Not just Shark
Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to
encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in
shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project
containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark
There are now
more than 5000 shark pictures and sections on shark evolution,
biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed
shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster
list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous
articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so
difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures
are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:
Conservation is a vitally important part of helping to maintain a healthy balance in the world's
oceans. Many organizations have picked up the torch. Most need help from
concerned people like you. Some
fight globally to limit the effects of commercial shark finning. Others concentrate on protecting sharks in a specific region where
over-fishing and environmental degeneration are causing shark numbers to
This area of Elasmodiver is designed
to introduce the shark charities and organizations that are working (usually
with little or no funding) to counter the pressure that sharks and rays are
shark protection organizations doesn't have to be a time consuming or
expensive proposition (but if you are feeling philanthropic there are
many worthy causes). Often, it is simply a matter of adding your name to a petition or agreeing to copy and paste an email to key government
officials. The results that you and others can jointly achieve by these
small actions can be significant.
Big fishing has a
big voice. Large fishing consortiums are able to retain professional lobbyists
whose job it is to wine, dine and coerce decision makers
into passing legislation in favor of commercial fisheries (which is
generally against the best interests of shark populations). Sometimes the
only way to go head to head with these companies is by raising an equal
amount of money to spearhead a campaign in favor of stricter legislation
Not all Shark
Champions fight with the pen. If you prefer to support a more hands on approach then there are
organizations out there like Sea Shepherd that put themselves in harms way
because sometimes that is the only way to stop the carnage.
Some organizations are more fiscally
responsible than others, some have bigger teeth, and some work purely to
educate the masses in the hope that future generations will be more
conscious of the plight of sharks, but all of the organizations listed here
do more good than harm and whoever you choose to support, the sharks will
Oceanica is a non-profit
organization, dedicated to the conservation of sharks, rays and
their habitats. IEMANYA is an international organization of
scientists, educators and environmentalists committed to
protecting marine life, especially sharks and rays, while
addressing the socio-economic repercussions of conservation
within the communities that depend on marine resources.
I.E.M.A.N.Y.A stands for Research, Education, Management, and
Advisory (Investigacion, Educacion, Manejo y Asesoria in
Spanish). We are also named after Yemanjá, the celebrated
Afro-Brazilian Goddess and guardian of the sea, and mother of
Iemanya currently conducts programs and conservation efforts in
Southern California, USA (under IRS code 501(c)3) and as
Iemanya Oceanica A.C. in La Paz, Mexico.
Oceanic Defense is a global
organization with members in more than 60 countries with 1
mission - healthy aquatic ecosystems free of human abuse and
neglect. Oceanic Defense aims to change perception - to really
show people that how we live our lives - whether near or far
from the water - affects everything that happens in our oceans.
PREDATORS IN PERIL
The Predators in Peril Project
aims to draw attention to the plight of poorly known but highly
vulnerable shark and ray species which are largely ignored by
conservation movements because of their inaccessibility.
The project involves working in
the field with artisanal shark fishermen and scientific researchers to
obtain live images and video footage of rare and endangered elasmobranchs
in their natural habitats. Each field expedition is accompanied by an intensive media campaign consisting of public
exhibitions, magazine articles, internet promotion, and television and
Sea Shepherd is best known for its
frontline work protecting marine mammals but its broader mandate is to
protect all ocean creatures. Styled on the more widely publicized
organization Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd continued to grow teeth where
Greenpeace lost them through inactivity. Sea Shepherd's founder Captain Paul
Watson has a reputation for pursuing illegal whalers and longliners,
harassing seal cullers, organizing rallies, and generally irritating
governments that would rather turn a blind eye, and infuriating fishing
consortiums who would rather go about their illegal and often cruel
Sea Shepherd's flag ship The Farley Mowat has
harassed shark fishing boats in Costa Rican waters and sent sailors
sprawling over their decks after being hit by The Marley Mowat's water
Captain Watson also manages to fit a
lecture circuit into his busy schedule, during which he educates anyone
willing to listen on the plight of whales, dolphins, seals, and sharks.
