The Long Awaited Return!

Hello to all of my fintastic readers!

I apologize for my long absence, but school has seemed to get the best of me once again…  HOWEVER, I will begin posting weekly shark news again and of course, a countdown until Sharkweek will be going up very soon!  I hope that all of you have taken some of my advice while I was gone and signed a petition or two, called up some local restaurants and asked them to stop selling shark fin soup, and done your part to keep the ocean clean.  I know I have! Shark news is on its way and I can’t wait to get back to filling you all in on the best creatures in the sea!

Just Keep Swimming,

Great White Teenager

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Love sharks year round, not just during Sharkweek

     So after all of my months of preaching about helping sharks and “saving my fin-tastic friends”, it’s about time I show you some great ways to donate money to shark protection that reward you in some pretty awesome shark paraphernalia! And for those days when you just want to shout your love for sharks on the rooftop, there are plenty of awesome shark things out there to buy! LET’S GET STARTED:

1. sharkwater – is an INCREDIBLE, life changing movie and each purchase of the DVD goes to supporting and protecting sharks all over the world from finning and murder.  This purchase is definitely worth it!

2. adopt a shark here, or here, or even here! – Donate money to help a specific shark (i.e. adopting a shark).  Some places let you name your shark and others give you a nice “glossy photo” of your new adopted pet!

And for those days that you just want to enjoy sharks without having to save the planet, here are quite a few of my favorite shark items for sale:

3.  Shark mug – this mug is great for any finatic that loves the thrill of seeing a great white in his empty mug every morning.

4.  Chumbuddy – I received this 7 foot bad boy for my 19th birthday and could not have been happier!  He is huge, the life of every party, and amazingly comfortable!  This plush companion is great for any bedroom, warm enough to sleep in each night, and cool enough to show off to everyone you know!

My Brother in the best birthday present I've ever received at my Shark themed dinner!

5. Shark backpack – Carry around your books in style with this awesome shark backpack!  It can make even the most terrifying classes seem tame in comparison to its sharp teeth.

6. Shark bean bag chair cover – One of my personal favorites, this bean bag cover allows any seat to become fin-tastic!

7. Shark ring – Shark rings are an awesome reminder of those amazing swimmers that need all of the help that they can get!  I personally love shark jewelry and have a gorgeous ring, and a necklace that I wear every day!

8. Shark Nails – If I was talented enough, I would rock these nails on every occassion!  Give it a shot and copy this nail art to give show that you are a true fin-atic!

9. Shark Infested Jello – This is a simple recipe that include blue jello, some cool whip to add the white waves on the top, and some gummy sharks that you can find at any Sweet Factory or candy dispensary to add in throughout the jello! Fun, easy, and great for a sharkweek party or just a normal, shark-filled day!

10. Shark Cake – Yes, I did make this cake!  Yes, it was for my own birthday!  Surprisingly, this wasn’t as difficult as it looks.  Just layers of cake with some fondant bought at Michaels made my birthday one that I will never forget! (To check out all of the steps that went into making my cake, take a look at my first blog post ever!

        So now you know ten awesome things that can help support the incredible creatures that I love and care about most!  And if these aren’t satisfying enough for such an extreme shark lover like you, feel free to check out some of the things that I personally own!  Best bet, search shark____ on google or amazon and you can find ANYTHING you’re looking for.  I have a shark blanket, a huge Jaws poster that I bought on Hollywood Blvd., shark ice cube trays that are super cheap and can be found easily on amazon, shark lighters (awesome and found on amazon), and a small, stuffed, blacktip shark named  Kevin who sits on my bed. Go out and find shark things that are right for you and help support my amazing friends!

And remember, Just Keep Swimming!

Great White Teenager

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Welcome back Shark Lovers!

             I apologize for my long absence, however I was extremely busy over the holidays.  Luckily, I got two new pairs of shark socks, two awesome shark lighters, and just ordered my own copy of Sharkwater! <— (Once again, I recommend all of my readers to check out the film because once you see what is truly happening to the huge, graceful, fintastic friends of mine, I KNOW you will be hooked on trying to find a solution!)

