Articles in Category: SFMI News

13 new Shark-Free Marinas! Loggerhead Corporate joins SFMI

on Wednesday, 06 October 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Loggerhead Club and Marinas, operated by Seven Kings Holdings group, have today made a corporate decision to join Shark-Free Marinas. This means that all 13 locations are now registered with SFMI. There will shortly be an official press release regarding this decision but we would like to extend a peremptory congratulations for being the first corporately owned chain of marinas to join SFMI. It's not surprising that Loggerhead signed on, after all they already participate in the Florida Clean Marinas program and regularly participate in environmental programs concerning Floridas waterways.

You can see the list of their marinas in our USA business listing here: http://www.sharkfreemarinas.com/members/member-listing/category/usa

ABOUT SEVEN KINGS HOLDINGS

Seven Kings Holdings, Inc., a privately held Florida corporation, is one of Florida’s premier real estate land developers, managers, and operators. Seven Kings has engaged in marina, multifamily, community, commercial, hotel, industrial, and resort development, and currently maintains a portfolio of 13 Loggerhead™ Club & Marina-branded marinas – the largest family of marinas in Florida – as well as a variety of additional commercial real estate holdings. For over 30 years, the long-term success of the Company, headed by J.C. Solomon II and Raymond E. Graziotto, has stemmed from a solid platform of adaptability, stable senior management, and expertise in complicated development and land-use projects

THE LOGGERHEAD® CLUB & MARINA BRAND

Loggerhead Club & Marina's vision is to develop, hold, and maintain the finest marinas in the business. We are dedicated to providing outstanding service to the boating community, while providing exceptional sporting and lifestyle experiences that exceed all expectations. As we continue in our role as an active advocate of environmental preservation and sustainable marina practices that protect the ecosystem, we maintain the highest standards of operational and facility management. All 13 marinas have achieved the distinctive "Clean Marina" designation by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The brand has unique amenities, benefits and products, including the Captain’s Lounge with free gourmet coffee, daily local papers, and convenient virtual offices with fax, email, and shipping. Reciprocal dockage available with all Loggerhead® Club & Marina brand marinas located from Miami North to Daytona

Are you a marina owner/manager? Follow their example and register your facility with Shark-Free Marinas today.
Want to get involved with SFMI? Visit our Regional Ambassadors page for more info.

Putting Teeth into Shark Protection

on Friday, 09 July 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Christina Wilkie of The Hill reported yesterday that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is teaming up with the Discovery Channel during the hugely popular “Shark Week” in August to promote legislation cracking down on cruel and wasteful shark finning. There has been good news and bad news for sharks in recent months, and the renewed push for shark conservation could not come at a more critical time for these declining ocean predators.

Reef Whitetip Shark NOAA Pacific Islands  Fisheries Science Center A new Hawaii law took effect last week making the state the first to ban the sale and possession of shark fins, helping to dry up the demand for fins and remove the financial incentive for killing these creatures at sea. We are grateful to state Sen. Clayton Hee (D-Kahuku, La'ie, Ka'a'awa, Kane'ohe) for championing the pathbreaking bill, and to Gov. Linda Lingle (R) for signing it into law. Hawaiians revere this sacred animal, also known as “manō,” a protector of the oceans and Hawaii’s fisherman, and now they’ve set a standard for other states to follow.

Tens of millions of sharks are hauled up on the decks of fishing boats around the world every year, only to have their fins hacked off, often while they’re still alive. The mutilated sharks are then thrown back into the ocean, because the meat of most shark species is unpalatable and fishermen don’t want to use up freezer space by storing their bulky carcasses. The fins, on the other hand, fetch a very high price in East Asia, where they’re used to make shark fin soup.

Unfortunately, the nations participating in the fifteenth meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Doha, Qatar, in March had the opportunity to increase protections for imperiled shark species, but failed to do so. Palau and the United States had submitted proposals to give crucial protections to the hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks—two of the most over-exploited species for the international trade in fins—but the proposals were tanked under pressure from Japan, China and their allies.

While the public policy results have been mixed, some leaders in the fishing industry are reeling in progress for sharks on their own. Dozens of marinas in the United States, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have registered as Shark-Free Marinas, prohibiting the landing of any shark on their premises, and the organizers of the recent Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge off the southwest Florida coast opted for a completely catch-and-release tournament. It’s a welcome move away from the gruesome shark killing contests held up and down the U.S. shores.

Sen. Kerry and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) have introduced the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen the enforcement of the federal shark finning law. Congress banned shark finning a decade ago, but enforcement is complex and there is a major loophole that currently permits a vessel to transport fins obtained illegally as long as the sharks were not finned aboard that vessel. The legislation to upgrade the law has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Commerce Committee, and is awaiting action by the full Senate. Don’t wait for “Shark Week” to contact your two U.S. senators and tell them to pass the Shark Conservation Act, before it’s too late for sharks.

This article is posted with permission
Click here for the original version

Two new marinas in Fiji

on Saturday, 03 July 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Two new marinas registerd in Fiji today. We'd like to welcome Waitui Marina and the Copra Shed to Shark Free Marinas. Here's a little about the establishments:

Welcome to Waitui Marina!

Savusavu's finest Marina! As you call into Savusavu, it's not hard to miss, its the first jetty after the commercial concrete wharf!

A quick call to 'Waitui Marina' on VHF Channel 16 (or on the telephone to 679-885-3031 or 679-997-2558 after hours), will yield a prompt response. You will be met by our dock staff who will guide you to your mooring. If you are coming in early, just pick up any of the ORANGE mooring buoys (since they are inspected twice annually, they're all safe.

Our bright red roof to your starboard as you're entering Nakama Creek is a very notable landmark! We have the certified diver photograph all of our moorings from the seabed up, so you can inspect the photo's yourself! We'll arrange for all of the relevant officials to visit your vessel (at no charge if you stay on one of our moorings!), and take them out to your vessel, without any charge!

We have a dinghy dock for your convienence, as well as hot water showers (highly recommended after a long passage!). As a special service, you may use our chest freezer during the day to store your provisions to save trips back and forth to your yacht. Of course, during your provisioning you are going to get a bit thirsty, just pop into the Waitui Club for a full range of wines, beer, cocktails, and soft drinks.


The Copra Shed

Savusavu is an official port of entry into Fiji. At the Copra Shed marina we will arrange for all official clearance to be done in the comfort of your boat.

The Copra Shed Marina has 8 stern-to wharf berths for vessels up to 20 metres. Water and electricity are available at the marina berths.

Seventeen moorings are available for vessels of varying sizes. Water and fuel (diesel and pre-mix) are available at our designated fuel dock.

