting their website and spreading the news of their win through your social networks.