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Marine Life & Conservation

New feature film tackles Western trade in toxic sharks (Watch Trailer)

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“Sharks: In Deep Water is a film to change things,” explains Producer Matt Brierley. The film’s global premiere is 8th Nov 2022 and tickets can be obtained through www.sharksindeepwater.com.

Sharks matter. Without the sea’s top predators ocean ecosystems collapse. We are perilously close to creating a tipping point beneath the waves – in many places ocean systems have already collapsed, taking with them people’s livelihoods and their primary source of protein.

This is a topic close to many people’s hearts – but it is also an issue that conjures images of shark finning and Eastern markets. Sharks: In Deep Water tells a new story.

Laws to protect sharks from finning at sea have tragically backfired. Today sharks must have their fins removed on land. That has sparked a global trade in shark meat. As top of the food chain, sharks bioaccumulate human toxicants in concentrations harmful to their health – and ours if we eat them.

Undercover investigation by Sharks: In Deep Water found sharks in Western ports and on menus in high-end UK restaurants. The film conducted DNA analysis of battered fish sold in UK fish and chip shops. The results proved conclusively that Endangered shark is sold under confusing names. The results claimed headlines across the UK.

“Shark livers are also harvested – typically from deep water sharks science knows very little about. Again these are Western market forces not Eastern,” Matt said. “For too long we’ve told shark conservation as a simple story. Sharks are finned at sea by Eastern countries. But the story has moved on and that old narrative is excusing the Western nations who are fishing the shark and selling it – typically – through the Port of Vigo, Spain. The UK and EU are hugely complicit in the greatest underwater extinction event of our time.”

Sharks: In Deep Water is a film that has been designed to educate, inspire and – ultimately – to make a difference. It is uplifting and joyful at times, sad at others, but crucially it is hopeful and an authentic telling of the issues facing sharks present day.

Join Matt, Louise and Samantha and their team as they journey from Morocco to Continental Europe and on into the UK, documenting a trade in sharks closer to home than you ever imagined possible – and finding ways to spark positive change.

Producer Matt Brierley has worked across a suite of Natural History programming including Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II and The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet.

To watch the film’s trailer, get tickets to the premiere or learn more about the film visit www.sharksindeepwater.com. Details of future screenings will also be announced there.

The film team would like to thank Primordial Radio, Bristol Green Capital, Greenpeace, Exeter University, Manchester University, The Daily Mirror, the MCSUK and those who generously supported and publicised their crowdfunding campaigns including Scubaverse.

Producer Matt Brierley is an award-winning Natural History filmmaker who has worked on programmes including Emmy-winning The Serengeti Rules, Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, Planet Earth II and Wild Isles, and Prince Williams’ The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet. He’s especially passionate about birds, elephants, dinosaurs and, of course, sharks. 

Jeff is a multiple award winning, freelance TV cameraman/film maker and author. Having made both terrestrial and marine films, it is the world's oceans and their conservation that hold his passion with over 10.000 dives in his career. Having filmed for international television companies around the world and author of two books on underwater filming, Jeff is Author/Programme Specialist for the 'Underwater Action Camera' course for the RAID training agency. Jeff has experienced the rapid advances in technology for diving as well as camera equipment and has also experienced much of our planet’s marine life, witnessing, first hand, many of the changes that have occurred to the wildlife and environment during that time. Jeff runs bespoke underwater video and editing workshops for the complete beginner up to the budding professional.

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Marine Life & Conservation

The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support

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With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.

The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.

Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.

The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.

While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”

There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.

This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.

Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.

Click here to sign the Big Shark Pledge

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Gear News

Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd

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This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.

For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.

“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”

Jim Standing fourth element co-founder

Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE

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