Services for yachts within the complex include hot showers, toilets, laundry, internet office, telephone, waste oil and garbage disposal. Repair and maintenance services such as sail repair, refrigeration and electrical works can be arrange upon request.

The Copra Shed Marina also houses the Captain's Café restaurant, Savusavu Yacht Club, a marine chandlery, art gallery, handicrafts shop, butcher shop and booking offices for both international and domestic air and sea travel.

The first Shark-Free Marina in Turks and Caicos

on Wednesday, 02 June 2010. Posted in SFMI News

200 slip marina catering to mainly transient vessels. Very active sport fishing destination

  • Complimentary boat guide service to enter Sellar's Cut
  • 7.5 foot draft max. at low tide
  • Protected harbor
  • Reverse osmosis water and ice
  • 220-110V
  • Diesel and gas - quantity fuel discount
  • Cable TV
  • Wi-Fi Internet Access
  • Limo Service available
  • Hotel, restaurant and bars at dock
  • Scooter, bicycle and car rentals
  • Doctors and clinic
  • Recompression chamber
  • Diving on site
  • Casino and golf nearby
  • Showers available
  • Short walk to the beach and great snorkeling

Website: www.tcmarina.com
Address: P.O. Box 594, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Marina contact: Carole Klinko
Contact email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone number: 649 941 3781

Winners declared in Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge

on Tuesday, 25 May 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Four sharks satellite-tagged for conservation research during catch-and-release shark tournament series

For Immediate Release: 5-23-10

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge wrapped up Sunday at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium with the presentation of a $10,000 grand prize check to team Pole Dancer.

The team's anglers - Wayne Nichols and Zac Gerzeny - won the Challenge by collecting the most points for the types and sizes of the sharks they caught and released Saturday and Sunday during the final round of the Challenge. (The first round took place April 30-May 2 from Burnt Store Marina in Charlotte Harbor.)

Gerzeny, who boosted his team's score by catching his first great hammerhead shark, said "This is my dream, ever since I can remember."

But the real winners in this all-release shark fishing tournament were the sharks, said the organizers, scientists, anglers and conservationists who came together to create a successful event. The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge was designed to be a "next generation" model for shark fishing competitions that supported shark protection while still providing spectators and anglers a thrilling event.

"I love the idea of catch and release," said co-winner Nichols. "There's no sense in hanging up a dead shark if you don't have to. With Mote and Guy Harvey it's a winning combination all around."

During the Challenge, anglers competed by catching, tagging and releasing sharks. Mote scientists also tagged four of the sharks caught by the anglers with electronic tracking devices so the sharks' movements could be followed long after their releases.

Sharks satellite-tagged during the finale:
•    7-foot, 6-inch female great hammerhead shark
•    7-foot, 2-inch female great hammerhead shark
•    6-foot, 6-inch male bull shark

Sharks satellite-tagged during the qualifying round:

•    8-foot, 2-inch female bull shark

The tournament was the brainchild of organizers Brooks and Sean Paxton. Nicknamed "The Shark Brothers," the Paxtons have long been supporters of shark conservation. "This tournament has been a belief and a passion for a lot of people," Sean Paxton said. "We're really excited to launch the next generation shark release tournament by combining sport, science and conservation - and doing it effectively and collaboratively."









Throughout the two-day event, live video from the water was beamed periodically into Mote Aquarium's Immersion Cinema. In the theater, shark scientist Jayne Gardiner explained what was happening. On Saturday, dozens of spectators watched as Dr. Robert Hueter, director of Mote's renowned Center for Shark Research, Senior Scientist Jack Morris and Adjunct Scientist John Tyminski attached a satellite tag to the dorsal fin of a 7-foot, six-inch great hammerhead. After the great fish was measured and determined to be a female, she was released.

"In the 30 years I've been a shark researcher, the landscape has changed for sharks," Hueter said. "We used to attend kill tournaments and use them as an opportunity to gather scientific samples. But today, so many species are depleted that I've been concerned about kill tournaments for a long time. I really welcomed the opportunity to work with the organizers of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge on a new model that would involve releasing sharks during a fishing tournament."

(L to R) Jack Morris, Bob Hueter and John Tyminski tag a great hammerhead

For shark tournaments, the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge bucks the tradition of having shark carcasses on a dock for spectators to marvel at. Instead, spectators can follow the tagged fish over the next few months as they transmit their movements back to Mote. To see the sharks' movements, go to http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?project_id=483

Wendy Benchley, widow of Jaws author Peter Benchley, was at Mote for the tournament. "It's a much more exhilarating feeling to have a live animal to tag and release ... so I have to say bravo to everyone who has made this tournament happen," she said. "I think this is the wave of the future."

In addition to Mote, the Paxtons and event co-chair Capt. Robert Moore, the Ultimate Shark Challenge was endorsed by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, Shark Free Marinas and Fishpond USA fishing products.

"I'm proud and honored on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States and our 11 million members to endorse the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge," said John Grandy, HSUS vice president.

Steve Stock, president of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, was also thrilled with the event's success. "There's no need to kill sharks in today's world," he said. "We're conservationists, not preservationists and we need to act more responsibly on the water by supporting catch and release shark fishing events like this."

(L-R) Robert Moore, Sean Paxton, Zac Gerzeny, Dr. Robert Hueter, Wayne Nichols, Brooks Paxton

Congratulations to all teams that fished in the Grand Championship Finale!

  1. First place: Team Pole Dancer
  2. Second place: Team Redzone
  3. Third Place: Team Peter's Restaurant
  4. Fourth place: Team Chubby'z
  5. Fifth place: Team Liquid Assets

Shark conservation facts:

  • Many shark species are imperiled worldwide. According to the World Conservation Union, about one-fifth of the 547 species of sharks and rays evaluated are considered threatened with extinction.
  • Threshers, tigers, makos and blue sharks are all targeted in shark tournaments, along with hammerhead and bull sharks.
  • There is still insufficient information available to evaluate the conservation status of about 100 shark species, many of which are also caught in tournaments.
  • Anglers can be important collaborators in shark conservation efforts. Mote scientists have tagged more than 20,000 sharks over the past 20 years along Florida's Gulf Coast, with most tag returns by sport fishermen. Tagging allows Mote scientists to study shark abundance, movements and population dynamics, providing data for better management of shark populations.

