Thursday, October 8, 2009

We Love to Cruise. We Love Fish. Shark Free Marinas May Help Protect Both

Many of you may not know that I have an honor's degree in Biology with a focus on Marine Biology.  Born on the Jersey Shore (the oceanfront in New Jersey) and as a former biological aid for the National Marine Fisheries Service, I have lived my life loving the oceans and its marine life.

During the recent Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the Fonda aquaculture farm in Slovenia and was thrilled to see it being done right.  It was clean, high quality and run by people that cared.

But the real highlight was seeing a small sea turtle...something not even the owners had ever seen at their farm.  Sea turtles used to be fairly common, but overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution have decimated their populations.  What was once a common sight has become a very rare opportunity...and an occurrence which is as sad as it is happy.

Yesterday I was made aware of an organization called Shark Free Marinas (http://www.sharkfreemarinas.com/) which encourages marinas to prohibit the landing of sharks in an effort to have shark fisherman engage in a "catch and release" program similar to what is now mandated for billfish, such as marlin and sailfish.  Check out their short video:



Something to consider?

You can read more about the horrific over- and wasteful, shark fishing, and lend additional support, at the Cousteau Society's Shark and Ray Project.

We love to cruise and enjoy exotic foods, but the next time you are in Asia (or an Asian restaurant) and say, "You know I have never tried (or I Love) shark fin soup or a shark steak", please ask yourself if your few moments of individual pleasure is really worth it. 

And, without being too preachy, remember that the excuses that "Well it is already dead" and "It is only one" only encourage the the shark fisherman to kill another one...It is only one more, right?