Jim Toomey and his Sherman's Lagoon comic strip are huge allies for the oceans. (Also darn funny as a comic strip, if you haven't checked it out before.)
Here's Jim's request -- and ours as well:
This Sunday, April 20, I have devoted my color Sunday Sherman’s Lagoon
Recent populations studies done by numerous independent marine biologists confirm that many species of large sharks – from great whites to hammerheads to tiger sharks – are being overfished to the point that only 5% of their historic populations remain. Here in the U.S., we have taken the initiative to put limits on shark fishing in our waters, but they are still inadequate.
This fall, shark catch limits are going to be reevaluated by scientists, and the Nation Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is going to seek to establish more stringent catch limits. The U.S. regulations may well set an international precedent, which is badly needed, since most of the overfishing is now happening in unregulated international waters.
We have a chance to show NMFS that the public does indeed care about sharks, that they aren’t considered pests but a vital part of nature. Please take a look at the attached cartoon and print it and mail it in if you want to participate in this public awareness effort.
Dr. James Balsiger, director of NMFS, is aware of this campaign and is actually looking forward to a heavy response as a way to point out to the fishing communities and regulatory bodies that this is an issue the the public cares about. Please help him make that point, which could go a long way toward creating much-needed regulations, not only in U.S. waters but around the world.
Thanks for your attention. Sincerely, Jim Toomey
So, please join in. Click on the image above, print out the larger pop-up version and send in your artwork. The address is included on the strip. You'll never have more fun standing up for sharks!
If you want to do more, sign up for Monterey Bay Aquarium's Ocean Action Team. (If you're already a member, encourage your friends to join.)
To find more more about the threats facing sharks, we have information here. Our friends at WildAid also have great information about shark conservation -- and they've launched a series of celebrity PSAs tied to the 2008 Beijing Olympics to encourage protection of wildlife in the oceans and on land. (Check out Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard's segment on behalf of sharks.)