Sharklife Projects

Ocean Discovery Project: 

Diagram 1 NLC Logo Lotto Funded 300x237 

Overview:

The Sharklife Ocean Discovery Project funded by the National Lotteries Commision (NLC) provides an unprecedented opportunity to connect a large number of youth and community members with the marine environment.

Project Objectives:

• To enable participants to build on Natural Sciences and Life Sciences topics learned in the class room and accelerate the comprehension thereof.
• To develop a sense of heritage and desire to conserve the environment for the future.
• To enrich the lives of children and youths from rural areas through guided participation with marine wildlife exhibits and environments.

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The Sharklife Ocean Center:

Overview:

This project falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 1: To develop a compassionate desire to conserve sharks by altering public misconceptions about sharks and replacing the "Jaws" syndrome with positive understanding and respect.

The Sharklife Ocean Center will provide a platform from which to build and expand current Sharklife conservation projects and initiatives. The opening of the Sharklife Ocean Center represents a huge step forward for the organisation and is a culmination of long-term effort and support from committed members and dive partners who have contributed to Sharklife over the years.

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Above: the Sharklife lecture room is equiped with aircon and audio visual equipment to provide a professional learning environment.

species displays

Above: a diverse combination of specimens help to deepen the visitors understanding on a wide variety of topics.

Everyone is welcome to visit the center to find out more and support this worthy initiatve. 

 

Increased protection of sharks within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 2Reduce anthropogenic threats to over exploited marine species by increasing awareness and encouraging sustainable seafood choices.

Project Rationale:

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and South African Marine Protected Area. It would be a prudent, precautionary approach to afford more protection to sensitive marine megafauna, particularly breeding females, within the site.

The iSimangaliso park coastline stretches 220 kilometers from Maphelane in the south to Kosi Bay on the Mozambique border and approximately 5km seaward, this vast area is a known habitat in which numerous shark species occur and breed.

Park Map

Sharklife began engaging with the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in 2010 regarding the increased protection of sharks within the park. Soon after this engagment the park authority prohibited the capture of sharks by fishing charter companies operating within the park boundaries. Sharklife saw this as a positive outcome and applauded the park authority for its action.

Below: This type of wasteful trophy hunting is now prohibited in the iSimangaliso Park.

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Download Fishing Charter Consession Regs >>>

Later in 2014 sharks were officially afforded broader protection within the iSimangaliso The new park fishing regulation stated that all sharks are “no take” species and must be released immediately when caught. Previous park regulations allowed fishermen to kill 10 sharks per person per day, which unfortunately is still the national bag limit for sharks outside the park.

Download Fishing Regs >>

Shark fishing effort is generally poorly monitored and although not thought to be a regular occurrence in the park, 413 sharks were recorded being caught in the park between 1997-2008 (MAGGS, J.Q. 2008. National Marine Linefish System). This figure however does not include unreported catches and sharks that are killed at sea which would inflate the recordings.

Sharklife continues to work with the iSimangaliso Park Authority to find ways to limit the impact on pregnant ragged-tooth sharks that spend 4-5 months every year gestating in the warm waters of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Below: Every year fishermen target pregnant ragged-tooth sharks from the shoreline.

sodwanaraggie1  sodwanaraggie2

Shark Net Removal - Rocky Bay:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 2Reduce anthropogenic threats to over exploited marine species by increasing awareness and encouraging sustainable seafood choices.

Project Rationale:

Shark netting programs are highly impactful on a number of marine species, the reduction of neeting effort will reduce the negative impacts caused by these devices.

rocky bay arial

In 2008 Sharklife designed a specific strategy to reduce the impact of shark culling in KZN. This strategy involved analysing each netted beach on the KZN coast and identifying components that quantified the risk of shark attack at those locations. The main components identified were:-

1. Bather attendance
2. Shark catch statistics
3. Beach topography.

A number of KZN beaches reviewed showed figures that brought the justification of net installations into question. Due to resource limitations only one beach was identified as the focal point of the campaign - Rocky Bay beach at Park Rynie on the lower south coast of Durban.

A preliminary meeting in early 2008 with Umdoni beach manager Mr. Melvin Patchai revealed that bather attendance at Rocky Bay was a mere 5% of that of Scottburgh beach 8km’s north.

