Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
KOROR, PALAU, 9/28/2009, 7:45 p.m.
A Hero’s Welcome for Palau President Johnson Toribiong.
Friday, September 25, 2009
SPEECH: United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
H.E. Johnson Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau, a tiny Pacific Island nation, will announce to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday September 25, 2009, that Palau has officially declared the waters of its Exclusive Economic Zone (230, 000 Sq. Miles / 620,000 Sq. Kms.) as the worlds first officially recognized SHARK SANCTUARY!
President Toribiong will also call for a global ban on shark-finning and for other nations to follow suit. Through his actions, President Toribiong places Palau at the very forefront of worldwide efforts to protect sharks from unsustainable destruction. This is tremendous news for Palau and for the worldwide battle to protect sharks from unsustainable destruction!
Palau Shark Sanctuary anxiously awaits President Toribiong's official announcement and is standing by to commend him in the highest possible manner for his international leadership in world wide efforts to protect sharks.
Palau Shark Sanctuary
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Public Forum On Shark Fins
Posted using ShareThis
Monday, September 7, 2009
Post 1 provided an overview of shark fishing and finning in Palau going back at least as far as 1995, passage of some of the world's toughest shark protection legislation in 2003, and ended with a report on the status of Senate Bill 8-44 (proposal to permit shark fishing and finning) which was submitted to Congress (OEK) in March 2009, and recently deferred by the Senate in August until their next session this coming October.
On the negative side (very negative), SB 8-44 proposed to undo Palau's world-leading shark protection legislation and instead promote the commercial fishing sharks and shark finning in Palau's waters. Make no mistake, passage of SB 8-44 has the potential to not only destroy Palau's fisheries (including sharks, turtles, rays, tuna and more) but also seriously threatens tourism, kingpin of Palau's fledgling economy. Likewise, passage of SB 8-44 will destroy in seconds the years of investment by Palau in strong environmental stewardship that has led to its’ current world-wide positive reputation as an environmental leader. In short, SB 8-44 risks not only the present and the future, but squanders the past. And thus far for no demonstrable benefit to Palau or Palauans! The international (including local) outcry that has arisen as a result of the proposal of SB 8-44 is in every way justifiable and should not rest until the threat is completely eliminated.
And now to the positive side! Surely there must be one, right?
The introduction of SB 8-44, has brought increased international and local attention to the utmost importance of sharks to healthy marine habitats, raised awareness of the massive threats sharks face at the hands of legal and illegal commercial fishing worldwide, highlighted the value of a healthy and thriving shark population to Palau's tourism based economy , and has brought in to public light the shocking theft and unsustainable destruction of all marine resources within Palau’s EEZ, by foreign fishing fleets.
Out of sight is so often also out of mind. And in the case of commercial fishing in Palau’s EEZ which takes place out of sight of land, few if any in the local community truly understand the horrendous rate of unsustainable destruction of Palau’s resources that is going on just over the horizon. (Recent aerial surveillance recorded 70 foreign fishing craft in Palau’s EEZ at one time).
Even fewer people to date have been aware of the relatively miniscule contributions by licensed fishing to Palau’s national treasury let alone the massive losses Palau incurs from illegal acts of piracy of Palau’s fisheries by international commercial fishing fleets. There are expert estimates that less than 7% of the market value of fish taken from Pacific Island waters (including Palau) actually ends up in the country from whose waters the catch was taken. Put another way, 93% of the value of fish taken from Pacific Island waters (including Palau) goes to foreign fishing fleets and or their home countries and NOT TO PALAU! That alone should be cause for outrage. And it just may be….or at the very least is the seed for a growing outrage.
The more the issue of shark fishing and finning is discussed in Palau (as a result of SB 8-44) the more focused is the attention being paid to the practices both legal and illegal of foreign fishing fleets both licensed and unlicensed in Palau’s waters. The onion is indeed being peeled back and the real and very rotten truth is starting to come to light. Finally, there is a growing realization within the community that commercial fishing by foreign fishing fleets in Palau’s waters is both costly and destructive to Palau and cannot possibly be sustained.
The pressure must therefore be maintained on bringing to light to the community the true costs, damage and dangers that commercial fishing poses to all of Palau’s marine resources including our sharks.
