Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shark-Free Marina Initiative: 70 more marinas join in past week

And speaking of sharks, the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, signing on marinas to promote pro-shark activities and attitudes to the recreational sportfishing industry, thereby putting pressure on shark tournaments and those seeking shark trophies - which are decidedly anti-shark at their core.

A press release from SFMI on Tuesday said, "Marinas on the east and west coasts of the United States are enthusiastically joining the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative (SFMI) to help conserve the world’s imperiled shark populations. Over 70 marinas have joined SFMI in the past week. There are currently over 200 marinas participating world-wide, including 164 in the U.S., 24 in Fiji, and 6 in Bahamas."         

SFMI started several years ago as an idea first promoted by  When my friend, Luke Tipple, came on board as director, he enlisted my services to shoot the first promotional video for the organization.  From there, Luke garnered supporters and now it is managed by The Humane Society of the United States, the Pegasus Foundation, and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation with Luke still as director and with additional support from the Mote Marine Laboratory, the Pew Environment Group, and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation. 

"The SFMI is a totally voluntary program that works in tandem with businesses, marinas and fishermen to increase the awareness of the need to protect our sharks and oceans. Marinas and businesses may join the program as either Shark-Free or Shark-Friendly:  A Shark-Free Marina does not allow sharks to be killed and landed at its facility; a Shark-Friendly Marina discourages killing or landing of sharks and does not serve shark products or promote activities that intentionally harm sharks.

Marinas are major players in the recreational fishing community and can help inform fishermen and reduce the number of sharks being killed by joining the SFMI and preventing dead sharks from being brought back to their docks. 'Marinas are key to the success of this initiative in the United States,' says Luke Tipple, managing director of the SFMI."  
Some might question what impact sportfishing has on shark populations compared to large-scale industrial shark fishing.  With the number of shark species already in such great decline, particularly among species that are popular targets for sportfishing, the impact may not be cataclysmic but it is, nonetheless, real and worth addressing.

“Recreational fishing in the U.S. has contributed to the serious historical decline in shark populations,” notes Dr. Robert Hueter, senior scientist and director, Mote Marine Laboratory’s National Center for Shark Research. “Sustaining these species is in the interest of recreational anglers as well as commercial fishermen and marine conservationists.” 
So, congratulations to the Shark Free Marina Initiative!  I'm glad to have been there to help at the beginning and, hopefully, it will continue to expand and cumulatively have a positive effect not only on the number of sharks taken in sportfishing, but also on the attitudes of the participants whether they be fishermen or onlookers on the dock.

Source: Shark Free Marina Initiative News

1 comment:

Mike Gerken said...

Congratulations to the Shark Free Marina Initiative and all the marina's who see the writing on the wall.