The Mission of Shark Friendly Marinas
The Shark Friendly Marinas Initiative has a singular purpose, to reduce worldwide shark mortality. We encourage shark conservation at sport fishing and resort marinas by prohibiting the landing of any shark at the participating marina.
"Reducing Worldwide Shark Mortality, one marina at a time"
It is our goal to work with, not against, the recreational and commercial fishing community. As shark populations are decimated on a global scale we as a species are obligated to pay attention and reduce our wasteful destruction of an incredibly important resource. The second phase of this initiative will be to partner with shark tournament organizers for sustainable and eco sanctioned events.
Shark Friendly Marinas: The Reason
The ocean today is at a crisis point; global warming, pollution and land reclamation are already destroying the fragile balance of the sea. When we add to that the destructive effects of over fishing and mismanagement of fish stocks the scientific community agree, we may well witness the total collapse of the oceans ecosystem within our lifetime.
Life in the ocean is all tied into a fragile but robust system called a food chain. Imagine it like a pyramid built of layers called trophic levels. The first and largest trophic level consists of algaes and phytoplankton and bacteria. As we move up the trophic pyramid we encounter various animals from the very small fish and corals to the very large predators and ultimately end up at the top trophic level which is dominated by sharks.
For hundreds of millions of years this amazingly complicated web has self regulated and remained stable, that is until we developed fishing techniques that exceed the sustainable fishing levels. Currently on a worldwide scale almost every species of fish which is caught for commercial or and recreational purposes is fished beyond a sustainable level. Of most concern to us is the shark.
Why Do We Need Sharks?
A healthy ocean needs sharks. They regulate populations of other large predatory fish and create stability in the food web. Without sharks in the ocean it is likely that in a very short time the food web would collapse from the top down, resulting in an ocean depleted of fish and human nourishment. In a very real sense the measure of our healthy ocean is the presence of sharks, and in that case we are in serious trouble.
Commercial fishing fleets are currently responsible for between 60 and 100 million shark deaths per year. Many shark species have declined in numbers by 90%. There are currently over 150 species of shark listed on the IUCN’s Red List as near threatened or worse. Over 40 of these are considered at serious risk including the great hammerhead, oceanic white tip, grey nurse, the great white, Caribbean reef shark, leopard shark and the tiger shark, just to name a few familiar examples.
While action certainly needs to be taken on a global scale the fight to save our oceans needs to take place in your own backyard. In 2008 the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration reported ½ million sharks killed for recreational purposes, most of these were large sharks and most likely of breeding age. The vast majority of the anglers responsible for this catch are private boat owners and charter fishing boats. Source
The Shark Friendly Marinas Initiative aims to severely reduce shark mortality along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts by prohibiting the landing of any shark at participating marinas. This initiative stands to save tens of thousands of sharks per year as well as set a new global standard for responsible management of our oceans' resources.
Shark Friendly Marinas: The Method
Precedent for this kind of positive action was set in the 1980s when the Billfish Foundation actively sought to save the depleting stocks of Atlantic billfish by banning the mortal take of this species. Twenty years later the populations are slowly recovering and many fishing associations such as the IGFA support catch and release techniques and allow records to be set while the animal can live on.
So what does this mean for you? As stated before, it is our goal to work with, not against, the recreational and commercial fishing community.
Here’s the bottom line: with this initiative, fisherman will no longer be allowed to bring sharks into a Shark-Friendly Marina for any photographic or trophy display purposes or for any cleaning or processing of the shark for fins, meat, jaws, or any other by-product.
Participating marinas will encourage those fishermen who are determined to fish for sharks to exercise safe catch-and-release techniques. While not as definitive as an outright ban on shark fishing, the acceptance of catch-and-release fishing techniques represents an incremental step in protecting valuable marine resources, with the intent that the long-term cumulative effect of the Shark Friendly Marina Initiative will ultimately make shark fishing less attractive as an activity.
For fishermen who choose to catch shark for records, we aim to provide assistance in registering your catch with the appropriate record agency. This website contains comprehensive resources such as advice on catch and release techniques, which tackle to use, how to register your catch as a record and a list of marinas that support this affirmative conservation initiative.
Our website has a section exclusively for marinas where you can find support tools such as brochures and weatherproof signs, guidelines to post in your offices and on the docks and we’ll even give you a space on the site to advertise your business. You’ll also receive right to use the Shark Friendly Marinas logo in all your advertising, letting anglers know that you care about the future of the oceans and your industry.
Join Shark Friendly Marinas in our mission to reduce worldwide shark mortality. The time to act is now.