Conservationists from Paso Robles, California are riding their bicycles across five of the more centralized United States to raise funds and spread awareness against the slaughter of oceanic top predators (sharks), which is throwing our marine eco-systems out of balance.
Devon Lambert, a conservation biology major and his former teacher Mark DiMaggio are taking a twelve hundred mile bike ride from Colorado Springs, Colorado, all the way to Harrodsburg, Kentucky. The pair plan on holding public presentations during the trip (already underway) which is taking place between the dates of June 16th and July 9th. “Every dollar earned this summer will go straight to shark conservation,” said DiMaggio of their ten thousand dollar fund raising goal.
Gaylene Ewing, of the Paso Robles High School Biology Department will be helping Lambert and DiMaggio to coordinate their efforts from back home on the Californian coast. The money earned will be donated to Pretoma. Pretoma is an award winning organization that runs programs to protect marine resources. They have initiatives here in Costa Rica aimed at the promotion of sustainable fishery policies. This is because most of the world’s illegal shark finning is done off of the waters of Central America.
Shark finning is a barbaric act. The fins are sliced off of live animals, and the sharks are then just thrown back into the sea. Almost all of the sharks that go through this do not survive the process. Most of this type of fishing is done to produce Shark Fin Soup, an Asian delicacy. Though fishing for shark fins is illegal off of the waters of many countries, the sale of the fins is not. For example, In the United States, shark fin sales are only illegal in Oregon, Washington, California and Hawaii.
It is estimated that some 100,000,000 sharks are slaughtered each year for their fins. At this rate, the future of our ocean ecology is not looking so bright.