Whale Shark – World Press Photo Contest, Thomas P. Peschak

Whale Shark, Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti – Plastic Pollution

A plastic bag floats near a feeding whale shark. World Press Photo 2013, Nature , 3rd prize stories, Thomas P. Peschak

Domino‘s insight:

Congratulations to Thomas P. Peschak for winning the World Press Photo Contest with his amazing photographic work on Whale Sharks! Pictures are worth a thousand words !!!!

See all 2013 World Press Photo Contest winners: worldpressphoto.org/awards/2013

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...

The Countdown to Secure Trade Protection for Sharks Starts NOW

Did you know? Only three shark species are protected under CITES regulations (great white, whale shark and basking shark). Yet many shark species such as scalloped hammerhead, porbeagle and spiny dogfish are on the brink of extinction!

In less than one year’s time, Government officials from all around the world will meet in Thailand to discuss the fate of the most threatened and heavily traded shark species. With 175 member countries the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) sets controls on the international trade and movement of animals and plants at risks of becoming extinct.

Many shark populations have declined dramatically over the past thirty years, some by as much as 99%. By supporting the Big Shark Shout Out campaign and signing the CITES petition you can give sharks a fighting chance and ensure the most vulnerable shark species get the trade protection they desperately need.

Sign the CITES petition TODAY


The burgeoning and largely unregulated trade in shark fins represents one of the most serious threats to shark populations worldwide.

Shark finning (the cruel practice which involves slicing fins from sharks at sea and dumping their bodies overboard) is not only an Asian problem. Shark fin soup can be found in many restaurants across the world and many countries export shark fins to the Asian market.

According to some studies, every country with a coastline export fins to Hong Kong. Despite a shark finning ban implemented in 2003 in Europe for instance, EU countries (particularly Spain) continue to be the single largest supplier of shark fins to the Hong Kong market.


Sharks play an important role in keeping the ocean healthy and in balance. They regulate the quantity and health of other species of fish and invertebrates. Sharks quite often prey on sick, diseased or old animals. This prevents the disease or sickness from spreading and  creates habitat space for other animals. Oceans without sharks are oceans out of balance, which means trouble for everyone who depends on oceans for food, jobs and enjoyment. All of us really!

Support for shark protection is difficult to achieve because of the persistent irrational fear of sharks. A change in attitude, perception, media coverage, and improved conservation legislation and fishing policies are desperately needed. Public support for shark conservation is crucial to balance short-term interests and ensure that strong and enforceable shark conservation measures are implemented.

We can’t afford to ignore the fate of sharks because some of us are afraid of these animals or because this slaughter happens miles out at sea where no one sees it. The results of the loss of sharks will have effects beyond our  imagination and beyond our current ability to understand.

PAPA SHILLINGI Short whale shark documentary

Via Scoop.itOcean News

This award winning short documentary is all about whale sharks. Papa Shillingi means whale shark in Kiswahili. Here what the experts say. “A wonderful film” …
Via www.youtube.com

Lessons From Diving with Whale Sharks

Published on: July, 21st 2011 by Keith Addis, President of the board of directors at Oceana, Huffington Post – Lessons From Diving With Whale Sharks.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been side by side with hundreds of the biggest fish on Earth – Whale Sharks.

I’ve just returned from an incredible adventure in Cancun, Mexico, where every summer hundreds of these majestic giants gather under the full moon to feed on billions of fish eggs.

Whale shark Tofo MozambiqueI was in Belize a year ago where we encountered two Whale Sharks, but it was absolutely amazing to be swimming in the middle of an estimated 300 whale sharks within about a one-square mile area. It’s a deeply spiritual experience to be so close to these massive, domino-patterned leviathans, often flanked by giant manta rays.

Observing these spectacular animals in the wild is a wake-up call for us all that sharks around the world, including these giants, need our help. Sharks are being hunted ferociously for their fins, primarily for shark fin soup. Millions are inhumanely killed every year, the result being that many species are now threatened with extinction.

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems everywhere. Sharks are slow-growing, late-maturing, long-lived and give birth to very few offspring during their life cycles, making them extremely vulnerable to overexploitation.

Without sharks, the ocean can and will get out of balance quickly, as was the case off the coast of North Carolina. According to a study published in Science Magazine by the late Dr. Ransom Myers, the disappearance of sharks there led to an explosion in the population of rays, which have subsequently wiped out virtually all the bay scallop fisheries — and the fishermen whose livelihoods had depended on the health and sustainability of this resource for over a century.

The good news is that the United States has made great headway in shark conservation in recent months. At the end of 2010, Congress passed the Shark Conservation Act, which prevents shark finning in U.S. waters.

But while shark finning is illegal in the U.S., current federal laws banning shark finning do not adequately address the issue of the shark fin trade. As a result, fins are being imported to the U.S. from countries with limited to zero shark protections in place. Legislation banning the sale and possession of shark fins passed recently in Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Guam and is pending in California.

I’m really hoping that California follows the lead of its neighbors. Ending the trade of shark fins in the state would continue our country’s reputation as a leader in shark conservation and send a signal to the world that shark fins belong on a shark’s body, not in soup.

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