DIVING INDUSTRY WEIGHS IN ON SHARK CONSERVATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Business owners, professionals join campaign to restrict international trade on endangered shark and ray species
RIO DE JANEIRO, February 25th – Diving industry stakeholders from around the world have joined forces to demand urgent international measures to stall the continued global decline of shark and ray populations, and released a manifesto prior to the 16th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on the International Trade in Endagered Species, which will consider restricting trade in several of the most endangered species of these animals.
Titled “Sharks and Rays: Our Peoples Want Them Alive!”, the document, which is being sent to government authorities in more than 100 countries and will be distributed at CITES and other international environmental and fisheries treaties, makes the case for the vital importance of healthy shark and ray populations for the generation of jobs and revenues – in the scale of billions of dollars – by the diving industry worldwide, and the threats that overfishing and the shark fin trade cause to the industry, especially in developing countries.
From Peter Hughes, owner of DivEncounters, one of the most renowned international diving companies, and Bill Acker, pioneer of shark and ray diving in Yap, Micronesia, to Carlos Macuacua, the first native dive Instructor in Mozambique, and Carlos “Bodão” Soares, legendary character from Brazilian diving, several long-standing professionals share their views on the issue in this document and joing the call for authorities to act now to ensure that the diving industry interests are considered when taking decisions affecting sharks, rays and their environment. The publication is illustrated with shark and ray diving images from around the world, volunteered by several underwater photographers, and the campaign is being funded entirely by contributions from Brazilian divers and dive businesses.
According to one of the coordinators for the Divers for Sharks campaign, Jose Truda Palazzo, Jr., from Brazil, “it is about time that governments listen to the diving interests and consider not only the environmental disaster, but also the economic stupidity that killing off the world’s sharks and rays represent. Our industry generates many more jobs and much more income than the unnecessary, wasteful traffic on shark fins and manta ray gill rakers, and we have a right to be heard when decisions such as the ones being taken by CITES in the next few weeks are to be considered”.
CITES will consider specific trade restriction proposals for hammerhead sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, porbeagle, and manta rays. The meeting is to be held in Bangok between March 3rd and 14th and for the first time diving industry representatives will be attending it to press for marine species conservation.
The divers’ manifesto can be viewed at diversforsharks