Media Contacts

Tournament Directors: 941-416-1788 / 5073, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mote Marine Laboratory: Hayley Rutger, 941-374-0081, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation: 1-800-288-1227,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
HSUS: Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Founded by marine biologist and artist Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is an organization of philanthropists, conservationists, scientists and educators focused on developing sensible strategies for promoting the conservation of our oceans and nurturing the next generation of marine scientists and guardians of our seas. www.guyharveyoceanfoundation.org

About Mote Marine Laboratory:

Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent nonprofit marine research organization. Mote is dedicated to advancing the science of the sea through the study of marine and estuarine ecosystems, through our public Mote Aquarium and through an education division that provides unique programs for all ages. Throughout 2010, Mote is celebrating its 55th Anniversary with special events highlighting its groundbreaking ocean research and outreach. Learn more at www.mote.org/55.

About The HSUS:

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 humanesociety.org.

About Shark-Free Marinas:

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative supports shark conservation at sport fishing and resort marinas by prohibiting the landing of any shark at the participating marina. Registered marinas will encourage sport shark-fishermen to exercise catch-and-release techniques. The acceptance of catch-and-release fishing techniques represents an incremental step in protecting valuable marine resources as well as providing valuable data for research organizations. SFMI also works with the community through it's Regional Ambassador program. For more information visit www.sharkfreemarinas.com.

Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge blends conservation, competitive fishing

on Saturday, 22 May 2010. Posted in SFMI News

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer

PUNTA GORDA, FLA. -- "Shark on!" comes the shout from a group of anglers who have managed to snag a prized ocean predator -- and a chase boat speeds off after them at nearly 60 miles an hour. The scientists and tournament organizers pull alongside and watch as the fishermen carefully measure and tag the shark, tethered in the water alongside their boat and hopefully no worse for wear.

Most shark tournaments follow a similar ritual: Contestants haul up sharks and bring them back to the dock, where the by now dead animals are weighed and measured so judges can declare a winner. But in the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge, which had a qualifying competition earlier this month and will culminate in a final round of fishing this weekend, the sharks get away with their lives.

The idea of catching sharks and freeing them for entertainment is a new twist on the old sport -- the latest effort by conservationists and scientists to protect dwindling shark populations.

With some shark species, such as oceanic whitetip and porbeagle, declining by more than 90 percent in some regions because of intense demand for their fins and meat, environmentalists and some policymakers are seeking to impose new restrictions on shark fishing both off U.S. shores and around the globe. But these efforts have had mixed success. Last month Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale, distribution or possession of shark fins, for example, but this spring delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora rejected several trade restrictions.

To help change public attitudes toward sharks, Sean Paxton and Brooks Paxton, two brothers in the entertainment business who grew up fishing sharks in the Chesapeake Bay with their grandfather, came up with the idea of transforming a traditional "kill" tournament into a live spectator sport. Attendees could watch streaming video from competing boats as they hooked and tagged the animals so scientists could track them after the contest ended.

"It's a labor of love that's involved all of us, to change people's attitudes about the use of resources," Sean Paxton said in an interview, as he monitored the preliminary round of fishing from a chase boat this month. Keeping recreational fishermen and their fans interested, he said, involves "taking the spectacle of dead sharks out of the sport and replacing it with a live video."

Recreational fishing takes a major toll on sharks: Federal officials estimate that recreational landings of large coastal sharks outpaced commercial catches for 15 out of 21 years between 1981 and 2001, with a take of 12 million sharks, skates and rays in 2004 alone.

"Sharks need help, and kill tournaments villify sharks," said the U.S. Humane Society's senior vice president, John Grandy, whose group has endorsed the contest. "They prey on the reputations of sharks as destructive creatures. What we need now is for people to understand that sharks are in serious trouble."

Wendy Benchley, whose late husband, Peter, shaped popular perceptions of sharks with his book "Jaws," also backs the tournament, which is sponsored by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

"We're at a different age now when it comes to shark conservation," said Robert Hueter, who directs the Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory's center for shark research. "A lot of these species are in seriously bad shape. And we can learn a lot more from the live shark than the dead shark at this time." The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is playing host this weekend and overseeing the competition's scientific aspects.

Although Mote has trained observers to ride on each boat to ensure the sharks are caught, tagged and released properly so that scientists can track their movements and behavior, the venture still rests on anglers' willingness to abandon some of their old practices.

Judging from the first round of fishing, which narrowed the field from nine teams to five, fishermen are willing to give it a try. As Hueter, the Paxton brothers and the rest of their monitoring team caught up with Team Redzone on their chase boat, they found Jay Withers and Mike Manis carefully measuring and tagging a 5-foot 6-inch blacktip shark as it floated on the line in the water.

The catch was enough to qualify Withers and Manis for the finals: As Withers worked on de-hooking the shark, he shouted to the scientists and organizers, "When we saw that on the line, I said, 'That's the one!"

Wither and Manis participate in roughly 20 redfish contests a year; for them, shark fishing is new. But this weekend's competition -- the final rounds are Friday through Sunday -- has also attracted Bucky Dennis, a shark fishing champion who set a world record a four years ago by catching a 14 1/2 -foot hammerhead weighing 1,262 pounds. When he brought the shark back to shore, Mote scientists -- who agreed to accept the specimen -- discovered one of the reasons it was so large was because there were 55 dead pups inside.

"Everything is changing," Dennis said, adding that in the past, killing sharks "was the only way to do the record. . . . We don't have to do that anymore."

But it will still take a little explaining. As the chase boat pulled up to the Burnt Store Marina three weeks ago, a man fishing nearby called out to Sean Paxton, "Where's the sharks?"

"We left them out there, to make more sharks," he replied.

Press Release & Bull Tagging Video

on Tuesday, 18 May 2010. Posted in SFMI News

We've all been busy this past couple of weeks since the Qualifying Round in preparation for the Championship, and this press release from Mote clearly demonstrates the true scope of this tournament, and especially the Grand Championship.

We've heard AND seen some very productive reports from teams pre-fishing the event. There have been some impressive bull sharks and numerous great hammers caught and released so we're looking forward to playing with the sharks one more time before it's all over. Be sure and tell your friends about the Championship Weekend. There's going to be a lot to do and see while we're out on the water.

One thing before the press release. We were able to capture some great footage during the Qualifier, and this quick video sequence was initially prepared for the media. However! We wanted to share it with all of you here. Check it out and be sure to pass it along.

Catch-and-Release Shark Tournament Series finale will include fun and informative events for adults and kids

For Immediate Release: 5-17-10 (please read to end for details)

Sharks and more sharks are on tap at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota this Friday through Sunday where the final round of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge kicks off on Friday.

The weekend has a full slate of activities for the public including a line-up of internationally recognized speakers on Friday, May 21, a day full of sharky activities for children and adults in Mote Aquarium on Saturday, May 22, and, of course, the final round of the all-catch and release Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge taking place Saturday and finishing up on Sunday, May 23.

