Did you tune in to Discovery Channel’s insanely popular Shark Week last month? If you did, you’re certainly not alone. Each year, millions of Americans gather around their television sets to learn more about these fascinating yet often misunderstood creatures. But did you know that sharks are the ones in danger?
Each year up to 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade. This trade incentivizes the gruesome act of finning – the process of removing a shark’s fins – typically used in shark fin soup – and then throwing the shark back into the ocean where it is left to die.
While shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, the shark fin trade is still legal in many states, and this needs to change. Bipartisan legislation that would ban the sale of shark fins throughout the country is currently awaiting action in Congress. The House and Senate need to act to protect sharks.
To increase awareness of the threats facing sharks, Oceana’s field team hosted events around the country in honor of Shark Week. Highlights from these fun fin-themed events are below.
P.S. don’t forget to add your voice to support the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act here!
SharkCon - Tampa, Florida
2019 marked the sixth year for SharkCon, an annual convention attended by thousands of shark enthusiasts dedicated to raising awareness about sharks and ocean conservation. This year’s convention included speakers such as Stefanie Brendl from Shark Allies and many esteemed shark scientists like Dr. Neil Hammerschlag. The convention also featured shark-themed exhibits, like the Living Sharks Museum, a shark tooth sand dig, a marine rescue exhibit and a chance to watch scientists perform a shark dissection.
Photo Credit: Erin Handy
Barks for Sharks - St. Petersburg, Florida
Oceana partnered with Shark Allies and the Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St. Pete to host Barks for Sharks, an event attended by over 100 dogs decked out in shark costumes to show support for their friends with fins.
Photo Credit: Hunter Miller
Florida Oceanographic Society - Stuart, Florida
In honor of Shark Week, Oceana partnered with the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart to get visitors excited about sharks. Children colored postcards, while older visitors signed a petition urging Congress to support a ban on the sale of shark fins in the U.S.
Photo Credit: Cat Uden
Sandoway Discovery Center - Delray Beach, Florida
Oceana partnered with Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach where shark enthusiasts learned more about Oceana’s shark campaign. Visitors checked out the center’s activity room, where they tracked a tagged shark as it traveled up and down the coast, visited the Coral Reef Pool to watch shark feedings and learn more about sharks, and toured the center’s exhibits.
Photo Credit: Cat Uden
Saltwater Brewery - Delray Beach, Florida
Saltwater Brewery hosted Oceana for a special Shark Week-themed trivia night. The brewery is dedicated to marine and ocean conservation – it packages its beer with six-pack rings that are both edible and biodegradable to protect marine life! Saltwater Brewery’s trivia host threw in some shark-y questions, and participating teams learned more about Oceana’s work and signed a petition asking Congress to end the sale of shark fins in the United States.
Photo Credit: Cat Uden
First Friday Art Walk - Savannah, Georgia
Oceana set up a table alongside food trucks, street vendors and local artists at the Starland District First Friday Art Walk in Savannah. There, passersby customized shark postcards to send to Georgia’s senators. Oceana also had dog shark costumes on hand for pet owners to dress up their canine companions and share photos on the Oceana Georgia Facebook page for Shark Week.
Photo Credit: Paulita Bennett-Martin
Arts for Sharks Pop-ups - Savannah, Georgia
Oceana set up a table at the Arts for Sharks Pop-up on the Downtown Savannah’s Broughton Street Corridor in the city’s busiest shopping district. Visitors colored shark fin postcards, and participants with pups dressed up their furry friends and took photos to show their support for sharks.
Photo Credit: Paulita Bennet-Martin
Charleston Aquarium - Charleston, South Carolina
Visitors to the Charleston Aquarium during Shark Week heard a presentation from Oceana on the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Kids colored postcards while attending special shark-themed dive shows and programs as well as took advantage of the many fun photo opportunities (all with a shark theme, of course!)
Photo Credit: Samantha Siegel
Lynnhaven Dive Center - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Visitors to the Lynnhaven Dive Center in Virginia Beach showed their support for sharks by taking photos with a shark selfie frame to share on social media and taking part in a sharktastic postcard coloring contest. The Dive Center also sponsored shark trivia contests in exchange for t-shirts and handed out shark fin ban information to all guests. If you’re in the Virginia Beach area this summer, be sure to stop by to pick up some information or swag!
Virginia Aquarium - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hundreds of people at Virginia Aquarium stopped by the Oceana table to color in postcards and take photos with our inflatable shark friend to show their support for a fin ban now. Visitors were so enthusiastic about this opportunity that Oceana ran out of postcards in less than an hour!
Photo Credit: Terra Pascarosa
Over 150 people stopped by Oceana’s table at the DuPont Farmers Market to learn about the alarming reality of the shark fin trade and what Oceana is doing to help end it in the United States. Visitors signed postcards to Congress, showing their support for a shark fin ban.
Photo Credit: Jacob Ross
Tarrytown, New York
Over 600 people attended the Tarrytown Farmers Market where visitors colored Oceana’s shark postcards to send to their members of Congress. Visitors also learned about the many threats facing sharks and signed a petition to show their support for these fascinating creatures.
Cardiff - Encinitas, California
Activists decorated the Cardiff Kook in Encinitas to show him harnessing the power of the ocean in a battle with a shark-finning scarecrow. Passersby filled out postcards to send to California’s Senators urging them to support a shark fin ban.
Photo Credit: Alison Banks
La Jolla Shores - San Diego, California
Dozens of beachgoers stopped by Oceana’s tent at La Jolla Shores to sign postcards showing their support for a fin ban now.
Photo Credit: Alison Banks
Heal the Bay Aquarium - Santa Monica, California
Hundreds of people came to Heal the Bay Aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier to celebrate the beginning of Shark Week. Actor Jax Malcolm hosted a shark feeding, and the Aquarium featured shark artifact displays, shark themed-films and crafts, and a special Saturday story time for the next generation of ocean lovers. Oceana gave a presentation to increase awareness about the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Participants filled out postcards to send to their members of Congress, and children played with fun, shark-themed tattoos!
Photo Credit: Nancy Downes
YOU can help save sharks too! Be sure to call or write your members of Congress and urge them to support the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act – we need a #FinBanNow. Every week is Shark Week at Oceana!