An Incredible Dose of Support
Spinning to End Finning’s 2012 bike ride will raise awareness for the threats sharks face from overfishing and the practice of shark finning. The ride will also raise money for ARCAE and Pretoma, two Costa Rican marine environmental non-profit partners active in local, regional, and global shark conservation campaigns. As ARCAE’s executive director and Pretoma consultant, I’d like to thank those involved in the Spinning to End Finning initiative and praise them for just how innovative this undertaking is.
We’re talking about a group of individuals from California who figured out how to combine their love for bike riding with their passion for sharks and desire to improve the state of marine ecosystems. I could go on and on about the critical role that sharks play in maintaining the balance of the planet’s oceans, but I won’t (at least not right now). I’d rather talk about how cool the Spinning to End Finning campaign is. It combines something most of us learned to do as children and take for granted (bike riding) with something we’re just beginning to understand (shark finning), and it brings them together in a campaign that’s fun, attention grabbing, and one that has a direct impact on sharks.
I’m frequently asked, “What can I do to help the oceans?” Spinning to End Finning is a great answer to this question. When I heard about the initiative in 2010 I wrote a blog article titled “I own a bike, how can I stop shark finning?”, and I still refer people to that article as it’s the perfect example of how anyone can get involved and make a positive impact.
I wish I could ride along with Mark and Devon this summer and attend some of their presentations. Unfortunately, there are many pressing issues here in Costa Rica that demand my attention. Unbeknown to many, the country is one of the most active shark finning nations in the world because of the sheer number of sharks off its Pacific coast and its political ties with the global shark fin soup market. So, I’ll leave the ridding to the experts and continue to do my small part in other ways.
For the sharks, for the oceans, I invite you to support Spinning to End Finning.
Pretoma (Sea Turtle Restoration Project) was founded in 1997. Pretoma has an office in San José, Costa Rica and a field station in San Francisco de Coyote, Guanacaste, along the country’s Northern Pacific coast. Its mission is to protect and restore populations of sea turtles, sharks, and other endangered marine species by advancing a vision of sustainable fishing practices and community based conservation work through scientific study, policy reform, targeted media use, grassroots activism, and strategic litigation. Pretoma was one of the first environmental organizations to blow the whistle on the shark finning industry in the early 2000s when it captured rarely seen video of industrial fishing vessel crews catching sharks, cutting off their fins, and tossing them back into the ocean to drown.
ARCAE (Costa Rican Environmental and Educational Network) was founded in 2011 to better administrate Pretoma’s work in Southern Costa Rica. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life for Costa Rica’s rural, coastal residents through environmental conservation, sustainable economic development opportunities, and by bridging the gap that exists between urban and rural educational systems. Where Pretoma is more geared to national and international shark finning policy reform, ARCAE is developing and implementing sustainable fishing solutions and alternative employment options for coastal fisher folk. These options are being replicated to have a greater impact on sustainable coastal development efforts and to stop the slaughter of sharks.