Articles in Category: SFMI News

Sharks Could Be Overfished Because Fishing Vessels Share Their Hotspots

on Friday, 12 February 2016. Posted in SFMI News

In the North Atlantic, commercial fishing vessels are spending a great deal of time in shark hotspots, says a new study. The researchers feel that sharks may be in danger of being overharvested in these areas.

A team from the University of Miami (UM), the Marine Biological Association (MBA), University of Porto (Portugal) and other institutions recently published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It might be necessary to institute quotas on the catch levels for sharks for commercial fishing, the authors noted in the study.

"Our research clearly demonstrates the importance of satellite tagging data for conservation," Neil Hammerschlag at UM said in a release. "The findings both identify the problem as well as provide a path for protecting oceanic sharks."

The study took place from 2005 to 2009, when researchers followed the movements of 100 sharks wearing satellite tags, from six species in the North Atlantic. At the same time, the scientists kept track of 186 Spanish and Portuguese longline fishing vessels equipped with GPS.

Findings included that the sharks and fishing vessels both were present in ocean fronts defined by warm waters and high productivity. These included the North Atlantic Current/Labrador Current Convergence Zone, near Newfoundland; and the Gulf Stream.

"Many studies have tracked sharks, and many studies have tracked fishing vessels, but fine-scale tracking of sharks and fishing vessels together is lacking, even though this should better inform how shark fisheries should be regulated," Professor David Sims of the MBA said in the release.

In the study, about 80 percent of the range for blue and mako sharks, two of the most strongly fished species in the tracking - were in the same range as the fishing vessels. Some sharks remained near longlines for more than 60 percent of when they were being tracked. Blue sharks seem to be vulnerable to possible capture 20 days each month; mako sharks may be at risk 12 days a month.

Each year, scores of millions of sharks in oceans are caught by commercial fishing each year. The researchers propose that quotas or size limits may be necessary going forward.

Shark Attack Victim Stared 'Eyeball to Eyeball' With Predator

on Wednesday, 16 July 2014. Posted in SFMI News

By Joseph Serna, Howard Blume, Marisa Gerber

A long-distance ocean swimmer who was attacked by a great white shark at
Manhattan Beach over the weekend said he stared the predator in the eye as it
sunk its teeth into his chest before finally releasing him.

Steven Robles, a 50-year-old real estate professional from Lomita, told KTLA on Sunday that
he saw the 7-foot juvenile shark just moments before it “lunged” at him and bit into the right
side of his chest.

The sharks are known for attacking prey from below, where they can make out silhouettes
against the lighter surface -- and this case was no different, Robles recalled.

“The shark came up surface from the bottom, I saw him swimming right in front of me then he
made a very sharp left and lunged right at my chest,” Robles told KTLA. “I was staring eyeball
to eyeball with this shark.”

The attack occurred about 9:30 a.m. Saturday when fishermen off the Manhattan Beach Pier
caught the juvenile predator on a fishing line then struggled with the shark for some 45
minutes. As the battle ensued, Robles and others who were swimming from the Hermosa Beach pier to the Manhattan Beach Pier crossed the shark’s path and Robles was bit.

“But I grabbed his nose and with this hand and started pushing him, trying to pry him off my
chest and he released himself and swam away immediately,” Robles recalled, his right hand and forearm in a cast and stitches poking out from his wounds. “I never saw him again.”

Robles suffered a single bite wound on the right side of his rib cage and was helped to shore by some surfers. He was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center for treatment.

“I still feel pretty shaken up,” he told CNN on Sunday. “It was pretty scary out there.”

Robles’ wife, Glenda, told KTLA she was thankful her husband “has a second chance.”

Witnesses told authorities that 45 minutes earlier the shark bit a baited hook at the end of a
fishing line thrown by a fisherman from the edge of the pier and was thrashing around in the
water when it bit the swimmer.

Almost immediately, rumors spread that the fishermen had thrown chum into the water,
specifically to attract the young great whites, which are common in the area.

This wasn't the case, according to the fisherman and Eric Martin, the co-director of
Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, which is located at the end of the pier.

The fisherman asked to be identified only by his first name, Jason, out of concern for his safety from angry swimmers and surfers.

He said he and two friends arrived at the pier at about 5 a.m. Their goal was to catch large bat
rays, which they catch and release. They'd gone to other piers in recent months because
fishermen were hooking mainly great whites at Manhattan Beach, which are not their target, he said.

Their bait was frozen sardines, which they attached to their fishing hooks, but nothing was
biting, Jason said, and they were thinking of going home when one of his friends got a mighty

“He was trying to get off the line,” said Capt. Tracy Lizotte, a Los Angeles County lifeguard at
the beach. “He was agitated and was probably biting everything in his way, and then the
swimmer swam right into the shark's line.”

Lizotte said it's not uncommon for sharks to swim in waters past the pier's edge.

“That's where they live,” Lizotte said. “It's their home.”

Great white shark sightings are on the rise at some Southern California beaches, especially in the waters off Manhattan Beach, a popular spot for surfers and paddleboarders.

Last month, local photographer Bo Bridges used a drone to film a great white shark swimming close to paddleboarders in Manhattan Beach. He spotted the shark about 100 feet off the coast while he and his friends were paddleboarding.

In December, a paddleboarder shot video of three great whites between 8 and 10 feet long,
circling underneath his board. Evidence of other close encounters has been posted to YouTube recently, showing the glistening predators moving around in the waters near the shore.

