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JOIN US to Defeat the Anti-Shark Diving Bill

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Petition: JOIN US TO DEFEAT THE ANTI-SHARK DIVING BILL!

Goal: Oppose and Strike Section 3 Amendment from SB.3099 "Access to Sportfishing Act 2016"


This bill offered to the United States Government to vote upon calls to ban any act of "chumming" to attract sharks in all United States waters while conducting eco shark dives for hire.  The intention of this bill is to end any and all shark ecotourism charters in the United States of America.  This bill would be extremely detrimental to our country and ecosystem for a variety of reasons stated below.  Please read this petition and if you agree, please sign, share, and just as importantly contact your local politicians and simply state you oppose the "Access to Sportfishing Act 2016."  Info and Links below.


The sharks and ocean surrounding our country need your help!


Listed below are 5 main reasons why shark dives in the United States are an extremely valuable and important activity we all must fight to protect.


1). The Economic Importance of Shark Ecotourism:

Shark ecotourism generates millions of dollars in revenue every year and helps support tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. An estimated 1.2 million dollars is delivered annually to the local economy in Palm Beach County, Florida alone. Businesses that would be negatively affected in the areas where shark diving occurs include, but are not limited to: hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, dive shops, marinas, and retail stores. Shark diving is a very popular activity for people of varying abilities and skill levels. To outlaw this type of ecotourism would seriously harm local businesses, dive operators’ pockets, and the surrounding communities.


2). Education and shark conservation:

An estimated 63-273 million sharks are killed annually and research has shown some shark populations have decreased by approximately 90% - 99% in some areas. Leading experts in the study of shark reproduction agree that shark fisheries are not being managed in a sustainable fashion due the fact that sharks have a later reproductive maturity and longer reproductive cycle. Therefore, sharks are easily susceptible to overexploitation. Many of the species encountered during shark-focused ecotourism excursions off the southeast coast of the U.S. are listed as threatened or near threatened by the IUCN Redlist. Great hammerheads (Sphyrna mokarran) are listed by the IUCN as Endangered, dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus) and sandbar (Carhcharhinus plumbeus) are considered Vulnerable to extinction and silky (Carcharhinus falciformis), tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier), and lemon (Negaprion brevirostris) are categorized as Near Threatened with extinction.  


Shark conservation through education is one of the most effective platforms to promote and support the importance of sharks to the public, which translates to better fisheries management and a broader concern for threatened and endangered shark species as a whole.  Shark ecotourism in the U.S. allows tens of thousands of people annually to discover, learn, and understand the importance of sharks to our oceans' ecosystem on a global scale. The loss of this activity could potentially be the loss of valuable data collected by shark diving operators that is used by researchers to learn more about many shark species.


Sharks play a vital role  in maintaining the health of the ocean waters not only surrounding the United States, but across the entire planet. One of the primary ways shark conservation gains public support is through shark ecotourism. If banned and made illegal, this critical platform would be silenced and public support for shark conservation will decline. Many scientific evidence-based and peer reviewed studies have concluded that if sharks continue to be harvested from our oceans at current rates, there will be negative effects to local marine ecosystems, eventually affecting the health of our coastlines and all those who depend on them to make a living.


3). Basic Liberty:

If this bill is approved, the ability for anyone to attract sharks with food for the purposes of shark diving in the United States would no longer be legal.  In other words, the public would simply not be allowed to engage in a largely popular and growing outdoor activity that millions of people around the world enjoy. Well established, safe and conservation-driven industries exist in many parts of the world, including Fiji, South Africa, Mexico and Australia. Individuals within the United States should have the choice to participate in this activity. 


4). The Current State and Acceptability of Shark Ecotourism in the United States:

All of the eco shark diving charters in the United States are already heavily regulated and the industry itself has a impeccable safety record.  Currently, all shark dives in Florida occur in federal waters, meaning at or beyond 3 miles from shore.  At this distance from shore there is no scientific data that concludes the current shark diving practices in the United States have any negative effect whatsoever on the safety of people or the well being of sharks on any level.


5). Who Supports this Bill?

Per the amendment, the term “shark feeding” means "the introduction of food or any other substance into the water to feed or attract sharks for any purpose other than to harvest sharks.”  This bill was created by lobbyists representing sport and commercial fisherman who wish to be able to attract sharks using chum for the sole purpose of "harvesting" sharks. The bill is designed to eliminate responsible shark ecotourism which promotes the importance of sharks and gives a much needed boost to local economies. By reducing the continued prosperity of individuals who are educating and raising awareness, it will be easier to continue to harvest these threatened and near threatened creatures. Rather than support any method of conservation and potentially saving an entire species from mass slaughter or even extinction.  


Please support Shark Ecotourism in the United States for all the reasons above by signing and sharing this petition.


URGENT: Just as important as a petition sign and share, please email your local senators and politicians and tell them that you oppose the "Access to Sportfishing Act 2016".


This is just as important as signing/sharing the petition as our government politicians are the ones who will ultimately make this decision.

You can find the contact information for your local and national politicians at the link below.  Please email as many people you can, and please keep all language civil.


http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

Created by Cassie Jensen, Ryan Walton, and Leigh Cobb

To contact please email thecass2589@gmail.com



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