Sea Shepherd's second vessel is on
permanent patrol in the Galapagos area where Park Rangers are virtually helpless against the Ecuadorian fishing boats that brazenly
ignore the protection afforded to the park by its world heritage site status. Even with Sea Shepherd's vigilant
patrols the rangers are so out numbered that fishermen have an almost unimpeded run of the islands and the
Galapagos Sharks that once schooled in vast numbers around Darwin Island have all but
This kind of hard line activism is
not for everyone. The Sea Shepherd crew have been deported, locked up,
threatened, and roughed up on many occasions. Violent confrontations at sea
may not fit with your particular code of behavior or ethics but what makes
you more uncomfortable: sponsoring Sea Shepherd's activities that achieve
direct results in the protection of endangered creatures, or
lobbying deaf government officials while the wholesale slaughter of our
oceans sharks and whales continues unchallenged?
If Sea Shepherd seems like a
worthwhile organization with which to take a stand, you can help them in a
variety of ways. Joining Sea Shepherd with a modest contribution, helps with
the provisioning, fueling, and maintenance of their ships. As a member you
may also have the chance to sign on as a volunteer for a tour of duty on one
of their campaigns. On their website they list what skills they are looking
for in new crew members but they also take unskilled deckhands that are
willing to work hard.
The Shark Alliance was formed in 2006 in an
attempt to streamline the efforts of NGOs involved in shark conservation.
The Alliance is able to utilize the manpower, resources, and combined
knowledge of its member organizations to more effectively lobby for
sustainable European and global shark fishing limits. Members of the Shark
Alliance include The Shark Trust, the European Elasmobranch Association, and
The Ocean Concervancy, among others.
In its own words:
The Shark Alliance is a not-for-profit
coalition of non-governmental organizations
dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving
European fishing policy. Because of the influence of Europe in global
fisheries and the importance of sharks in ocean ecosystems, these efforts
have the potential to enhance the health of the marine environment in Europe
and around the world.
The mission of the
Shark Alliance is two-fold: To close loopholes in European policy regarding
the wasteful and unsustainable practice of shark finning; To secure
responsible, science-based shark fishing limits for long-term sustainability
and ecosystem health.
Sharks have evolved
over 400 million years and play a critical role in ocean ecosystems. In
common with land predators such as lions and wolves, sharks keep other
marine populations in check and help maintain the balance of life in the
sea. Today, primarily because of overfishing sharks are among the oceans’
most threatened animals. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year,
either intentionally or as bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries.
Ongoing assessment of the status of European sharks (and closely-related
rays) by the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) has led to the
classification of roughly one third of evaluated species as threatened
(either Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable), with another 16
per cent at risk of becoming so in the near future. Sharks generally grow
slowly, mature late and produce few young. Shark populations are therefore
especially vulnerable to overexploitation and slow to recover once depleted.
The loss of these important predators is predicted to have negative effects
on many other species in the sea. Unfortunately, however, misinformation and
fear all too often impede the public support required to ensure sharks
receive management priority and conservation actions. Unlike many countries
that fail to conserve sharks, Europe does not lack the resources to restrict
fishing. Despite immediate threats facing sharks there are few European
limits on shark fishing, and quotas are routinely set far in excess of
actual catches. In 2003, the EU adopted a ban on shark finning (the wasteful
practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the carcass at sea),
but at the same time allowed glaring loopholes that render the ban all but
meaningless. For instance, shark fishermen are allowed to land shark
carcasses and fins separately, making it all but impossible to tell how many
sharks have been processed on board and how many were subjected to shark
finning. Meanwhile, the fin to carcass ratio (the means of checking that the
number of fins corresponds to the number of carcasses – after sea processing
– is within the ban’s limits) is the highest and therefore the most lenient
in the world. Europe is home to the some of the world’s largest fishing
fleets while its powerful fisheries officials exert influence on
international fishing restrictions in many regions of the globe. Poor
European shark policies, therefore, pose threats not only to shark
populations in European waters but also to those around the world. If
fisheries are managed carefully, sharks can provide a steady source of food
and recreation and help keep the oceans in balance. The Shark Alliance is
dedicated to ensuring that these valuable yet vulnerable animals survive and
thrive for the benefit of ocean ecosystems and the people that depend on
The Shark Angels are
raising awareness on the plight facing sharks, giving the world
a new perspective on these misunderstood animals, and often, in
the trenches, stopping the slaughter of sharks, protecting them
from our collective greed and ignorance. Instead of talk, we
are all about action. We are making a difference.
