WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tens of thousands of environmental activists are calling for an increased focus on shark conservation.
Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” – an annual, week-long series featuring shark-centric television programming – kicked off this Sunday, July 31st. The same week as the hugely popular series, tens of thousands of environmental activists are joining Change.org campaigns to promote shark conservation.
“Sharks are apex predators, which means they are crucial to the health of oceanic ecosystems,” said Sarah Parsons, Senior Organizer at Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. “A whopping one-third of shark species are currently threatened with extinction. During Shark Week, the most popular shark programming, many non-profits and individuals are voicing their concern for struggling sharks.”
More than 25,000 people have already joined shark campaigns on Change.org, like the campaign asking California lawmakers to pass a ban on the sale of shark fins, and a campaign asking the Food Network to stop featuring recipes that include shark meat. Concerned viewers can help protect threatened sharks by signing one or all of these petitions currently hosted on the site:
1) Support Local Shark Fin Bans
The Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, a coalition of prominent Asian-American community members in California, started a petition asking the state’s lawmakers to pass A.B 376, a bill that would ban the sale of shark fin in the state. Shark Truth, a shark conservation non-profit, created a similar petition urging Toronto lawmakers to ban the sale of shark fin in the city.
AB 376 petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/join-the-apa-alliance-to-ban-shark-fin-in-california
Toronto petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/support-a-shark-fin-ban-in-toronto
2) Join Oceana in Protecting Sharks from Extinction
Some U.S. hammerhead shark populations have declined by as much as 98 percent in recent years, yet fishermen are still legally allowed to catch these imperiled swimmers. Oceana <http://na.oceana.org/> created a campaign urging National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator Eric Schwabb to add hammerhead, tiger, and thresher sharks to the list of prohibited species, protecting these sharks from fishermen.
Oceana petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/dont-let-sharks-be-fished-to-extinction
3) Tell Restaurants to Stop Serving Shark Fin Soup
The demand for shark fin soup is the major reason that more than 70 million sharks are killed every year. One Change.org member started a petition asking Golden Unicorn, a popular New York City restaurant, to permanently remove shark fin soup from the menu.
Golden Unicorn petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-golden-unicorn-get-shark-fin-off-the-menu
4) Ask the San Jose Sharks to Support a Shark Fin Ban
California’s professional hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, has an endangered mascot. That’s why one Change.org member started a petition asking the NHL team to issue a public statement in support of A.B. 376, a bill that would ban the sale of shark fin in California.
San Jose Sharks petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-the-san-jose-sharks-end-shark-fin-soup-around-the-world
5) Get Shark Meat Off the Food Network
The Food Network features recipes on its television programming and Web site and in its magazine. Some of those recipes include shark meat as a main ingredient. One Change.org member started a petition asking Food Network execs to immediately remove shark recipes from the Web site and enact a network-wide policy where shark is never featured as a recipe ingredient.
Food Network petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/food-network-stop-featuring-shark-as-food
People can start their own local, shark conservation campaign by creating a petition on Change.org: http://www.change.org/start-a-petition
Photo courtesy Discovery Channel