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Conservation groups celebrate new protections for Mako Sharks & Rhino Rays

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Eighteen Shark and Ray Species Granted New Global Trade Controls at Wildlife Conference

Makos, Wedgefishes, and Giant Guitarfishes listed under CITES with support from more than 100 countries.

Conservation groups are praising today’s confirmation that all species of Wedgefishes, Giant Guitarfishes, and Mako Sharks will be added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The listings mandate that countries track exports as well as high seas take, and demonstrate that internationally traded products from these species are legally sourced from sustainable fisheries.

Today’s decisions offer promise of a brighter future for these highly threatened shark and ray species, as international trade has been a major factor in depletion of their slow growing populations,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation. CITES listing can help end unsustainable use of Makos, Wedgefishes, and Giant Guitarfishes by prompting improved trade data and much-needed limits on exploitation, while complementing other conservation commitments. As fishing is the main threat to sharks and rays, it’s essential that countries’ CITES representatives work with their national fisheries agency counterparts to ensure that the new obligations are carried out over the coming months.

Shortfin Makos, exceptionally valuable and vulnerable oceanic sharks, are at risk from targeted and incidental fishing driven by demand for meat and fins. A lack of limits on take is leading to overfishing and a worldwide decreasing trend. Both the Shortfin Mako and the rarer Longfin Mako Shark are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The North Atlantic offers the clearest case of Shortfin Mako overfishing and decline. In 2019, scientists associated with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) reported that North Atlantic Shortfin Mako catches need to be cut by roughly an order of magnitude (~3000 to ~300 tonnes per year) to give the population a decent (60%) chance of recovering within five decades. Taking into account incidental mortality, ICCAT scientists are recommending a complete ban on North Atlantic Shortfin Mako retention.

Considering that Spain leads the world in Mako Shark landings, we’re encouraged that the European Union co-sponsored the proposal to list Makos under CITES,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust. “We urge the EU to underscore this commitment through proposals to immediately ban North Atlantic Shortfin Mako retention and establish concrete catch limits to ensure Mako landings from all other oceans are sustainable. As virtually all fishing countries are CITES Parties, we’ll be watching for support for such Mako limits at regional fisheries bodies around the world, starting with ICCAT in November.“

Wedgefishes and Giant Guitarfishes, collectively known as Rhino Rays (after their pointy snouts), are considered the world’s most threatened marine fishes. All but one of these 16 shark-like ray species have been classified as Critically Endangered on IUCN Red List.  Their fins are among the most valuable in the global shark fin trade. The coastal fisheries that target or retain Rhino Rays as bycatch are poorly monitored, essentially unregulated, and increasingly intense.

Rhino Rays are seriously threatened by demand for fins and food, but these extraordinary species have the potential to offer long-term, sustainable benefits as key attractions for ecotourism, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, said Ian Campbell, Associate Director for Project AWARE. “We are deeply grateful to the many divers who joined us in voicing support for the CITES listings. We now look forward to working with this network and our other partners toward ensuring prompt and full implementation of the international conservation commitments made today.”

Marine Life & Conservation

The IMPERFECT Conservationist, Episode #3: Your Car But Less Impact – In 10 Seconds! (*and you DON’T have to ride your bike everywhere!) (Watch Video)

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In this video you will learn how to have less impact with your car with this 10 second swap. If buying a new electric car or riding your bike everywhere isn’t a sustainable option for you – do this easy – money saving – and impactful swap instead! This is “The IMPERFECT Conservationist”, Episode #3!

In each video you will get your dose of “Conservation Empowerment” with a bite-sized way you can easily infuse conservation into YOUR busy day-to-day life. We can’t do it all, or do it perfectly but when it comes to being part of the solution, we can always do something! You’ve totally got this ; ) Be inspired, inspire others, do something good. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, and the bell so you know when my new videos post! More on my website and social channels too.

Subscribe HERE for weekly episodes of The Imperfect Conservationist!


Find out more at www.mehganheaneygrier.com

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An update from Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort…

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The team from ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ let us know what they’ve been doing during lockdown:

On Friday March 20th 2020, we waved goodbye to the last guests to leave us before Covid-related travel restrictions were introduced the following day. We suspected that global tourism would be effectively shut down for the rest of that year, but here we are over twelve months later, with no certainty as to when we can welcome our first international clients back to Bunaken.

We have not, however, been idle.

Our primary concern was for our staff. Having over 80 staff on contract, together with no revenue, gave us a dilemma. We immediately told all our employees that no one would be losing their job. To achieve this, we put everyone except senior managers on 50% salary in return for their working 50% of their contracted days. But with no guests and 40 employees present at any one time, how would they fill their days?

Easily.

Having been voted ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ by the World Travel Awards for the last three years, we knew we couldn’t simply close our doors and wait for the world to return to normal. We’re a jungle-based, coastal resort, and what we know for sure is that sea air and jungle encroachment (however good it smells and pretty it looks!) are no friends of ours. For the last year there’s been constant activity: painting, deep-cleaning, polishing, trimming, pruning, overhauling, servicing – so that when we’re ready to open, every aspect of the resort is in first-class condition

In addition to maintenance and refurbishment work, and with our new General Managers Ed Regeer and Shu Ming Chueng leading the way, we embarked on a comprehensive schedule of projects to improve and upgrade the infrastructure of the resort: re-roofing cottages, rebuilding walkways and bridges, reinforcing the jetty, refurbishing our dive boats, enlarging our organic garden, and rebuilding perimeter fencing.

Ed & Shu

As well as improving the resort and keeping our staff employed, this has also provided benefits to the local economy; we regularly employ additional craftsmen on a week-by-week basis, and nearly all raw materials are bought in Bunaken or nearby Manado.

But there are other ways that the resort has continued to support the island and the local community: because we make our own fresh water (the only fresh water on Bunaken), we supply it to the local villagers, and we also provide electricity and fresh water to the nearby Balai ranger station. We have devoted labour and materials to assist the repair and ongoing maintenance of the main arterial road (albeit it’s a motorcycle path, as there aren’t any cars on Bunaken!) that links the three major villages on the island, and we have expanded our mangrove planting programme.

We also continue to provide emergency medical evacuation to the mainland for anyone who needs it, and our Emergency First Responders are occasionally called upon to administer first aid to islanders who have been involved in motorcycle accidents in the vicinity of the resort.

Finally, and like any other diving resort anywhere in the world, we are fighting a continuous battle against the garbage which so thoughtlessly ends up in the ocean, and which then sometimes washes up on our doorstep. As well as cleaning up our own beach and mangroves, we assist other resorts in cleaning up theirs, and we contribute regularly to the brilliant efforts of Trash Heroes Bunaken.

While we may not have had any guests for the last year, we’ve certainly been extremely busy, and this means that Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort will be in fantastic shape to welcome new and returning guests as soon as restrictions are lifted, and international travel begins to return to something like normal.

We’re operating an extremely flexible reservations scheme, with currently only 10%deposit. For more information, please visit www.bunakenoasis.com or contact info@bunakenoasis.com.

On behalf of the owners and managers of Bunaken Oasis, we’d like to say a huge thank you to those guests who had booked with us but have had to rearrange their holiday plans because of the pandemic. Given the ongoing uncertainty, we’re happy to reschedule your dates as needed, and we look forward to offering you the warmest Bunaken welcome just as soon as we’re able to!

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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