Protecting Sharks and Marine Ecosystems
June 16, 2015
From our new partners at Shark Team One:
Shark Team One is proud to partner with Mission Blue!
For millions of years sharks have inhabited our planet’s oceans. However today, due to factors such as overfishing, finning, bycatch in commercial fisheries and habitat loss over a third of all shark, skate and ray species are threatened with extinction. In response to the rapid decline of elasmobranchs around the world, Shark Team One has mobilized to create a team of scientists, conservationists, divers, filmmakers, photographers, partner organizations, ocean ambassadors and concerned citizens who are fighting to help save sharks and our oceans.
Headquartered in South Florida, Shark Team One brings shark conservation awareness to local, national and global stakeholders, schools, colleges and government institutions via conservation initiatives, partner programs, educational seminars and outreach events.
Shark Team One offers research expeditions to local and global destinations where sharks are on the verge of extinction. By providing worldwide expedition opportunities to study, film, photograph and view endangered shark species, Shark Team One helps scientists gain access to remote locations and avenues of research they may not have access to otherwise. On many expeditions citizen scientists are also welcome. By participating, concerned divers learn first-hand what they can do to help save sharks. Sample areas of focus on expeditions are assessing shark populations (size, species, gender, density), studying feeding behavior, learning about migratory patterns and observing how no-take zones in marine protected areas are (or are not) being enforced. As scientists and conservationists learn more about sharks they can continue to show the world how valuable these top predators are to saving our world’s ocean resources.
Why is teamwork so important to Shark Team One? Founder, Angela Smith states, “We know that as a team we will work together toward a more comprehensive conservation outcome. Our in-field expedition teamwork helps scientists, builds camaraderie and prepares divers for conservation advocacy through education and ambassadorship. Our land-side teamwork goals are accomplished by outreach like our signature “Art for Sharks’ Sake”™ event series. Artists from across the United States as well as top galleries in Miami team with us for high-end outreach events which have resulted in large donations for our partner organizations, national media coverage, celebrity endorsements and sponsorships from corporations like Tesla Motors. So through teamwork we are making a big difference for sharks both in the field and on land!”
In addition to saving sharks, Shark Team One works to establish marine protected areas and save ocean ecosystems by helping raise awareness for Founder, Angela Smith’s work in marine habitat conservation. Currently, Angela is working with government organizations and stakeholders to create a marine protected area along the Southeast Florida coral reef tract. Angela is a non-governmental organization (NGO) representative for both the “Our Florida Reefs” community planning process and the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) national action plan. Together they are hoping to save the remaining coral reef and its resources from Key Biscayne in the South to Martin County in the North.
“Marine protected area work is critically important,” said Angela. “We need to protect entire coral reef tracts and vast areas of ocean if we are to ever effectively help save our marine ecosystems and therefore our top predators.”
What’s the next big project? Shark Team One is working on a series of ocean science expeditions with a partner nonprofit organization, an oceanographic institution and a television network that will take place in the Bahamas this summer. Together they plan to create awareness for sharks and our oceans as well as provide a great platform for outreach and education.