5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Tick “Diving with Sharks” off Your Bucket List

A basking shark filter feeding.

A basking shark filter feeding

I’ve recently discovered “Extreme Bucket List“, a great blog focusing on unique aspects of adventure.  As I was reading the interesting Bucket List adventures, I asked myself: “What is on my life list?”.

Among my many life goals, diving the Top 10 dive sites of the world made it to the top of the list! There are so many stunning places I’m dreaming of visiting to encounter some of the most amazing sea creatures!

Diving in the Maldives with the majestic Manta Ray for example, or South Africa to encounter the misunderstood Great White shark ; or experiencing the magic of the Galapagos to observe schooling of Scalloped Hammerhead sharks and gentle Whale Sharks, or simply diving in the UK  for a chance to see the harmless and very rare Basking shark.

Unfortunately, the more I wait to tick these adventures off my bucket list the less chance I have to make these dreams come true! Why? Simply because:

  1. Shark and ray populations have seriously declined over the past thirty years.
  2. Great White sharks, Basking Sharks and Whale Sharks are listed as endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
  3. Scalloped Hammerhead sharks have been fished and finned to near extinction, their numbers dropping around 95 percent across the world.
  4. An alarming rise in the trade of Manta and Mobula ray hunting has put the existence of the species under serious threat.
  5. Each year, up to 73 million sharks are killed primarily for their fins, threatening one-third of open ocean sharks with extinction.
grupo de sphyrna lewini dentro el santuario de...

Photo credit: Colombia Travel

Unless more effective and enforceable protection measures are implemented to save these species, these beautiful sharks and many others such as Blue sharks and Porbeagle will become extinct. We must ensure that sharks are around for ocean health and the future generations.

I can’t imagine an ocean without sharks. Can you? Sadly, this seems more likely by the day as our oceans witness a rapid and global rise in unsustainable shark fishing.

It’s high time to take action and rally support for shark conservation! It’s time to demand policy changes to secure protections for the most vulnerable shark species. I have joined the movement of divers protecting the ocean planet one dive at a timeWill you join me?

Manta Ray (Manta birostris) at Hin Daeng, Thai...

Advertisements

Plenty more fish in the sea? Not for much longer – IUCN report

Published on: June, 19 April – IUCN – Press Releases.

Lawnmower Blenny Smile Mediterranean imageMore than 40 species of marine fish currently found in the Mediterranean could disappear in the next few years. According to a study for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ on the status of marine fish in the Mediterranean Sea, almost half of the species of sharks and rays (cartilaginous fish) and at least 12 species of bony fish are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, marine habitat degradation and pollution.

Commercial species like Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus), Dusky Grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) or Hake (Merluccius merluccius) are considered threatened or Near Threatened with extinction at the regional level mainly due to overfishing.

“The Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic population of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is of particular concern. There has been an estimated 50% decline in this species’ reproduction potential over the past 40 years due to intensive overfishing,” says Kent Carpenter, IUCN Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinator. “The lack of compliance with current quotas combined with widespread underreporting of the catch may have undermined conservation efforts for this species in the Mediterranean.”

The use of fishing gear, such as fishing lines, gill or trawling nets, and the illegal use of driftnets means that hundreds of marine animals with no commercial value are captured, threatening populations of many species of sharks, rays and other fish, as well as other marine animals including dolphins, whales, turtles and birds.

“The use of trawling nets is one of the main problems for conservation and sustainability of many marine species,” says Maria del Mar Otero, IUCN-Med Marine Programme Officer. “Because it is not a selective technique, it captures not only the target fish but also a high number of other species while also destroying the sea bottom, where many fish live, reproduce and feed.”

The study emphasizes the need to reinforce fishing regulations, create new marine reserves, reduce pollution and review fishing quotas, in particular the number of captures allowed for threatened species.

The Zvonimiri blenny image“Responsible consumption is one of the ways in which we can all contribute to the conservation of many marine species,” says Catherine Numa, IUCN-Med Species Programme Officer. “Based on the findings of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, we hope that politicians will make the appropriate decisions to secure this important food source for the future, whilst protecting and valuing the biological diversity of the planet at the same time.”

This is the first comprehensive regional IUCN Red List assessment of the native marine fish species for an entire sea. The report also highlights the substantial lack of information on the conservation status of nearly one third of these Mediterranean marine fish (which were assessed as Data Deficient), a significant proportion of which are considered endemic to the region. Further research may show that the Data Deficient group could in fact include a large proportion of threatened fish. Increased funding and research therefore need to be directed towards such Data Deficient species.

Like this at Facebook
%d bloggers like this: