Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Mediterranean: the most dangerous place for sharks

The Mediterranean: the most dangerous place for sharks
by Sonja Fordham
July 21, 2008

Welcome to Discovery Channel's Shark Week Conservation Blog! I'm Sonja Fordham, director of the Shark Conservation Program for Ocean Conservancy (, and for the next two weeks, I'll be posting updates and information on shark conservation and related science. I hope you'll join in by posting your questions and opinions on shark conservation.

I thought it was fitting to start this blog series during my visit to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean has recently been dubbed "the most dangerous place in the world ... if you're a shark." Hope lies in encouraging Malta, already a leader in regional shark conservation, to seize opportunities to promote greater protection for the region's sharks.
Quick Stats:
Last year, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) reported that 42 percent of the sharks and rays in the Mediterranean are threatened with extinction ( This percentage is higher than those for all other regions assessed around the world.

Last month, the Lenfest Ocean Program ( released scientists’ findings that several Mediterranean sharks (makos, hammerheads, porbeagles, threshers and blue sharks) have declined by 97 to 99 percent. There are no catch limits in the Mediterranean for these commercially valuable sharks.

In fact, Malta is the only EU country on the Mediterranean to provide any protection for Mediterranean sharks (great white and basking sharks), thanks in large part to efforts of the “Sharkman of Malta” (

The situation for Mediterranean sharks is clearly awful, but there has never been greater opportunity for change. Mediterranean countries, particularly members of the European Union, have tools to improve the situation. For starters, the EU is now developing a Plan of Action for Sharks that can set the stage for widespread improvements in EU shark policies. There are also a variety of regional agreements that can spark conservation actions for sharks, if prompted by countries like Malta.

Check out to learn more about how you can help save Mediterranean sharks, and tune in again over the next two weeks for news on shark conservation in other regions of the world.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A True Nightmare.

Who could have said that today,
our life would change this way,
and no matter what we can try,
we are surely about to die.

It started a few moments ago,
and why it happened we do not know,
as we were peacefully patrolling the sea,
my hundred friends and me.

Our swimming path was blocked,
and in a trap we were all caught,
as from the ship fell a huge net,
which we knew would mean our death.

We had seen these nets before,
and we all knew what was in store,
for friends of ours had died this way,
and now this was our final day.

As the nets closed compressing us tight,
we all tried uselessly to put up a fight,
and as we were lifted out of our sea,
panic engulfed my friends and me.

On the ship’s deck we were released,
and we saw humans grinning with greed,
as one by one they took us away,
for on this ship we would not stay.

And as they pinned us to the floor,
we each felt pain like never before,
as our fins and tails were cut off with a knife,
and our mutilated body thrown back to sea alive.

As now we cannot swim anymore,
and slowly drop to the ocean floor,
our imminent death is so very near,
and for our species extinction we fear.

15th Jan. 1999