SHARKPROJECT is now a full member of the IUCN and the sole specialised German organization for shark conservation

IUCN Member | Logo (c) IUCN
Logo (c) IUCN

Logo (c) IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) edits, among other things, the Red List of Endangered Species. The IUCN globally defines the relevant criteria for protectorates and reservations and formulates internationally binding regulations and agreements on environmental law.
As an expert organization for all aspects of environmental, natural and species conservation, the IUCN provides advice to states and communities and notably directly to the UNO.

Sharkproject Germany has been a full member of the IUCN for several days now – as the only German specialised organization for shark conservation within more than a thousand members. Read more

Cathay Pacific And FedEx are the winners of the SHARKPROJECT SHARK AWARDS 2017 – Special Prize for Alex Antoniou

The stage at BOOT in Dusseldorf was the venue for the presentation of this year’s SHARK ENEMY and SHARK GUARDIAN Awards bestowed by SHARKPROJECT, the international shark protection organisation. These are the only shark protection awards worldwide.

SHARK AWARDS (c) SHARKPROJECT

SHARK AWARDS (c) SHARKPROJECT

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The US State of California and Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica, are winners of the 2016 AWARDS of SHARK GUARDIAN and SHARK ENEMY of the Year

SHARKPROJECT has in 2016 yet again awarded its positive and negative Shark-Protection prize to those people who have either been conspicuous for their especially commendable or outrageous policies.

As usual, the winners of this year’s SHARK ENEMY- and SHARK GUARDIAN- Awards were announced live on the Dive-Tower-Show-Stage in Hall 3 at the world’s biggest watersport trade-fair “boot” in Düsseldorf. These awards are the only shark-preservation awards worldwide. Read more

“SHARKWATER” online – SHARKPROJECT Shark Guardian Rob Stewart uploads his much acclaimed film

(c) Rob Stewart

SHARKWATER is a Canadian documentary created and produced by Rob Stewart in 2006. Originally, the diver, underwater photographer and biologist simply wanted to release a beautiful underwater movie about sharks to refute prejudices, then however prodded at illegal business and criminal organizations engaged in the so called shark finning. Stewart then mainly focused on the illegal shark-hunting industry.

SHARKWATER has since then strongly expedited the shark conservation movement. Read more

SHARKPROJECT School Program: “Michel goes to school”

(c) SHARKPROJECT

For years we especially focus on informing children and adolescents. They grow up in a world in which there are less and less sharks – unless changes are yet to come. And our longtime experience show: children can effectuate a lot.

(c) SHARKPROJECT

(c) SHARKPROJECT

Michel, the little white shark of our children’s book series, is the hero – and now he goes to school. Our school program for 3rd / 4th School classes (age about 8 to 10 years) is available for download. Read more

SHARKPROJECT Shark Guardian of the Year 2015 Award winner is actor Leonardo DiCaprio

The 40-year-old American is currently one of the most popular and famous persons in Hollywood and has been nominated for the Oscar Award several times, as actor as well as executive producer. Over the past few years, DiCaprio repeatedly ranked in the top ten of the best-paid actors worldwide, earning significantly more than 100 million US dollars while yielding considerably more than one billion US dollars with his movies and productions. The popular British magazine “The Guardian” placed him among the 3 of the most influential people in Hollywood.

Leo DiCaprio (Website der Foundation)

Leo DiCaprio (Website der Foundation)


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SHARKPROJECT SHARK ENEMY of the Year 2015 is PROPEGAL SL from Vigo, Spain

SHARK AWARDS (c) SHARKPROJECT

For more than 400 million years by now, sharks have been swimming through the oceans- long before dinosaurs were hatching out of their eggs. 530 different species of sharks still exist today, yet most are endangered. Among others, the Great White Shark is, as well as all kinds of hammerhead sharks, listed on the IUCN’s red list of endangered species. Bringing more shark species on the top spots of this list is obviously the desire of the company PROPEGAL SL, located in the Galician Vigo.

