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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Guardian investigation finds endangered sharks for sale in Taiwan

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A field investigation into Taiwan’s shark fin industry was conducted by Shark Guardian between December 2020 and March 2021. The investigation obtained documentary evidence of fins from endangered shark species being openly offered for sale by over half of all shark fin traders surveyed in Taiwan’s southern fishing port of Kaohsiung.

Of the 13 shark fin processing and trading companies visited, more than half were found to be trading CITES- listed fins, and seven had shark fins from CITES Appendix II-listed species as part of their product range. One company saidthere was no difference in selling protected or unprotected species. Protected sharks’ products usually create a problem for international shipping only.”

The new report details how seven out of thirteen traders surveyed in Taiwan were found to be selling shark fins from silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mako sharks, thresher sharks and great white sharks in broad daylight – in contravention of Taiwanese and international law.

Over a three-month period, Shark Guardian investigators witnessed multiple shipments of shark fins from endangered species being unloaded at Donggang fish market which is in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.

Alex Hofford, Marine Wildlife Campaigner with Shark Guardian, said “To save sharks and the marine environment, Taiwanese authorities should implement an immediate crackdown on its cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, and should tighten up local laws to ban the domestic sale of shark fin as well as better enforce its international obligations under CITES. It is also high time that the Taiwanese government should rein in its out-of-control distant water tuna fishing fleet, who are a major supplier shark fin to Chinese markets. Whilst Taiwan is a beacon of democratic and progressive values in Asia, it is allowing its unsustainable and often crime-ridden fisheries sector to rape and pillage our ocean with impunity. This must stop. Taiwan needs to show leadership in environmental protection and must quickly clean up its act as regards its sleazy shark fisheries and trade sectors.”

During our investigation, Shark Guardian also found evidence of Taiwan-based online retailers selling fins of endangered species of shark in contravention of local and international law.

According to WWF, a third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, yet fishing and trading in unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, but environmentally destructive, enterprise for Taiwanese companies operating out of Kaohsiung.

Brendon Sing, Co-Director of Shark Guardian said “Clearly more must be done to protect sharks globally. There are over 500 known shark species with only a handful of them listed under CITES. Even then, CITES listed sharks are still traded illegally where monitoring and enforcement lack any power and expose loopholes in the system. As long as this continues, there is no real protection for any shark species regardless of CITES listing or not. Taiwan must be responsible and take positive action in response to this report.”

Shark Guardian believes that excessively large profit margins are the main reason why Taiwan has never acted to rein in its shark fisheries and trade.

Shark Guardian hopes that Taiwan can apply its progressive values towards preserving the marine environment by imposing a comprehensive ban on the physical and online selling all species of shark fin in Taiwan. Such a ban would go above and beyond what is required under international law, and Taiwan’s domestic laws can be changed with public support.

For more information about Shark Guardian visit their website by clicking here.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Joanna Ruxton MBE, filmmaker and conservationist, about her life and work (Watch Video)

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“If you really care about our oceans and ultimately the planet on which we all live then do listen to what Jo Ruxton has to say about how we need to act now if we are to stop and reverse this destructive global trend we have created for ourselves and all other life.”

Jeff Goodman

In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Joanna Ruxton MBE, film maker and conservationist, about her life and work, ‘A Plastic Ocean’ (Netflix) and her new project Ocean Generation.

Jo graduated from London University with a degree in Marine Science.  She started the first marine programme for WWF in Hong Kong, where she raised her family, and was a key advocate for the establishment of the first marine parks there.

She returned to live in the UK and was a Producer at the BBC Natural History Unit and a lead member of the BBC’s diving team, producing and directing underwater sequences since the first days of filming on Blue Planet.

Disappointed in the lack of conservation messages in BBC films, she left in 2008 to work independently to produce, A Plastic Ocean, (Netflix).  She founded the charity, Ocean Generation (formerly Plastic Oceans).

She lives in Cornwall close to her daughters and their families and when not diving on location she enjoys cold-water sea swimming, whatever the season.  Jo was awarded an MBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours for services to marine conservation.