          But aside from my awesome holiday break, there is some huge news arising from down under!  Scientists in Australia discovered a hybrid shark on January 3rd!  What a way to start off the new year!  What does this mean?  Well, have you heard of a liger? (lion/tiger) Or possibly an Okapi? (horse/zebra/giraffe)  Well the shark found off the coast of Australia was a hybrid of the common blacktip shark and the Australian blacktip shark!  And they not only found one of these extreme rarities, but 54 hybrid sharks. 

“To find a wild hybrid animal is unusual,” the scientists wrote in the journal Conservation Genetics. “To find 57 hybrids along 2,000 km (1,240 miles) of coastline is unprecedented.”

The great number of hybrids located in the area tells scientists that this is no coincidence or accidental mating of species.  However, why would this be happening?  Why would two different species that have never been known to mate, begin now, in the year 2012?  Is it the end of the world?

        Absolutely not!  It’s just the beginning of a new one!  Scientists believe that this new hybrid shark is a form of evolution in order to survive the climate change occuring around the world.  While Australian blacktips were forced to stay in tropical waters ending around Brisbane, Australia,

“…the hybrid sharks swam more than 1,000 miles south to cooler areas around Sydney”

Being able to adapt to their surroundings just proves the theory of evolution as we witness it happening!  Not only do the sharks travel to more fit waters, they are also larger than most Australian blacktip sharks.  

“The team also found that several sharks that genetically identified as Australian blacktips were longer than the maximum length typically found for the species. Australian blacktips reach 5.2 feet; common blacktips in that part of the world reach 6.6 feet.”

These adaptations will allow the sharks to prevail in the new conditions created by the ever changing world that we live in.  And while many animals are becoming extinct or severely endangered, blacktip sharks are finding new ways to outsmart climate change and continue to survive in new environments.  GO SHARKS!  But be warned, we aren’t going to be seeing any Great White Tiger Sharks or Lemon Hammerheads any times soon.  The Australian blacktip and the  common blacktip have very similar anatomies and therefore are capable of mating.

       

      Even though sharks seems to be hated by the majority of people because they are misunderstood, there can be no denying that they are doing something right if they are managing to evolve right before our eyes into a more efficient species.  Sharks are a little more than brainless man-eaters, huh?

Well that’s all from me today!  Look out for my next post about awesome shark merchandise and where to get it!

and remember to Just Keep Swimming,

Great White Teenager

Lend a Hand, not a Fin!

Hello again my loyal shark supporters!

        I hope that all avid ccn.com viewers (if those even exist?) recently checked out the recent video posted of the Great White shark off the coast of North Carolina – a real rarity! If not, its a really quick, awesome video of a Great White in the freezing North Carolina waters that finally portrays the shark as the calm and curious creature that it is.  It isn’t the most incredible, entertaining video you’ll ever watch, but if you have a spare moment, why not watch a video that shows the gentle side of the Great giant?

         If only all sharks were given the opportunity to be seen in a calmer, friendlier light.  However, the “deviant flesh feinds” are normally cast as attackers and mindless murderers.  Because of this, there are very few who avidly and actively support shark finning bans.  Who would want to protect a murderer?  And who would care about such heartless creatures?

         Well, I can give you a list of a few places that have now implemented a ban on all shark finning with the hope of making a huge difference in the realm of shark protection.  One of the most influential places that has banned shark finning – that I mentioned in my introductory post on shark finning – is Hawaii.  With its %13 Chinese population, Hawaii passed a bill banning all shark finning and prohibiting the sale of shark-fin-soup as of July 1st, 2011.  Hawaii is extremely abundant in a variety of shark species, which leaves its waters extremely vulnerable to overfishing and shark hunting.  With the ban now in effect, it is hoped that Hawaii will stand strong against shark finning and efficiently protect the hundreds of sharks that swim along its beautiful coast.  The sponsor of this Hawaiian bill, Senator Clayton Hee, D-Kahuku-Kaneohe, believes, along with many other Hawaiians, environmentalists, and specialist, that passing this bill will influence other regions to do the same.  Senator Hee states,

“It’s not a local issue. It’s an international issue.”

