The Shark-Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) - an organization devoted to shark conservation measures by focusing on eliminating caught sharks from marinas, thereby incrementally ridding the taking of sharks for contests, trophy records and photos, and basically anything else associated with bringing in landed sharks - continues to grow by bringing on major sportfishing marinas as "shark-free."
The Bahamas Weekly recently reported that the Bimini Bay Resort is now a member of SFMI (see excerpt below). SFMI was the brainchild of SharkDivers.com and has been directed with great success by Luke Tipple. SFMI is now supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Humane Society of the United States. While not the end all for protecting sharks, the Shark-Free Marina Initiative does achieve significant progress in both making a dent in the number of sharks taken for sportfishing and in developing new attitudes among all patrons of participating marinas - sportfishermen, boaters, and tourists - regarding shark conservation.
Bimini Bay Resort Joins The Shark Free Marina Initiative
By Danielle Dunfee
Bimini Bay Resort announced its voluntary participation as the third marina resort in Bimini to join the Shark-Free Marina Initiative (www.sharkfreemarinas.com) whose purpose is to focus on the importance of reducing worldwide shark mortality. Bimini Bay Resort now prohibits the landing of sharks at its marinas and pledges to work in tandem with its sport fishermen to develop protocols under which threatened species of shark are permitted to recover and replenish their populations. As a leading employer of Biminites on the island, Bimini Bay will work to create and enforce community-conscious awareness of the need to protect Bimini’s sharks and waters. “One of our main focuses in 2011 will be to encourage responsible use of our ocean,” stated Rafael Reyes, President of Bimini Bay Resort.
The Shark Free Marina Initiative works with marinas, fishermen and non-profit groups to formulate community conscious policies and to increase awareness of the need to protect sharks. Currently 60 to 100 million sharks are slaughtered worldwide each year, which in turn poses a serious threat to the health of the earth’s oceans. Over the last five years, the United States recreational fishery has harvested an average of 500,000 sharks per year.
Bimini Bay’s participation in the Shark-Free Marina Initiative takes the Bimini Islands unanimously one step closer to this marina initiative; a boon to the shark populations of the area and to the Bimini Biological Field Station. Bimini is home to healthy shark populations and to the Bimini Biological Field Station. Informally known as the Shark lab, the Bimini Biological Field Station on South Bimini is a world-renowned research facility whose subjects of study are the many species of sharks in the unique habitat of the Bimini’s North Sound and Bimini's surrounding waters.
Click here to visit the Shark-Free Marina Initiative web site and become an SFMI Ambassador.