Many of the sharks are juveniles learning to feed and fend for themselves, said Chris Lowe, a
marine biology professor at Cal State Long Beach. Researchers are still trying to figure out why Manhattan Beach is so popular for the predators.

There have been 13 shark-attack fatalities in California waters since 1950.

Environmentalists Target Improved Fisheries And Natural Ecosystems in Latest Mega Cleanup in Puerto Rico

on Wednesday, 16 July 2014. Posted in SFMI News

Volunteers will celebrate Father’s Day by sweeping debris out of a critical bay in eastern Puerto Rico in Pesca, Playa y Ambiente’s third mega-clean-up. The event in Punta Las Picuas is Saturday, June 14, and is also aimed at raising awareness for a gill net ban and building support for shark conservation on the island.

In two previous clean-ups last year, Pesca, Playa y Ambiente, a leading marine conservation
non-profit group in Puerto Rico, brought hundreds of volunteers out to pull nearly 50,000 pounds of discarded trash from the San Juan Estuary, a vital habitat for tarpon. For the June 14 clean-up the group has chosen a flat bay in northeast Puerto Rico for clean-up duty. However, poorly discarded debris is not the only problem in Punta Las Picuas. Widespread use of gill nets threaten to leave the bay barren of marine life, and Pesca, Playa y Ambiente hopes volunteers engaged in the effort will help advocate for a gill net ban.

“This effort at Punta las Picuas in Rio Grande it truly a mega cleanup, in the sense that our
mission is to build public support to restore Puerto Rico’s ecosystem by enforcing and enacting laws and bringing attention to how we can protect and conserve our special and unique marine environment,” said Israel Umpierre, collaborator of the movement Mega Limpieza I & II, and founder of the Facebook group, Pesca, Playa y Ambiente. “We want to raise awareness of all of the problems—over fishing, use of gill nets, erosion, trash and even toxic chemical use—with a focus on Punta las Picuas, which is designated as part of the Reserva del Rio Espiritú Santo nature and marine reserve.”

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is fully endorsing PPA’s efforts. Dr. Guy Harvey, who
joined trash-collecting volunteers in the October 2013 PPA Mega Limpieza, has produced two
public service announcements. One urges volunteers to turn out for the sweep, and the other calls on Puerto Rico to enact a gill net ban. To hear his call for support, go to

Also supporting the effort is the Pegasus Foundation, which advocates for Shark Friendly Marina Initiative. SFMI works to spread shark conservation messaging and best practices at the point of departure, marinas. The effort to recruit marinas in Puerto Rico comes on the heels of a major victory for shark conservation in the Caribbean. Just last month, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico’s neighbor to the east, declared its waters a shark sanctuary.

"Currently between 60 and 100 million sharks are slaughtered worldwide each year,” says Pat
Ragan, managing director, SFMI. "This massive cull of these apex predators is unsustainable and poses a serious threat to the oceans' health."

Mega Limpieza III, according to Umpierrre, will start Saturday morning (June 14) with six
different staging areas around Punta Picuas. Hundreds of volunteers will work both on-land and on-the-water to remove trash from illegal dumping. The work will be followed with a lunch of sustainable seafood prepared by celebrated local chefs, education workshops and a play staged by local children to message the importance of sustainable fishing practices and the need for a net ban implementation.

Annette Ramirez, President of Pesca, Playa y Ambiente, says more than 700 names have already been collected on a petition calling for the Secretary of the Department of Natural and
Environmental Resources to enforce the gill net ban to the exclusion of commercial fisherman, who are currently permitted to use nets. The petition’s goal is to push government to enforce an existing ban on the use of gill nets, which are being used by locals (non-commercial fishermen) to indiscriminately catch and sell fish of all sizes and species in an unregulated marketplace. The practice common to interior waters around Puerto Rico is greatly diminishing fisheries and has even led to the death of Manatees, found caught in fouled netting.

For more information on the day’s agenda, go to

Response to Capt. Len Belcaro and the Big Game Fishing Journal

on Wednesday, 25 July 2012. Posted in SFMI News

It has come to our attention that the “Big Game Fishing Journal” recently contacted many of our members by mail and telephone to openly criticize their involvement with the Shark-Free and Shark Friendly Marina Initiative. We have reached out to the author, Capt. Len Belcaro, but since he has yet to respond, we feel it is necessary to address this on our webpage.  

To our members, Shark-Free Marinas and The Humane Society of the United States have nothing to do with the ‘Big Game Fishing Journal’ or their proposed “Shark Smart Marina Initiative’. We apologize for any confusion caused by the unsolicited contact made by Capt. Belcaro. As a member of our Initiative, your contact information is part of the public record. We feel this is appropriate as we aim to increase your business presence by giving your property exposure on our website. We appreciate your continued support and membership.

To address some of Capt. Belcaro’s concerns we will reiterate facts that are already available on our website:

  • The Shark-Free and Shark-Friendly Marina Initiative (collectively SFMI) is a voluntary program, and we do not solicit funding from our members.
  • The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a project of the Pegasus Foundation and the Humane Society of the United States. It is strongly supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, fishpond Inc., the National Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory, the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, and the Cape Eleuthera Institute.
  • Our Board of Directors and Advisory Board include reputable scientists, fishermen, social strategists, community leaders and high ranking non-profit members. It is publicly available here:
  • SFMI is not connected with the Pew Charitable Trusts. We have a collegial relationship with Pew and commend their worldwide campaign to protect sharks, but our organizations are not connected at an operational level nor do we receive or share funding with Pew.
  • The members of SFMI include marinas and marine industry connected businesses. The latter usually fall under the ‘Shark-Friendly’ category and include marine repair businesses, restaurants, boat brokerages and many other marina-related businesses. We believe it is important to make shark protection a responsibility of the entire marine community and do not limit our membership structure to just marinas.

