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Shark File
photo: simon rogerson
What you can do in the Red Sea
Don’t forget, a picture can often be a more powerful tool than
words. take pictures of the effects of overfishing, finning, habitat
By shark trust director ali Hood destruction or just to demonstrate the beauty of sharks – these will
making an impact on shark conservation is not only achievable by
always come in handy when making your case.
politicians and formal conservation organisations like the shark once you have a clear picture, educating and informing others is
trust – in fact, whether you are out for a week’s holiday or the entire a vital route for shark conservation. Whether talking to your fellow
season with a little bit of enthusiasm you can make a big difference. divers or contacting government bodies to express your concern for
the first step is to arm yourself with knowledge. there are many
the future of sharks and indicating the problems they are facing it is
threats, both global and regional, facing sharks and so it is essential
important that you don’t remain quiet.
that you remain informed on these issues and their consequences in
order to best approach their solution.
5 Minute Actions!
good places to start are the shark trust (
• Don’t buy shark fin soup – the trade in shark’s fin is one of
and shark alliance ( websites. each one is
the most detrimental problems affecting sharks populations
bursting with information on sharks and their threats and details of
international measures protecting sharks.
• add your voice to the latest shark trust petition: www.
to get a more local understanding of what is happening talk to
the folks at your dive centre, they should have a good idea of the
• Be aware of the provenance of shark curios – if you want to
regional or country-wide laws protecting sharks. local government
buy teeth or jaws ask a few questions as to where they came
officials will also be able to provide you with details of further
from – it is quite unlikely that they came from a sustainable
legislative and management measures (at least on paper) in place to
source. Fossil teeth are less of a problem however there are
preserve sharks.
some rogue traders out there, investigate their credentials
as a diver you are in a prime position to record what you see in the
before buying.
water and to report changes in your marine environment. recording • always dive with companies that have respectful and
your sightings is the perfect place to start and over time will provide conservation minded codes of practice for sharks – companies
a vast amount of data about the sharks seen, and not seen, in your that don’t feed, antagonise or encourage touching of sharks
local waters. are a good start.
if you are out for the season, recording other information such as
• email your local government official and ask them what they
seasonal presence/absence of sharks, important juvenile areas or
are doing to support shark conservation.
any other interesting behavioural observations can all feed into • record your sightings at
marine protected area designation and other management and
conservation measures.
issue 2 august / september 2009 11
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