And Marie Levine, the founder and executive director of the Shark Research Institute in New Jersey continues this idea saying,

“This is a landmark bill.  This is enormously important for the conservation of sharks.”

By passing this bill, Senator Hee and many Hawaiian natives (many of whom are partially of Chinese decent and still consider shark killing to be a terrible attack on the spirit of the ocean) hope that a trend will start and that nations all over the world will follow Hawaii’s example.

          Although the world is still murdering millions upon millions of sharks each year, Oregon is now following in Hawaii’s footsteps!  On August 5th, 2010, one month after Hawaii’s bill was passed, Oregon passed a law banning shark finning and the sale of shark-fin-soup.  However, Oregon’s ban is not as full proof as Hawaii’s, for it does not specifically address international imports, leaving a few backdoors to the law.  A real bummer for us shark fin-atics.

          Following Hawaii and Oregon came Washington to pass the ban bill, and then California.  However, California’s ban will not go into effect until 2013.  This pattern of banning shark finning, especially in places along the coast of the United States where shark fishing is much more probably, is incredible!  I feel like I should personally write Hawaii a letter thanking them for all of their help in spreading the word about shark finning and how to prevent it!  And although this is just the beginning and there are still 44 states in the U.S. and hundreds of countries around the world, shark de-fin-ders like myself can’t help but let out a yell of excitement at all of this great news!

 
          Along with the bans that are being implemented on the west coast, Yao Ming, the retired Chinese NBA player, is a full fledged supporter of banning shark      finning and protecting sharks! GO YAO! On September 22nd Mr. Ming and Richard Branson (a very powerful British tycoon) appealed to 30 extremely wealthy Chinese businessmen to stop eating shark-fin-soup.  This is a pretty ballsy act considering it is primarily the wealthy Chinese that eat the high-priced bowls of murder.  Branson and Ming explained that if the men stop demanding the soup, there will no longer be a need to kill the sharks.  Branson elaborated saying

“There’s been a massive increase in shark fin soup and the killing of sharks…the world is getting wealthier, particularly in China people are getting wealthier, and they can now afford to buy shark fin soup.  We’re trying to get other businesses to ban the transportation of shark fins.”

        This plea to the wealthy is a huge move on behalf of the sharks!  And it is only with the help of these passionate people that anything will be accomplished in terms of stopping shark finning.  Sharks are being murdered every day and it needs to come to an end.  These fin-tastic friends need a helping hand, and although the arm is slowly being outstretched, we need 3 billion hands to actually get the job done!

       So how can you lend the needed hand?  Do what I have been asking of you for months now!  Sign a petition, make a donation, call a restaurant and ask them to remove shark-fin-soup from their menu, and of course, DON’T ORDER THE SOUP!  Although it may seen like so much is being done to stop the malicious massacre of my fish munching muchacho, there is still so much that needs to be done.  The killing is continuing and an estimated 1.5 million sharks are being murdered each week because of the selfishness of humans and the constant demand for flavorless fins.  And I know, I know, I promised I would stop lecturing, preaching, and begging you to help these creatures that I love more than anything but I can’t help but ask you one more time (or maybe ten…) to help the cause. 

The movement has begun, join the crowd, jump on the band wagon, and Just Keep Swimming!

Great White Teenager

A Week Full of Deep Anticipation

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

           I hope that everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed some shark-fin-soup free meals with their families! 

