Anderson Cooper takes viewers on an underwater adventure to one of the world’s most vibrant coral reefs, an anomaly at a time when many of the world’s reefs are in danger – or already dead. He talks to Cuban marine conservationists who show how protecting The Gardens of the Queen reef from fishing and pollution has resulted in an almost perfectly healthy reef. Seeing these abundant reefs gives this diver hope that a network of Marine Protected Areas worldwide can eventually bring back what we’ve lost.
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Guest Blogger, Rebecca Greenburg, Oceana
I’m sitting in the meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission down in Key Largo, and I have great news: A decision has just been made to protect tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks in state waters.
The new rules go into effect January 1, 2012 and prohibit the commercial harvest, possession and landing of tiger and hammerhead sharks (scalloped, smooth and great hammerheads) in state waters — that’s three miles off the Atlantic coast and nine miles off the Gulf coast. Recreational fisheries for these species could continue, as long as they’re “catch and release.”
We really like this new regulation. Tiger sharks have declined drastically in recent decades — up to 97% in US Atlantic waters. And these three species of hammerhead sharks have declined about 70% in northwest Atlantic waters. Sharks are often caught for their fins that eventually end up in shark fin soup.
There are some other shark species that still would benefit from this same protection in Florida’s waters, but for now we’re pleased to see the state make positive changes to these shark fisheries. Florida’s waters provide essential habitat for these species; their babies (called pups) use these waters as nursery grounds.
Protected sharks = more shark babies = healthier oceans. Thanks to everyone who helped with this huge victory for sharks!
Ocean Champion Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-Marin/Sonoma), was honored on Sunday at Sea Stewards wrap-up Sharktoberfest event hosted by Turtle Island Restoration Network and Lori Grace of Sunrise Center in Corte Madera.
There was a great deal to celebrate this year – the passing into law of CA Bill AB 376 banning the sale of shark fins in the state, as well as shark sanctuaries popping up around the globe in ever increasing numbers as public awareness grows of the key role of sharks in ocean ecosystems and planetary health. It truly is a case of ‘No Fins, No Future.’
And as David McGuire reminded us, poaching is a big issue, and the need for enforcement of ‘shark safety zones’ remains a challenge that we must face as we move forward to protect sharks worldwide. And now that the shark fin ban has been signed into law, next up will be to ban the killing of sharks altogether in California waters.
Todd Steiner, Executive Director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network welcomed David McGuire to the crew out in Forest Knolls. David will be directing their ‘Got Mercury.org’ program working to protect fish & public health. David will also continue his shark research, conservation and advocacy and with the TIRN team, will be able to achieve even greater success for ocean protection.
This has definitely been Sea Stewards (and the sharks’) best Sharktober yet!
San Francisco Mayoral Candidate David Chiu has shown strong and consistent support for the environment, for sharks and for the future of planet ocean. Yesterday he spoke as The America’s Cup Authority announced the launch of their Healthy Ocean Project in San Francisco.
Video by Deb Castellana
Join us at Sharktoberfest on the eve of Jerry Brown’s historic signing of AB376!