Shark Stewards Launches FIN-Free Toolkit to Protect Apex Predators

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Legislative Initiative Promotes Statewide and International Bans on Shark Fin Trade.

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The success of the California Shark Fin Ban has spurred support for similar campaigns in Illinois, Texas and New Jersey, where Shark Stewards has launched chapters to spearhead the efforts.

Shark Stewards, a 501c3 non-profit shark conservation organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, announced today the launch of a legislative toolkit to facilitate effective advocacy for shark conservation. The downloadable “FIN-Free” Toolkit, designed to educate and empower citizens, restaurant owners, and legislators to unite against shark finning, is available on SharkStewards.org.

Shark Stewards director David McGuire with his team of grassroots volunteers sparked the California Shark Fin Ban, which passed with bi-partisan support in 2011. “After witnessing finned sharks and tuna ships loaded with shark fins in the central Pacific, I became motivated to protect shark populations, and to stop shark finning and the shark fin trade,” said McGuire, a marine biologist and award-winning shark conservationist. The success of the California ban has spurred support for similar campaigns in Illinois, Texas and New Jersey, where Shark Stewards has launched chapters to spearhead the efforts.

“I am thrilled to represent Shark Stewards in Texas,” said Anna Clark, chair of the Shark Stewards Texas chapter and president of EarthPeople, a Dallas-based sustainability consulting and communications firm. “Corporate sustainability is primarily focused on energy efficiency and the development and commercialization of clean technologies, but all of our progress in this area will be rendered useless if our we allow nature’s built-in mechanisms to deteriorate.” Clark adds, “Sharks are at the top of the food chain in our oceans, so protecting them is crucial for maintaining a balanced ecology and sustainable planet.”

According to scientists, at least 107 species of sharks worldwide have had population sizes so dramatically reduced they warrant international concern. One third of open ocean sharks are now threatened with extinction from overfishing and killing sharks for the shark fin soup trade. “When shark populations are destroyed, the overall health of ocean ecosystems decline,” explains McGuire. “Shark finning and overfishing are largely responsible for this phenomenon.”

The FIN-Free Toolkit is the latest outreach of the Shark Stewards organization, whose mission is to promote shark conservation through education, motivation and action.

About Shark Stewards
Shark Stewards, a 501c3 non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay area, is a project of the Turtle Island Restoration Network. Launched in 2006 by award-winning film conservationist and marine biologist David McGuire, Shark Stewards is dedicated to conserving our oceans through the protection of sharks. Visit http://www.sharkstewards.org for information and videos.

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