Shark Savers congratulates Florida, the first state to specifically protect hammerhead and tiger sharks

Posted on November 16, 2011
Written by: Shark Savers

November 16, 2011. After more than a year of conservation advocacy, scientific review, and community input, and based on their staffs’ recommendation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) agreed to prohibit the harvest of three species of hammerhead sharks and tiger sharks in Florida waters.

At a meeting in Key Largo, FWC Chairperson Kathy Barco presided over the vote to prohibit the recreational and commercial harvest of great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks, and tiger sharks from state waters of Florida.

“Shark Savers applauds the FWC for protecting hammerhead and tiger sharks, whose populations have declined precipitously in recent decades in the waters around Florida,” said Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers. “Florida’s important action should be an encouragement for the United States to take similar action in federal waters for these highly vulnerable shark species.”

Shark Savers, an organization that educates the public about the importance of sharks to ocean health, has been advocating for these shark protections, as well as last year’s addition of lemon sharks to Florida’s list of protected species. The organization has been working with other Florida shark advocates, including the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, The RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, "The Shark Brothers" – Brooks and Sean Paxton, responsible fishermen, and concerned citizens. All have testified in support of the increased protections and gathered at the Key Largo FWC meeting today to provide continued support for the measures.

Florida’s expanded protection of sharks is part of a growing worldwide recognition of the threat of overfishing to sharks and the valuable role that sharks play in regulating the ocean ecosystem. In the past two years, the states of California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, together with Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, have passed bills to end the shark fin trade. Internationally, shark sanctuaries have been established in the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Maldives, the Bahamas, Honduras and Indonesia.

About Shark Savers: Shark Savers was founded in 2007 by six long-time divers driven by a shared passion – to save the world’s dwindling shark population. Today, more than 20,000 members from 99 nations share that passion. Focusing on action and results, Shark Savers programs result in saving the lives of sharks. By leveraging professional experience and expertise, Shark Savers brings this important issue to the masses in many compelling forms, motivating people to stop consuming sharks and shark fin soup, and working for the creation of shark sanctuaries and other protections. For more information, please visit www.sharksavers.org

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References

  1. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council - Habitat and Ecosystem Section - Essential Fish Habitathttp://www.safmc.net/Default.aspx?tabid=56
  2. IUCN Red List 2009 - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  3. NOAA Habitat Conservation - Highly Migratory Species data evaluation tool -http://sharpfin.nmfs.noaa.gov/website/EFH_mapper/HMS/map.aspx
  4. Essential Fish Habitat Neonate/YOY Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/EFH/Final/Final%20PDFs/Final_Tiger_Shark_NEO.pdf
  5. Cascading Effects of the Loss of Apex Predatory Sharks from a Coastal Ocean - Ransom A. Myers, et al. Science 315, 1846 (2007)
  6. The Conservation Status of Pelagic Sharks and Rays - Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group - Pelagic Shark Red List Workshop. Tubney House, University of Oxford, UK, 19-23 February 2007.
  7. NOAA Draft Amendment to The Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, Sept. 2008.
  8. Lifestyle of Sharks, Dr. Samuel H. Gruber, Shark Conference 2000.http://www.pacfish.org/sharkcon/documents/gruber.html
  9. Sharks, rays and chimaeras: the status of the Chondrichthyan fishes. By Sarah L. Fowler, IUCN Shark Specialist Group
  10. [EFH All Life Stages Great Hammerhead (Spyrna Mokarran)http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/EFH/Final/Final%20PDFs/Final_Great_Hammerhead_Shark_ALL.pdf