As was pointed out by recent visitors from PEW Foundation who came to Palau to assess the situation here regarding shark protection, the laws presently on the books in Palau and which remain in full effect despite any efforts to change them, are indeed among the toughest pieces of shark protection legislation of any nation around the world.
In effect, Palau is already a SHARK SANCTUARY….the process of formalizing it just has to be completed. It’s yet another reason why SB 8-44 must be defeated.
Palau must be urged to complete what it started with it’s already bold stand on protecting sharks, by protecting forever the landmark legislation that SB 8-44 seeks to undo!
On that I am very positive!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Shark Protection in Palau, September 2009:
Despite efforts by some to the contrary, Palau continues its' six-year world leadership with perhaps the strongest shark protection legislation yet passed worldwide!
Summary of Palau’s Shark Protection Law as of September 2003:
Palau’s laws makes it illegal for any foreign-fishing vessel to have any part of any shark, or turtle, or ray, on board at any time, for any reason, dead or alive.
How Did We Get To This Point?
IN NOVEMBER 2001, Palau Shark Sanctuary was founded with the goal of establishing the waters of Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone as a SHARK SANCTUARY.
IN MAY 2003, Palau’s President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., demonstrated his strong support for passage of even tougher shark protection laws by publicly set fire to shark fins found aboard a foreign vessel caught fishing illegally in Palau waters. Shark fishing was by then illegal but maximum fines allowed against violators were minimal and not a deterrent at all. It was a message heard round the world.
In the 6 years since Palau’s bold move in 2003, no other country that I am aware of has passed shark protection laws remotely close to the strength of Palau’s laws.
IN JANUARY 2004, Palau received international recognition from Shark Project as recipient of their very first Shark Guardian of The Year Award, for passage of such tough shark protection laws.
In the months and years since 2003, Palau’s Division of Marine Law Enforcement which operates Palau’s lone patrol boat “Remeliik” has been engaged in the frontline battle to protect Palau’s fisheries including enforcement of shark protection laws. Likewise, Palau’s Customs Officers and other law enforcement personnel have been engaged in monitoring the activities of foreign fishing vessels in Palau’s waters and have been successful in prosecuting a growing list of violators through Palau’s courts.
Read back through posts on http://sharksanctuary.blogspot.com/ for more reports.
The Royal Australian Navy which provided Palau (and many other Pacific Island nations) with their patrol boat maintains a Maritime Surveillance Team on the ground in Palau to advise and support the efforts of “Remeliik” in fisheries protection. The Royal Australian Navy Team provides technical assistance and training to the crew of “Remeliik” while the vessel itself is operated by an all Palauan crew.
The Royal Australian Air Force also lends a hand with maritime surveillance using P3-Orion aircraft to monitor Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone. On a recent 3 day aerial patrol in August 2009, a total of 70 fishing vessels were recorded from countries that included Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.
Assault on Shark Protection in Palau:
JANUARY 2009, Palau’s mostly new government of 16 State Delegates and 13 Senators was sworn in to office, along with Palau's new President H.E. Johnson Toribiong, thereby ending the eight year Remengesau administration.
Assault on Palau's Shark Protection Laws:
MARCH 5, 2009, Senate Bill B No. 8-44 which proposes to allow commercial fishing for sharks was introduced by a newly elected Senator and passed on 1st reading that same day.
So began the recent campaign to weaken and or repeal Palau’s six year old world-leading shark protection legislation and place Palau’s fisheries under threat. (Read March 17 and April 2, 2009, posts on this Blog for more details).
IN A MARCH 17, 2009, Blog post, Palau Shark Sanctuary raised the alarm to the international community who immediately rallied to the cause with letters, blogs, petitions, radio shows and more, urging Palau’s newly installed government to maintain Palau’s strong shark protection and fisheries laws.
Part Two to Follow……..Stay Tuned!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It’s been a while since I’ve updated my Blog on what’s happening with sharks, shark protection, and the efforts to repeal Palau’s landmark shark protection legislation which is among the toughest in the world. There is much to report and my lack of posting is simply a reflection of the incredible and almost overwhelming pressure bearing down on sharks and shark conservation in Palau from so many angles that it is simply impossible for Palau’s marine law enforcement personnel let alone one person such as me to keep on top of things. We need help on every front and appreciate the efforts of those already engaged.
