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San Francisco Bay Whale Watching

White Sharks


 

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Sharktober
an excerpt from a blog written by Sea Steward's David McGuire

Local surfers call it Sharktober and when there is a shark sighting at Stinson Beach or Bolinas the news station and papers are quick to report it. When there is an attack, like that of local surfer Jonathan Kathrein, the papers and press go into a literal feeding frenzy. Like the recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, reports are loaded with adjectives like “grisly death”, and “white sharks swarming”. What we don’t hear is the story: Man Bites Shark! For every shark attack on humans, there are hundreds of thousands of sharks killed each year, and every year.

We have a misconception of sharks extending from blind fear to the ironic but ignorant symbol of a shark with a red slash though it seen on the bumpers of inlanders. Scientists have demonstrated that sharks play a vital role for a healthy ocean ecosystem. This week another study has been published on the benefit of sharks on Caribbean reefs, further reinforcing the ecological importance of sharks. Sharks are the regulators of fish and marine mammals. They cull the weak, the stupid and the sick, thereby strengthening the remaining population. The kill of the sea lion isnt a sad thing, it is a necessary event to help the population remain robust.

Instead of no sharks, we should be saying Let Sharks Live!

White sharks are protected and the killing of sharks for fins is illegal in US waters. However, there are loopholes in our laws that allow some sharks to be finned and making the anti finning law difficult to enforce. Senator Kerry’s Senate Bill 950 is intended to help resolve these loopholes; a bill held up by one recalcitrant senator from Oklahoma. We can protect our sharks in the Sanctuary, but little can be done when they enter international waters. Supporting our Sanctuaries, strengthening our existing regulations and stopping the consumption of shark products like shark fin soup can all help increase the protection of the pelagic sharks that visit our waters.

This October, Sea Stewards will be celebrating the shark with special shark awareness events including Farallones tours with San Francisco Bay Whale Watching, emphsaizing the importance of sharks to the Bay and Sanctuary, as well as looking at the entire ecosystem of the Gulf of the Farallones from plankton to sharks.


Upcoming Sea Stewards expeditions:
  • October 16: with Leatherback Sea Turtle expert Dr. Chris Pincetech
  • October 24: with Sherman's Lagoon creator Jim Toomey
  • October 31" Shark Halloween Party

A percentage of the proceeds will go to Sea Stewards shark conservation and reserach program.

 

 

 

 

 
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