Each year, up to 73 million sharks are killed. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 1/3 of all shark and ray species are now threatened with extinction. In just a few decades, some regional shark populations have declined by over 95%, and their populations continue to decline, mostly due to the demand for shark fin. Sharks are literally being fished and eaten into extinction during our lifetimes
However, the tide is starting to turn for sharks. Shark sanctuaries are being declared around the world, particularly in the South Pacific. Dozens of countries have made shark finning illegal. Shark fin is an illegal substance in many places... Now the critical element to all of this is enforcement. This is why Sea Shepherd is poised to make an incredibly meaningful impact on shark populations. Enforcement is what Sea Shepherd is known for.
Sea Shepherd's shark campaign, Operation Requiem, is geared towards working collaboratively with governments, agencies, and other NGOs to enforce local and national laws that protect sharks. It is based upon a long legacy and a positive set of principles.
Sea Shepherd stands ready and is prepared to work with any government or local agency to protect their waters. We've made offers to several nations and agencies around the world – and welcome invitations from protected areas. Sadly, enforcement falls on the shoulders of governments, often under resourced and over worked – which means many laws (which we desperately require) are not being effectively executed, and thus sharks often remain under attack.
Through understanding, adhering to, and leveraging national and international marine laws, they strive to achieve the delicate balance necessary in order to protect marine ecosystems and local economies. Sea Shepherd has resources and experience unlike those of other conservation organizations that they can put at the disposal of nations who need our support for the short and long term, including world-wide awareness and support, media, on-going attention to implementation, training, shark fin-sniffing dogs, vessel identification systems, etc.
Sea Shepherd will also fight a war of public opinion, changing everything we know about an animal most despise. We'll use innovative strategies and media to perform outreach, education, build awareness and empower locals to take back their sharks.
Sea Shepherd has a long legacy of successfully defending and preserving marine ecosystems and animals worldwide. While we are well known for confrontational tactics and the reality television program Whale Wars, our program in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, is an example of a different strategy; supporting a local government in developing a sustainable, on-going, program to preserve their shark population and marine ecosystems. Together, we are protecting these rich waters from poachers and illegal international fishing fleets who aim to disturb local economies and ecosystems.
It is this model upon which our new campaign, Operation Requiem, is built.