OceanEarth Foundation partners with Sydney Zoo to help bring sharks back from the brink

Ghost net04 credit Jane Dermer GhostNets Australia 1024x591 1
Photo Credit: Jane Dermer – GhostNets Australia

Every year more than 100 million sharks are killed, with overfishing threatening their survival and putting marine ecosystems at risk of collapse.

Thousands of sharks are caught accidently or become entangled in discarded fishing gear floating in the ocean, known as ghostnets, while others are targeted for their fins, driven by the demand for shark fin soup.

To raise awareness of the perilous situation facing sharks and learn about the choices we can make to ensure a more positive future for them, OceanEarth Foundation (formerly TierraMar) through its Ghostnets Australia program, is partnering with the new Sydney Zoo at Eastern Creek, to help protect our oceans and rivers and secure a better future for wildlife.

A Future for Sharks, launching at Sydney Zoo on National Threatened Species Day, will lead visitors into the ocean depths to reveal the critical role that sharks play in keeping our oceans healthy and in maintaining the status quo both as an apex predator and as part of the clean-up crew. 

Photo Credit: Jane Dermer – GhostNets Australia

Sharks are often misrepresented with many species sadly on the brink of extinction because of unsustainable fishing practices and entanglement in ghostnets” explained Anissa Lawrence, Managing Director, OceanEarth Foundation. “Most people know very little about them, their lives and habitat – this is why we’re excited to be teaming up with Sydney Zoo for A Future for Sharks.  

Sydney Zoo is Sydney’s only combined zoo and aquarium and is home to a range of aquatic fresh and marine species including bull sharks, barramundi, turtles, cod, and penguins. 

Sharks have been swimming in our oceans for more than 400 million years and there are over 500 species, yet a world without sharks is a very real concept,” said Liz Gerber, Conservation and Community Manager, Sydney Zoo. “A Future for Sharks will show guests why sharks are important for our planet, how to help these amazing creatures, and how everyday choices in the supermarket affect the future of our oceans.

Photo Credit: Jane Dermer – GhostNets Australia

Over the next four months, the zoo will be fundraising to support the work of OceanEarth Foundations’ Ghostnets Australia program in not just cleaning up and sustainably disposing of ghostnets across northern Australia but stopping them at the source.  
Thousands of abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing nets, wash up along Australia’s northern coast each year. Before reaching our shores, however, these nets silently drift through the ocean, entangling and killing thousands of marine wildlife including sharks and turtles.  The program was created with Indigenous Rangers to understand why ghostnets wash up, assist them in cleaning up and disposing of them appropriately and find solutions to stop the problem at the source.

About OceanEarth Foundation 

Established in 2008, OceanEarth Foundation (formerly TierraMar) is an Australian-based charity that aims to build a future where people and nature thrive. A world where both our planet and its inhabitants flourish; a future where prosperity is shared by economies and environments.

The foundation of our work rests on empowering local people to become informed decision-makers and active champions of change within their communities. Through collective effort, across Australia, the Pacific and Coral Triangle, we are nurturing a future where humanity and the natural world are harmoniously connected.

Harnessing innovative thinking, dynamic collaborations, and nurturing the trailblazers of tomorrow, OceanEarth Foundations’ holistic solutions are delivered through three strategic programs: Oceans – building climate resilient oceans and stopping plastic pollution (GhostNets Australia), Earth – building climate resilient communities and saving species; and GenerationNature+ – connecting people to nature and empowering and building the capacity of youth to influence positive action for our OceanEarth.

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