Friday, August 30, 2013

Operation Forgotten Gives Way to Operation Kibou

Hey everyone. Operation Forgotten is at an end and I have to say without a shadow of a doubt that it was by far the most successful campaign yet! Just a few things that came out of this campaign that hasn't happened on this blog before.
1.) The blog "Mako Horror" became my first blog to have over 100 viewers and was featured in the Shark Research Institute's Newsletter.
2.) The 3 Shark Week reaction blogs each had over 75 viewers.
3.) Bluefin tuna became a part of a campaign.
4.) This blog is now featured on the Shark Research Institutes webpage. That's www.sharks.org for anyone who is interested.

You might think, 100 people? That's not a lot. Well to me it is. This campaign is the first that did not see an average of 10 or so people viewing the blog. Rather the average daily visits were somewhere between 40 and 50 with Shark Week and the week I posted Mako Horror being significantly higher. The point is, this blog is growing. For a campaign that wasn't even sure if I was doing. I think it's a pretty big deal. Now enough about all that. Let's wrap this campaign up shall we?

Operation Forgotten featured 18 blogs dedicated to the protection and conservation of sharks, manta rays and bluefin tuna. All of these animals are being horribly overfished for various reasons. Sharks are being killed at an alarming rate for their fins and it is now believed that roughly 100,000,000 are being killed on an annual basis. The fins, used for shark fin soup, are the main reason people are killing these animals as some fins can sell for over $15,000 USD. Of course for a fin to sell that much it must be pretty large. In fact it probably would belong to the whale shark, the gentle giant of the sea.



Sadly even they are not immune to finning.



Sharks are still being exploited all around the world. New Sci-Fi movies such as Sharknado sparked a renewed fear in quite a few people while Discovery Channel's Shark Week flopped with a mockumentary full of false information and an overall lack of actual scientific shows. I guess it's really all about reality T.V. and blood and gore now. The fight to save these animals continues on and I now know more than I ever have that time is running out. We know so little about these animals yet they have been on this planet far longer than we have. We need to stop all of this senseless killing and allow these animals to recover because without them, there is a good chance that we all die. To top it all off, we don't even truly know how many species of shark exist. We do however know that at least one more than we originally thought exists! Here it is literally walking along a reef! This new species of shark was found off of Indonesia!



The fight to save manta rays and bluefin tuna also continues on. Both of these animals are quickly being depleted from the oceans of the world. The majestic manta ray continues to see it's populations plummet in the face of so called "traditional" Chinese medicine. They are being killed for their gill rakers which have many rumored benefits, but no confirmed benefits, and contrary to popular belief, are not a part of Chinese Traditional Medicine. The gill rakers can fetch a moderate price in markets, but compared to the amount of money that is brought in through manta ray tourism, the number is extremely small. Meanwhile, the demand for sushi around the world continues to rise causing bluefin tuna more and more problems. These large fish are simply being fished out of existence and the regulations that are in place are not by any means enough. With large populations being illegally fished, the future of the bluefin tuna remains unclear. As nations come together to try and preserve these animals, which I believe there is little time to do, the bluefin tuna continues to be fished to extinction. New regulations are being made, but they are largely short term solutions and do not really protect the populations of these animals over the long run, which needs to become more of a priority.

So Operation Forgotten is now at an end. Hopefully if you take anything out of these blogs it is that all of these animals still need our help. While the whole Miley debacle on MTV holds center stage in so many people's minds, we tend to forget that animals that balance the oceans are simply being slaughtered. We tend to forget that there is so much illegal or unregulated fishing going on in the world that some animals will simply go extinct if nothing is done. As grim as it seems there is hope. Hope that it is not too late and that is what will drive my next campaign that starts this Sunday. Operation Kibou.

Operation Kibou (Japanese for Hope) will, as last year's fall/winter operation, focus on sharks as well as dolphins and whales. If anything major comes up regarding the conservation of manta rays or bluefin tuna I will be sure to bring them to the operation as well, but the primary coverage will be on those three animals. Two major things will take place during this campaign and all we can do is hope they end. One will take start on September 1st along with Operation Kibou. That would be the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. After a few months the Japanese whaling fleet will once again attempt to go to the Southern Ocean to kill hundreds of whales in defiance of a ban on commercial whaling. As I did last year, I will keep you all updated on what Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is doing to prevent the Japanese from whaling in the whale sanctuary.
The fight to save sharks is never ending and is my main fight. With that being said, expect there to still be blogs about these animals as the race against time continues and hope still remains. Thank you all for reading Operation Forgotten and I truly hope you will all join me again on September 1st for Operation Kibou!

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