|Help Us to Save South Africa’s Sharks – find out more here and sign petition
Read Weekend Argus newspaper article here
AfriOceans Update (1 April 2011)
In 2008 after a number of tiger sharks were senselessly killed in Aliwal Shoal, AfriOceans launched a petition for the protection of a number of South Africa’s shark species (see full details here). With the help of others, including Shark Savers, we gathered over 6000 signatures. Gathering signatures, however, is only part of the process and thereafter AfriOceans put a lobbying proposal and plan together with the assistance of Horst Kleinschmidt, AOCA Board Member, and Shaheen Moola, AOCA Legal Advisor, and attempted to raise the necessary funds required to change legislation and drive the lobbying process.
Towards the end of last year we had made what appeared to be positive progress with an international funding agency who wanted to partner with us. Unfortunately, because of instability within the respective and responsible parties at South African governmental level, they pulled out and we were unable to raise the necessary funds. This, however, has not deterred us from our goal and we have subsequently secured two pro bona lawyers who have offered their expertise, and have thus cut costs down considerably, and we have so far raised R15 000 with the support of Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics towards additional expenses. Additional funding is however required.
We had already announced to the press our intentions of progressing with our lobbying campaign, and a plea for further assistance from the general public when soon thereafter we received notification of an Internet post about cowsharks being killed for their livers, which in turn are used by certain white shark cage operators for chum. We were later informed that these few white shark operators responsible had created the demand and that the cowsharks were therefore being directly targeted to meet their demand. We of course find the killing of one shark ecotourist species to support another shark ecotourist industry totally unacceptable, unethical and immoral. We appreciate, however, that the entire white shark industry cannot be tarnished by the questionable practice of a few individuals, and that there is subsequently a process underway to stop the use of cowshark livers for chum amongst all operators. We appreciate the move in this direction and we value what the responsible white shark operators do for raising awareness about sharks, including towards scientific research, and will continue to support these companies.
At the same time, however, since we have for the past 2 and half years been trying to raise resources and expertise needed to gain full protection for this particular species, as well for the tiger shark, bull shark and ragged tooth shark, we stress that of highest priority is not what happens to the animals after they are dead, but rather that they are not allowed to be killed in the first place. What is happening to the cowsharks is indicative of the problem all shark species along our coast are facing, some of which we have listed for protection in our campaign. Should operators stop using cowshark livers for chum they still remain vulnerable to being killed for other reasons. In addition sharks know no borders and we therefore need to gain full protection for these animals.
We are a small organization with limited resources and staff. We, however, with the support of our well respected Board of Directors, have the experience to drive a process of this nature. We therefore urge all those who have an interest in the ocean, as well as all shark diving operators, and SCUBA diving operators in general along the South African coast, to put back into the very resource they depend upon and work with us and assist us in whatever way possible, including in raising funds required to drive this lobbying campaign to conclusion. We are open to sharing our lobbying intentions in detail with any interested parties, including other NPOs, forming collaborations and partnerships with all who wish to constructively assist us with time, money or expertise. We tire of Industry politics and personal agendas which consume energy while our sharks continue to be slaughtered. We hope the industry at large will support us because losing our sharks matters to all of us.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO HELP!
1. Make a donation NOW and select the cause: Save South Africa’s Sharks
2. Send us an email and let us know how you can help us to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Go to the petition and add your signature and leave a comment.
4. We believe people should be given the right to voice their opinions: Re the latest cowshark issue, leave a comment below (go to the petition page link above to leave a general comment):