Entire Press Release Will Be Posted Here Tomorrow so Stay Tuned!

Visit: www.theultimatesharkchallenge.com

Qualifying Round Recap & Photos - GH Ultimate Shark Challenge

on Wednesday, 05 May 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Article posted by Sean and Brooks Paxton
SFMI Advisors and Tournament Directors of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge machine was running on all cylinders and performed extremely well on its first run. The level of teamwork and professional execution between anglers, teams, observers, chase and intercept vessels, researchers, production crew, tournament and Guy Harvey personnel, location host facilities, all the support staff and press and media exceeded our expectations. Our sincere thanks and gratitude to all our sponsors and everyone who supported and believed in this event.

Back Row: Houston Thomas, Sean Rice, David McQuade, Thomas Burt, Richard Procezyn, Zac Gerzeny, Wayne Nichols, Jimmy Willis. Front Row: Howard Chappel, Walter Munoz, Jay Withers, Mike Manis, Bill Deluna, Joe Miller, Bucky Dennis, Randy Perry. Down in front, L-R: Tournament Directors: Captain Robert Moore, Brooks Paxton II, Sean Paxton.

There's a lot more to see and read below, but first, a quick recap of the team standings and who's headed to the championship. Our hats off to every single angler and team for their participation, hard work, and for putting on one heck of a show out there!

The day has finally arrived ...

Nikki Lev, the tournament's mascot (a rare half-french bull dog and half-land shark mix) made her first public appearance at this weekend's kickoff festivities.

All anglers, including Team Peter's Restaurant (Jimmy Willis & Bucky Dennis pictured left) conducted their pre-competition interviews for the cameras before the opening ceremonies Friday night.

The Burnt Store Anglers Club and the Burnt Store Golf & Activity Club hosted the opening ceremony with a themed event, perfectly suited for the tournament.

The GH-USC Directors and Staff extend their sincere appreciation and gratitude for the red carpet treatment extended by our gracious hosts to all in attendance over the entire weekend.

Nearly 100 people were there to enjoy the moment with us. Bob Hueter of Mote Marine Laboratory took the podium during the opening statements, along with Tournament Directors: Sean Paxton, Brooks Paxton II, Robert Moore and Jay Lev of the Burnt Store Anglers and Burnt Store Golf & Activity Clubs.

All anglers, teams, observers and research personnel were recognized during the ceremony, along with tournament sponsors, the host location - Burnt Store Marina, and all the support staff and volunteers.

Tournament Director & Associate Producer, Captain Robert Moore, preps certified observers before assigning them their team boats on the first day of competition.

The Joy Sea III, piloted by Phil Giaramita, next to Captain Robert Moore top right, and manned by Todd Mattis, Bob Lund, Marv Bergman and Bob Corwin served as the tournament communications vessel over the two days of fishing on Saturday and Sunday.

This 32 foot Offshore 'Andros Boatworks' took on the all-important dual task of high-speed research intercept vessel and camera chase boat. It was captained by Andy Eggebrecht, President of Andros Boatworks who delivered this critical personnel on time to points around the tournament boundaries at speeds nearing 60 miles per hour, despite windy and rough conditions. The 600 horsepower ride was nicknamed 'Space Mountain' by the end of fishing on Saturday by all of us on board.

Teams lining up for the shotgun start at 7:30 am, just outside the Burnt Store Channel.

Tournament Director, Captain Robert Moore, had the honor of delivering the radio countdown ... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... Let the games begin!

Teams and observers off to the fishing grounds.

Brooks Paxton II (left) and Bob Hueter (right) waiting for a bite report.

Satellite tags locked and loaded.

The Peer Gynt 26 foot Guy Harvey Series boat, piloted by Joseph Ierna Jr,  President of Peer Gynt, was on site and in the action over the weekend. A lot of attendees took advantage of a chance to win this boat, as part of a special fund-raising raffle benefitting the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. Dave Chafin (front) of Guy Harvey and Southern Latitudes was also on site all weekend. Special thanks to him and Peer Gynt for their valued participation in, and support of, this event.

Sean Paxton (left) and Bob Hueter (right) just moments before the tournament's first bite.

Bob Hueter (left) and Andy Eggebrecht (right) of Andros Boatworks ready to kick it in gear.

The following sequence is taken directly from video footage shot during the action. It depicts in detail, the innovative competitive requirements and related choreography executed between anglers, observers, researchers and prodution crews. Being there, filming this, as it unfolded, and seeing our vision literally coming to life through the camera lens was something we'll never forget. Sean Paxton & Brooks Paxton II

Team Peter's Restaurant report a hook-up at 11am. Captain Bucky Dennis takes the rod on this fish, while his teammate, Captain Jimmy Willis (left) handles the boat and prepares to land the fish.

Less than 20 minutes later, this female bull shark came to the surface and was quickly brought under control with an Aftco tail snare. L-R: Captain Bucky Dennis, Observer - Jim Lugiewicz, Cameraman - Brooks Paxton II and Captain Jimmy Willis.

She measured out officially at 8 feet 2 inches with a weight of approximately 400 pounds.

Observer - Jim Lugiewicz, applies the conventional dart tag, while the team maintains control of her, and Brooks captures the on board action.

An historic moment, as Dr. Bob Hueter of Mote Laboratory & Aquarium's Center for Shark Research, is passed the leader from tournament angler, Captain Bucky Dennis. Also pictured, Jack Morris (far right) Mote Senior Biologist, Shark Biology Program and manager of the Marine Experimental Research Facility.

John Tyminski, Mote Adjunct Scientist, verifies solid placement of the conventional tag after the female bull shark is secured to the research vessel.

It was Dr. Bob Hueter's idea for the anglers to name any satellite tagged sharks. We radioed Captain Bucky Dennis on the Team Peter's Restaurant boat to ask what he thought would be a good name; to which he quickly replied, 'Bucky's Baby'. She was very cooperative and calm through the entire process, and liked the name so much she even grinned for the cameras.

 

Bob Hueter (foreground) taking note of her condition, as the team prepares to affix the satellite tag to her dorsal fin.

Dr. Nick Witney (top) discusses the tag attachment with Bob Hueter.

Bob (top) and Jack Morris (botton) making final adjustments to the tag, prior to her release back to the wild.

John Tyminski cuts the hook, as Jack Morris (rear) releases the tail rope. UPDATE: From a Mote Press Release on May 4th: "By the following Tuesday, a number of transmissions had been received showing the shark was about 3-4 miles offshore of where it was caught, tagged and released. The Mote scientists will continue to track the shark’s movements and a website displaying the tracks will be available to the public very soon".