The Angels have a
singular goal and believe that by harnessing the power of the
passionate, together, we have the power to do what many
disbarment efforts cannot: together we can save sharks. The
Shark Angels raise awareness to the critical issues and also
attempt to change perspectives.
And through their “special ops” team, some of us are even in the
trenches – far more “007” than “GI Joe”. We go to the last
remaining shark strongholds where we are needed most,
documenting and exposing the true issues, identifying the scope
of the issues and using the media to bring about change,
developing targeted campaigns and then, inspiring local shark
angels, empowered through the Angel’s support network, to take
on the grassroots campaigns and battle for the animal no one
else seems to be fighting for.
Through action, lead a
worldwide movement to save sharks.
mobilize the public to lead and fuel the grassroots movement
to save sharks forming a much-needed army of Shark Angels
throughout the world.
disparate conservation efforts into a single, cohesive cause
through a shark angel portal. Leverage new social media and
technology to the fullest.
Provide the world
with examples of clear paths of action to save sharks – in
whatever way is most comfortable for them – direct action,
awareness/education, scientific research or grassroots
Launch a globally
connected, though locally targeted, campaign to end the
Develop Shark Angel
spheres of influence. Providing ongoing support and training
to local Shark Angels in shark strongholds while providing
these communities with the tools necessary to fuel
awareness, enforcement, education and direct action
Create an informant
network of Shark Angels that are empowered with the tools
necessary – using whatever means is most appropriate.
investigative assessments and diving deep into the complex
issues surrounding sharks to truly understand and deal with
Protect sharks in
the places where they still thrive and empowering
communities to stop their continued mass destruction.
Bring the issues
facing sharks into public consciousness.
Convince the world
they need to care about the existence of sharks – who are
critical to the health of our planet primarily through
guerilla marketing campaigns.
Leverage the media
and bringing much needed awareness to a frightening truth -
that sharks are ruthlessly being chased towards extinction.
Improving the image of
Give the world a
new perspective on sharks in mainstream media – both
television and online - while shattering common myths,
proving sharks aren’t what they seem – removing the biggest
barrier to their conservation.
The Shark-Free Marina Initiative has a singular purpose, to
reduce worldwide shark mortality. We encourage shark
conservation at sport fishing and resort marinas by prohibiting
the landing of any shark at the participating marina. The SFMI
works with marinas, fishermen and like minded non-profit groups
to form community conscious policy and increase awareness of the
need to protect our sharks, our ocean and our legacy.
Participating marinas encourage sport
shark-fishermen to exercise catch-and-release techniques. The
acceptance of catch-and-release fishing techniques represents an
incremental step in protecting valuable marine resources as well
as providing valuable data for research organizations.
Shark Safe Network provides a framework to combine and focus the
efforts of committed individuals and shark conservation groups
towards specific shark conservation campaigns. If you have a
passion to protect sharks, Shark Safe Network helps you to get
involved and make a difference - by participating in a current
campaign or by launching your own campaign in your community.
Shark Safe Network provides the
information, tools, raw materials and support. You provide the
The goal of every Shark Safe
Network campaign is to reduce and ultimately eliminate wasteful
and unsustainable activities and products that threaten sharks'
survival. Shark Safe Network invites and welcomes participation
from any and all organizations and individuals, provided that
all campaigns are conducted according the Shark Safe Network
And we always keep in mind that
helping sharks = helping people. When you consider any of the
issues that threaten sharks today, there is also a corresponding
negative impact on humans and the planet.
Shark Safe Network is all about
getting involved and doing something that counts. Join the Shark
Safe Network and you will make a difference!
Shark Savers is a non-profit
membership organization dedicated to saving sharks through
building awareness, education, and grassroots action.
Conservation Education and Empowerment:
Shark Savers' first and ongoing program educates people
about the value of sharks to the ecosystem and counters the
myths that keep people from caring about their plight. We
develop and deliver educational presentations and create
materials so that others may further the cause of shark
conservation in their community.
Shark Savers Projects:
Glover's Reef Park for Sharks
Shark Savers has joined with the Institute for Ocean
Conservation Science to create shark Marine Protected Areas,
or "Parks for Sharks, that not only succeed in protecting
sharks, but also can become financially self-supporting and
educationally nourish its supporters.