Screenshot (c) Propegal SL / SHARKPROJECT

Screenshot (c) Propegal SL / SHARKPROJECT

The company celebrates itself as “one of the leaders of global shark fin trade“, strictly according to law: for the EU prohibited landing shark fins without the rest of the fishes’ body in July 2013. As a result, the fins get cropped (on an industrial scale) ashore in the halls of PROPEGAL and are afterwards offered for sale on the company’s website, where you can even find a self-promotion video on the act of finning, accompanied with motivating music. That’s enough for SHARKPROJECT to name them the SHARK ENEMY of the YEAR. Read more

SHARKPROJECT will inform at “boot” – Hall 3 Aisle A Stand 37

(c) SHARKPROJECT / F. Kremer-Obrock

Extinction is forever – we are fighting for the animal shark next to a precise reproduction of a Megalodon’s impressive dentition.

The ancient shark has died out only a few million years ago. Nowadays, humans still continue trying everything possible to also have descendant species extinct soon. And after that we will be the next species going extinct. Unless we rapidly rethink.
For 2015, we have dedicated our organization in particular to the fight against the popular technique of the fishing industry, which is the so-called “long lining”: More than 20.000 baiting hooks, distributed over more than a 100 km long line, are towed behind a ship and indiscriminately impale anything in the circumference; fishes, sea mammals, turtles, waterfowls, sharks.

(c) SHARKPROJECT / F. Kremer-Obrock

(c) SHARKPROJECT / F. Kremer-Obrock

We are very pleased and looking forward to present this and other topics at the world’s largest watersports trade fair “boot” in Düsseldorf, Germany, in January (17.-25.). SHARKPROJECT is located in the Diving Hall (Hall 3) at the center of aisle A, stand 37, and of course on the show stage as well. Again, there will also be a contest as well as opportunities to participate and to discuss with our officers, management, campaigners and experts.

Update Azores Campaign October 2014 – It continues

Langleinen-Hai (c) Michael Weberberger

Obviously they think on the Azores that SHARKPROJECT comes by once in a while, shouts around, and disappears again.

No, we’re on the scene:
And again the Spanish unload at the harbour of Horta.

(c) Anja Weberberger

(c) Anja Weberberger

This time documented by our loyal supporters Anja and Michael Weberberger. They had taken pictures of unloading processes for us in summer 2013. The Siempre Juan Luis with origin harbour Vigo/Spain unloaded again, mostly blue sharks and some mako sharks at September 19th 2014. This vessel is an often “guest” at Horta, like the Amel La Guardia (as documented by Gerald Nowak on June 26th), and the Manuel Alba as documented by our campaigners Friederike and Meik Obrock on July 27th.

(c) Michael Weberberger

(c) Michael Weberberger

From far away (but still visible) Anja and Michael confirm that the sharks are much smaller as in the years before. Their photos speak for them selves as well as the pocture from the dives at Condor Banks (the protected nature Reserve): The outcome of long lining is visible in the nature reserves. Some of the victims escape from their human hunters!

When does this madness stop! We keep in touch.

(Pics (c) SHARKPROJECT, Anja Weberberger, Michael Weberberger; Text: Friederike Kremer-Obrock)

Status Azores Campaign 2014 – “They are getting smaller and smaller …”

(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

STATUS AZORES CAMPAIGN 2014 – “THEY ARE GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER …”
On 23 September 2014

The SHARKPROJECT campaigners Friederike Kremer-Obrock and Meik Obrock have recently returned from the Azores – with shocking and depressing information:

“In the summer of 2012 SHARKPROJECT documented for the first time the shark landings in the port of Horta on the Azorean island of Faial. There blue and Mako sharks are still loaded onto overseas containers by Spanish fishermen, bound for the Spanish mainland. These fishermen have an official license to catch swordfish, but their “by-catch” is made up of up to 95% sharks.

OFFICIAL CIRCLES CONFIRM ON ENQUIRY IN HORTA THAT 2 800 TONS OF SHARK ARE LANDED EACH YEAR. WE OURSELVES CALCULATE FROM THE DATA AVAILABLE TO US THAT THE NUMBER COULD BE AS MUCH AS 5 000 TONS OF SHARK PER YEAR. IN THE ENTIRE NORTH ATLANTIC THE SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE LONG LINE FISHING BOATS CATCH AN ANNUAL AVERAGE OF 60 000 TONS OF BLUE AND MAKO SHARK (ICCAT).

