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Sharks are going extinct; help save them!

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Published on Aug 12, 2008

A video I made using clips from Rob Stewart's amazing film, Sharkwater.

Please support the cause to stop the finning of these animals that we need so much to survive. Human beings as well as the world alike depend on these animals to keep the oceans ecosystem in check.

Visit savingsharks.com
sharkwater.com
or search "help save sharks" on facebook to help out.

They have survived for 450 million years. They control 2/3 of the planet. They are the world's top predator. But they are not our enemy. They're our greatest hope...

Why save sharks? What makes them so important?
Species evolving in the oceans over the last 400 million years, have been shaped by their predators, the sharks, giving rise to schooling behavior, camoflage, speed, size and communication. They have survived five major extinctions and now they are being fished out. Many countries have no sharks left because they are being illegally harvested for their fins and poachers are now fishing sharks from other countries, countries that depend on sharks for food. But no one wants to save sharks, people are afraid of them. Sharks play a critical role in ocean ecosystems. This practice wastes 95-99% of the animal and makes proper management extremely difficult.
The fossil record of sharks extends back over 450 million years - before land vertebrates existed and before many plants had colonised the continents.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is considering including two shark species on their protected list. This month, 171 member counties will meet to consider new proposals for restricting trade in threatened species.
However, Canada, the United States and New Zealand are among the countries that may oppose the proposal. The meetings occur only once every two years, so if these sharks aren't included on the list now, we may not get the chance to save them again.

These countries were three of the first four to ban shark finning, and sharks need their help, again. Both shark species are in danger because they grow slowly, mature late (meaning they only start reproducing between the age of 10-15 years old and only have 1-2 babies a year) so overfishing them is quickly reducing their numbers to incredibly low rates. 100 million sharks are killed each year.

Sharks are caught for their fins. Poachers cut off the fins and dump the bodies overboard. The fins are sold for shark fin soup and though many countries have banned shark-finning, millions of sharks are illegally harvested each year.

Sharkfinning is illegal in Costa Rica but shark fins are showing up all over Asia that came from Costa Rica. Rob Stewart and his crew believe there is a connection between the Taiwanese mafia and all the shark fins turning up in Asia. They started checking it out and this guy had a few places where he knew they would find fins. They started investigating and there were fins everywhere. There were miles of fin operations with thousands of fins drying on rooftops, people bringing in fins. They quickly figured out there was an enormous amount of money coming into the country and there was this whole underground multi-billion dollar industry.

Long-line fishing is a commercial fishing technique that uses hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks hanging from a single line. The length of the line ranges from 1.6km (1 mile) to as long as 100km (62 miles). The lines are set adrift from vessels for a period of 12 to 24 hours. Lines generally run over 2500 hand-baited hooks on a single line. Think about how many sea creatures such as sea turtles, tuna, and dozen other endangered ocean creatures are caught by this method.

Humans kill approximately 26 to 73 million sharks every year, while shark attacks result in approximately five human deaths each year. Many shark deaths are the result of the harvesting of fins for shark fin soup, but large numbers of sharks are also caught accidentally by commercial fisheries. Contrary to popular belief, only a few sharks are dangerous to humans. Major declines in shark stocks have been recorded in recent years - some species have been depleted by over 90% over the past 20-30 years with a population decline of 70% not being unusual.

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