Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Florida's lemon sharks needs your help!
Lemon sharks aggregate off the East Coast of Florida every winter. They are an enormously popular attraction for scuba divers, giving a welcome boost to Florida's struggling recreational diving industry. But commercial fishermen are gearing up to target lemon sharks now. The primary purpose for this harvest is for their fins, which is a cruel and wasteful use for this animal. We need your support to stop the slaughter!Research with satellite tags shows that the lemon sharks' winter aggregation is composed of individuals from up and down the Eastern Seaboard and the Bahamas. These large gatherings occur in a relatively small area off Palm Beach, close to shore and within a highly predictable time frame. This makes them easy targets, and scientists studying Florida's Lemon Shark Aggregation fear that commercial fishers can wipe out the lemon sharks in just one or two seasons.Till now the commercial lemon shark fishery has been tiny -- less then 15,000 lbs annually nationwide. The Sandbar Shark, which is now protected, has had a commercial annual quota of 2 million pounds. Because of the new protections for Sandbar Sharks and other fish, commercial fishers have clearly stated their intention to re-direct fishing effort to lemon and other large sharks.Large coastal sharks, including lemon sharks, hammerheads, bull sharks and tiger sharks, have already suffered massive declines of over 90% in the past 30 years, and are badly in need of protection.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seriously considering adding Lemon Sharks to the Prohibited Species List and your support is absolutely critical!!If you value sharks and want to help save these beautiful and ecologically important animals, please sign this petition (at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/4/urgent-help-needed-to-protect-lemon-sharks)