Stopping Demand for Shark Fin Soup in China
Shark Savers has joined WildAid to deliver the most complete
campaign ever in China to generate awareness around the
dangers of shark fin soup and the commitment to stop eating
The Shark Trust was established in
1997 to study, protect, and manage the elasmobranch species found in UK
waters and internationally. It is a member of the European Elasmobranch
Association and works with other EEA organizations to counter the enormous
fishing pressure that European shark and ray stocks are under.
The Shark Trust's mandate includes:
Introducing effective management on
a regional basis to regulate shark and ray fisheries and ensure that they
Reducing shark and ray bycatch and
mortality in other fisheries.
Increasing research efforts on the
biology of sharks and rays and their fisheries, including the promotion of a
collaborative tag and release program.
Improving records of catches,
landings, and international trade in species of sharks and rays.
Improving management of critical
habitats, including nursery grounds, under threat.
Increasing the amount of information
available to the public and decision makers.
The Shark Trust encourages
scientists, divers, fishermen, anglers, and the general public to join the
growing number of ST members that currently lend their support.
Your membership in The Shark Trust
adds to the pressure that it is able to be put on governing and regulatory
agencies, and helps spread awareness on the plight of sharks and rays in
Subscription to The Shark Trust
carries no obligation on your part unless you wish it to. However, if you
would like to help educate or raise funds your added contribution will be
Shark Trust members receive the
trust's magazine/newsletter 'Shark Focus' 3 times per year. This is a
glossy publication that chronicles the latest work of the trust and has
articles on a variety of shark and ray subjects. Upon joining the trust you
will also receive i.d. posters of British shark and ray species and other
Shark Trust goodies.
The Shark Trust also hosts a highly
informative website with sections on all aspects of sharks and rays. The
site also contains a good image database of elasmobranch species and an
active and well moderated forum for anyone wishing to talk sharks.
The South African based White Shark Trust is
"a non-profit organization founded in 2002 to promote and conduct research,
education and conservation projects on the endangered Great White Shark"
It is the brain child
of Michael Scholl (founder and trustee) who has been conducting research on
Great White Sharks since 1997.
The goals of the
White Shark Trust are as follows:
establish a fund in the Republic of South Africa for the purpose of
receiving grants and donations from international sources as well as
sources within the Republic of South Africa;
manage and disburse such funds in the furtherance of the objectives of the
promote dialogue between various research, conservation, education and
Government bodies concerned with management, research, conservation and
education concerning the Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias);
assist in providing relevant advice on the management of the Great White
Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias);
obtain the support for the objectives of the White Shark Trust from local
residents living around concentration hotspots for the Great White Sharks
(Carcharodon carcharias), including Mossel Bay, Dyer Island /
Gansbaai and False Bay in particular;
obtain the support for the objectives of the Trust from the established
tourism industry involved with the Great White Sharks (Carcharodon
carcharias) located at Mossel Bay, Dyer Island / Gansbaai and False
Bay in particular;
ensure that effective action is taken in all matters affecting the welfare
and preservation of the Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias);
promote educational opportunities for the general public, schools and the
conduct and support scientific research projects and field expeditions
with regards to the Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias)."
In connection with other like-minded South African
organizations, the work of the White Shark Trust is of primary importance
in order to better understand the critical role that White Sharks play in
balancing the marine environment. Without their joint efforts we are
unable to identify the need for better shark protection.
WildAid's mission is to end the illegal wildlife
trade in all species in our lifetime.
WildAid's Shark Conservation
Program seeks to reduce the threats to sharks caused by over-fishing and
over-consumption of shark products and by wasteful practices such as
finning and needless bycatch. They also aim to improve data-collection
and research, to advocate protection for individual species under
international agreements and conventions and to support Marine Reserves
and other key areas where sharks are protected.
Since 2000, their Shark Conservation
Program has successfully elevated the international profile of sharks
and has highlighted the importance of conserving sharks globally. This
has contributed to the achievement of finning legislation in the
European Union, international protection for two shark species and a UN
resolution addressing the shark finning problem as well as a significant
decrease in consumption of shark fins in key Asian countries.
WildAid is currently focusing on two
key areas, Central and South America, as major sources of shark fin in
addition to their consumer-side awareness and demand reduction
campaigns. At the same time they continue to work towards strengthening
international laws to protect sharks and to encourage the view that
sharks are more economically valuable to governments as a tourist
attraction than as a source of meat or fins.
More Shark Protection
Organizations will be added as time permits.