SFMI was started as a way to directly enable marinas, businesses and fishermen to contribute to protecting sharks worldwide. We acknowledge that the greatest part of the devastation to shark populations has been caused by commercial fishermen; however, it is evident that the recreational fishing community also has a significant impact on shark numbers, particularly those of highly desirable species of breeding age. NMFS is responsible for collecting data on shark catches and a search of their database shows recreational harvests of over 200,000 sharks per year. Our members voluntarily contribute to lowering this number by banning or discouraging their patrons from landing sharks at their facility.

As a fisherman you know what it means to launch from an SFMI-registered marina. Catching sharks is not illegal; however, a ‘Shark-Free’ marina prohibits the practice of landing sharks at the marina while a ‘Shark-Friendly’ marina discourages sharks from being harvested and does not support activities like shark kill tournaments. Both facilities encourage sport shark-fishermen to exercise catch-and-release techniques. Some SFMI-registered marinas are also access points for tagging programs and catch-and-release shark-fishing tournaments.

Although we discourage the killing of all sharks especially just for a photo at the marina dock, a sharks death should be for consumption purposes only and it's capture must conform to the applicable Federal and State guidelines. This practice would be acceptable under our Shark Friendly Marina program.

An SFMI-registered marina is helping to protect the oceans by protecting sharks the best way it can and we appreciate your continued financial and social support of their facility.

Capt. Belcaro’s letter further alleges that some of our members were signed up without their permission. We believe this is unlikely as all submissions for membership are vetted for authenticity before appearing on our website; however, SFMI is a voluntary program and if any business feels it is incorrectly represented on our website, they should contact us directly.

We publicly and respectfully request that Capt. Len Belcaro and the Big Game Fishing Journal contact us directly should they wish to address our policies or need more information about our organization.

Luke Tipple
Managing Director of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative

For more details please contact SFMI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Marinas Nationwide Enthusiastically Endorse the Shark-Free Marina Initiative

on Tuesday, 22 May 2012. Posted in SFMI News

Press Release

Marinas on the east and west coasts of the United States are enthusiastically joining the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative (SFMI) to help conserve the world’s imperiled shark populations. Over 70 marinas have joined SFMI in the past week. There are currently over 200 marinas participating world-wide, including 164 in the U.S., 24 in Fiji, and 6 in Bahamas (

Organized as a cooperative by the Pegasus Foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), SFMI aims to reduce shark mortality worldwide by discouraging the landing of sharks and encouraging catch-and-release of sharks in sport fishing, while rewarding forward-thinking marinas that participate in this program. Other supporting organizations include Mote Marine Laboratory, the Pew Environment Group, Fishpond, inc and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

The SFMI is a totally voluntary program that works in tandem with businesses, marinas and fishermen to increase the awareness of the need to protect our sharks and oceans. Marinas and businesses may join the program as either Shark-Free or Shark-Friendly:  A Shark-Free Marina does not allow sharks to be killed and landed at its facility; a Shark-Friendly Marina discourages killing or landing of sharks and does not serve shark products or promote activities that intentionally harm sharks.  

Sharks worldwide are being killed at an unsustainable rate. Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year in global fisheries and the fins of an estimated 26 million to 73 million sharks pass through the shark fin trade annually, mainly to make shark fin soup. In addition, the U.S. government estimates that recreational fishing kills an average of over 200,000 sharks along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coast annually.

World-renowned artist, angler and conservationist, Dr. Guy Harvey, is urging marinas to join SFMI.  Dr. Harvey stated: “Shark populations worldwide have suffered severe declines due to over-fishing; Marinas can now do their part to help conserve these ecologically vital animals by joining the SFMI.”  

“Recreational fishing in the U.S. has contributed to the serious historical decline in shark populations,” notes Dr. Robert Hueter, senior scientist and director, Mote Marine Laboratory’s National Center for Shark Research. “Sustaining these species is in the interest of recreational anglers as well as commercial fishermen and marine conservationists.”

Marinas are major players in the recreational fishing community and can help inform fishermen and reduce the number of sharks being killed by joining the SFMI and preventing dead sharks from being brought back to their docks. "Marinas are key to the success of this initiative in the United States,” says Luke Tipple, managing director of the SFMI.

Shark tournaments offer anglers thousands of dollars for landing sharks, but many anglers believe that there are greater rewards from catch-and-release efforts that help to preserve shark fisheries.  SFMI is supportive of catch-and-release tournaments and promotes marine businesses. When asked to comment on SFMI and its tournament policy, Doug Olander, editor-in-chief, Sport Fishing Magazine agrees that shark kill tournaments send the wrong message. “I think hanging up dead sharks in a marina is wrong, but more important, I think it is just plain stupid.”