I’ve not been idle in the battle to protect Palau’s sharks but alas neither have those intent on exploiting Palau’s sharks regardless of the environmental or economic consequences. Just as in the case of the numerous “Survivor” shows that have been shot in Palau, when it comes to shark protection and marine law enforcement it continues to be a case of who will outlast, outplay and outwit whom. Shall good triumph over evil?
SHARK FINNING CONTINUES: (Bad News!)
In my last post back in April 2009, I reported on the continuing pillage of Palau’s sharks by foreign fishing vessels. Sadly but oh! so predictably it continues just as before. Most recently (August 2009) there was yet another in a long and growing list of foreign fishing vessels caught illegally fishing in Palau’s waters and of course upon inspection, it was found to be loaded with sharks and shark fins. The officers and crew of Palau’s lone patrol boat “REMELIIK” are to be commended for their ongoing efforts to bring these international criminals to justice but unfortunately not everyone in Palau, including some of our leaders, appear to respect the importance, significance and sacrifices of their work.
Weakening or repealing Palau's present shark protection laws as proposed in SB 8-44, will almost certainly prevent Palau's law enforcement personnel from successfully prosecuting high seas criminals hell bent on stealing Palau's sovereign resources.
I was on vacation and therefore not around to photograph and document the shocking catch of yet another illegal shark-finning pirate, but unfortunately it probably looks the same as the myriad images I’ve already taken over the years of senselessly slaughtered sharks, so I’m posting some file photos instead, all of which are taken in Palau.
LEGISLATION (SB 8-44): (More Bad News!)
It’s also no secret that earlier this year (March 17 post) Senate Bill (SB) 8-44 was introduced by one of Palau’s newly elected Senators which proposes to repeal Palau’s world-leading shark protection laws and instead permit and promote commercial shark fishing and shark finning for the supposed economic gain of Palau. No evidence or data was included in the bill that supported an economic argument justifying the bills introduction quite likely because there is none.
The real issue is the battle between those who seek to exploit Palau’s resources for short term and or personal gain at any cost and those who believe in the sustainable management of Palau's natural resources for the long term benefit of the entire community.
While the message being put forth by supporters of the proposed legislation for commercial shark fishing and finning (SB 8-44) is one of “we are taking care of Palauans”, conversations with many other Palauans indicate that they are repulsed by what is being proposed (supposedly to their benefit) by some of their leaders. There is great concern that SB 8-44 is being driven by wealthy overseas commercial fishing companies, especially from the Philippines, that may have compromised sound decision-making by some of Palau's leaders in exchange for personal gain.
Palauans have long history of sustainable use of their resources. It is not a new idea. On the contrary it is a practice that has been integral to Palauans' survival for hundreds of years. When Palauans are exposed to the real truth and evidence of the massive damage and destruction already being done to their fisheries by illegal foreign fishing companies they will surely be even more revolted. It's not just about sharks, it concerns all of Palau's marine resources. The waters of Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone are under immense and ever-increasing onslaught by licensed and unlicensed fishing companies seeking out every last living creature within. Aerial surveillance shows strings of illegally placed FADs (Fish Attracting Devices) placed in Palau's waters and surrounded by foreign fishing vessels that are quite likely taking everything they possibly can including tuna, sharks, turtles, rays and anything else that will turn a profit for them. And where does the money go? In to the hands of foreign fishing companies and the pockets of those who do their bidding. And what about Palau's fisheries? Most every Palauan fisherman will readily admit that there are less fish in their waters today than a mere ten years ago.
While it may take science to prove that, it certainly doesn't take a scientist to figure out that it's true. And it makes sense. Palau's waters are being vacuumed bare at an ever increasing rate both legally and illegally....but it's been out of sight and scrutiny of the community for many years. Now the effects of unsustainable destruction of high seas fisheries are beginning to be seen closer to shore and questions are now being raised within the community. Instead of weakening shark protection laws there are a growing number that belives it is time for Palau to toughen and broaden protection of its' marine resources and to punish scofflaw illegal fishing companies for their acts of piracy, in full view of the international community. Palau can do it!
Although Palau is among the newest and smallest countries in the world and within the United Nations, Palau has long track record of strong leadership in conservation that shames many of the so called and much wealthier developed nations.
Just as one person can make a difference, so too can one country.
GOOD NEWS! (And we sure need some!)