Gegenüberstellung Fotos 2012 / 2013 (c) Gerald Nowak, Anja Webersberger, Christine Gstöttner

Gegenüberstellung Fotos 2012 / 2013
(c) Gerald Nowak, Anja Webersberger, Christine Gstöttner

In July 2013 a new EU law came into force banning the practice of finning once and for all. Since then the fishermen must land the sharks with their fins still attached. In a meeting with the local government on the Azores in July 2013 we were told that the new EU law would mean financial ruin for one third of Spanish fishermen. At the same time we were assured that there was no finning carried out on these boats and our attention was directed to the now more elaborate storage of the sharks in the chillers on board. Warnings of economic ruin seem to have been proved accurate: In 2014, according to our local sources, far fewer Spanish ships landed sharks in the port of Horta. The floating fish factories in the channel between Faial and Pico also appear to have disappeared.

This could be seen as a positive development. However, as so often, you have to look closer to get to the truth of the matter: the sharks, despite keeping their fins attached, are no less effectively stored. This begs the question as to why it is suddenly no longer lucrative for one third of all fishermen. On the contrary: did finning continue until July 2013 in order to export the much more expensive fins to Asia?

Gegenüberstellung Fotos 2014

Gegenüberstellung Fotos 2014
(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

This year, then, as we (as always unannounced) did our research on site, we noticed the following: on 28 July 2014 the Manuel Alba, sailing under a Spanish flag with the home port of Vigo, landed about 90 tons of fish, predominantly shark, in the port of Horta. On the surface this appeared to be the same story as in the past. Once more it took 16 hours to transfer the load from the boat straight into the overseas container. When you look a bit closer, however, you find some significant differences. For one thing, the crew now consists mainly of Philippinos, who work on these boats for a pittance, supposedly to reduce the wage costs of the owner.

FOR ANOTHER THING, IT WAS SMALLER, YOUNGER SHARKS THAT WERE BEING UNLOADED. WHILE IN 2012 IT WAS MOSTLY ADULT BLUE SHARKS AND VERY LARGE MAKO SHARKS THAT WERE UNLOADED, NOW IT IS PRIMARILY YOUNG SPECIMENS HANGING FROM THE CRANE’S HOOK. THEY ARE GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER …

Other than that, things have stayed the same: the “by-catch” is still 95% blue and Mako sharks. The hunting grounds are off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada). On enquiry we were told to our alarm that it’s no longer worth their while fishing in the waters around the Azores as the sharks there are too small, and there aren’t enough of them.

When you think that, according to current studies from the Marine Institute of the University of Lisbon, the breeding grounds for the blue sharks and various other protected species of shark such as the Hammerhead are located in the waters of the Azores, and that studies show that these animals go from the area around the Azores through the entire North Atlantic, then alarm bells should be ringing with all concerned.

Bewegungen Blauhaie Nord-Atlantik Studie August 2014

Bewegungen Blauhaie Nord-Atlantik Studie August 2014

The fact is that diving centres are also complaining about a significant drop in shark numbers, even in protected areas such as the Condor Banks. In 2011/12 divers on the Condor Banks would be surrounded by between five and ten sharks, and even over a dozen in peak times, whereas in 2013 this had dropped to an average of three to four sharks. In 2014 you were lucky to see a couple of these animals per dive, and usually just one. The diving centres are sounding the alarm, as dive tourism is a lucrative source of income for the islanders in the summer months.

TO DATE THE AZORES HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE SHARK DIVING SPOT ON EUROPE’S DOORSTEP. IF THIS TREND CONTINUES, THIS ACCOLADE COULD BE A THING OF THE PAST.

The call made by SHARKPROJECT for a large marine protection area around the Azores, which would only be accessible to sustainable local fishing outfits, has not yet got anywhere. We are constantly being approached by local fishermen who say that something has to be done to stop the shark landings.