SFMI supporter John Land LeCoq, co-founder of well known outdoor apparel and fishing equipment retailer, Fishpond, inc stresses that “Sharks are the guardians of the ocean and play an essential part in the health of the ocean. Most anglers I know are very concerned about the status of sharks. I hope every marina joins this important program. ”

Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States adds, “Only with more help from recreational anglers can we erase the misinformed notion that ‘the only good shark is a dead shark.’”

The Shark Free Marina Initiative unites the interests of recreational fishermen, the scientific community, conservation and animal protection, and commercial interests around the over-riding goal of saving the world’s sharks. The SFMI is a project of The Humane Society of United States.

The enthusiastic support of marinas for the Shark Free Marina Initiative is the most recent indication that shark protection is now accepted and expected throughout knowledgeable fishing communities, worldwide.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced it would protect four imperiled shark species (tiger sharks, and great, scalloped and smooth hammerheads) in Florida waters. Recently, Asia’s oldest hotel chain, The Peninsula Hotels, announced it would stop serving shark fin at all its hotels. And, Hawaii, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, Oregon and California, have all passed legislation to prohibit the trade and sale of shark fins.

Dr. Harvey summarizes: “I encourage recreational fishermen everywhere to join with me and SFMI to help protect sharks and our oceans. Our world needs sharks.”

Well over 200,000 coastal sharks are killed each year by recreational fishermen in the US, largely along coast the southeastern US.

In 2009, close to 2,000 shortfin mako sharks were killed in recreational and commercial fisheries in the US, leading the National Marine Fisheries Service to declare that “overfishing” was occurring.  Despite asking fishermen to voluntarily release them unharmed, tournaments targeting makos have continued.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has estimated that recreational shark fishing was largely responsible for a 50% decline in dusky sharks along the Gulf Coast.
Big money shark tournaments offer tens of thousands in top prizes but some, such as in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, pay side bets by fishermen netting $200,000 or more for a winner.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a program of The Humane Society of the United States. It is strongly supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Fishpond, inc., Mote Marine Laboratory, Oceanic Defense, The Fisheries Conservation Foundation, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Pegasus Foundation.

SFMI has support from the following celebrity endorsers: Alec Baldwin; Nigel Barker; Steve Bartkowski; Elizabeth Berkley; Josh Madden; Bill Maher; Patrick McDonnell; Slash; and, Jim Toomey.

Media Contacts:
Luke Tipple, Managing Director, SFMI: 1-619-565-0108; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kathryn Kullberg, Marine Wildlife Director, HSUS: 1-301-258-3109;
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shark-Free Marinas Brief

on Friday, 24 February 2012. Posted in SFMI News

Organized as a cooperative by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Mote Marine Laboratory,  The Humane Society of the United States, and FishPond USA,  the Shark Free Marina Initiative  ( aims to reduce shark mortality worldwide by discouraging the landing of sharks and encouraging catch-and-release of sharks in sport fishing, while rewarding forward-thinking marinas that participate in this program. Additional supporting and organizing organizations include the Pegasus Foundation, Humane Society International, the Pew Environment Group, Fishpond USA and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.  
The SFMI is a totally voluntary program, that works in tandem with marinas, businesses and fishermen to increase the awareness of the need to protect our sharks and oceans. It is directed by Managing Director Luke Tipple (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), and Patricia H. Ragan, Operations Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

There are two different levels of commitment for an interested marina. It can either become a “Shark-Free Marina” that completely prohibits the landing of all sharks on its docks or a “Shark-Friendly Marina” — a facility that discourages the killing and landing of sharks and does not promote any activity that could harm sharks.  There are currently more 130 marinas participating worldwide, including 96 in the United States, 24 in Fiji, and 6 in the Bahamas. 

The enduring strength of this innovative and unique program is that it brings together under the banner of shark protection the diverse interests of recreational fishing, scientific inquiry and expertise, commercial interests and animal protection and conservation.  It has been endorsed by noted Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, Alec Baldwin, Nigel Barker, Elizabeth Berkeley, Bill Maher, Conservation Writer, Ted Williams, and Legendary Guitarist, Slash.  

As the world famous artist, ocean conservationist and fisherman, Dr. Guy Harvey has said (see attached video DVD), “I encourage marinas and anglers to join with me and the Shark Free Marina Initiative to help protect sharks and our oceans. Our world needs sharks.”    Or link to the video at . 
Also, please view, Guy Harvey’s outstanding new film, This is Your Ocean: Sharks.  The trailer may be viewed at or a demo video may be viewed at

The Humane Society of the United States (the HSUS) and the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) applaud the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee Decision to Protect Four Shark Species

on Wednesday, 30 November 2011. Posted in SFMI News

LOS ANGELES (November 29,  2011) —The Humane Society of the United States (the HSUS) and the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) SFM-Badge-thcommend the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their recent decision to increase protection for four imperiled shark species (tiger sharks, and great, scalloped and smooth hammerheads) in Florida waters beginning January 1, 2012.  

“This important decision will ensure much needed conservation and respect for these vulnerable species,” notes Dr. Robert Hueter, senior scientist and director, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research. “Many shark species have declined because of overfishing, which recreational fishing has contributed to in the U.S.”

“The coalition that makes up the Shark Free Marina Initiative is very excited about what Florida has done,” says Luke Tipple, managing director, the SFMI. “Increasing protection for these four species has provided a positive and affirming educational message to anglers and other citizens alike that sharks are indeed threatened and need protection.”