       I just wanted to tell some extremely interesting news that could teach us a lot about sharks in the near future.  As some of you know, lots of sharks, like Great Whites, are known to feed on the rotting carcasses of whales.  Whales are covered with layers of thick blubber and fat that fills up sharks and allows them to not need another meal for days, even weeks!  The video link below (which you may have seen during SharkWeek) shows Great Whites devouring a floating whale carcass up close!

Shark Feeding on Whale Carcass

Last week, a massive 67-foot Fin Whale was unfortunately hit by ship, killing it.  The sonar used by military ships and submarines is thought to interfere with the ecolocation of whales, causing them to swim in areas that they do not normal wade through.  The carcass washed up in San Diego, California on the shore of Point Loma.  After it was towed for six hours to near-by Fiesta Island where all of the nosey San Diegans’ said good-bye, it is being sunk to the depths of the sea.  

         Not interested yet?  They are sending cameras down to the deep with it to try and capture some images and information about what goes on down there!  Specialist Eddie Kisfaludy operations manager for Virgin Oceanic in San Diego excitedly said, 

“The most ecologically responsible thing we want to do is put the whale back in the ocean… We’ll tie onto it, drag it off La Jolla — about five miles offshore — and add about four tons of steel to it that will hopefully sink it in 2,500 feet of water.”

As it sits at the bottom, scientists plan to take full advantage of this opportunity to research the species that will flock to the carcass for food, shelter, or possible for reasons currently unknown to us.  I’m personally hoping that some sharks will swim by to nibble and possible give a little insight to what sharks do at such depths, and maybe even give some hints as to where Great Whites give birth!  The possibilities are endless at this point!  (Also meaning that nothing new could be discovered.)  No matter what, it will be very interesting to see some footage of sea life at this depth.  Kisfaludy comments saying,

“All of those things are very interesting to science because we know very little about the deep sea… Taking advantage of an opportunistic situation is what we are doing.”

Let’s all hope that in a few weeks I can post a new update on all of the incredible things discovered from the tragic death of the Fin Whale!

        Have a Great Thanksgiving weekend and Just Keep Swimming!

Great White Teenager

The Most Sel-fish Species of All

“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” – Richard Whately

“A selfish man is a thief. ” – Jose Marti

 I’m not introducing this week’s post with the word “selfish” to be punny.  (Although, the fact that it is sel-fish does seem to fit in well the rest of the ridiculous words I like to create and hyphenate for the sake of being witty)  Rather, the word “selfish” is the only word that I can find for humans today that seems to classify the majority of them at once.  Humans care more about making themselves happy and comfortable than about most other things.  Their indifference is frustrating and their gluttony shames the human race time and time again.  So why am I ranting on about how selfish humans can be?  Because it is their destructively selfish ways that are quickly killing off sharks.  Each time a person decides to benefit themselves instead of another creature, for example, ordering a bowl of shark-fin-soup, they increase the suffering of another.  

        Every order of shark-fin-soup leads to the malicious murder of hundreds of sharks.  (And who is doing this killing? Surprisingly enough, HUMANS! )  And as these sharks are being massacred, nearly 100 of the 400 species of sharks have become endangered.   According to Shark Foundation, a well-known site among us shark fiends that allows the reader to search all endangered shark species, the severity of their endangerment, and the region or reason responsible for their rapid decrease, 

“The “International Action Plan for Sharks” initiated by CITES and the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) have established that:

  1. more than 100 out of 400 shark species are being commercially exploited
  2. many of these shark species are so overexploited that even their long-term survival can no longer be guaranteed
  3. a serious monitoring and control program is lacking for international shark trade.”

I’m sure a lot of readers did not even know that there were 400 shark species, nonetheless that 100 different kinds of sharks were being killed everyday for the production a brothey soup.  As they are hunted and killed, it is near impossible for these sharks to give birth to enough offspring to maintain a great enough number to regenerate the species because most do not live long enough to mate and give birth.  Yes, that does mean that fisherman are not waiting until the sharks are fully grown to barbarically butcher them (which would be the most logical way to obtain the greatest amount of fin).  Rather, humans are being their normal, selfish selves and demanding shark-fin-soup at such a consistent rate that young, and even baby sharks, are carved to bits.  

