As a follow up to my Thursday post on CNN's report on ocean plastic pollution to air this Sunday, October 30th at 5pm and 8pm, also in the same program will be a segment on sharks and shark conservation efforts: Sharks: from predators to prey.
The segment will cover many of the issues that shark advocates have been promoting for several years, but it always bears repeating. Overfishing from commercial shark fishing operations, the high demand in Asian countries for shark products - particularly shark fins - and the critical role that sharks play as apex predators in maintaining a healthy and well-balanced marine ecosystem. These are the facts. Over-sensationalism, like rampaging sharks on the attack for humans at any opportunity, is what fuels misconceptions and provides fodder for a media looking for a quick headline. However, for the most part, CNN has done a pretty responsible job in putting forth the truth about sharks and the threats they face. So, kudos to the folks in Atlanta.
The shark segment on CNN this Sunday also looks at the Shark Free Marinas Initiative (SFMI) and its director, marine biologist Luke Tipple. Luke is a good friend and I've had the opportunity to capture him on film many times both above and below the waves, diving in open water with white sharks, tigers, and others, or talking about sharks and the Shark Free Marinas Initiative.
With location services set up by SharkDivers.com, CNN spent time with Luke in the Grand Bahamas where SFMI has a foothold with one of the island's most popular marinas catering to sportfishermen. Compared to commercial operations, the number of sharks taken by recreational sportfishermen is much smaller but at this stage of the game, the loss of any shark is a blow to the species' population. Recreational shark fishing tournaments are still being held each year and draw considerable worldwide criticism from conservation groups like The Humane Society - which supports SFMI. But when sportfishermen either opt for catch-and-release of sharks or choose not to catch them altogether, it can have an impact on an influential segment of the ocean-going public that can spread.
Here's a video preview of the CNN news report:
CNN's Sharks: from predator to prey airs Sunday, Oct. 30th at 5pm & 8pm PST (8 & 11pm EST) on CNN.
Learn about the Shark Free Marinas Initiative.