Great Marine evening

It takes passion and commitment to make changes. Richard Peirce of Shark Conservation Society (UK) and the Shark Trust (UK) together with his wife Jacqui has made it his life’s work to be a “nuisance” by addressing conservation issues with governments around the world. At the marine evening hosted by Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises, he shared more on his latest projects and his efforts to protect the oceans apex predator.

The guest speaker during the Marine Evening in the Great White House, Richard Peirce of Shark Conservation Society (UK) and the Shark Trust (UK)

Richard has also been instrumental in starting the Save Bantamsklip petition after he heard of the possible placement of a nuclear power station. He spends a few months each year in South Africa, enjoying the warmer months and our magnificent wildlife.

His documentary trailer The Fin Trail highlights the issue of shark finning across the world and that all markets have one ultimate destination – the Far East. Funding to complete the documentary has been limited and the project continues to evolve in working together with the Chinese to address the issue and change perceptions. A difficult and seemingly impossible task but more and more efforts are being made in this area by many.

Richard spent much of his youth in Bahrain where the seas were ruled by many shark species. Recent visits to the Persian Gulf have revealed a dying sea –development, overfishing and increased salinity will mean that in ten years another dead sea will be created. An expedition led by Richard with hundreds of hours chumming revealed hardly any sharks. The sharks and rays his team did find were dead in the markets. This same area has previously revealed new species of sharks and other rare species. Richard’s plans include gaining support from the government to change legislation and to prevent the overuse of Bahrains’s Dammam aquifer which contributes to the salinisation. The evening was rather sobering as there is much to be done on so many conservation issues but collectively we can all make a difference. Gansbaai has such an incredible biodiversity which we need to protect.

To end on a more positive note The Dyer island Conservation Trust shared more on their tagging and tracking research of our great whites. If we can better understand the great white shark, we can better protect this species by sharing our knowledge with government and affecting legislation.
Brenda Walters