For now, SB 8-44 is deferred until the next Congress session in October (at which time it will undoubtedly rear its ugly head once again). It's a good start for now and one we hope to build on. Many thanks to all who helped thus far.
On another positive note, the dive industry, tour companies, Palau Chamber of Commerce, Belau Tourism Association, Palau Visitors Authority and a growing number of private individuals are strongly united in opposition to SB 8-44. Palau Chamber of Commerce and Belau Tourism Association have issued strong public statements in opposition to any lessening of shark protection in Palau and in fact may soon call for even stronger shark protection legislation.
With the aid of Michael Skoletsky http://www.sharksavers.org/ more than 4,500 signatures have already been collected from around the world and delivered to Palau’s leadership voicing clear opposition to the legalization of shark fishing and shark finning proposed in SB 8-44. Yet another testament that one person can indeed make a difference. I urge you to get involved!
This very moment there are members of PEW Foundation (http://www.pewenvironment.org/) on the ground in Palau assessing the situation and evaluating where and when they may be of assistance to Palau in securing the continued and increased protection of our sharks. Thus far they have been very positively received and are quite impressed with the strong sentiment in the community that shark fishing and shark finning are both inappropriate and unacceptable practices in Palau's waters.
I'm also very pleased to report that the House of Traditional Leaders, a powerful organization of Palauan traditional chiefs that serves in an advisory capacity to elected President H.E. Johnson Toribiong, are in opposition to any weaking of Palau's strong shark protection laws.
I will wrap this rather lengthy post with the message of hope that while the plight of sharks worldwide is indeed depressing and demoralizing, the growing resolve of the community in Palau to fight for their protection, regardless of the odds, is both invigorating and inspirational.
One person can make a difference. Every persons effort counts. If you care about the health of the oceans, this is the time to stand up and be counted too. Get involved!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
About a week ago a foreign fishing vessel licensed in Palau under locally owned company Kuniyoshi Fishing Company (KFC), ran aground on the reefs off the east side of Palau adjacent to Airai State. While it apparently took several days for investigative teams to conduct a search and survey of the area and or the boat, sources in Palau inform me that bags of shark fins and or shark carcasses along with steel leaders used by fishermen to specifically target sharks, were found underwater in the area where the boat ran aground. The use of steel leaders is prohibited under Palau law. Apparently the vessel was enroute from the fishing grounds to Malakal Harbor for unloading when the captain fell asleep causing the boat to hit the reef. One can only speculate what evidence may have been destroyed before authorities were able to secure the scene.
The Attorney Generals Office has reportedly filed notice of probable cause and is expected to file charges against the fishing company with a number of violations.
As you may be aware, Palau has very clear and very strong laws adopted in 2003 that protect sharks and forbid foreign fishing vessels from having any part of any turtle, shark, or ray on board at any time, dead or alive. Likewise, steel leaders are prohibited on board as they are clearly the tools of those who target sharks. But Palau’s laws are under threat of repeal at this very moment if recently introduced Senate Bill SB8-44, to permit commercial fishing for sharks and shark finning, passes in to law. A follow-up killer punch is Senate Bill SB 8-50, also recently introduced, which proposes to encourage commercial purse-seining fisheries in Palau’s waters by granting them a 5 year exemption on the fish export taxes payable to Palau.
Clearly, there are opposing forces at work and incompatible forces at that. Palau relies heavily on tourism as the mainstay of its emerging economy and yet heavy pressure is being applied to pass laws that many believe will destroy the very environment upon which Palau has staked its future. We cannot have unsustainable fisheries and sustainable tourism. Palau must choose one or the other.
The shark conservation organization SHARK SAVERS has created an on-line petition where you may register your opposition to Senate Bill 8-44 and commercial shark fishing in Palau. At last report, over two thousand petitioners around the world have registered their objections to SB 8-44, and encouraged Palau to maintain their reputation and status as an environmental role-model. Please visit the link below and sign this petition today.
Petition Link: http://www.sharksavers.org/get-involved/sign-these-petitions/542-petition-to-palau-stop-senate-bill-8-44-on-shark-fishing.html
Comments are also requested to be submitted to Palau Chamber of Commerce and Belau Tourism Association respectively at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
HELP SAVE PALAU’S SHARKS!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The two controversial Senate Bills (SB8-44 and SB8-50) which propose to undo Palau’s landmark shark protection laws adopted under the previous Remengesau Administration in 2003, are both pending at the Senate Committee on Resources, Commerce, Trade and Development.
