Tag Archives: Peter Knights

73 Million Sharks Need Your Help

13 Aug


*UPDATE* On Thursday, August 25th, California’s Senate Appropriations committee votes on Assembly Bill 376, a bill that would effectively ban the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins in the state.  California controls an estimated 85 percent of the shark fin trade in the U.S., so this legislation is critical. If passed, California would become the most prominent US state to show its support for shark conservation, after similar legislation passed in Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon.

AB 376 already passed the State Assembly by a vote of 65-8, with bipartisan support. But now its fate lies in the Senate.

“Finning” is the process by which sharks are hauled on deck, their fins are sliced off, and the maimed sharks are usually tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death since shark fins are considered much more valuable than shark meat. Every year fins from up to 73 million sharks are used for shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that can fetch up to $100 USD per bowl. Currently, an estimated 1/3 of pelagic (open ocean) shark species are threatened with extinction.  As sharks play a vital role in the oceans, their depletion would cause irreparable damage to marine ecosystems.

More than a dozen organizations support the ban including The Asian Pacific American (APA) Ocean Harmony Alliance, WildAid, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

What can you do to lend your support?

If You Live in California:

Use this tool to find your state Senator. Call him or her TODAY to say, “I am a constituent and urge your support of A.B. 376 to prohibit the sale of shark fins in California.”  Your call will make a difference.

If You Live Elsewhere:

We still need your support.  Commit to shark conservation by signing our Global Shark Pledge.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates or sign up for our e-mail newsletter.

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Whale Shark Swallows Boat Whole…

25 Jul

…not really.

Though this image was not doctored in any way, everyone on the boat is safe and sound.  This photo was taken on a recent trip to Mexico, where WildAid‘s Executive Director, Peter Knights, and a handful of supporters including Sir Richard Branson, swam with hundreds of whale sharks.  Although the whale shark is the biggest fish in the sea (measuring up to 40 ft long), their diet consists mostly of tiny plankton and pose no real threat to humans, who travel from around the world to swim with these gentle giants.

The real threat is to the whale sharks, which are being killed for their fins at an alarming rate.  Fins from an estimated 73 million sharks per year are used to make shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that can fetch up to $100 USD per bowl.  Since shark fins are considered much more valuable than shark meat, sharks are usually hauled on deck, their fins are sliced off, and the maimed sharks are tossed overboard to drown or bleed to death.  Currently, an estimated 1/3 of pelagic shark species are threatened with extinction.  A recent study by Science examines the negative consequences of removing apex predators, such as sharks, from their ecosystems.

WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.  We produce public service announcements featuring some of the biggest international stars such as Yao Ming, Harrison Ford, and Jackie Chan.  With help from our media partners and pro bono placements, our message reaches a combined audience of one billion people per week.