Now I understand that there are a lot of people in this world who are thinking, “Why would I ever care about sharks?  They can go extinct for all I care!” WRONG!  I cannot put enough emphasis on this as I say it: IF PEOPLE CONTINUE TO MURDER SHARKS, THEY WILL GO EXTINCT AND SO WILL HUMANS!  

  I’m not saying that the last shark dies and immediately all humans keel over.  But let’s consider what would happen if we really did cause the extinction of all sharks, or at least the major players in the ocean like the Great White shark.  

1. Great Whites go extinct.

2. All of the Great Whites food (fish, seals, ect) are not being killed.

3. Fish populations rise.

4. The amount of smaller feeder fish decreases drastically.

5. The fish that eat plants slowly devour the entire ocean floor.

6. The earth’s massive source of oxygen is depleted, killing all living creatures in the ocean and all air breathing creatures like ourselves.

7. All species are extinct, including humans.

I realize that this would take hundreds of years to happen and seems a little drastic.  But I failed to mention the immense amount of suffering that would occur all over the world as food resources decrease and the ocean’s entire ecosystem collapses.  SharkFriends.com gives a quick and effective summary of shark finning in relevance to the survival of humans,

“Mankind cannot continue to abuse nature or nature will strike back… and with brutal fury! …mankind will become extinct next if sharks disappear.  Without sharks the oceans will team with fish and other ocean animals that live off the plant life in the sea.  When this plant matter disappears so will the vital oxygen that the ocean produces…then what happens?  Think about it.”

Humans need to think about the consequences of their actions.  The amount that the ocean is used for recreation greatly effects the number of shark attacks as I have talked about in previous posts because the more people in the ocean increases the likely hood of an attack.  However, with no sharks in the water, the ocean would ironically lose its appeal – trillions of fish, few plants and beautiful reefs and patties to explore, less attraction for scuba diving and other water activities.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Moral of my (very preachy) story, if you kill sharks you will die, and until then, you will have no fun!  There, obviously,  is a reason that states and countries all over the world are fighting for my fishy friends by    attempting (some successfully) to ban shark finning and the sale of shark-fin-soup.  Consider this the only post I will ever publish as a direct plea to all of my readers.  If I have not scared you into following my example through my declaration of certain death, I hope that knowing that amazingly beautiful species all over the world are dying for no justifiable reason will sway your decision to help.  Great White sharks are on the red list of endangered species with less than 3,500 left in the ocean today.  I am asking you from the depths of heart to help fight for those in the depths of the ocean. It is the least that you could do for your fintastic, favorite blogger 😉 

Do your part and Just keep swimming,

Great White Teenager

The Fin Facts are Out and a Halt is on the Horizon

         I know that every week I preach to all of my trusty readers about how terrible the shark massacres across the world have proven to be.  I talk about how it needs to stop, about shark finning, and about how disturbing the deaths, or should I say MURDERERS, of these sharks are.  But I have left many questions, basic and complex, unanswered up until this point and I would now like to answer these questions.

        So what is shark finning?  Let me preface this questions by telling you that in order for sharks to breathe and survive, they must continue swimming in order to have water constantly flowing through their gills.  Now that I have explained the absolute basics, let me begin to answer your questions.  Shark finning, as defined by stopsharkfinnning.net is:

  “…the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark  is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the  ocean where it can take days to die what must be an  agonizing death”

Webster’s Dictionary defines it as:  

            “to cut off the fins from (a fish); carve or cut up, as a chub.”

     Although one definition is obviously more compassionate towards the suffering of sharks, both say  the same thing – finning is the act of cutting body parts off a shark or fish.  Webster’s conveniently forgets to include “while it is still alive  and then either discarding the body as waste, or what is more commonly practiced, throwing it  back into the water.”  As I already said, a shark cannot breathe if it is not moving because it needs  water circulating through its gills.  With no fins to propel the shark’s body through the water, the shark is unable to breathe and drowns in the only place that it has ever felt safe and called home.

