It’s no secret that sharks are in trouble in our oceans. The Big Shark Pledge, the Shark Trust’s new campaign, aims to continue to raise awareness of the issue. The aim is also to build a community to help support policy actions in the coming years, and Master Liveaboards wants to share the message. But how will that work?
A United Voice For High Seas Sharks
In November 2022, nearly 100 species of sharks were listed on Appendix II of CITES. For anyone not familiar with CITES, what does that mean? Well, according to CITES, it means that a species is “not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. Put simply, act now to stop the decline. Following on the back of this, the UK-based NGO, Shark Trust, launched its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.
The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.The Shark Trust
What Is the Issue?
Many of the most well known and loved sharks make their home on the high seas. Sadly, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ has never been truer in relation to the damage being done by these fleets. Research published only in 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. Many of these species have declined by over 70% over the last 50 years. This is just a staggering number.
In order to really make an impact at any level, work done by any NGO needs two things. The first is already in the bag, people willing to work hard on the data, with solutions, and a passion for change. The second, much harder, awareness to the greater public so that more voices can be heard and more pressure applied to realise that change. And that’s where you come in.
The Big Shark Pledge
The Big Shark Pledge aims to engage a wave of support to bolster policy action. This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.
In case you’re wondering what that means, it’s simple. You sign up to the Big Shark Pledge and when the Shark Trust needs voices, they will drop you a mail. The mail may ask you to add a signature to a petition. Or maybe it will ask you to send an email, from a template provided, to a member of parliament, highlighting issues. The Shark Trust do the work, and you spend a few minutes of one day to put weight behind that support.
“It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.”Shark Trust CEO, Paul Cox
How Do I Sign Up for the Big Shark Pledge?
Simple, just head to the Big Shark Pledge via the website: https://bigsharkpledge.org/ . Then, once that’s done, share it with your friends. There is no easier way to help change the oceans for the better. So what are you waiting for?
The Shark Trust is a UK-based charity that works tirelessly to safeguard the future of sharks, and their close cousins, the skates and rays, around the world. They have a vision: A future where sharks thrive within a globally healthy marine ecosystem. Whilst the team, based in Plymouth, is relatively small, its successes have been considerable. This is partly due to the collaborative philosophy of the charity, working with a global network of scientists, policymakers, conservation professionals, businesses, and supporters, to further shark conservation. Established in 1997 to provide a voice for UK sharks, the Shark Trust has an ever-growing number of passionate supporters. And together they’re creating positive change for sharks around the world.