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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark charity Bite-Back gets financial boost

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Entrepreneurs from across Europe have contributed U$25,000 (£18,500) to support Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation, following an exclusive shark diving trip to the Galapagos Islands organised by businessmen and shark-conservation fans, Swen Lorenz and Marcel Maschmeyer.

The eight day trip involved encounters with scalloped hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, Galapagos bullhead sharks, blacktip, and whitetip reef-sharks, plus spotted eagle rays, sea lions, mola molas, turtles and dolphins in the protected waters around the famous archipelago.

The funds, collected from all participants of the trip through a visitor philanthropy scheme of adding a donation to each package, will significantly boost the organisation’s typical annual budget of around £50,000. The charity says the funds will be crucial in its campaign to make Britain the first major country in the world to ban the trade in shark products.

Swen Lorenz said: “As a former conservation charity CEO, I know of the importance of backing well-run charities by giving their management unrestricted funds. Bite-Back has an unparalleled track-record in the UK for achieving significant impact in shark conservation on a lean, well-managed budget. We back its founder and want to help him to build on his existing success.

Marcel Maschmeyer said: “As an avid diver and vegan since 2015, I have focused my efforts towards those species that cannot help themselves, but are crucial to the survival of our planet’s most vulnerable ecosystems. I try to lead by example, always happy to support those with a passion for their cause and the right ideas to have a lasting impact. Graham at Bite-Back has done exactly that. We hope our contributions help to leverage his existing track-record and allow him to aim for even bigger targets.”

Because of Bite-Back’s campaigns there are already 80% fewer restaurants in the UK serving shark fin soup. The charity also prompted ASDA, Iceland Foods and MAKRO to remove shark steaks from stores nationwide and inspired Holland & Barrett to end the sale of shark cartilage capsules.

Graham Buckingham, founder of Bite-Back, said: “This generous donation will invigorate our campaigns to rid the UK of all shark products by 2022. We can now look forward to launching new initiatives to end the current 20kg personal importation of shark fins to the UK and eliminate the sale of shark meat, fins, teeth, jaws and supplements.

Unregulated overfishing and increased demand for shark fin soup coupled with a global apathy for shark conservation means that the ocean’s ‘big cats’ could be wiped out, throwing the marine environment into chaos and, ultimately, threatening life on earth.

Now Bite-Back can scale up its efforts to deliver a series of intelligent campaigns that address these issues and highlight the urgency for shark conservation. Shark fans and those concerned about the survival of the species can follow Bite-Back’s progress at www.bite-back.com or on Facebook and twitter.

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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