From the MBA Ocean Action Team:
Our Newest Conservation Emissary: A Young White Shark!
Exciting news! For the second time, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has placed a young white shark on public exhibit, bringing him to Monterey on Thursday evening (August 31) from waters off Southern California. We hope to keep the young shark, a 5- foot 8-inch male weighing 104 pounds, on long-term exhibit as a way to change public attitudes, and promote stronger protection for this magnificent and much-maligned ocean predator.
The populations of many shark species – including white sharks – are declining worldwide. Between 20 million and 100 million sharks are killed each year for their flesh and their fins, or as bycatch in fisheries targeting other species. These fishing practices combined with slow reproductive cycles place enormous pressures on shark populations from which many are unable to rebound.
Since 2002, through our White Shark Research Project, we have worked to learn more about white sharks in the wild and bring a white shark to Monterey for exhibit. During that time, aquarium staff have tagged and tracked seven juvenile white sharks off Southern California—animals either collected by staff biologists or obtained from commercial fishing crews who caught them in their nets.
Nearly two years ago, a female white shark* on exhibit at the aquarium became “the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history,” according to aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. The shark was seen by more than a million people between September 15, 2004 and March 30, 2005. In follow- up surveys, many visitors reported coming away with a deeper understanding of the need to protect white sharks and their ocean homes.
What you can do
There are many ways you can help save white sharks.
1. Come experience the white shark! Seeing a white shark up close is inspiring. Speak with the aquarium guides to learn more about this amazing animal.
2. Participate in Seafood Watch, a program that helps you make the best choices for healthy oceans.
3. Avoid eating shark or buying shark products, like jaws, skin, teeth, cartilage pills or shark liver oil.
The Ocean Action Team is searching for likeminded, conservation-oriented individuals to join our community of ocean advocates! To become an Ocean Action Team member, click here.
* Here's a picture I took of her on one of the occasions C & I went to see her. She was SO COOL: