Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 9 of 83

10 | Over the years, I've spent a lot of downtime in the vast and spectacular archipelago of The Bahamas. As in, down under the water! The diving, as well as the fishing, is world class and enough to get even a seasoned waterman's heart pumping. But, my primary relationship with The Bahamas has revolved around a species that I've devoted much of my life to: sharks. Back in the 1990s, The Bahamas took the proactive step of banning commercial longline fishing for sharks. And they have continued to prove their commitment to protecting this highly threatened apex predator. Simply put, The Bahamas has become the world leader in shark conservation by recognizing that live animals have exponentially more value—both to the marine ecosystem and to the economy— than dead ones. The longlining ban was a thoughtful first step. However, around 2010, a commercial fishing operation began to make plans to export sharks to the Far East to fill the insatiable appetite for shark fin soup. That announcement helped to rally the troops, so to speak, and I joined a coalition led by the Bahamas National Trust to lobby The Bahamian government to ban all commercial shark fishing. We kicked off a "Protect Bahamas Sharks" campaign with a poster and logo I created. A petition was signed by 5,000 Bahamian residents, and after many months of hard work, the government made the prudent decision to protect the entire 240,000 square miles of Bahamian waters. In my opinion, it was the single most important action to protect a species that is still being decimated at a rate of 70 million sharks per year. Not only is protecting sharks good for the ocean, but live sharks generate millions of dollars to the economy through shark-watching dives. One harvested shark might bring a few hundred dollars at the seafood market, whereas a live shark can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in tourism revenue. I believe that without an organization like the BNT, whose charter is to conserve and protect their land and sea, these measures wouldn't have been fully realized. That's why we're proud to feature one of The Bahamas' most stunning jewels, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, in this issue. Since those days of working with the BNT almost 10 years ago, I've regularly visited an area off the west end of Grand Bahama known as Tiger Beach. This is where some very beefy, yet gently social, tiger sharks hang out and mingle with divers. The access has allowed scientists to study their behaviour in close proximity. It's also a place where we've tagged sharks and tracked them for over many thousands of miles. In fact, Andy, a tiger we tagged in Bermuda almost four years ago, visits this area almost as much as I do. You can read more about Andy's amazing journey in this issue. Finally, I'm very proud to announce that this is the 30th edition of Guy Harvey Magazine that you are now reading. We covered a lot of vital conservation issues in some 3,000 printed pages over the past seven years and pushed most of it out over social media and online. You can check in with the Guy Harvey organization's social media channels every day, but there's still something special about a magazine that allows us the opportunity to dive deep into subjects that matter to you, me and the marine environment. I want to thank you for your continued support. Fair winds and tight lines. GUY TALK is an internationally-acclaimed artist, fisherman, scientist, and world traveler, who devotes much of his time and money toward ocean conservation. TRACKING SHARKS FOR SCIENCE GUY HARVEY, PhD

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