L-R: Brooks Paxton II, Dave Chafin, Sean Paxton, Bob Hueter

On Sunday, Team Chubby'z Restaurant radios in a hook up. We intercepted them on board the research and camera boat in time to document their catch and release of a qualifying female lemon shark that would send them to the Grand Championship at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium May 21 - 23. L - R: Bill Deluna, Observer - (proper ID pending) and Richard Procezyn work together to properly measure, tag, document and ultimately release this lemon for the cameras. (photo from video footage)

With only 10 minutes of regulation fishing left on the final day, Team Red Zone Apparel radioed in a hookup. Once again, on board the Andros Boatworks Mote Research vessel, we covered many miles in short order to make it in time to capture the action first-hand. Team member, Mike Manis controls the fish with an Aftco tail snare, while Observer - (proper ID pending) controls the head, and team member Jay Withers conventionally dart tags this qualifying blacktip shark, which won this team a trip to the championship. (photo from video footage)

We'll be back with more updates and photos including the other team's catch and release action so stay tuned.

To everyone involved, our hats off to you!

EPILOGUE:

The only thing harmed during the filming of this tournament was Brooks' left foot and ankle. He sustained a crush injury while transferring from the research intercept vessel to film on board Captains' Bucky Dennis and Jimmy Willis' boat, during the bull shark procedure. He's recovering nicely, and had the following to say ... "Anything for the Shot."

Five Teams Heading to Finale of "Next Generation" Shark Tournament

on Wednesday, 05 May 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Five teams won the right this weekend to compete in the final round of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge - an innovative shark tournament uniting  sport fishing, science, business and humane interests as never before.

The Challenge is a catch-and-release only competition off the Southwest Florida coast in which fishermen compete by catching sharks and scientists tag the sharks for conservation research purposes to learn more about the animals' travels in the wild. The Challenge is designed to be a "next generation" model for shark fishing competitions, supporting shark protection while providing the excitement that spectators and anglers have come to expect.

A select group of nine teams was chosen to fish in the qualifying round on May 1 and 2 out of Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda. The five high-scoring teams will fish the Grand Championship Finale on May 21-23 at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota.

Below is a table showing the winners, their scores and catches. Learn about how points are awarded at: http://ultimatesharkchallenge.squarespace.com/rules-event-overview/

Bucky Dennis, Jimmy Willis 8-foot, 2-inch bull shark; First fish of the competition and largest catch overall Bill Deluna, Richard Procezyn 6-foot lemon shark; largest and first catch on day two Wayne Nichols, Zac Gerzeny 6-foot blacktip shark Jay Withers, Mike Manis 6-inch blacktip David McQuade, Thomas Burt 6-foot, 6-inch nurse shark
RANK TEAM NAME ANGLERS SCORE CATCH
1 Team Peter's Restaurant730
2 Team Chubby'z610
3 Team Pole Dancer110
4 Team Redzone100
5 Team Liquid Assets35


The teams caught and released bull, lemon, blacktip, Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose and nurse sharks. With help from trained observers and guidance from Mote scientists, the teams fitted all qualifying sharks (five feet or longer) with conventional ID tags for research, including bull, lemon, blacktip and nurse sharks.

"I honestly feel we're making history here," said Sean Paxton. He and his brother, Brooks, known as the Shark Brothers, are creators and directors of the event along with co-Director and Associate Producer Capt. Robert Moore. The directors said: "Our vision was to combine the goals of sport, science and conservation collaboratively and effectively. We've already achieved that in the qualifying round, and this is only the beginning."


The 8-foot, 2-inch female bull shark was fitted with a satellite-linked tracking tag by scientists from Mote's Center for Shark Research on the morning of Saturday, May 1. By the following Tuesday, May 4, the tag had sent a number of transmissions showing that the shark was about three to four miles offshore of where it was caught, tagged and released. Mote scientists will continue to track the shark's movements and a website displaying the tracks will be available for the public very soon.

"It's especially important that we satellite-tagged a mature female, because she may lead us to where she's mating or giving birth to pups," said Dr. Robert Hueter, Director of Mote's Center for Shark Research, who oversaw all scientific aspects of the tournament. "When it comes to mating grounds for bull sharks, we know zero."


Finding and protecting these mating grounds and "nurseries" where shark pups shelter and grow is important for conservation and management of shark populations. The tournament's scientific goals include satellite tagging a mature female great hammerhead shark - considered "endangered" by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

High winds and choppy seas may have lessened the chance for catching great hammerheads and other target species during the qualifying round. Also, unusually cold weather this year may have delayed movement of the sharks' prey fish into the area. Tournament organizers are optimistic that more chances for satellite tagging will arise during the Grand Championship.

Tough fishing conditions didn't dampen the anglers' spirits. "You guys really shined," said Co-director Moore during the awards reception Sunday evening. "We've got some real professionals here. I want to thank and acknowledge all the teams and observers. These guys are the stars of the show."

The public can watch the five remaining teams compete in the Grand Championship on May 21-23 at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Spectators onshore can enjoy an exciting and educational multimedia experience, including video feeds from the heart of the action. Learn more at the tournament website: http://ultimatesharkchallenge.squarespace.com/

Media:
Low-res photos of catching, tagging and releasing of sharks are available at (please credit all photos to Shark Brothers Productions): HERE
A report with additional low-res photos and captions for shark tagging pictures is available at: HERE
High-res photos of the tournament participants with photo credits are available at: HERE

Media are welcome to attend the Grand Championship Finale at Mote, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, Fla. Please RSVP to Hayley Rutger, Mote Public Relations Specialist, 941-374-0081 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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About the tournament: The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge was developed in 2009 when Sean and Brooks Paxton approached Mote's Dr. Robert Hueter about the idea of an innovative catch-and-release shark tournament. Together with Capt. Robert Moore, the group then teamed up with renowned marine wildlife artist, scientist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey to present a model for responsible sport fishing that promotes shark protection. This "next generation" shark competition has been endorsed as a more humane alternative to traditional catch-and-kill tournaments by the Humane Society of the United States and is also supported by the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative and Fishpond USA. Learn more

Catch, Release, Conserve: The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge

on Tuesday, 20 April 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Catch-and-Release Shark Tournament Series is a New Model for Sport Fishing of Vulnerable Predators

For Immediate Release: 4-20-10

Sport fishing, science, business and humane interests are coming together for the first time in support of a new kind of catch-and-release fishing tournament for sharks that demonstrates that a fishing competition really can support shark protection while providing the excitement that spectators and anglers have come to expect.

