Sherman’s Lagoon creator Jim Toomey will deliver more than 3,600 individual letters from Aquarium of the Bay visitors, asking for international bans on shark finning, to NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Eric Schwaab in Washington, DC today.
“Promoting awareness of shark conservation is not an easy task. A single shark-related incident anywhere in the world will quickly become international news,” says Sherman’s Lagoon creator Jim Toomey. “Through my comic strip character, Sherman, I’ve tried to dispel the myth that sharks are pests that have no ecological value. This write-in campaign from Aquarium of the Bay is further proof that people everywhere are beginning to understand the ecological value that sharks provide to our oceans and our planet.”
Aquarium of the Bay collected the letters, many embellished with hand-drawn artwork, in the action station of this summer’s Sherman’s Lagoon: Finning Isn’t Funny exhibit. Toomey partnered with the Aquarium to develop the exhibit, which featured the artist’s shark finning-focused comics.
“Shark finning is an incredibly important issue affecting the future of sharks in our oceans,” said Christina J. Slager, director of husbandry at Aquarium of the Bay. “It’s great that so many of our guests are opposed to this barbaric and unsustainable practice.”
Shark finning is a widespread and largely unmanaged fishing practice that has spurred a multi-billion dollar industry. After having their fins cut off, the sharks are often tossed back into the sea still alive, where they die a slow death. Scientists estimate that many shark populations are declining dramatically, some by as much as 95%. Worldwide, shark specialists estimate that 100 million sharks are killed for their fins every year.