In addition Sharks Board catch statistics from 1979 – 2005 indicated that on average <1 Zambezi shark, 2.5 Tiger sharks and <1 Great White shark are caught annually at Rocky Bay. Lastly, Rocky Bay beach is enclosed by significant rocky outcrops on both sides of the bathing beach, which forms a natural barrier limiting inshore shark movements, reducing the risk of a shark/bather incident even further.

All three of the components examined at Rocky Bay beach indicated the risk of shark attack was low. In addition the nets had an 80% bycatch of harmless animals which inhabit the boundaries of the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area (MPA). Sharklife believed there was enough information to motivate the Umdoni Council to remove the nets at Rocky Bay.

However before requesting a meeting with the Umdoni municipality, Sharklife organized a survey of the beach goers at Rocky Bay over Easter weekend 2008. This survey was designed to establish the public’s understanding of, and attitudes towards the presence, impact and consequences of shark nets at Rocky Bay beach. The two most important questions out of the 10 in the survey were:-

1. Would you visit this beach if it had no shark nets? 82% said yes.
2. Would you visit this beach if there was a shark attack? 70% said yes.

With the results from the survey Sharklife had more than enough documentation to question the use of nets at Rocky Bay beach. On the 27th of November 2008 Sharklife formally requested an opportunity to present the findings to the Umdoni Municipality. After a number of follow up mails we received a response from Mr. Melvin Patchai informing us the council would get back to us with a suitable date for a meeting. This never occurred and the campaign was put on hold.

It was the unprecedented capture of 14 Tiger Sharks on the 18th April 2012 at Scottburgh beach that brought the nets back into question. Renewed calls for the justification of shark nets within the MPA came from a number of concerned groups and individuals. A notable demonstration was the Paddle Out for Sharks initiative arranged by Cormac McCreesh from African Diver Magazine. This prompted the Umdoni Municipality to investigate the matter further.

Sharklife requested an opportunity to present its findings from 2008 and was granted an audience on the 10th September 2012. See pic below:

Umdoni Council Talk

he Sharklife presentation was well received by the Umdoni Municipality Council and Mr. Edwin Baptie, the chairperson, then requested Sharklife to present this same information in a public forum on 29th November 2012. See Below:

South Coast Fever Shark Net Article small

The Portfolio Committee took the Sharklife presentations under review and concluded its recommendation to Council on the 27th March 2013. On the 19th April we received the following confirmation from Mr. Melvin Patchai the Umdoni Beach Manager.

As an interim measure the following recommendation was taken by Council at its meeting of 27 March 2013

Council resolved as follows:

1) “ That Due to the topographical nature of the Rocky Bay bathing area the shark nets be removed”

2) “That other Municipality’s within the district be consulted and it be ascertained whether they are considering removal of shark nets”

3) “That the Western Cape Municipality be consulted and information on shark spotters be obtained”

There was no discussion regarding the shark nets at the Scottburgh Main Beach, the status quo remain.

Our Legal and Estates department is dealing with the Sharks Board regarding Rocky Bay.

Conclusion:

Confirmation was received on 18th March 2014 that the shark culling devices are to be removed from Rocky Bay beach on the morning 30th April 2014.

Sharklife would like to thank all its members and supporters for the contributions and backing received to see this campaign to this success.

Special thanks to:
Amanda Barratt – UKZN lecturer - Rocky Bay survey coordinator
Ryan Johnson – Oceans Research - Rocky Bay survey data analysis
Cormac McCreesh – African Diver magazine – Paddle out for sharks organizer
Blue Ocean Dive Resort Umkomaas – Regional Sharklife Partner
Aliwal Dive Centre Umkomaas – Regional Sharklife Partner
Barry Coleman – Meridian dive centre – Co presenter
Lesley Rochat – Afri Oceans Conservation Alliance – Continued Support
Geremy Cliff - Sharks Board – Statistics and information on rocky bay nets
Umdoni Municipality – Ocean conservation awareness

Real Shark Attack Radio Ad:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 2Reduce anthropogenic threats to over exploited marine species by increasing awareness and encouraging sustainable seafood choices.

Project Rationale:

Reaching an estimated 1.5 million listeners, the ad is intended to get the public thinking about the devastating impact finning is having on global shark populations. Sharklife secured 80 thirty second slots for it's "Real Shark Attack" advert.

 

 

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Sharklife Content Included in National Education Guides:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 1: To develop a compassionate desire to conserve sharks by altering public misconceptions about sharks and replacing the "Jaws" syndrome with positive understanding and respect.

