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20, Jul, 2010

Save our Fins Event – A Fin/Fun-Filled Success!

Posted in Community News, Eco News, Latest News by kimmy

Save our Fins Event:

The ‘Save our Fins Event’ 3-legged fin race was an event organised by Fish4divers.com, to help raise awareness about shark finning (and much needed funds) to help the Shark Trust continue their constant fight to protect our ocean’s sharks.

Fish4divers.com called upon everyone they could think of, including dive clubs, schools and local community groups, to get them involved with this fun event. In Regents Park, Newquay and Ko Lanta, people have hosted their own three-legged fin races to support the cause.

The Event Itself…

We asked divers, locals and holiday-makers from all over Ko Lanta to grab a buddy and join us for a three-legged fin tournament, to help raise awareness about shark finning.

Posters and shark-fin shaped leaflets in Thai and English were distributed around the island the publicize the event and Ko Lanta’s dive centers united to form teams and enthuse their divers to take part.

We were delighted and overwhelmed by the hugely positive response and fantastic turnout to the event. Nine Dive Centres, White Rock Resort, Opium Bar and even the Thai Diving Association joined fins to sponsor the event, and over 80 people from all over the island came to take part in the race, spectate or have a giggle at the fin-wearing racers. It even became a traffic-stopping event with cars and motorbikes pulling up to see what was going on.

 

[slickr-flickr tag=”save our fins” size=”medium” items=”20″ type=”gallery” orientation=”landscape”]

Please visit the Liquid Lense Flickr photostream to view more of our event photos.

 

Twelve, 3-legged teams raced in 2 heats, with first and second place winners from each heat competing for overall first place in the final. Race winners, Luke and Ben from Blue Planet Divers, used questionable, but dramatic shark-like tactics to secure their win. Reports of them beating other contestants with a giant home-made Leopard shark fin have been confirmed with video evidence that can be viewed on Facebook or You-Tube.

Donations for the Shark Trust are still being counted, but if enthusiasm and support for this event had a monetary value, this was certainly a huge success and will be remembered, and hopefully repeated, for a long time to come.

Narima Diving and Scubafish will continue to support events and causes that raise awareness about Shark Finning and other environmental issues facing our oceans and marine life.

Living, working and diving in Ko Lanta – a small island community in Southern Thailand – gives a unique opportunity to understand, disseminate and share information with local islanders, to whom fishing is a part of everyday life, and tourists who come to dive, snorkel and admire the beautiful reefs.

We hope that by coming into contact with such a diverse mixture of people, we can continue to spread the word and educate people from all around the world about the great need to protect our oceans’s top predators.

Ko Lanta ‘Save Our Fins’ Event Sponsors:

* Scubafish
* Narima Diving
* Blue Planet
* Go Dive
* Lanta Diver
* Ko Lanta Diving Center
* Kontiki Lanta
* Dive and Relax
* Flip Flop Divers
* TDA (Thailand Diving Asociation)
* White Rock Resort (& Mr. Bean)
* Opium

Why?

Sharks continue to be fished faster than they can reproduce causing real fears that shark species will become extinct in the very near future.

As global shark populations continue to decline – some by more than 90 percent in the last two decades – many scientists fear the worst.

Losing these top predators has devastating impacts on our underwater ecosystems and local economies. When sharks disappear, entire food webs can shift and valuable economies become devastated.

Sharks take decades to reach sexual maturity, and the fishing industry is catching, killing or finning them at such an astonishing rate that shark populations have no chance to regenerate.

This is a dramatic over-exploitation of shark populations and this tampering with the largest ecosystem of the world, can never be undone. We will see far-reaching and dramatic consequences within our own lifetime and for generations to come.

If we don’t act now, the seas will die off within just a few decades and with them, 70% of the means for generating oxygen on our planet.

Right now there are few countries and laws that have actually banned shark fishing, and those that have restrictions on shark fishing and shark finning have not successfully enforced their rules.

Organisation, such as Project AWARE, are working to close loopholes in shark legislation, support establishment of effective MPA networks and engage divers in underwater research, data collection and awareness projects.

Films such as SharkWater aim to raise public awareness about the plight of these beautiful, but misunderstood, apex predators. The SharkWater documentary exposes the abuse in the shark-fin industry and the damage it is causing to our ocean’s ecosystems. It also uncovers government corruption supporting the industry.

Although shark fining violates the UN food and agriculture organizations code of conduct it is hard to police because this process is done at sea in international waters. Some see the best approach to help combat shark finning is to educate the consumer. WildAid’s slogan “When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too” may be the only real way to curb the problem.

The consumer must understand that sharks are vital to the health of our oceans, and without them, entire marine ecosystems may break down. And if this is not compelling enough of a reason to be against shark finning, the high levels of mercury in shark fins may cause sterility in men and birth defects in pregnant females.

Useful Links:

* WildAid
* Shark Trust
* Shark Project
* Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
* Shark Gaurdian
* ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
* Fish4Divers
* Sharks Need Your Help

 


 

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