The SFMI  is an independent project of the Humane Society of the United States that is designed to reduce worldwide shark mortality by educating fishermen to the plight of sharks and asking marinas and businesses all over the world to voluntarily designate themselves as Shark Free or Shark Friendly, thereby prohibiting the killing or landing of sharks. Over 120 marinas world-wide have joined this initiative. (   

“SFMI is a truly cooperative program receiving strong and sustained support from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Mote Marine Laboratory, the Pegasus Foundation, Fishpond USA and the Pew Environment Group,” adds John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of The HSUS.  

The SFMI has just launched a major campaign in Florida to encourage marinas to register as Shark Free or Shark Friendly. More than 70 marinas in Florida have registered and include some the biggest and most well -known marinas Florida including Bahia Mar, home of the Fort Lauderdale boat show. 

“The state of Florida is key to reducing shark mortality,” according to Guy Harvey, world-renowned artist, angler and conservationist. “Our SFMI campaign and attendant publicity for participating marinas will provide additional education and support for the recent FWC decision.

“We all need to work together to ensure a healthy ocean environment for future generations,” says John Land LeCoq, co-founder, Fishpond USA. “I am proud to be part of this critically important effort.”  

Additional Facts about shark protection:

  • More than a year ago the FWC designated the lemon shark as fully protected in state waters.  
  • Last week, Asia’s oldest hotel chain, The Peninsula Hotels, announced it will stop serving shark fin at all its hotels starting January 1, in an effort to recognize the threat facing the global shark population. Peninsula Hotels can be found in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chicago, Beverley Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila. One is due to open in Paris in 2013.
  • In the U.S., for the past two years, The HSUS and the Humane Society International (HSI) have worked to enact legislation prohibiting the trade and sale of shark fins in Hawaii, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, Oregon and California, closing off U.S. Pacific ports and their role in facilitating the global shark fin trade.  

Pat Ragan, operations director, the Shark Free Marina Initiative: 703-801-3213

Shark Fin soup no longer served at Asia's oldest hotel chain

on Thursday, 24 November 2011. Posted in SFMI News

Peninsula_web_logo_2With today being the national day of Thanksgiving in the United States, we've found a reason for everyone to be thankfull...

via CNN

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Asia's oldest hotel chain has waded into the debate on the slaughter of sharks for their fins by taking the Chinese delicacy off its menus.

From January, diners won't be offered shark's fin products at the luxury Peninsula Hotels chain, due to a decision by its owners, the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels group.

"By removing shark fin from our menus, we hope that our decision can contribute to preserving the marine ecosystem for the world's future generations," the group's chief executive officer Clement Kwok announced in a brief press statement.

Around 73 million sharks are estimated to be killed each year, taking one in three shark species to the brink of extinction. Their fins are hacked off at sea and the carcass discarded in the water in a practice referred to as "finning."

The younger generation, the couples who are getting married, would prefer to steer away from shark's fin
Irene Lau, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels group

Peninsula Hotels can be found in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chicago, Beverley Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila. One is due to open in Paris in 2013.

Shark's fin is only offered in its Asian restaurants, mostly on banquet menus for weddings and large business meetings.

The group says its decision is not based on consultation with guests, but since last April the chain has been offering banquet clients an alternative menu, substituting shark's fin soup with another fish soup.

The uptake has been "quite good," according to group spokeswoman Irene Lau.

However, she couldn't say whether the guests' decision was motivated by a desire to save the shark, or by the hotel's offer of one night's free accommodation if they took the second option.

"I think it's actually both," she said.

Shark's fin is a popular dish among Chinese diners who appreciate its texture, if not its flavor, in soup.

Once a delicacy favored by emperors, shark fin is often eaten at weddings to mark the importance of the occasion and impress the couple's extended families and friends.

However, Lau says the hotel group has noticed a generational split between diners who want the specialty seafood and those prepared to do without.

I'm quite confident that more and more restaurants will follow their lead
Silvy Pun, WWF

"What we've found is that in recent years the younger generation, the couples who are getting married would prefer to steer away from shark's fin. But for their parents or in-laws would prefer to have the shark fin," Lau says.

Hong Kong is a major hub for the global shark fin trade, handling at least 50% of the total haul, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Shark Specialist Group.

Crusted, pointy fins can be seen in the windows of stores in the city's dried food sector. Most come from Europe, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, USA, Yemen, India, Japan and Mexico.

Last year, World Wildlife Fund launched a campaign -- Alternative Shark-Free Menu -- to persuade Hong Kong restaurants and caterers to offer alternatives to shark's fin on their banquet menus.

"At first it was very difficult. They almost kicked us out when we went to meet them to explain the program," says Silvy Pun from the WWF.

Just one year later, 97 caterers and hotels have signed up, with some going further and limiting their menus to sustainable seafood.

Pun says the program's success, and the Peninsula's ban, indicates that a "tipping point" is being reached in the campaign against shark fin products.

"I'm quite confident that more and more restaurants will follow their lead. I'm quite optimistic because if such a prestige hotel chain can satisfy their consumers, I'm pretty sure that they see that the market is changing," Pun says.

Florida enacts ban on the take of tiger and hammerhead sharks

on Thursday, 17 November 2011. Posted in SFMI News

By: Pete Thomas,

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has approved a ban on the harvest of tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks in state waters, beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

The measure was approved Wednesday during meetings in Key Largo. The news is sure to please shark conservationists and scientists who had grown increasingly concerned that too many large, slow-to-reproduce sharks were being killed.

