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Immediate ICCAT ban needed to save endangered Mako Sharks

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Scuba Divers and Marine Scientists Call on International Fisheries Managers to Act Now and Prevent North Atlantic Population Collapse

In a shared effort to highlight growing public concern for declining shortfin mako shark populations, local conservation group, Save the Med, and global marine conservation non-profit, Project AWARE®, are bringing the voices of more than 25,000 concerned ocean enthusiasts from around the world to the attention of fisheries managers ahead of critical decisions taking place at the meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – 18-25 November – in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

“Years of inaction to protect declining mako sharks is increasingly a cause for worry among the public, in general, and the dive community, in particular. We are here today to urge fisheries managers to acknowledge our concerns and heed scientific advice for makos, before it’s too late. One thing is clear to us all: postponing action is no longer an option. It’s high time to shift the focus from short-term economic interests to the long-term sustainablity of marine ecosystems.” says Brad Robertson, Save the Med Foundation Co-Founder.

This week, at their 26th Regular Meeting, member governments of ICCAT are considering fishing restrictions to protect Atlantic shortfin mako sharks. Since 2017, ICCAT scientists have advised that landings from the seriously overfished North Atlantic population should be banned and have warned that the unprotected South Atlantic population is at risk for following the same path.

Spanish fleets consistently land more makos than any other country. Despite repeated warnings about mako overfishing, the EU has failed to propose the scientific advice at ICCAT meetings or even limit set an EU limit on mako catches. Progress for mako conservation at this week’s ICCAT meeting depends on the European Union reconsidering its stance and instead supporting the limits that scientists advise.

“The population assessments made by scientists are clear: North Atlantic mako sharks are facing collapse and a ban is needed to turn the tide. We need to start thinking of makos like we do other endangered species, such as sea turtles or monk seals.  Makos are still present in the market and on our tables; we’re still eating them! It must stop,” comments Gabriel Morey, Save the Med Foundation Co-Founder.

In August, the EU co-sponsored a successful proposal to list mako sharks on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  As a result, CITES Parties will soon be required to demonstrate that mako exports are sourced from legal, sustainable fisheries. The IUCN classified makos as Endangered on the IUCN Red List in March.

Project AWARE and its Shark League coalition partners have appealed to fisheries and environment authorities in all ICCAT Parties to work together to ensure scientific advice is immediately heeded, in line with government obligations under both ICCAT and CITES. More than 25,000 divers and ocean enthusiasts who added their voice to Project AWARE’s #Divers4Makos petition are backing the Shark League appeal.

“Fisheries Ministers making decisions at ICCAT are all public servants, and we want to ensure that they hear, loud and clear, the message that the international dive community, including over 25,000 #Divers4Makos supporters: protect mako sharks NOW!” adds Ian Campbell, Project AWARE Associate Director Policy and Campaigns.

For more info, please visit: www.projectaware.org

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Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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