SB No. 8-44 which proposes to allow commercial fishing for sharks was introduced on March 5, 2009 and passed 1st reading on that same day.
SB No. 8-50 which proposes to exempt commercial fishing companies from export taxes on fish caught by purse-seining methods for a period of 5 years was introduced on March 26, 2009 and passed first reading on the same day too.
For background on these controversial Bills read earlier posts on this Blog. Visit Palau Shark Sanctuary for more information on shark conservation efforts in Palau at:
The shark conservation organization SHARK SAVERS has created an on-line petition where you may register your opposition to Senate Bill 8-44 and commercial shark fishing. Please visit the link below and sign this petition today. Time is of the essence. Please act now!
Also, please continue to pass the word to others and continue to submit comments to Palau Chamber of Commerce and Belau Tourism Association respectively at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Many thanks to all who have already acted including professional photographers and environmentalists EDWARD DORSON, TODD ESSICK and GUNTHER DEICHMANN who are among the many concerned individuals who have taken time to submit their comments in opposition to these Bills. These professional photographers have all visited and dived in Palau and know just how important sharks are to Palau’s tourism industry and to the entire marine eco-system. We appreciate their support.
Visit their websites and blogs for more information and fantastic images at:
Edward Dorson: http://dorsonstudios.com/
Todd Essick: http://www.blogger.com/www.essickphoto.com
Gunther Deichmann: http://gdphotonews.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
All messages sent to the Belau Tourism Association firstname.lastname@example.org and Palau Chamber of Commerce email@example.com have been submitted to the Senate Committee in charge of reviewing these Bills.
By way of clarification, these Bills were submitted by just two of Palau's thirteen Senators and don't necessarily reflect the position of the Administration or other Senators. The Bills will be reviewed in Committee before further action is taken. It is therefore very important that the review committee hears from as many people as possible on the potential damage to Palau's marine environment and tourism industry that passage of these proposed Bills (SB8-44 and SB8-50) may cause.
Following are LINKS to some of the organizations that have already publicized this issue that includes SHARK DIVERS, FINS ONLINE MAGAZINE, GUNTHER DEICHMANN, STOP SHARK FINNING. RTSEABLOG. I sincerely appreciate your support. I also apologize to those I've missed and I'm sure there are plenty. I will post more links as time permits.
I've also had support from http://www.year-of-the-shark-2009.org
Let Sharks Live Think Tank Network
and from http://savesharksnow.livejournal.com/
I am working on an online petition and other outreach programs and will post that information as soon as I can.
Please continue to spread the word and urge as many people as possible to submit their comments.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
SENATE BILL S-44 proposes:
"To amend Title 27 of the Palau National Code to allow for the commercial fishing of sharks within Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone, to impose a tax on the export of sharks and tuna-like species, and for other related purposes."
SENATE BILL S-50 proposes:
"To exempt, for a period of five years, the export of tuna and tuna-like species caught using the group purse seining or handline fishing method from Palau's fish export tax, to allow for an alternate transshipment port for fish caught using the group purse seining or handline fishing method, and for other related purposes."
The bill goes on to say in Section 4: "For five year from the effective date of this Act, the export of any fish caught by a commercial fishing company using the group purse seining or handline fishing method shall be exempt from the fish export tax"
If these two proposed bills pass in to law, the combined effect will be:
- To permit and encourage the killing of sharks in Palau's waters
- To promote shark finning
- To promote fishing methods that according to Monterey Bay Aquarium "result in large amounts of unintended catch" including sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays and juveniles: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_gear.aspx
- To exempt fishing companies from any export taxes on fish taken from Palau's waters
- To make it practically impossible for Palau's law enforcement personnel to successfully prosecute alleged violators in the courts
- To risk destroying Palau's sustainable tourism industry
- To risk destroying Palau's marine resources through unsustainable practices
- To gamble on all of the above for no apparent gain to Palau or Palauans.
Both proposed Bills are conspicuously absent of any information, explanation or data to demonstrate a positive benefit to the People of Palau and or Palau's National Treasury from passage of these Bills. Meanwhile, members of Palau's tourism industry are becoming increasingly alarmed at the potential severe negative impacts on tourism and the pristine marine environment that underpins that industry, if these Bills pass in to law.