The new Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge series is a catch-and-release only competition off the Southwest Florida coast, beginning with a qualifying round April 30 - May 2 at Burnt Store Marina in Lee County and concluding with a Grand Championship Finale May 21-23 at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota. During the tournament, fishermen will compete by catching sharks and scientists will tag the sharks for conservation research purposes to learn more about the animals' travels in the wild. Spectators will be able to watch the action live via video from the boats.

For the first time, what we call a ‘love 'em and leave 'em' shark tournament will be transformed into a true spectator sport," said Sean Paxton. He and his brother, Brooks, known as the Shark Brothers, are creators and directors of the event. Along with Co-Director and Associate Producer Capt. Robert Moore, they said: "Our shared vision for this tournament is to effectively combine the goals of sport, science and conservation. By leveraging modern broadcast technology, we'll also be providing spectators onshore with an exciting and educational multimedia experience."

The Humane Society of the United States views the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge tournament design as a significantly more humane alternative to traditional catch-and-kill shark tournaments. "

We know shark species are in decline and that we need to better understand their life histories in the wild," said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of HSUS. "We think this tournament format will help support necessary protection for sharks that would have died in a traditional kill tournament."

The tournament was developed in 2009 when the Paxtons approached Robert Hueter, Ph.D., director of Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research, about the idea of an innovative catch-and-release shark tournament. Hueter had run a successful all-release, research-oriented shark tournament from 1989 to 1998 along the southwest Florida coast. Together with Capt. Moore, the group then teamed up with renowned marine wildlife artist, scientist and conservationist Guy Harvey, Ph.D., to present a model for responsible sport fishing that promotes shark protection.

Harvey, a longtime marine conservationist and founder of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, said:

"The tournament will increase global awareness of the important role that sharks play in the world's oceans and our ecosystem. The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament Series will be a uniquely exciting event for participants, spectators and everyone who cares about the future of our oceans,"

Hueter and staff from Mote's Center for Shark Research will oversee the scientific aspects of the tournament, including tagging operations. Anglers will attach identification tags to as many sharks as possible and scientists will outfit a number of sharks with satellite-linked transmitters that will track shark movements after release. Hammerhead and bull sharks will be the focus of the satellite tagging efforts, but other species may be tagged as well. The satellite tags are designed to transmit location and other information about the shark's travels when the animal's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water.

Once the satellite tags are deployed, the public will be able to follow these sharks' travels on the Internet for as long as one year or more.

"This project will provide a breakthrough in collaborative research involving the marine science and recreational fishing communities," Hueter said. "The fishermen deserve great credit for embracing this new approach. By working together to develop a 21st-century, conservation-oriented alternative to the more traditional kill tournament, the Mote Center for Shark Research and tournament organizers hope to provide a national model for the responsible use of marine resources."

Supporting tournament organizers in this collaborative effort are Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah; Luke Tipple, director of the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative; and John Land Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond USA, a prominent outdoor and fishing equipment retailer. All involved share a view that this event should become the "next generation" model for shark fishing competitions.

"Shark-Free Marinas has been involved with the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge since its inception and is in full support of its methodology," Tipple said. "Sharks need protection and we need to manage the ways we utilize their stocks. In the past, some shark fishing tournaments have killed reproductively capable sharks, which are a dwindling resource. This catch-and-release format offers the best of both worlds, allowing the sport of shark fishing to directly contribute to our scientific understanding of their population status and functional life history."

Le Coq and Fishpond are also concerned about the status of sharks. "Fishpond must lead by example to influence the destructive perceptions of the magnificent sharks that roam our oceans in peril, and to help end the kill-oriented tournaments that have traditionally existed in ports around our country," Le Coq stated.

Sharks will be caught using heavy conventional tackle, to reduce time between hook-up and release of sharks, and the fishermen will use inline, non-stainless steel circle hooks that minimize injury to the sharks. Sharks will be measured in the water and then outfitted with either conventional ID or satellite tracking tags. Tail snares and other special equipment will be used for angler and animal safety, as well as for humane handling and release of the sharks.









Tournament Details

Qualifying Round
When: April 30 - May 2
Where: Burnt Store Marina, 3192 Matecumbe Key Rd., Punta Gorda, Fla.

Grand Championship Finale
When: May 21 - 23
Where: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Fla.

Shark conservation facts:

  • Many shark species are imperiled worldwide. According to the World Conservation Union, about one-fifth of the 547 species of sharks and rays evaluated are considered threatened with extinction.
  • Threshers, tigers, makos and blue sharks are all targeted in shark tournaments, along with hammerhead and bull sharks.
  • There is still insufficient information available to evaluate the conservation status of about 100 shark species, many of which are also caught in tournaments.
  • Anglers can be important collaborators in shark conservation efforts. Mote scientists have tagged more than 20,000 sharks over the past 20 years along Florida's Gulf Coast, with most tag returns by sport fishermen. Tagging allows Mote scientists to study shark abundance, movements and population dynamics, providing data for better management of shark populations.

Media Contacts

Tournament Directors: 941-416-1788 / 5073, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mote Marine Laboratory: Hayley Rutger, 941-374-0081, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation: 1-800-288-1227,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
HSUS: Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Founded by marine biologist and artist Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is an organization of philanthropists, conservationists, scientists and educators focused on developing sensible strategies for promoting the conservation of our oceans and nurturing the next generation of marine scientists and guardians of our seas. www.guyharveyoceanfoundation.org

About Mote Marine Laboratory:

Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent nonprofit marine research organization. Mote is dedicated to advancing the science of the sea through the study of marine and estuarine ecosystems, through our public Mote Aquarium and through an education division that provides unique programs for all ages. Throughout 2010, Mote is celebrating its 55th Anniversary with special events highlighting its groundbreaking ocean research and outreach. Learn more at www.mote.org/55.

About The HSUS:

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 humanesociety.org.

About Shark-Free Marinas:

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative supports shark conservation at sport fishing and resort marinas by prohibiting the landing of any shark at the participating marina. Registered marinas will encourage sport shark-fishermen to exercise catch-and-release techniques. The acceptance of catch-and-release fishing techniques represents an incremental step in protecting valuable marine resources as well as providing valuable data for research organizations. SFMI also works with the community through it's Regional Ambassador program. For more information visit www.sharkfreemarinas.com.

20ft Hammerhead caught in Australia a disgrace

on Thursday, 15 April 2010. Posted in SFMI News

We need Shark-free Marinas in Australia, and SFMI needs Regional Ambassadors to start working in their Australian regions.