(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

It must be pointed out that on the Azores there is virtually no “shark” to be found on the menus of local restaurants. Shark does indeed feature on the menu of some tourist restaurants: if the local fishermen catch the odd shark it doesn’t go to waste. But there is no specific local shark fishing on the Azores, with one exception: shark can be found in supermarkets throughout Sao Miguel. The local catch statistics indicate a very small increase in the shark catch during 2011-13, which is really quite insignificant compared to the overall figures. Only the local deep sea long line fishermen represent a serious problem for the eco-system of the Azores, which needs a long term solution.

We asked the local government in the person of the Regional Director of Maritime Affairs on Faial for an official position on the current situation, but we have yet to receive any answers to our questions.

Some very important questions remain unanswered: we would like to have known whether and to what extent the landings in the port of Horta have reduced since July 2013. We would also have been interested to know what the local government is planning to do about the extinction of the blue and Mako sharks. Does it even see these species as endangered? Does it consider that the tourism image of the Azores is damaged by the shark landings in Horta?

SHARKPROJECT DEMANDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A 200-NAUTICAL MILE PROTECTION ZONE AROUND THE AZORES – BUT HOW REALISTIC IS THIS FROM A POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW? AFTER ALL, THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THIS PROTECTION ZONE WILL HAPPEN EVENTUALLY AS IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT THE NORTH ATLANTIC’S “SHARK NURSERY” IN THE LONG TERM.

(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

In the meantime we have clarified the answer to the question about who actually eats the sharks that are landed in Europe’s ports: We do!

Demand for shark’s fins in Asia is (fortunately) in decline. The European demand for shark, on the other hand, is rising steadily. The shark’s fins that are exported to Asia only make up 5% of the body; 95% of the animal, namely the flesh, is not even exported outside Europe, but instead is consumed here, including in Germany.

We Europeans consume this shark meat in various forms: as fish and chips, as ‘conger eel’ or ‘rock salmon’, as ‘Schillerlocke’, as shark steaks in the Mongolian restaurant around the corner or (a fact that is often forgotten) as the basis of artificially produced fish products and dietary supplements.

ASIA HAS LONG CEASED TO BE OUR MAIN FOCUS OF ATTENTION – EUROPE IS INCREASINGLY TAKING CENTRE STAGE. IN SPAIN, ITALY, FRANCE, ENGLAND AND ROMANIA SHARK IS BEING EATEN MORE FREQUENTLY – AND THE SAME IS TRUE FOR US IN GERMANY.

A counter argument that needs to come into play here is that shark meat is highly contaminated with methyl mercury, and the same is true for swordfish and the popular tuna.

But back to the Azores one more time:
When it comes to its waters, the Azores continues to present an outward image of clean eco-tourism. The green islands have an increasingly stringent approach to waste separation. In front of every house in Flores there is a row of yellow, green, blue and black containers; a recycling plant is up and running. From 2016 there is an ambitious plan for the islands to be entirely reliant on renewable energy for their electricity. A large hydro-electric power station is already under construction.

Plastikumgang Horta 2014 (c) Meik Obrock

Plastikumgang Horta 2014 (c) Meik Obrock

However this is all in sharp contrast to the behaviour of inhabitants, especially when it comes to plastic consumption: plastic bags are given away freely in the supermarkets. You can sometimes count up to twenty individual plastic bags in a single supermarket trolley. And these bags don’t always find their way into sustainable recycling but all too often take a “short cut” into nature and the local waters. However, this should come to an end from 2015: plastic bags will be charged for, according to plans drawn up by the local government, so that this consumption will hopefully go down.

Porto Pim / Horta 2014 (c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

Porto Pim / Horta 2014
(c) Friederike Kremer-Obrock

It just remains to hope that these environmental concerns will finally drop below the water line and into the seas around the Azores; that the local government will finally realise how important a healthy ocean is, both economically and ecologically. A consistent level of protection for the shark stocks of the Azores is essential for the entire eco-system of the North Atlantic.

IT IS FIVE TO 12, EVEN IF NOT EVERYONE HAS REALISED THAT YET.”

 

Pictures (c) SHARKPROJECT / Friederike Kremer-Obrock, Meik Obrock, Gerald Nowak, Anja Webersberger, Christine Gstöttner, Plos.One