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Marine Life & Conservation

SeaWorld plans to block shareholder vote aimed at ‘retiring’ killer whales



SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. intends to block shareholders from voting on a measure that urges the Orlando-based company to develop “coastal sanctuaries” and use them as retirement homes for its collection of captive killer whales.

The proposal was submitted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in advance of SeaWorld’s first annual shareholders meeting, where shareholders will be asked to elect directors and vote on other company business. PETA owns 80 shares of SeaWorld stock.

But SeaWorld has told federal regulators it plans to ignore PETA’s request. The reason: Federal rules require shareholders to have held stock in a company for at least a year before they can submit recommendations for a vote. SeaWorld has been a publicly traded company for less than a year, making it impossible for any shareholder to meet that criterion.

“Because the proponent [PETA] had not — and could not have — held shares in the company for at least one year prior to the date on which it submitted the proposal, it is ineligible to submit a stockholder proposal at this time,” the company wrote in a recent letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The marine-park owner went public on April 19 of last year. PETA bought its shares in the company on the same day.

What’s more, SeaWorld says it plans to file its annual “proxy statement,” a document that must be mailed to shareholders before its yearly meeting and that must include any proposals to be voted on April 17, two days before its first anniversary as a publicly traded company.

To cover its bases, SeaWorld has asked the SEC for assurance that the agency will not take legal action should it exclude PETA’s recommendation from its proxy materials.

PETA, which has asked the SEC to deny SeaWorld’s request, accuses SeaWorld of hiding behind federal rules. The organization notes that it has held SeaWorld stock for as long as possible and that it does not intend to get rid of its stake in the company — which is currently valued at about $2,500 — before the annual meeting.

“SeaWorld shareholders should have an opportunity to improve the company’s reputation and preserve its future by making the progressive decision to transfer these intelligent mammals to sea sanctuaries where they finally have the opportunity to be whales again,” said Jared Goodman, PETA’s director of animal law.

SeaWorld defended its decision in a written statement Monday. “We owe it to our shareholders to conduct our annual proxy process in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission rules and regulations,” the company said.



Marine Life & Conservation

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



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



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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