Sanctuary for Sharks

IOFF Panel Featuring Dr. Sylvia Earle Discusses Shark Conservation

“Sharks tell the story of the ocean.” David McGuire of Shark Stewards kicked off the always-popular shark panel discussion at the 14th Annual International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) in March. Watch the video on Vimeo.

If sharks disappear, McGuire says, "it's like taking the roof off a house." The ecosystems that support life on Earth -- including human life -- will begin to collapse.

IOFF Shark Panel, March 11, 2017: From left, David McGuire, Claudia Schmitt, Dr. Sal Jorgensen, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Barbara Block, Dr. Max Delaney, Sophia FitzMedrud, James Moskito. Photo: Matthew Tominaga.

IOFF Shark Panel, March 11, 2017: From left, David McGuire, Claudia Schmitt, Dr. Sal Jorgensen, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Barbara Block, Dr. Max Delaney, Sophia FitzMedrud, James Moskito. Photo: Matthew Tominaga.

That's one reason we have federally protected marine areas such as the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS). These areas exist to both provide valuable information about wildlife and ecosystems and preserve the species that help keep our Blue Planet healthy.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, center, part of the 2017 IOFF shark panel discussion, along with Dr. Sal Jorgensen of the Monterey Bay Aquarium to her left and. Dr. Barbara Block of Stanford University to her right. Photo: Matthew Tominaga.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, center, part of the 2017 IOFF shark panel discussion, along with Dr. Sal Jorgensen of the Monterey Bay Aquarium to her left and. Dr. Barbara Block of Stanford University to her right. Photo: Matthew Tominaga.

This year's panel discussion, Sanctuary for Sharks, focused on marine sanctuaries like the GFNMS. We were thrilled and honored to welcome renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, along with other distinguished experts, to share their knowledge and ideas for saving sharks and other species.

 

Watch highlights of the Sanctuary for Sharks panel by clicking the button below.

Protection for Sharks & Other Marine Life

The GFNMS is on track to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the coming years.

“This place is important for the planet,” says Dr. Barbara Block of Stanford. “It’s possible that in the next five years this area off the coast of San Francisco will have UN protection for all of time.”

Dr. Max Jorgensen speaks in the video about how much national marine sanctuaries do to educate people by allowing them to see and study animals in the wild. The panel agreed that it's only when people feel a connection to animals and nature that they are motivated to do something to protect it.

It’s Cool to Care

“Use your power,” Dr. Earle tells us. “Make it cool to care.” We can’t rely on government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to do it all. Every individual can

Kids today are going to be the ones who have to deal with . . . the fallout of all this.
--Sophia FitzMedrud, Heirs to Our Oceans

Talk to friends, family, classmates, and children about sharks and the ocean. Share the facts about sharks — that humans are the fearsome predators. People kill about 100 million sharks every year, yet you're more likely to be injured by a toilet or killed by an asteroid than to be killed by a shark, according to National Geographic. 

About Shark Stewards

Since 2006, Shark Stewards has been working to protect these symbols of ocean health that are often feared and vilified—without cause, shark experts emphasize.

A valued longtime partner of the IOFF, Shark Stewards has been the force behind such landmark legislation as the California Shark Conservation Act (AB 376), which banned the sale of shark fins in California.

And just recently in Nevada, Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law SB 194, which bans trafficking in shark fins, elephant ivory, rhino horns, and other wildlife statewide.

Currently, Shark Stewards is working on federal shark fin ban legislation. Sign the Change.org petition supporting the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2017 (S. 793).

Shark panel participants:

Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue
Dr. Sal Jorgensen, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Dr. Barbara Block, Stanford University
Dr. Max Delaney, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, White Sharks Stewardship Project
Claudia Schmitt, Director/Filmmaker, the Jetlagged
James Moskito, Great White Adventures

Hear more of this important conversation! Watch the video for highlights of the discussion with Dr. Earle and other panel experts.


IOFF Executive Director, left, with Dr. Sylvia Earle.

IOFF Executive Director, left, with Dr. Sylvia Earle.

"Everyone in this room has a face and a story, just like every one of these sharks." - Sylvia Earle