WE MAKE SCIENCE MATTER.
This has been our north star since 1991; to bring a fact-based position to the table in our work to advocate for shark conservation and protection.
2018 activities that illustrate our work:
January 27-28: SRI staff had a booth at Our World Underwater in Dallas, Texas and at Our World Underwater on February 17-18 in Chicago, Illinois. At both shows SRI’s Dr. Jennifer Schmidt presented seminars on Whale Sharks: Mysteries of an Ocean Giant.
March 20: the campaign during which we supported our colleagues in Brazil resulted in the establishment of two new marine protected areas (no take zones) covering 45,142 square miles of the South Atlantic Ocean around São Pedro & São Paulo and Trindade—bringing Brazil's marine protected area coverage to approximately 25% of its jurisdictional waters.
March 21-25: SRI had a booth at Beneath the Sea, the largest consumer dive show in the USA. Gail Noren, editor of our newsletter and an elementary school teacher, initiated our newsletter's Kids Corner to empower our next generation. She involves children in our mission through contests, puzzles and information that enables them to effect change.
Earth day (April 22): Dave Grant, Liaison Officer and one of SRI's Scientists in Residence, gave a presentation on Sharks and Ocean acidification at Molloy College. In addition, due to SRI's focus on elimination of single-use plastics our members participated in beach clean-ups on Earth Day, and again on June 8th. SRI's Texas Chapter also performed scheduled clean-ups of a designated beach on Galveston Island.
May 11: We celebrated Fintastic Friday with kids around the world showing their support for shark conservation.
May 4-13: Dr. Jennifer Schmidt and Dave Grant participated in a research expedition studying sharks and rays in the Gulf of California.
SRI members joined SRI research expeditions to the Afura, the largest gathering of whale sharks in the Caribbean on July 17-31 and August 1-5. November 30-December 8, SRI members also participated in our research expedition to the Gulf of Tadjoura in Djibouti, Africa to study the aggregation of the youngest whale sharks found anywhere in the world. Participants analyzed plankton samples, observed night feeding behavior and documented individual whale sharks using photo identification in order to understand where these animals come from, why young sharks congregate in this area, and where they go when they leave. Dr. Schmidt also described injuries to whale sharks in our winter newsletter.
May 31 to June 3: SRI supporter Mike Gerken hosted his 5th Annual Shark Shootout in North Carolina. The multi-day shoot-out was run in conjunction with Olympus Dive Center, also an SRI supporter.
June 4-8: Marie Levine attended World Oceans Week at the Explorers Club which brought together thinkers and leaders, scientists and conservationists from around the world to network and strategize on ways to protect the ocean. (Most of SRI's Board, staff and many of our members are members of the Explorers Club.)
June 2 -July 15: SRI staff and members protested at six shark and mako fishing tournaments in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
June 9: SRI participated in the March for the Ocean in Washington, D.C. "Together, we CAN protect the ocean! The fish can’t be there, nor can the whales, dolphins, sea turtles or sharks; we need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The decisions we make now, the voices we have today, will shape the future.” says Dr. Sylvia Earle, Honorary President of the Shark Research Institute
July 13: SRI's events director, Elise Levin, and her band, Fine Life, hosted a benefit concert/fundraiser for SRI in Brooklyn, NY showcasing NYC up and coming bands. The evening also included donations of work by local visual artists and a silent auction. Two additional fundraising events in 2018 were the Annual Shark Celebrity Auction in which winning bidders had lunch or dinner with a shark expert or celebrity and the Winter Auction, consisting primarily of superb art, space on liveaboards to exotic locations, and stays at high-end resorts around the world.
July 14-15: Dr. Jennifer Schmidt and Mike Tichenor staffed SRI's booth at Shark Con in Tampa, Florida and Dr. Schmidt also gave a presentation and appeared on a panel discussion on Women in Science.
July 22: “Shark Week” on Discovery Channel featured SRI member Nick Caloyianis’ stunning footage of Greenland sharks. SRI staff also gave presentations and participated in educational events at aquariums. During 2018, SRI gave many presentations about sharks and ocean conservation in the tri-state area at universities, schools, clubs, science expos, scout troops and the Young Explorers at the Explorers Club.
During the summer, Dave Grant collected plankton and compared water clarity at different locations in the North Atlantic, met dockside with fishermen around Iceland and visited local fish markets to catalog which species local fishermen are taking, paying particular attention to shark catches. Dave also investigated small scale shark fisheries of the Southeast Pacific and published an article on the ancient Peruvian ceremonial center of Huaca Pucllana in our newsletter.
Throughout the summer SRI also ran fossil shark tooth hunts, our hands-on method of teaching families about local geologic history and marine life that flourished here 60 million years ago. (Every participant always finds and keeps one or more fossils.)
September 16: SRI had a booth and gave demonstrations at Submerge, New York's annual marine festival.
September 20: SRI hosted 20 government officials from China's Haian Province Department of Marine Ecosystems to share and exchange ideas about management and protection of sharks and the ocean environment.
Members published books and articles about sharks: Especially popular were Sharks of North American Waters by José Castro and Melody the Mermaid: Adventures in the Kingdoms of the Sea by Valerie Taylor. SRI Advisory Board member Lee Peterson published a new book Friends in My Pool, and Marie Levine edited another children’s book on sharks for Random House. Dr. Erich Ritter's article: "Mating scars among sharks: evidence of coercive mating?" was published in the scientific journal acta ethologica.
Other organizations gave recognition to SRI to members and staff. “Facing Reality” by SRI member Amos Nachoum took first place in Animals in the Environment at the Siena International Photo Awards, a photographic competition in which nearly 8,000 images were submitted from 156 countries. Advisory Board member Michael Aw was honored with outstanding achievement award at Our World Underwater in Chicago, an award previously received by SRI trustees David Doubilet and Dr. Jennifer Hayes. The World Wildlife Fund named long-time SRI member Barbara Beck as the ‘action figure’ in their November 2018 issue.
Amber Lotus published SRI's "Save Our Sharks" 2019 Wall Calendar, sold in the USA and Canada. Each of calendar month featured one or more shark images taken by our Board and members and explained the necessity of protecting sharks.
We continued, too, to push bills banning the sharkfin trade in more U.S. states and throughout 2018, SRI we worked behind the scenes enlisting support for threatened species to be considered for protection by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). At the upcoming CITES meeting in May 2019 we will fight to secure more protection for sharks and marine species and prevent delisting African elephants from Appendix I to Appendix II which would herald the death knell of the species.
Learn more about our history of impact going back to 1991.