I am Ester Jacobs Overbeeke the founder of Keep Fin Alive. I have been working with white sharks, benthics and small pelagics for five years. I also volunteer rehabilitating penguins for SAPREC (South African Penguin and Seabird Rehabilitation Centre) and running a campaign to spread awareness on the issues currently facing sharks called Keep Fin Alive. My personal goals are to educate people from all backgrounds on the importance of sharks and why we desperately need them to survive to ensure the future of our oceans. Education is the key to conservation. Research is also hugely important to back up conservation claims and I try to work with as many shark enthusiasts as I can to share information and to help in any research and citizen science projects that need input from others.
Keep Fin Alive Campaign Overview
Fin is a hand-puppet shark on a mission to be photographed with as many people as possible holding a sign that says “I hugged a shark and I liked it… Keep Fin Alive”. He’s already been photographed with lots of celebrities and scientists.
The ultimate goal of the campaign is to take a light-hearted approach to help change the common misconception of sharks and drive more attention to the problems of shark over-fishing, finning, shark fishing tournaments, by-catch and long-lining. We"re using the power of social media to capture even those who usually turn a blind eye to the negative stories by gaining support from renowned personalities who inspire more campaign followers. We also have an outreach program involving school talks, public talks and regular airtime on local radio to help gain shark advocates from all generations. We focus on spreading awareness of the issues facing sharks and how people can actively get involved.
The most recent and accurate report states that up to 273 million sharks are killed each year. Sharks just cannot reproduce quickly enough to keep up with the demand and the only way to stop shark extinction is to stop the unnecessary trade of shark.
Sharks play a vital role in keeping the oceans healthy and are essential to an ecosystem that produces more oxygen than all the rain forests combined, provides a third of the world with food, removes half of the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases, and controls our planet’s temperature and weather. Sharks and the oceans desperately need our help.
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