There are very active negotiations underway between Palau and The Philippines at this very time to enter in to commercial fishing agreements and clearly there are elements of strong political support for the fishing companies as indicated by SB 8-44 and SB 8-50.
The private industry organizations Palau Chamber of Commerce (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Belau Tourism Association (email@example.com) and the government tourism office Palau Visitors Authority (firstname.lastname@example.org) are urging those around the world opposed to shark fishing, shark finning and unsustainable fishing practices to please express their concerns immediately by e-mail to all of the respective organizations.
It is ironic in The International Year of The Shark 2009, that Palau, the worlds very first winner of Sharkprojects "Shark Guardian of The Year Award" is considering legislation that could potentially put it at bitter odds with the international shark conservation community and destroy its reputation as a world class dive destination known for abundant sharks and large pelagic animals.
SAVE PALAU'S SHARKS
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Senate Bill No. 8-44 seeks "to amend Title 27 of Palau's National Code to allow for the commercial fishing of sharks within Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone, to impose a tax on the export of sharks and tuna-like species, and for other related purposes."
The proposed law is a potentially severe blow to Palau's tourism industry of which scuba diving is the mainstay. Palau gained international recognition in 2004 for passage of landmark legislation that protected sharks, turtles and rays and outlawed the practice of shark-finning. Under Senate Bill 8-44 it is unclear whether shark fishing and or shark-finning is or is not permitted and the ambiguity will make it virtually impossible for law enforcement to successfully prosecute potential violators. Sections of the bill read as follows:
"It is unlawful for any person: to remove the fins of or otherwise intentionally mutilate or injure any such shark"
"It shall be unlawful for any person to have on board a fishing vessel shark fins that total more than five percent of the weight of sharks on board."
Other provisions of the proposed Act call for:
"An appropriate export tax for shark and fish caught pursuant to this Act."
"A minimum monetary or in-kind fish donation that commercial fishing companies shall make to the Belau National Hospital, the Aging Program within the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs, or similar governmental agency or private, non-profit organization. These donations shall come from fish or shark caught pursuant to this Act, or revenues generated from those fish or shark."
Members of the Belau Tourism Association, Palau Chamber of Commerce and the Palau Visitors Authority are strongly opposed to passage of this legislation.
Fishing company consortiums from the city of General Santos, Philippines, are pressing hard for rights to fish in Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone and it is widely believed that introduction of this bill is no mere coincidence. Foreign fishing fleets have a well documented track record of violating Palau's environmental laws, poaching Palau's marine resources and violating fishing agreements. This proposed Bill puts the Palau's tourism industry directly at odds with commercial fishing in Palau's waters as the two are simply incompatible.
In 2004 Palau was recognized by shark conservation agency Sharkproject as their Shark Guardian of The Year. Passage of Senate Bill 8-44 will be a sudden and potentially costly about face for Palau that will yield no gain. Palau only stands to lose...lose its fisheries and its dive industry.
I urge you to speak out against this proposed Bill by sending your comments to all of the following organizations who are fighting against Senate Bill 8-44:
Belau Tourism Association: email@example.com
Palau Chamber of Commerce: firstname.lastname@example.org
Palau Visitors Authority: email@example.com
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Dusseldorf, Germany: January, 17, 2009
Announcing S.AV.E. Our Sharks – Shark Awareness Visitor Education Program!
Sam’s Tours Palau is pleased to announce the official launch of SHARK WEEKS (http://www.sharkweeks.com/) marking a year long commitment to shark awareness and education in support of the International Year of The Shark 2009, to help bring an end to the unprecedented slaughter and destruction of sharks worldwide.
Palau is renowned among divers for exciting encounters with sharks in their natural environment. There is no need to bait sharks, stage orchestrated shark feeds or place divers in shark cages. As a veteran Palauan dive guide says “every week is shark week in Palau!” and it’s true. Divers and snorkelers can encounter sharks on almost every outing all year round. While different times of the year bring different behaviors among sharks, diving and snorkeling with sharks is an experience to be enjoyed year round in Palau.
And “shark diving” is not just limited to dive trips or snorkel trips. Kayakers participating in tours with Planet Blue Sea Kayak Tours may enjoy unique opportunities to visit shark nurseries in the inner lagoon areas where baby black tip sharks hide out until mature enough to take their place on the outer reef.