This story of a 40 year old hammerhead being caught and destroyed for 'display' is an absolute disgrace. The Great Hammerhead is listed by the IUCN as Globally Endangered and there is no excuse for harvesting such an animal simply for display. This was a breeding age specimen, an animal this size serves no commercial purpose for food (except for the fin trade) and countries like Australia should set a better example.

Even worse is that the notoriously inept and national disgrace, Vic Hislop, has bought the specimen and it will now reside in his museum as another display of his monsters of the ocean. For those of you who haven't been to his little sideshow it's full is mis-truths and propaganda... everything from doctored photos of divers being attacked right through to his 'informative' videos of why sharks need to be eliminated. The museum is also filled with his catches: many, many breeding age and endangered sharks from Great Whites to Hammerheads and Tigers.

This is a catch that should not have been allowed. Quite simply this animal should have been released and if the fishermen had launched from a Shark-Free Marina this would have been a requirement. Right now SFMI needs regional Ambassadors in Australia to approach their local marinas and ask them to register as 'Shark-Free'. The process costs them absolutely nothing and they will receive free dock signs and support literature.

YOU can help by registering here.

Here's the article which you should follow if you'd like to make a comment to the reporting agency:

From the Daily Mail

A group of fishermen were delighted when they caught a shark in the warm waters off Australia's east coast.

So imagine their surprise when there was a bigger tug and they realised their catch was being swallowed by an even bigger fish.

This giant, weighing one and a quarter tonnes and measuring 20ft long, was caught off the north coast of New South Wales and is thought to be at least 40 years old.

Vic Hislop, who runs a shark museum in Queensland, was so excited by news of the catch that he bought the shark, which died as it was hauled to shore.

'It's a magnificent specimen, that's for sure,' said Mr Hislop. 'I'm planning to freeze it and then put it on display at the shark museum.'

Some species of hammerheads are on the global endangered list but they are not renowned for attacking humans, unlike the man-eating great white shark.

What might be a warning for swimmers to exercise caution about where they chose to swim is Mr Hislop's comment to Brisbane's Courier Mail that 'while this one is huge, it's not the biggest one I've seen'.


Vic Hislop proudly displays an Endangered Species


Sharks are known to feed at dawn and dusk, so people are advised to avoid the ocean at those times to further reduce their small chance of a shark attack.

Hammerheads, which are found in warm waters around the world, get their name from the shape of their heads, which are flattened and extend sideways. This is thought to help them move in close to their prey and to find food on the sea bed.

While they are not notorious for killing humans, the International Shark Attack file lists them as seventh among sharks that pose a danger to people, the most dangerous being the great white.

In recent years there have been 33 reported hammerhead attacks on humans, but none have been fatal.

The 10 Million Dong Vietnamese Shark Hunt

on Wednesday, 14 April 2010. Posted in SFMI News

In the days of a more socially aware fishing community it is sad to see the backwards Jaws logic being still applied overseas. Here's one such example of an issue that serves to highlight how much work there is to do in Asian countries and why examples need to be set in our own backyards.

The Backstory

Since July 2009 there have been around 10 people attacked by a shark in the Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province of Vietnam. On January 9 2010 three people where bitten in one day by a shark that weighed anything from 20-40 kilograms according to it's victims. While local fishermen acknowledge the presence of sharks in the waters there has still never been a fatal attack in the area. Here's where the story gets messy:

Authorities at Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province have announced a reward for anybody who catches a large fish, believed to be a shark, that recently attacked people who bathed at the city’s beach.

Authorities decided that their solution to a Rogue shark was to issue a 10 million Dong reward (around US$400) for the fisherman who brings in the dead animal. Really? Are we back in the Jaws days? All they stipulated was that the culprit is of an unknown species with a bite diameter of around 19cm.

Surely this must strike others as less than sensible. With no way to prove that a caught shark is the culprit this will be a continued witch hunt driven by government sponsored financial reward. So far the fishermen have caught various species including Lemon Sharks and a 5m Great White Shark. These animals were deemed to be 'not the culprit' and were sold for fins and meat, after the authorities gave them half the reward for trying.

This kind of logic is absolutely tragic and is what really needs to be addressed when considering international relations and educational strategy.


The Hunt Ends?

Today authorities have announced that the hunt is over and the culprit has been caught. The alleged rogue shark appears to be a 5ft long Lemon Shark which has a similar bite diameter to the victims wounds. While the idea that they successfully caught the 'rouge' shark is dubious at least the Peoples Committee have realized that a bounty will only lead to aggressive fishing activity and targeting an individual non-specific animal is pretty much impossible.

Photos of the shark were sent to Nha Trang Oceanography Institute, where scientists discovered that this species lives in the bottom of warm seas and sometimes swim near shore to seek food or to reproduce. This species of shark is also allowed to be caught.

Bureau Chief Nguyen Huu Hao commented that the jaws of this shark fit the bites left on victims and is the culprit in recent attacks. He added that other sharks are still out there, so the sentry-boxes should be set up early to protect swimmers.

Your comments may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to the attention of the Chairman, Mr. Nguyen Van Thien

Further Reading

Shark hunt yet to locate real culprit
Caught shark not attack sea bathers in Quy Nhon
Vietnamese province puts bounty on “shark” after 10 recent attacks
Vietnamese fisherman hunting “ten million dong shark”
One-tonne shark netted near shark attack beach

The Shark Brothers on SFMI and Humane Society

on Saturday, 13 March 2010. Posted in SFMI News

All the impassioned opinion, blunt positioning, heated debate and hyperbole in the world can't measure up to tangible and effective results. With anything, but very notably in the wild world of conservation, effective results are the only things that truly matter.

Everything else is wasteful posturing and a lot of getting ready to get ready ... so enough, already. It's been our personal experience that effective results can only come from rolling up the shirtsleeves and just getting it done.

When we were first introduced to the Shark Free Marinas Initiative early last year, the doers behind the effort, like us, were deeply entrenched in the getting it done part of our respective efforts to effect rationally sustainable policies and practices. However, while so many other conservation aims miss their mark, this viable new concept, and more importantly, the people behind it, were immediately compelling to us, by virtue of the fact they weren't repelling, as so many others almost inherently are.

They believe in adding collaboration to the mix of forward-thinking effectiveness, and that's why we support them. They are among the exceptions and not the rule. As far as creating results go, they've already achieved many, but you can add the following puzzle piece to their emerging and expanding picture of success. Congratulations to everyone involved.

This post is from the blog of Sean Paxton.