       I advise you to watch the short film that I have posted below.  However, I would like to forewarn you that there is footage of finning in the video that those who do not have strong stomachs may not want to watch. I honestly advise all to watch anyway it because I think it makes shark finning, and the gruesome murder that it is, extremely real…

      With the question of “What is Shark finning?” now answered, more questions arise.  One of the most trifling being “What use of the fins could be so important that people find the need to kill hundreds of millions of sharks a year?”  I wish that I could say the fins were used for medical research, for some kind of cure for cancer, or even for a necessary source of food.  However, the frightening truth is that a selfish species of animals called humans use these fins for soup.  That’s right, SOUP. Shark-fin-soup.  What does shark fin taste like that could be in such a high demand? Nothing.  The fins are not used for taste, but rather for their texture.  Stopsharkfinning.net states,

      “Shark fin itself is tasteless, it just provides a gelatinous bulk for the soup which is      flavoured with chicken or other stock.”

 This Asian delicacy kills 100 to 200 million sharks a year just to add a certain consistency to a  soup.  Seems a little absurd if you ask me.  If puppy paw pies were an ancient Mexican specialty, I do  not think that the citizens of the United States would allow over 100 millions puppies to die  terrible, disturbing deaths each year just to make some pies.  However, when it comes to shark fin  soup, people shield their eyes from the truth and will sometimes pay as much as $350 for one bowl!  I know that personally do not have  hundreds spilling out of my pockets – being a working college student.  But if I did, I would never pay  $350 for one course of my meal.  Apparently others treasure the soup enough to pay that  outrageous sum.  But these ARE the same people who fund the massacres of millions of sharks so it is not too surprising that we don’t agree on some of the same things.

       So what do we do?  What have I been telling you every week to do?  FIGHT BACK!  We need to put a stop to these murders and get shark-fin-soup banned from all restaurants all over the world.  We need to teach people the consequences of their actions before it is too late!  We need to save the sharks!

1. I realize that stopping the sale of shark fins all over the world isn’t exactly an easy task, especially in places that consider it a traditional meal like China and Japan.  However, the best place for each person to start is in their own neighborhood, city, and state.  The Animal Welfare Institution has made this step as easy as possible for you.  They have composed a list of all of the restaurants that sell shark -fin-soup in every state across the U.S.  Just click on your state, find the restaurants and make a call.  If enough people call and say that they will no longer eat there unless they rid their menus of murder, a change will happen!  

2. Move on to the state next to yours, and then the three near that one, and then the ones all the way across the country.  Some states have already passed bans, like Hawaii and Oregon.  Do your part to help other states ban the fins and eventually these magnificent creatures can live and thrive in their natural habitat free of fear.  

3. Sign petitions.  There are hundreds of petitions all around the world to stop this barbaric butchering.  Sign your name to them!  With enough signatures, bans can actually become an option.

4. DO NOT EVER EAT SHARK-FIN-SOUP!!!!!!! (I hope this one was a given, but I thought I should mention it just to be safe)  One bowl tells restaurants that people want the soup.  One restaurant tells one supplier that a demand for the soup still exists.  One supplier goes to the dock and purchases fins from a fisherman who kills millions of sharks a year.  Stay away from the soup.  If everyone were to do it, there would be no demand for their fins and no more need to kill my fintastic friends.

      I hope that after reading this you are informed enough to make the decision NOT to support the shark fin market and you use your voice to speak for the sharks who cannot speak for themselves.  The biggest problem is that most people do not fully understand the implications and negative complications that follow shark finning.  Keep reading my posts to learn more about bans that have occurred, bans that have yet to pass, the true side effects of shark fin soup, and (of course) what you can do to help sharks become friends and not food.

Just Keep Swimming,

Great White Teenager!