(A tiger shark requires 15 years to reach sexual maturity.)

The measure also prohibits the possession, sale and exchange of tiger sharks, as well as great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks caught in adjacent federal waters.

Catch-and-release fishing for these sharks still will be allowed in state waters.

Florida waters provide essential shark habitat and several other species already enjoy catch-and-release-only protection in state waters.

California Becomes Fourth State to Ban Shark Fin Trade

on Friday, 07 October 2011. Posted in SFMI News

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International Laud Gov. Brown's Signature

SACRAMENTO (Oct. 7, 2011) - The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for enacting landmark legislation that will close off Pacific U.S. ports and their role in facilitating the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning.

Introduced by Assemblymembers Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, AB 376 passed the Senate in early September with a bipartisan vote of 25 to 9, having previously cleared the Assembly by a vote of 65 to 8.

The new law prohibits the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins, closing a major enforcement loophole in existing law. Similar laws have been passed in Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon and Washington.

"Sharks need their fins, and we don't," said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS' California senior state director. "The HSUS and HSI thank Governor Brown for signing this bill into law and closing most of the American Pacific off to the shark fin trade. The momentum to protect sharks globally has taken a huge leap forward."  
The HSUS and HSI thank Assemblymembers Fong and Huffman for introducing this important legislation, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and State Sens. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, for their leadership in the Legislature.
The broad and diverse coalition supporting AB 376 included animal protection, Asian Pacific American, environmental, conservation, law enforcement, culinary, celebrity and political leaders.

"Finning" is an abhorrent practice that involves slicing off the fins of a shark and discarding the animal at sea to drown or bleed to death. Unsustainable fishing methods like this have led to declines by as much as 90 percent in some shark populations during recent decades.


  • The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.
  • Conservation enforcement and finning bans in the U.S. alone are not enough to conserve sharks. A ban on shark fin products, such as AB 376 proposes, is the most effective way to eliminate the demand for shark fins and to eradicate shark finning around the world.  
  • Shark fin is often the most expensive item on restaurant menus and typically served simply as a symbol of status. It has no nutritional value and is the main driver of the multi-billion dollar international shark fin trade. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested and the precarious status of many shark populations.  
  • In January, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the federal law against shark finning at sea and require that sharks be landed with their fins still attached.

Nigel Barker nominated for VH1 Do-Something Award

on Monday, 11 July 2011. Posted in SFMI News

Nigel Barker, supporter and spokesperson for Shark-Free Marinas, is being nominated for a VH1 Do-Something award for his work on our recent PSA and non-profit advocacy. If he wins he'll have a chance to talk about wildlife and shark issues on VH1 National Television. Please help help him out and cast your vote.


More about the awards... from Nigel Barkers Blog

NIgel BarkerSo I need your vote!!!! Last year I was nominated for the first time for a Do Something award in the Style category and I lost to my dear friend and fellow judge Tyra…… BUT I have been nominated again for my work as a United Nation’s Foundation Ambassador for Girl Up and for my work with the Humane Society Of The United States, specifically for my work on the Protect Shark campaign ( Last year it was Protect Seal campaign) You need to go to the Do Something Awards page and vote (for me..!) for your winner in the STYLE category and check out the other categories while your there. The Do Something organization are truly marvelous and I have been an admirer of their work for several years. I actually shot an ad campaign for them a couple of years back too. Their mantra is simple – don’t just talk about it but DO SOMETHING! They actively seek out and support young people the world over who are changing not only their lives but their communities and sometimes the world at large. Now is your time to do something…. for me…wait did I just say that? ;-) Most importantly cast you vote for the Do Something nominees who are out their motivating us all to make a difference

More info about the awards and the event click here

Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 9/8c Location: Los Angeles, California and VH1 have once again partnered to present The Do Something Awards to honor young people’s commitment to social change. The Do Something Awards will be taped at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and premiere Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 9/8c on VH1. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Lynch will return to host the star-studded Do Something Awards telecast for a second year.

Additional announcements regarding celebrity attendees and contest finalists will be forthcoming. Taping on August 14th, 2011, this year’s VH1 Do Something Awards are executive produced by Michael Dempsey and Lee Rolontz for VH1. Nancy Lublin and Naomi Hirabayashi oversee the awards show for

The final five nominees and grant recipients were announced Monday, May 23, 2011 during a star-studded event at B.B King Blues Club in New York City. Each nominee was honored for his or her commitment to social action with a community grant of $10,000. Of these five nominees, Do Something, Inc. with the help of your votes will select a grand prize winner which will receive a $100,000 grant for his or her cause during the live VH1 broadcast of the ceremony at the Hollywood Palladium.

Since 1996, has honored the nation’s best world-changers, ages 25 and under. The Do Something Award is the premiere national award for social action. Nominees and winners represent the pivotal “do-ers” in their field, cause, or issue. is one of the largest organizations in the US that helps youth rock causes they care about. A driving force in creating a culture of volunteerism, is on track to get two million young people involved by 2011. By utilizing the web, television, mobile, and pop culture, inspires, empowers and celebrates a generation of doers: young people who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and take action. Plug in at

The official hashtag for the Do Something Awards is: #DSAwards

Click here to cast your vote

Conservation Authority Guy Harvey Reiterates Shark Free Marina Policies

on Thursday, 16 June 2011. Posted in SFMI News

We are very impressed with Dr Guy Harvey and his team's response to the recent harvest of a shark at his Shark-Free Marina. This is an excellent example of industry leadership and how to deal with violations to our conservation strategy. Protecting and saving sharks will not happen overnight, it will take dilligence and concerted efforts by all involved. Read on for his press release.

