Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The value of Sharks

There's a lot of NGOs out there and generally speaking, I'm pretty weary about them.

All too often, the global picture is that of a deplorable fragmentation of efforts, vitriolic infighting, too much bureaucracy, widespread ideological bias and finally, squandering of resources and lack of tangible results. From a "Business" and "ROI" point of view, most of the Boards concerned should be fired for incompetence and for having failed to meet their goals.

But there are notable exceptions to that.
Apart from Juerg's faithful -and I may add: highly successful- principal sponsors Shark Foundation and SOS Foundation, one organization that regularly shines in its relentless advocacy of the need to protect Sharks is Oceana.

Amid a plethora of information, and action, concerning Sharks, Oceana has released two important papers detailing the value of Sharks:

"Predators as Prey" examines the role of Sharks in safeguarding healthy ecosystems by regulating the numbers and influencing the behavior of its prey. Apart from the famous case of the demise of the North Atlantic's scallop fisheries, it details examples from Australia, Alaska and the Caribbean. This is required reading for anybody, like us, having to defend Sharks from the allegation of being useless, man-hunting vermin that is best eradicated.

"SeaTheValue" explores the value divers assign to being able to experience healthy Coral, Sharks and Sea Turtles, notabene additionally to the value of diving per se. May this be the harbinger of a paradigm shift away from pure tree-hugging and towards a more pragmatic approach to Conservation in line with our own project paper?

Well done and as we say over here, Vinaka Vakalevu!

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