Today is Shark Awareness Day, but it may well turn out to be the year of the shark with so much activity rallying around shark conservation. The following are three ways you can get involved, and make some noise on behalf of these impressive, silent, kings of the sea.
1. Pressure governments to establish Marine Protected Areas
Freeland iTHINK personality and passionate environmentalist Dr. Thon Thamrongnawasawat has been lobbying on behalf of our finned friends. His open letter to the Thai government last month urged that Andaman Sea National Marine Parks be better protected from human exploitation by being promoted to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. His letter was viewed over a million times on social media platforms, generated extensive media coverage, and resulted in a meeting with the Minister of the Environment. Help keep the pressure on by sharing his letter (click
here), and video message (click here) on the cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade.
2. Express your distaste for shark fin soup
Join the thousands of people and business that have publicly pledged to go FinFree by signing the Blue List (click here), and encourage your friends to do the same! If you feel like going the extra mile for these majestic ocean creatures, organize a protest or petition to pressure companies and governments to stop enabling the shark fin trade.
3. Support greater regulation of the shark trade
Though shark fin trade is legal, there are protections and quotas put in place for a number of shark species, namely: great whites, hammerheads, whalesharks, oceanic whitetips, basking sharks and porbeagle sharks. And there’s a good chance silky sharks and thresher sharks will be added to this list soon, when officials from the over 180 countries vote on this matter at the next Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in September. Subjecting the shark trade to greater regulation means it’s put under the microscope, with more inspection, control and awareness of the volume and nature of the global shark ‘findustry’. You can help sway this result in favor of silky and thresher sharks by writing emails to, or tweeting, CITES and the governments involved. You can also join coordinated international efforts to illustrate the level of public support for this motion, such as this one projectaware.org/resource/divers4sharksnrays-toolkit which enlists divers to show their support by posting photos of themselves underwater with the #Divers4SharksNRays. Ultimately though, the best way to protect sharks from the fin industry and to not eat shark fin in any way or form.
4. Donate to Freeland
Freeland together with its partners has active campaigns aimed at creating awareness of the shark fin trade issue, reducing the consumption of shark fin, and building a movement that protects shark. Visit this link for more information: http://freeland.org/get-involved/donate/. Your donation will support this cause.