Guy Harvey, Chairman of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, underscores need for clear policy prohibiting the landing of sharks at a Shark Free Marina.

Conservation and marine science authority Dr. Guy Harvey, Chairman of Guy Harvey Outpost LTD., announced today that a photographic image of a Mako shark, taken at the weigh in station of the Bimini Big Game Club and circulating on the internet, was authentic. “It is extremely disappointing that this occurred and is a clear violation of my shark conservation principles and efforts”, said Dr. Harvey, an recognized marine conservation authority and acclaimed artist. The Big Game Club operates under license from Guy Harvey Outpost, a company he co-founded to promote sustainable tourism and marine conservation among water sport enthusiasts and the legions of Guy Harvey followers worldwide.

He confirmed the shark was caught by a visitor to the Big Game Club while vacationing in Bimini over the Memorial Day weekend and the resort’s dock staff assisted in hanging the shark up for photographs. The boat's captain, Chase Camacho, confirmed his charter angler fought the shark for over two hours after hooking it while deep drop fishing off the Bimini coast. "It’s important to have a black and white policy with no grey areas when it comes to operating as a Shark Free Marina, particularly when my name is on the door”, Guy said in addressing the event.

“The boat’s captain believed the shark was stressed to the point of dying, and thought it proper to bring it back to the dock so it could be given to the church for distribution to needy locals,” clarified Dr. Harvey, who holds a PhD in Marine Biology and directs shark research worldwide with the efforts of his scientific staff at the Guy Harvey Research Institute. Underscoring a common misunderstanding among anglers on the resilience of sharks, Guy noted “a nearly dead shark has a much better chance of surviving in the water than on the dock. Sharks are very tough animals.”

Professor Mahmood Shivji, Director of the “Save our Seas Shark Center” at Nova Southeastern University echoed Guy’s sentiment. “It’s a food cycle issue. We are dealing with a marine ecosystem such that a dead or dying fish provides food resource to the entire marine ecosystem and its best to let the ecosystem operate without intervention, however well intentioned.” Dr. Harvey characterized the event “an unfortunate learning moment for all anglers.” He went on to acknowledge the angler and captain erred with good intentions, and the shark was donated to the local community as intended but noted “in today’s world there’s nothing to celebrate in bringing any shark to the dock for a photo opportunity”.

With a Guy Harvey designed logo to identify member marinas worldwide, 'Shark-Free' marinas participate in a voluntary program to prohibit sharks from being landed at their facility. “Shark Free marina policies were designed to foster catch and release fishing methods by discouraging any thought of landing a shark for any reason”, Harvey went on to say. “Our Outpost team took immediate action to investigate this when first brought to my attention. Staff has been reminded of their role in helping promote shark conservation awareness by enforcing the policies of a 'Shark Free' marina." The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a project of The Humane Society of the United States and supported in part by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, an organization Dr. Harvey chairs to foster marine research and conservation.

The Shark Free Marina Institute's web site indicates that as many as 72 million sharks [ed.] are killed annually, posing a serious threat to the oceans health. The stated purpose of a Shark-Free Marinas is to help reduce the take of sharks and encourage responsible use of the oceans. “With my worldwide efforts to promote shark conservation, particularly in the Bahamas, and my name on the front door of the Big Game Club, I’ve reminded staff that our marina will adhere to the Shark Free Marina Initiative policies, no exceptions” added Dr. Harvey. “We all have to play a part in protecting these magnificent animals.”

Contact: Mark Ellert
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
954 524 2225

Source: PR WEB

Bimini Bay Resort Joins the Shark Free Marina Initiative‏

on Friday, 12 November 2010. Posted in SFMI News


Bimini, Bahamas – Bimini Bay Resort announced its voluntary participation as the third marina resort in Bimini to join the Shark-Free Marina Initiative ( whose purpose is to focus on the importance of reducing worldwide shark mortality. Bimini Bay Resort now prohibits the landing of sharks at its marinas and pledges to work in tandem with its sport fishermen to develop protocols under which threatened species of shark are permitted to recover and replenish their populations. As a leading employer of Biminites on the island, Bimini Bay will work to create and enforce community-conscious awareness of the need to protect Bimini’s sharks and waters. “One of our main focuses in 2011 will be to encourage responsible use of our ocean,” stated Rafael Reyes, President of Bimini Bay Resort.

The Shark Free Marina Initiative works with marinas, fishermen and non-profit groups to formulate community conscious policies and to increase awareness of the need to protect sharks. Currently 60 to 100 million sharks are slaughtered worldwide each year, which in turn poses a serious threat to the health of the earth’s oceans. Over the last five years, the United States recreational fishery has harvested an average of 500,000 sharks per year.

Bimini Bay’s participation in the Shark-Free Marina Initiative takes the Bimini Islands unanimously one step closer to this marina initiative; a boon to the shark populations of the area and to the Bimini Biological Station ( Bimini is home to healthy shark populations and to the Bimini Biological Field Station ( Informally known as the Shark lab, the Bimini Biological Field Station on South Bimini is a world-renowned research facility whose subjects of study are the many species of sharks in the unique habitat of the Bimini’s North Sound and Bimini’s surrounding waters.

