The second European Shark Week kicks off next week with the slogan “Protect our sharks. Your chance is now!”. Running from October 11-19, this event is organised by the Shark Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 NGOs dedicated to science-based conservation of sharks, and widely brought to Spain, and this year also to Portugal, by Oceana. The campaign represents an opportunity for everyone, from concerned citizens and scientists to aquariums and corporations, to demonstrate their support for shark conservation in Europe. Oceana is pleased to have the support of the Iberian Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the second year in a row.
In Europe, one third of the populations of sharks and related rays is threatened with extinction. Despite this, most European Union shark and ray fishing remains unregulated and the EU ban on “shark finning” (the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and tossing the body to sea) is the weakest in the world.
During European Shark Week 2007, organisations across Europe hosted events and collected more than 20,000 signatures to call for a solid European Community Plan of Action for the conservation sharks. This year, Oceana and the Shark Alliance are calling for the prompt adoption and implementation of this Plan of Action. Specifically, the plan should include shark catch limits, protection for endangered species, and a stronger finning ban.
This year, aquariums and marine centres are teaming up all around Spain to help spread this message and involve the public in the week-long campaign. Back for the second year of the campaign are the Acuario of Gijón, the Aquarium Finisterrae (La Coruña), L'Oceanogràfic of Valencia, L´Aquàrium of Barcelona, the Museo Marítimo of the Cantábrico (Santander), the Aquarium of San Sebastián, the ZooAquarium of Madrid and Faunia (Madrid). Oceana is also pleased to have European Shark Week newcomers Loro Parque (Tenerife), Terra Natura (Benidorm), Marineland Mallorca (Calviá), Marineland Catalunya (Barcelona), the Palma Aquarium (Mallorca) and even Zoomarine in Portugal (Albufeira) participating for the first time. Two dive centres in Madrid, ZOEA and Casco Antiguo, are also participating for the first time.
Oceana encourages the public to visit these aquariums and marine centers to participate in special European Shark Week events including guided tours, shark sleepovers, games, presentations and giveaways. “European Shark Week is an important opportunity to demonstrate the high level of support across Europe for shark conservation. We are hopeful that the public support will motivate policy makers to ensure timely implementation of a sound European Plan of Action for Sharks and related conservation actions,” says Rebecca Greenberg, shark campaigner for Oceana in Europe. “I hope everyone joins Oceana, the Iberian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Shark Alliance and the aquariums in Spain and Portugal in celebrating European Shark Week 2008.”
Discover European Shark Week 2008 at: www.oceana.org
Sign the online petition and encourage friends, family and co-workers to do the same: http://www.sharkalliance.org/petition08
Visit the aquariums, marine centers and dive shops in Spain and Portugal celebrating the event.