SOS Grantee and international marine conservation organization, Oceana, made big news for shark conservation in Chile at the end of April 2014. Calling on the Chilean government to protect its sharks, Oceana hit the nation's television screens with a 3 minute feature on TVN's 24 horas news programme. Speaking to camera Oceana's Executive Director, Alex Muñoz reached an estimated audience of 2 million viewers explaining the impacts of practices such as over-fishing and shark finning.
You can watch the news article in Spanish on the SOS YouTube channel here:
In tandem, Oceana issued a press release requesting the Undersecretary of Fisheries, Raúl Súnico, to adopt measures to protect sharks from the severe impacts of fishing activities in Chile. Specifically, Oceana referred to the high shark bycatch rates in swordfish fisheries in the country’s northern area.
“Sharks are very abundant in our country’s waters. These species are threatened all around the world and given their major ecosystem roles, we must prevent their reduction by all means,” said Muñoz. Oceana specifically pointed to the swordfish industrial fleet, which shows unusually high levels of shark bycatches, particularly blue sharks and mako sharks.
“Chile made a major step forward in 2011 by approving the law that forbids shark finning. However, further actions are extremely important to protect sharks from bycatch threats associated to our country’s fisheries,” added Muñoz.
Unfortunately, sharks are highly vulnerable to exploitation and require many decades to recover since they grow slowly, become sexually mature relatively late, live a long time, have long gestation periods and, in general produce few offspring.