MarViva Foundation and PEW launch the campaign: Panama protects its sharks

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In recent days Pew and MarViva Foundation –an affiliate of the City of Knowledge- presented the campaign: "Panama protects its sharks," which has several educational TV spots with messages such as "healthy oceans needs sharks ", "sharks are worth more alive than dead" and "there are other fishes in the sea", all aimed to add multiple sectors of Panamanian society to the conservation efforts of these species.

The worrying threat of extinction facing many shark species worldwide, and the importance of shark populations to preserve the health of seas, motivated MarViva and The Pew Charitable Trusts (PEW) to present a campaign for raising awareness about the importance of protecting sharks.

Juan Posada, MarViva Sciences Manager, said “sharks are key to healthy oceans, because they play an important role in the balance of the oceans. As top predators, sharks regulate the variety and abundance of other species that are below them in the food chain, so their reduction or disappearance could cause negative effects on species of economic value”. Posada also stated "marine ecosystems need healthy populations of sharks".

Meanwhile, Maximiliano Bello, representative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, said “globally, shark populations face serious threats of extinction due to demand for their fins, meat, liver oil and other products”. Bello also added that the “vast majority of sharks are slow growing, mature late and have relatively few offspring, making them vulnerable to overexploitation and causing the species to recover slowly”.

The promoters of the campaign: "Panama protects its sharks" are concerned that in Panama the flesh of sharks –some of which are endangered worldwide- is often marketed as fillets or processed in ceviche. "It is worrying that all diagnoses made in the fisheries of the Pacific coast of Panama reveal that over 96% of hammerhead sharks are baby and young shark" they said.

MarViva Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts organization concluded by making a call for promoting actions that protect sharks, including shark fishing, reducing shark bycatch and making the incidentally captured sharks to only be used for subsistence consumption, but not marketed in any form (wings, fillets, ceviche, etc.).

The time is now. Support the campaign to permanently protect sharks in Panamanian waters. This will help preserve one of the largest sources of natural resources: the oceans.

More information: Larissa De León Gutiérrez, MarViva Panamá Communications Officer. Tel: (507) 317-4350 /6677-7631 / larissa.deleon@marviva.net / www.marviva.net