About Ocean Generation | UK Charity No. 1139843

Ocean Generation is an inclusive global movement that exists to restore a sustainable relationship between humanity and the Ocean.

Founded in 2009, the charity was established initially to support the production and message of our award-winning documentary feature, ‘A Plastic Ocean’, named by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most important films of our time” and ignited mass public awareness about the impact of plastic on our Ocean.

No ordinary NGO, Ocean Generation combines the disruptive energy of a youth collective with years of experience in storytelling through science and film.

Find out more at www.oceangeneration.org


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Incredible underwater Cornish adventure awaits 400 lucky teens

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An education programme and competition, set to change the lives of 400 teenagers has launched to bring the crucial message of marine conservation to the heart of secondary school pupils nationwide.

DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL in conjunction with PADI the world’s largest ocean exploration and diver organisation, believe it is every young person’s right to experience the ocean and that educating children about the wonders of the planet’s marine environment, the crucial part it plays in our existence and that of all ocean life, will help safeguard our seas for future generations.

Dive Project Cornwall has launched the ambitious project to educate hundreds of thousands of young people by delivering an education programme directly into schools across the UK, in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society. Their mission is to raise awareness of the importance of the planet’s marine environment and its vital role in our very own existence.​

At the heart of Dive Project Cornwall is a nationwide competition which will invite pupils to design and document a marine creature using recyclable plastics.

Open to all secondary schools, 400 lucky teenagers will win the experience of a lifetime: a 6-day, life-changing trip to Cornwall where they will learn to scuba dive at a PADI Dive Centre, enjoy outdoor adventures, take up beach-related activities and attend presentations from leading marine industry experts.

This will encourage teenagers to become PADI Open Water Divers and PADI Torchbearers – ocean influencers who positively engage, inspire and motivate the next generation to save our planet.

Registration closes in mid-April and a panel of judges will select the winners on 30th May. The judging panel confirmed to date includes: Emma Samuelsson, Regional Manager, PADI, EMEA; Kim Conchie, Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall; Malcolm Bell MBE, Head of Tourism at Visit Cornwall; Trevor Osborne, Chairman, The Trevor Osborne Property Group; Paul Strike, Founder & Director, Fourth Element; and Hannah Tapping, Editor, Cornwall Living & Drift.

Emma Samuelsson, Regional Manager, PADI, EMEA, tells us: “PADI is delighted to partner with Dive Project Cornwall to provide the 400 winning students with PADI Open Water Diver eLearning. PADI Dive Centres in Cornwall will work with the students to complete their in-water training and PADI certification. Scuba diving opens up the underwater world for young people and helps them to develop an understanding and appreciation for it, inspiring them to want to explore and protect it.”

This truly immersive experience will take teens from classroom to shoreline and beyond; from an on-site training pool to taking their first steps in discovering the wonders of life underwater in the ocean, igniting their imaginations to join the Ocean Conservation movement.

Many of these children will never have had the opportunity to experience the ocean close at hand. They will leave this residential course, delivered in the breath-taking environment of the Lizard in Cornwall, based at Porthkerris as PADI qualified open water divers, ready to spread the word as ocean influencers.

Find out more and register for the competition at www.diveprojectcornwall.co.uk/the-competition

Image credit: Jake Tims

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Situated in Naama Bay, this 4-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony or terrace overlooking the landscaped pool area or Naama Bay. A free shuttle to its waterpark and private beach are provided at specified times.

The resort has 3 bars and an in-house restaurant serving local and international dishes. Guests can also enjoy traditional shisha, and room service is available.

The beach and Naama Bay’s nightlife, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance.

WAS £895pp / NOW from just £760 per person based on sharing a twin room including:

  • Direct flights from Gatwick to Sharm el Sheikh with 15kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in Mountain View room
  • All Inclusive meal plan
  • 5 days’ local reef day boat diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights

*Marine Park fees payable locally

Other departure airports available at a supplement.

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – alternative dates available.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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