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Via Afrika Publishers has a proud tradition of over 60 years’ experience in publishing and is one of the leading educational publishers that produces work in all South Africa’s official languages and for all subjects.

The inclusion of the Sharklife radio ad in unit 9 of the education guide raises the awareness of shark conservation whithin our schools.

Being the first activity in the unit the students are required to listen to the ad and discuss what they know about sharks and the need to conserve them.

The cleverly created ad by Grey Marketing (www.grey.com) captures the listener's attention as they hear what sounds to be a shark attack, until the truth is revealed at the end.

 

Sharklife on the Big Screen:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 1: To develop a compassionate desire to conserve sharks by altering public misconceptions about sharks and replacing the "Jaws" syndrome with positive understanding and respect

Darktide Cover

 Kate Mathieson (Halle Berry) is a shark naturalist who has observed these beautiful lithe, streamlined creatures up close. Sharks who swim undisturbed in their own world: a natural wonder to behold.

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She is an expert in the field of sharks and their conservation. She’s learnt that sharks prefer to mind their own business and they don’t like trespassers – so she always practices territorial etiquette, respects a shark as a fellow being, and when she’s underwater she believes she’s sharing their world, not they ours.

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Sharks can detect electrical emissions by all living things. This technique which involves touching their snouts, an acute electrical detector, is akin to hypnotising the creatures into a sleep-like state. Kate has a natural affinity with these great misunderstood predators.

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By watching their movements and responding in kind with subtle changes in her own body postures, Kate has been able to survive and earn a formidable reputation by convincing the great white that she is neither prey nor predator. She communicates with sharks through body language in a similar way to the principles of horse whispering.

visit http://www.dark-tide-movie.com/about.html for more info

This was a great opportunity for Sharklife to raise awareness about shark conservation at an international level.

Shark Cartilage Project:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 2Reduce anthropogenic threats to over exploited marine species by increasing awareness and encouraging sustainable seafood choices.

Project Rationale:

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Annually an estimated 100million sharks are harvested for cartilage, liver oil and other products (2). Shark cartilage is primarily used in shark fin soup, an expensive traditional delicacy served in many Asian countries. Shark cartilage is also a source of Chondroitin Sulfate (CS), a main ingredient in osteoarthritic supplements traded on the nutraceutical market. CS is also sourced from beef (bovine), pork (porcine), chicken (avian), and other mammalians (1).

Osteoarthritis is a disease affecting the joints of humans and animals, characterized by the cracking and reduction of cartilage within the joints resulting in chronic pain and the loss of mobility. It is most commonly caused by the excessive use of the joint, strong physical impacts (trauma) and general aging.(4)

While it is scientifically substantiated that CS extracted from bovine, porcine, avian and mammalian sources have therapeutic effects on osteoarthritic symptoms (7), the ingestion of shark cartilage (CS) provides greatly reduced benefits to sufferers of degenerative joint disease (1). This is due to the molecular properties of CS, which differ vastly between sources. Bovine sourced CS has the lowest molecular weight (7-21 kDa in its most refined form) and thus has the highest bioavailability, or is the most digestible form of CS, while CS sourced from shark has the largest molecular weight (+40 kDa in its most refined state) (4). This means Shark CS has a poor bioavailability to mammals (including humans) as the large CS molecule does not pass efficiently through the intestinal wall. Instead of being absorbed into the body, Shark CS is mostly broken down and excreted, limiting the therapeutic effects on affected joints (5;6). Not only does it have limited medicinal benefits, the long term risks of ingesting shark cartilage are not yet conclusive (9).

It is important to reiterate that shark cartilage supplements are only traded on the nutraceutical market (not pharmaceutical) which is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or similar body, meaning suppliers do not need to validate a products performance with clinical tests as in the pharmaceutical industry.(4)

The poor management of shark fisheries worldwide means many species are over-fished and are becoming increasingly threatened with extinction. Of the 1,041 known species of cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays) more than 25 percent are endangered, threatened, vulnerable to extinction or near threatened (8). Healthy shark populations are vital to maintaining biodiversity and the population levels of numerous other marine species (2;1).

Sharklife aims to better inform the public of the poor performance of shark cartilage supplements and reduce the needless consumption of shark sourced CS within South Africa.