Even those enjoying helicopter rides with “Matt the Pilot” over at Palau Helicopters are often treated to shark sightings. In fact, Matt most recently reported sightings of baby hammerhead sharks within the lagoon which were heretofore almost unknown. Bottom line, there are few better places than Palau for exciting up close shark encounters whether you’re a diver, a snorkeler or simply enjoying a birds eye view of Palau from the air.
What better place then than Palau to get up close and personal with sharks and learn about their critical role in the marine environment, understand their life cycle, witness their importance to Palau’s fledgling tourism industry, and learn about the unprecedented destruction in a matter of a few short years of a creature that has otherwise survived unchanged for millions of years? Why limit shark awareness to a once a year Shark Week when in fact every week is Shark Week in Palau?
As a member of the International Year of The Shark and a long standing supporter of shark conservation in Palau, Sam’s Tours is therefore proud to launch SHARK WEEKS with a year long S.A.V.E. our SHARKS (Shark Awareness Visitor Education) program.
Throughout Shark Weeks guests will enjoy shark awareness and shark education interpretive briefings that will enhance their shark encounters in Palau and hopefully encourage them to join the fight to protect sharks worldwide. SAVE our SHARKS certificates will be presented to those who complete the program and they will be listed in the Palau Shark Sanctuary Shark Savers Registry.
Throughout 2009, Sam’s Tours will also conduct Shark Byte, a year long free competition for Sam’s Tours guests in search of the best digital image of a shark taken in Palau. Starting February 1, 2009, and every week until the end of the International Year of the Shark 2009, we will select a winning image for Shark Byte of the week from entries received that week. Winners of Shark Byte of the Week will receive a Palau Shark Sanctuary T-shirt and have their image posted on-line. Weekly winners will automatically be entered in Shark Byte of the Year, with the results of the competition to be announced at the close of the International Year of the Shark.
The Grand Prize for the Winner of Sam’s Tours Shark Byte includes:
Round Trip Airfare from Manila to Palau
7 Nights Hotel Accommodation
5 Days of Diving (or other tour of the winners choice)
To reserve your place or more information on Shark Weeks, please visit:
http://www.sharkweeks.com/ or contact: RESERVATIONS@SAMSTOURS.COM
Other informative links:
Saturday, January 10, 2009
January 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
I'm happy to announce that my new (and first) website for the Palau Shark Sanctuary is finally launched. While there are still some edits and revisions required, the basic site is up and running. The URL is: http://www.sharksanctuary.com/
Additionally, my BLOG located at: http://www.sharksanctuary.blogspot.com/ will soon be linked to the new site.
I'm deeply indebted to my good friend, fellow environmentalist and amazing photographer Gunther Deichmann who sponsored and created the site in support of the International Year of the Shark 2009. Gunther was instrumental in helping me get the Shark Sanctuary off the ground back in 2001 and has been and ardent supporter ever since. Many thanks Gunther and Webmaster Arnold Munoz. I sincerely appreciate your support.
Check out Gunther's Blog at: http://www.deichmann-photo.com/blog.html
I also owe considerable thanks to Mr. Dennis Camblin of Logo Pacific, Hawaii who has supported me from day one and launched the Palau Shark Sanctuary line of logo clothing which has helped fund my efforts since 2001. Thanks Dennis!
Thanks also to Sam's Tours and Ben Franklin Department Store who are corporate sponsors of Palau Shark Sanctuary and sell Shark Sanctuary logo clothing in support of the efforts to end shark-finning in Palau and elsewhere.
Sam's Tours: http://www.samstours.com
Please pay a visit to http://www.sharksanctuary.com/ and link to: http://www.sharksanctuary.blogspot.com/ for the latest news on sharks and shark conservation efforts in Palau.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The International Year of The Shark initiative was launched by the LET SHARKS LIVE network whose members were so alarmed by the announcement in The Global Shark Assessment that "at the current rates of decline, extinction is indicated for a high fraction of oceanic shark species, in ten to fifteen years." In response to this very disturbing news, Let Sharks Live declared 2009 International Year of The Shark in an emergency effort to halt the unsustainable killing of sharks before it’s too late.
For more information on International Year of The Shark please visit: http://www.year-of-the-shark-2009.org/
For information on Palau Shark Sanctuary, please visit: http://www.sharksanctuary.com/