About the Shark Brothers

Sean and Brooks Paxton (aka the 'Shark Brothers') are SFMI Advisors. They, along with partners the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Mote Marine Laboratories, are leading the way in non-lethal shark fishing tournament models. Visit the Ultimate Shark Challenge website for more details.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

‘Shark-Free Marina Initiative’ promotes catch-and-release

Note: There are Shark-Free Marinas in Harwich, Mass.; Key Largo, Fla.; Miami; Tequesta, Fla.; Vero Beach, Fla.; West Alton, Mo, Fiji, Tonga, and the U.K

The Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with Shark-Free Marinas in a campaign to significantly reduce worldwide shark mortality.

Fittingly, the effort is called the “Shark-Free Marina Initiative” and seeks the support of marina operators worldwide to prohibit the landing of any shark on their premises, thus encouraging catch-and-release fishing. To help publicize the plight of sharks and the need for their protection, The HSUS and SFMI are supplying signs and public information to participating marinas in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to join the efforts of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative,” said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS. “The HSUS works tirelessly to end animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect and is deeply concerned by the deteriorating status of shark populations.”

Luke Tipple, executive director of the Initiative, said, “The Shark-Free Marina Initiative welcomes the support of The Humane Society of the United States and its members to protect beleaguered shark species.”

The HSUS, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, strives to end the killing of sharks in sport tournaments around the United States, and works to raise public awareness about celebrating ocean life instead of destroying it. The Shark-Free Marina Initiative encourages marinas to adopt shark-friendly policies, preventing kill tournaments from using those facilities.
Facts Dozens of marinas in the United States, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have registered as Shark-Free Marinas since the initiative began in 2008. The HSUS also works to protect sharks by campaigning against shark finning, and the organization recently petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the porbeagle shark as endangered.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative runs a Regional Ambassador program where anyone can get involved in their important work. Visit the SFMI Web site (sharkfreemarinas.com) or The HSUS Web site (humanesociety.org/protectsharks) for more information.

Other groups supporting the Shark-Free Marina Initiative include the Fisheries Conservation Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Institute.

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

The Humane Society of the United States Joins Shark-Free Marinas to Reduce Killing of Ocean’s Great Predators

on Wednesday, 10 March 2010. Posted in SFMI News

‘Shark-Free Marina Initiative’ promotes catch-and-release

Note: There are Shark-Free Marinas in Harwich, Mass.; Key Largo, Fla.; Miami; Tequesta, Fla.; Vero Beach, Fla.; and West Alton, Mo.

(March 9, 2010) — The Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with Shark-Free Marinas in a campaign to significantly reduce worldwide shark mortality.

Fittingly, the effort is called the “Shark-Free Marina Initiative” and seeks the support of marina operators worldwide to prohibit the landing of any shark on their premises, thus encouraging catch-and-release fishing. To help publicize the plight of sharks and the need for their protection, The HSUS and SFMI are supplying signs and public information to participating marinas in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to join the efforts of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative,” said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS. “The HSUS works tirelessly to end animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect and is deeply concerned by the deteriorating status of shark populations.”

Luke Tipple, executive director of the Initiative, said, “The Shark-Free Marina Initiative welcomes the support of The Humane Society of the United States and its members to protect beleaguered shark species.”

The HSUS, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, strives to end the killing of sharks in sport tournaments around the United States, and works to raise public awareness about celebrating ocean life instead of destroying it. The Shark-Free Marina Initiative encourages marinas to adopt shark-friendly policies, preventing kill tournaments from using those facilities.

Facts

  • Dozens of marinas in the United States, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have registered as Shark-Free Marinas since the initiative began in 2008.
  • The HSUS also works to protect sharks by campaigning against shark finning, and the organization recently petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the porbeagle shark as endangered.
  • The Shark-Free Marina Initiative runs a Regional Ambassador program where anyone can get involved in their important work. Visit the SFMI Web site (sharkfreemarinas.com) or The HSUS Web site (humanesociety.org/protectsharks) for more information.

Other groups supporting the Shark-Free Marina Initiative include the Fisheries Conservation Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Institute.

Thresher Sharks Protected by Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

on Friday, 05 March 2010. Posted in SFMI News

Press Release
For immediate release
5th March 2010

Thresher Sharks Protected by Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
EU proposal leads to historic vote and fishing ban for three vulnerable species

Busan, Korea 05.03.10. The Shark Alliance is applauding a historic ban on fishing for thresher sharks  - oceanic species distinguished by their long, scythe-like tails – adopted today by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) at their annual meeting in Korea.   The proposal to protect all three thresher species, offered by the European Union (EU), earned support from Japan, and passed in a secret ballot, 14-3.  It was the first vote ever taken by the consensus-minded commission and sets the IOTC as the leading international fisheries body in terms of shark species protection.

“We congratulate the EU for championing groundbreaking protections for thresher sharks on the high seas,” said Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust, a member of the Shark Alliance.  “We also applaud the other Indian Ocean Tuna Commission members that have recognized the need to take a precautionary and internationally cooperative approach in the conservation of such highly migratory and vulnerable species.”

In 2008, scientists identified the bigeye thresher as the Atlantic, oceanic shark at highest risk of overfishing which led to protection for this one thresher species under the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in 2009.  All species of thresher sharks are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as globally Vulnerable.

The EU was not successful in its proposal to secure IOTC protection for hammerhead sharks. Hammerhead fins are exceptionally valuable for use in the traditional, Asian delicacy “shark fin soup”; high demand for fins creates incentive for “finning” (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea).  Scalloped hammerheads, classified by IUCN as Endangered Globally, are heavily fished, even as pups, and “very often” finned in the region, according to IOTC scientists.

Three species of hammerheads are proposed by the US for listing under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Decisions on these proposals will be taken March 13-25 in Qatar. Such listings would prompt improvements in monitoring of international trade and assurances that exports do not pose a detriment to wild populations.   In total, the US has proposed six species of sharks for CITES listing while the EU is proposing two (spiny dogfish and porbeagle). Palau is co-sponsoring all of the shark proposals.

“The continuing lack of international fishing limits for hammerheads and other traded sharks bolsters arguments for CITES Parties to adopt the shark proposals before them,” added Hood.

Notes to Editors:

For further information or to arrange media interviews, contact:
Jo Frost / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /+44 77360 32430

Nearly 500 EU vessels, from Spain, France, Portugal and the UK, fish in the Indian Ocean, taking in excess of 6,000 metric tonnes of sharks annually.

Australia, Belize, China, Comoros, Eritrea, EC, France, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sultanate of Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, UK and Vanuatu are Parties to IOTC.  Senegal, South Africa and Uruguay are “cooperating, non-contracting Parties.”

The Shark Alliance is a global, not-for-profit coalition of 76 conservation, scientific and recreational organizations dedicated to improving shark conservation policies. For more information concerning the work of the Shark Alliance please visit: www.sharkalliance.org

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