~ Bimini Bay Resort and Marina~
The island of Bimini offers jet-setters and boaters an unparalleled vacation experience at the island’s first four-star luxury vacation resort, located just 48 miles off the shore of South Florida. The ideal setting for a destination wedding, honeymoon or corporate retreat, anyone seeking a unique getaway can appreciate exceptional suite accommodations designed to provide families with ultimate comfort and space. All suites feature kitchens with granite countertops and contemporary designs with beach-chic décor and breathtaking views of the Atlantic or Bimini Bay. The resort’s marketplace at Fisherman’s Village offers a complimentary children’s activity center with year-round activities and camps. Other amenities include water sports, an infinity pool, gourmet cuisine, two marinas--one accommodating mega yachts--and beach and poolside massage services. For more information or for reservations, please visit or call (242) 347-2900.

~About the Island of Bimini~
Proud Island of the Bahamas: The island of Bimini is located 48 miles east of South Florida, where the Gulf Stream meets the Great Bahama Bank. Bimini is heralded for its infamous flats fishing, offshore fishing and diving. Discovered in the 1500’s by Ponce de Leon in his quest for the Fountain of Youth, this colorful island’s abundance of unspoiled island views and emerald waters continues to attract yachting and water-sport enthusiasts searching for a relaxing haven that offers something for the entire

By Danielle Dunfee
Nov 11, 2010 - 11:24:56 PM

From the Bahamas Weekly

The Guy Harvey Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States team up with the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative For Historic Campaign

on Tuesday, 19 October 2010. Posted in SFMI News


The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States team up with the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative For Historic Campaign

Download Official PDF

(Oct. 19, 2010) — Beginning in October, the Shark-Free Marina Initiative will embark on it’s largest membership campaign throughout the United States and the Bahamas in order to save sharks.  Sharks are disappearing from our oceans at an alarming rate. Therefore, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation,  The Humane Society of the United States, and various other organizations have teamed up with the Shark-Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) for a singular, historic purpose: to reduce worldwide shark mortality. SFMI certifies sport fishing and resort marinas as ‘Shark-Free’ thereby prohibiting any shark from being landed at their dock. The SFMI team is being advised by Dr. Bob Hueter, Director of Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory and John Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond USA.

“SFMI works directly with the recreational and commercial fishing community to send a clear message,” says Luke Tipple, Managing Director of SFMI. “As shark populations are decimated on a global scale we as a species are obligated to pay attention and reduce our wasteful destruction of these incredibly important animals.”

Dr. Guy Harvey, Founder of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, strongly supports SFMI and believes this initiative is an effective way to reduce shark mortality. “We recently made our marina at the Big Game Club in Bimini Shark-Free” says Dr. Harvey.” Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president, The Humane Society of the United States, enthusiastically supports the SFMI campaign. According to Dr. Grandy: “Although shark finning and commercial fishing are responsible for the majority of worldwide shark mortality figures, this campaign to encourage hundreds of marinas to go shark free can save tens of thousands of sharks each year and change perceptions about this much maligned creature.”

Some very important and influential celebrity spokespeople are also teaming up with SFMI. Fashion photographer and America’s Next Top Model judge Nigel Barker feels strongly that we all have to speak out for sharks. “There are many good fishermen out there who respect the oceans and know that in order to preserve their way of life for future generations we all need to be more aware of our actions and the results they may cause.”

Slash, legendary guitarist and founding member of Guns &  Roses and Velvet Revolver adds, “It is important to me as a father and concerned human being, that we do all we can to address the wasteful destruction of these amazing and important animals.  We must ensure that sharks are around for future generations.”

Shark-Free Marinas has a message that is being heard worldwide. Tipple summarizes “Shark overfishing is a serious problem which threatens the very health of our oceans. It’s time to take a stand and set an example of sensible conservation that can be globally respected and repeated. There is a solution, and it starts at our marinas.”

The full list of advisors can be seen here: ( Celebrity endorsements can be seen here:

For more information on the initiative, please click here (


Shark-Free Marinas Contact: Luke Tipple: 619.565.0208; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mote Marine Laboratory Media Contact: Hayley Rutger,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HSUS Media Contact:  Liz Bergstrom: 301-258-1455; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at

The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20037
Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty

Shark-Free Marina brochures introduce the membership campaign

on Thursday, 14 October 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Mid-October heralds the beginning of our SFMI membership campaign. As part of the campaign we've selected strategic marinas around the country to join the Shark-Free Marina Initiative.  The first point of contact will be the new SFMI  brochures which are now available. Beautifuly designed yet highly informative they feature artwork generously provided by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and scientific contributions from many of our advisors.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger view of the artwork and message. You may also use the link provided to download a PDF version.

As you read this post our brochures are speeding their way across the USA destined for 1500 marinas around the country. Thier mission? To introduce the Shark-Free Marina initiave to key marinas who have it in their power to significantly reduce the tens of thousands of sharks killed ever year by recreational fishing activity.

To recieve a package of 10 brochures please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell us how you plan to make an impact. We suggest talking to your local marina, dive shop, tackle store or classroom about the need to protect our sharks.

A very special thanks to all who were involved especially those who let us use their names, message and artwork.

Download a PDF version

8.5x14 - 4 Fold Brochure - Outside

8.5x14 - 4 Fold Brochure - Inside