With the hands of the clock nearing midnight for sharks, The SHARK GROUP announced:
THE YEAR OF THE SHARK 2019
There were some hard battles won in the fight to pull sharks back from extinction’s horizon since The Year of the Shark in 2009. Yet with the acceleration of the massacre, the event was repeated in 2019.
Rampant over-fishing, driven by profits from shark fins that rival those of the drug trade, has resulted in sharks and rays being in worse shape than any other line of animals, in spite of their incalculable ecological importance. The bad reputation they have been given by blood thirsty tabloids, movies, and the mass media, has erected a barrier to their protection and encouraged their massacre with almost no public outcry nor protest.
So the goal of The Year of the Shark in 2019 was to spotlight their plight and work towards an international ban on their commerce, while uniting concerned individuals and organizations around the world.
In the aftermath, with our affiliates, we continue the work. The next Year of the Shark will be celebrated in 2029 and we hope that by then they will be returning from extinction’s horizon.
L’ANNÉE DU REQUIN 2019
Alors que le temps impitoyable, s’avançant comme les aiguilles d’une horloge qui sonnerait le glas pour les requins, le SHARK GROUP dénonce l’un des plus grands carnages commerciaux dont sont victimes ces animaux aussi somptueux qu’utiles aux écosystèmes des mers et des océans.
Depuis 2009, – année du Requin -, de durs combats ont été menés par des femmes et des hommes fortement engagés.es dans leur défense afin que ces animaux puissent conserver une juste place dans le milieu qui est le leur, en éloignant d’eux le spectre de l’extinction. Hélas, les requins sont tués plus rapidement que jamais.
La dernière étude mondiale révèle que la surpêche généralisée, dont les profits tirés des nageoires de requin, rivalisant avec le scandaleux commerce de la drogue, entraîne d’année en année une dégradation de l’état des requins et des raies par rapport à toute autre espèce animale, en dépit de leur importance écologique inestimable, pourtant méprisée ou sous-estimée. La mauvaise réputation des requins qui leur a été donnée par les tabloïds assoiffés de sang, les films et les médias, a érigé un véritable obstacle à leur protection et a encouragé leur massacre dans l’indifférence de ceux qui observent pourtant leur déclin, sans qu’aucun tollé public ni protestation gouvernementale ou médiatique n’interviennent contre des pratiques aussi cruelles qu’inacceptables.
L’objectif de l’année du requin 2019 est donc de mettre en lumière leur situation critique et d’œuvrer en faveur d’une interdiction internationale de leur commerce, tout en unifiant les individus et les organisations concernés du monde entier.
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The International Year of the Shark in 2009
Following the success of The International Year of the Shark in 2009 there were some difficult battles won in the fight for shark protection. Many of the countries hardest hit by shark finning declared their territories as shark sanctuaries, some species received protection from international commerce, and there has been an increase in marine protected areas (MPAs) around the globe.
However, while the “fins naturally attached” regulations widely adopted have helped to a degree, they have overloaded the market with shark meat, encouraged the consumption of sharks as meat, and have not addressed over fishing. With ninety percent of the original fish stocks depleted, sharks are now the most valuable prey, so are being targeted instead of fish.
Though there has been an increase in awareness of the drastic effects of shark finning in Asian countries, the latest studies have indicated that a slight slowdown of the shark fin market in recent years has been the result of over fishing, not conservation. So in spite of all of our efforts, sharks are more endangered than ever.
A third of shark species now face extinction and the enormous loss of sharks that has occurred indicates a worldwide build-up of extinction threat throughout the vast ecosystems of the oceans. In some locations sharks are already extinct.
Rampant over fishing is their greatest danger along with the expansion of global trade, now taking place against a background of industrial pollution, plastic garbage and micro-plastics, combined with the effects of global warming. As the oceans warm, the ice-caps melt, the oceanic currents change, and the waters become more acidic due to absorption of CO2, and the consequences cascade through the ecological networks. As a result, increasing numbers of organisms, including sharks, find themselves in regions where they cannot survive, such as in de-oxygenated waters or on dead coral reefs. The warmer water also helps diseases to proliferate.
For sharks there has been a profound failure of conservation efforts. The documented shark fin trade has revealed that catches are three or four times greater than what was reported to FAO, which is the only organization that keeps global records. This indicates the complete failure of Fisheries to monitor the true numbers of sharks being killed. Most catches of sharks and rays are neither recorded nor reported, and are discarded at sea.
So a complete change in the way that sharks are considered is urgently needed. The main goal of the Year of the Shark in 2019 was therefore to promote the total protection of sharks from international commerce, and to work towards this goal.
We are continuing the work of the The Year of the Shark 2019 now, in the aftermath: working on getting shark fin trade bans in place in different countries, supporting the creation of MPA’s and establishing the fact in the literature that sustainable commercial shark fishing is impossible under the circumstances.
Other aspects of The Year of the Shark in 2019 included opposing the bad press sharks have been given by the mass media as mindless killers, ever since the movie JAWS was released. We disseminated information about the true nature of these unusual animals and the actual rarity of their “attacks” on people. We also opposed sports fishing, which is just as cruel and morally wrong as the other blood sports including dog fighting and recreational hunting. These efforts are continuing now, too.
A wealth of information about sharks and their plight is posted on this site, and during the Year of the Shark 2019, posters and graphics in 21 languages were available.