 

  • Download Infographic (PDF)
  • Download Motivation (PDF)

 

References
(1) Hepplestone, Dr. L.M. BCSc, n.d., Use of Shark Cartilage in Osteoarthritic Nutraceuticals.
(2) Hepplestone, Dr. L.M. BCSc, 2008, Shark Cartilage in Osteoarthritic Nutraceuliticals - Trade Statistics.
(3) The Shark Trust, Nigel Hulbert n.d., Shark Cartilage.
(4) Hepplestone, Dr. L.M. BCSc, 2008, Osteoarthritis, Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital.
(5) Volpi, N., 2002, Oral bioavailability of chondroitin sulphate (Condrosulf) and it’s constituents in healthy male volunteers. Osteoarthritis Cartilage; 10:768-777.
(6) Volpi, N., 2003, Oral absorption and bioavailability of ichthyic origin chondroitin sulphate in healthy male volunteers. Osteoarthritis Cartilage; 11:433-441.
(7) Neil, Kirsten M., Caron, John P., Orth, Michael W., 2005, The role of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate in treatment for and prevention of osteoarthritis in animals. JAVMA, Vl 226, No.7.
(8) IUCN Red List, 2014, Assessment Results - Extinction Risk & Conservation of the World’s Sharks & Rays, Analysis from the IUCN Shark Specialist Group.
(9) D.Uebelhart, M.D., 2008, Clinical review of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Volume 16, Supplement 3, October 2008, Pages S19-S21. 

Shark Fin Sundial Awareness Project:

Overview:

This projecty falls under SHARKLIFE AIM No. 2Reduce anthropogenic threats to over exploited marine species by increasing awareness and encouraging sustainable seafood choices.

Project Rationale:

Shedding the light on Shark Finning: Sharklife, in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust and their advertising agency, TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, created a great shark awareness project.

It is imperative that we highlight the brutal act of shark finning, which is practised all over the world. Many sharks are caught solely for their fins and their carcasses tossed back into the water.

An estimated 4500 shark fins are havested every hour. 

We made shark fin sundials in a bid to raise awareness of this inhumane act, while at the same time collecting contributions from empathetic tourists and South Africans alike. 

The sundials were erected at bustling tourist destinations across South Africa. An SMS mechanic allowed people to immediately donate to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s marine trust and the Sharklife Conservation Group, which both in turn fund projects in the battle against shark finning. 

 

Shark-finning sundial from Justin Wright on Vimeo.

Sharklife strives to develop and implement tangible marine conservation projects.

All projects are made possible thanks to Sharklife Membership contributions - become a member today.


OCEAN DISCOVERY PROJECT:

  • Through educational displays and guided lessons participants reinforce their knowledge of school curriculum topics as well as develop important environmental awareness concepts.

  Dicovery project lotto

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 SHARKLIFE OCEAN CENTER:

  • The Sharklife Ocean Center aims to educate people about the importance of conserving the ocean and its apex predators.

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SHARK NET REMOVAL:

  • Sharklife and its supporters called for the removal of the shark culling devices installed at Rocky Bay beach.

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INCREASE PROTECTION FOR SHARKS:

  • The iSimangaliso Park Authority have already taken steps to protect sharks within the park boundries but more needs to be done to reduce the targeting of pregnant ragged-tooth sharks during their breeding season.

  isimangaliso

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REAL SHARK ATTACK RADIO AD:

  • Created by Grey Marketing the cleverly constructed ad captures the listeners attention as they hear what sounds to be a shark attack, until the truth is revealed at the end! 

  finned hammerhead2

readmore

 

 


SHARK CARTILAGE CAMPAIGN:

  • Sharklife aims to better inform the public of the poor performance of shark cartilage supplements and reduce the needless consumption of shark sourced CS within South Africa.

cartilage question1   

readmore

 

 


 SHARK FIN SUNDIAL CAMPAIGN:

  • It is imperative that we highlight the brutal act of shark finning, which is practised all over the world. Millions of sharks are caught solely for their fins and their carcasses tossed back into the water.

findial 1

readmore

 

 


SHARKLIFE ON THE BIG SCREEN

  • Sharklife clothing is worn by the leading actors in Halle Berry's movie - Dark Tide

Darktide Cover

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SHARKLIFE IN NATIONAL EDUCATION GUIDES

  • Sharklife's thought provoking shark finning radio ad has been included in the Via Afrika English Grade 9 teaching guide.

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