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...

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Good Day for Giant Manta Rays

Republished from Sea Monster
Author Helen Scales, Nov 25, 2011

Giant manta rays hit the ocean headlines today with the news that they are to gain their first ever global protection from the many problems they face.

Manta Ray of Hope – Teaser 1080p from Blue Sphere Media on Vimeo.

Giant mantas (Manta birostris) are to be added to the Convention on Migratory Species (or CMS), an intergovernmental treaty set up to help get nations working together to conserve the endangered animals that roam around our planet, ignoring the political boundaries we set up.

The biggest threat to mantas is fishing. They are enormous and like to hang in predicable spots, making them an easy catch. And fishermen are increasingly targeting them to feed emerging demand from the traditional east Asian medicine trade for manta ray gill rakers – the comb-like structures inside their huge mouths that sieve tiny plankton food from the water column. (Find out more about that in an interview with Andrea “Queen of mantas” Marshall on the Naked Oceans podcast).

Manta birostris-NOAAAll nations signed up to the convention that are lucky enough to have manta rays gracing their waters, will now have to make concerted efforts to protect both mantas and their critical areas of habitat. CMS listing will also spearhead international efforts to protect these giant cousins of sharks.

Currently mantas are protected by national laws in a number of countries including Hawaii, Maldives, Philippines, and Ecuador. But being such immense swimmers, they often migrate into unprotected waters.

The CMS listing for mantas was announced at this week’s conference of parties in Norway. Sonja Fordham, president of Shark Advocates International, was there to represent a clutch of conservation groups that support the manta listing.

“We are elated that the CMS Parties have embraced Ecuador’s proposal for protecting the magnificent and exceptionally vulnerable giant manta ray” said Sonja

It was announced a few weeks ago that the giant manta has been listed by IUCN as Vulnerable to extinction.

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