The Shark Angels are leading a positive, contagious movement to save sharks – and the oceans. We are a passionate, global community that believes in the power of education, media and local grassroots campaigns. We raise awareness to the critical issues, educate children, change perspectives, and empower and connect advocates to act locally to save sharks and the critical ecosystems they support.
When we tell people up to 73 million sharks are killed a year they say “Wow I didn’t know that” and then they say, “so what the only good shark is a dead shark”. But love them or hate them, and for sure anyone who has ever dove with them has fallen in love, just as we have, we absolutely need sharks on this planet. And when we convince people to care about sharks, either by helping them meet their first shark or simply by understanding the importance sharks play in our ecosystems, they say “I don’t eat shark fin soup – so what can I do?” And, that’s the very reason why we started shark angels. Because the truth is, every single person has the power to bring about change and together, we can do just that. Not just for sharks, but for the oceans and our own futures as well.
As divers for several decades, we’ve spent hundreds of hours underwater, free of any cages with sharks. Each of us has fallen in love with sharks. Tired of watching sharks disappear, we’ve also dedicated ourselves to fighting for their survival. Over the last five years, we’ve also been to more than twenty countries in the heart of the shark fin trade, documenting, educating, and fighting for sharks. What we can tell you is first, sharks are not the monsters they are portrayed to be, and second, we definitely have something to fear – that they are quickly becoming extinct. We’ve witnessed and filmed dozens of shark fin malls in China each one full of at least 100 million fins, 7,000 sharks landed in one port in Japan in a single day, and poor fishing communities all around the world finning their last baby sharks. We are at a tipping point at this very moment – and the sharks’ futures as well as our own – lies in our collective hands.
All is not bleak – we’ve also seen the power of a single person to bring about change. From 6 year old Luke in Toronto who got 1000 signatures on a petition in three days, to ten year old Thomas leading Fin Free Florida, to a remote village in Fiji taking back their reefs, we are also constantly inspired. And believe it or not, we are hopeful. If they can do it, we certainly can.
Shark Angels is now five years old and we have, as a team and individuals, been involved in some of the most influential shark campaigns. From making shark fin an illegal substance for more than 14 million people with Fin Free, to “Say No to Shark Fin Soup” with Yao Ming in China, to working with hundreds of thousands of children to give them a voice to stand up for their future, to helping establish and protect the world’s largest shark sanctuaries, to creating powerful media counter to jaws and shark week, to getting people in the water with sharks, tens of thousands of angels around the world are working independently and as a network to give sharks a chance. We are positive, we are collaborative, we are not about politics and we are a powerful global movement.
2012 was an incredible year for sharks and their angels. Fin Free spread across three continents and even got the support of Richard Branson. We completed Operation Requiem – visiting seven nations and rallying for shark sanctuaries, enforcement and of course education. We built a strong network of shark cherubs - from Tonga to South Africa, we reached thousands of kids, educating and inspiring them to take action and protect their oceans – and sharks. We re-edited Sharkwater to show to 500 million Chinese. And in 2013, with your help, we can do even more. A Save Charlie program for kids. A shark diver program. Education around the world. Local campaigns and empowerment. Compelling, perspective altering media. Fin Free London, New York City and Paris.
We will leave you with one last thought. Every one of you – can help sharks. Right now. Make smart consumer decisions – vote with your dollars. Don’t support companies that are supporting the shark fin trade. Make your voice heard with your vote. Stand up for sharks and educate others. Empower children – give them a voice. Get into the water with sharks – prove they are more valuable alive than dead. Use your passion and skills to do something – whether you are a free diver, web developer, teacher or member of the media. And support Shark Angels.
Together we know we can make a difference. In a few years, we won’t be saying “If only I had gotten involved” we will be saying “wow, look what we have done.”
- Julie Andersen, Founder & Executive Director
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