Tag Archives: WWF-Canada


Just after publishing my June 6, 2012 blog,”OMG – Great White Shark versus kayaker”, I received a current WWF newsletter featuring the concern of endangered shark populations.

I am including excerpts from that article and urge you to visit WWF’s site to read through comments submitted and related links.

May 14, 2012
Posted by staffblogger Jarrett Corke, Shark Project Coordinator, WWF-Canada

For as long as I can remember, sharks have been my passion… Over the past year, I’ve been working at WWF-Canada on shark conservation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, tackling the most pressing issues for Atlantic sharks.

So when I received an envelope last week addressed to Mr. Jarrett Corke with the words ‘To the General Shark Scientists of the World’ written in pencil along the edge, I was intrigued.  Inside were two letters, … the first letter. Written by the father of an exceptional young boy by the name of Jack Titterrell from Bowmanville, Ontario, the letter explained that his son had taken it upon himself to create these signs in the hopes of spreading his message – save the sharks. The second letter, dictated by Jack to his father, explained why he thinks people should take more care to avoid the unnecessary killing of sharks.”

Jack’s reasons (See the blog for the information included in each numbered section) included: 

1)Sharks are endangered and I want them to survive.”…
2) “Sharks are nature and swim so fast.”
3) “If they don’t survive, they will become extinct.”
Jack is right to be concerned. Sharks are in trouble and they need our help. The loss of these predators may have direct and indirect effects on marine ecosystems, not only impacting other marine organisms, but us too – the human communities that rely on ocean resources.
To learn more about what we do to help protect sharks, visit – http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/species/sharks/



Please read, “Help Save Canada‘s Sharks” Posted by staffblogger By Jarrett Corke, Shark Project Coordinator, WWF-Canada May 14, 2012


At the end of this topic I’ve included Jonathan Bird‘s video,Shark Biology” (Webisode 45) as I’m utterly amazed to learn so many astonishing facts, as Jonathan swims among the sharks.  What an incredible insight into this endangered species!   This is a 10 minute video and is definitely worth watching – A MUST SEE!!
 – Jonathan swims with blue sharks and tries to pet one – will he get bitten?…
 – an underwater cave hold a deep surprise…
 – Jonathan swims with the largest toother animal on earth, the sperm whale…



Most sharks are vulnerable to overexploitation due to their slow growth, late maturity, low reproductive rates, and long life. Globally, sharks…are among the most threatened marine vertebrates on Earth. Large open-water or ‘pelagic’ sharks, such as great whites, are among the most threatened. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, it is estimated that 60% of pelagic sharks are currently threatened with extinction. As many of these species are wide-ranging top predators, their loss may have far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems.

Twenty-eight species of shark have been reported in Canadian waters … Close to half of these species are considered to be globally threatened; still most Canadians remain unaware that sharks regularly occur in our waters…



In Canada, unsustainable fishing practices, in particular the unintentional capture of sharks in fisheries targeting tunas, swordfish or groundfish have caused shark populations to drastically decline.

Bycatch – ‘Bycatch’, or the unintentional capture of non-target species in commercial fisheries, is perhaps the single most significant threat to sharks in Canadian waters. Little is known about the distribution of sharks in Canadian waters and ways to minimize the incidence of bycatch and overall shark mortality…

Demand for shark fins – Shark ‘finning’, the removal of only the fins from sharks and dumping the remainder while at sea, is illegal in Canada; however, Canada is importing unsustainable shark products, including fins, for consumption and, globally, the growing trade of shark fins has become a threat to many shark species. The fin trade today is considered to be a primary driver in shark exploitation.

Changes in the marine environment – Destructive fishing activities, marine waste and coastal developments can have serious impacts on marine habitats which sharks depend on. Climate change impacts on the marine ecosystem can also be a cause of concern for sharks, particularly in terms of how population distributions and habitats for sharks, as well as their prey, may be affected.

VIDEO OUTLINE of Jonathan Bird’s, “Blue Sharks“:

Jonathan joins Charlie Donilon on his shark charter boat in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and learns about how shark tagging has shed light on the biology of and behavior of Blue sharks. Tagging has shown that these incredible swimmers actually migrate completely across the Atlantic ocean. Jonathan tries his hand at tagging a shark and then swims with Blue sharks. We also learn that Blue sharks are not nearly as vicious as they have been reputed to be, and the divers are actually able to pet the sharks!


At the heart of the hearings to decide the future of the Great Bear Sea and Rainforest is whether, and under what conditions, we should permit super tankers and a bitumen pipeline in one of the last intact temperate coastal rainforests on Earth.

 WWWF – CANADA BLOG – January 11, 2012 Posted by Gerald Butts

Please see link I’ve included at the end of this article regarding another threat to our humpback whales

The hearings to decide the future of the Great Bear Sea and Rainforest got off to quite a start this week. Big oil, foreign intrigue, a grassroots uprising, dueling polls, angry Ministers; this one has all the makings of a blockbuster. No wonder the media interest has been so strong.

But all this fervor has obscured the heart of the matter, which is whether and under what conditions we should permit super tankers and a bitumen pipeline in one of the last intact temperate coastal rainforests on Earth.

I suspect most Canadians would be surprised that the proposed route of the Enbridge pipeline bisects this ecological treasure.   Pipeline proponents would rather frame this issue around developing an Asian market for oil sands bitumen – and the allegedly nefarious U.S.-based interests who would prevent U.S. from doing so – than have a science-based debate about the very real risks associated with getting it there via this route.

Kermode or Spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest. © Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada

It is the peculiar Canadian paradox that we are blessed with such natural beauty and abundance that we often fail to value it appropriately.

Even by our standards, however, the Great Bear is a special place.  It is the only habitat in the world for the Spirit Bear, which is rarer than the Giant Panda. Humpbacks, orcas and many other species of cetaceans take advantage of this uniquely quiet cold ocean to prosper. Eagles are as plentiful as sparrows are in Canada’s urban parks.

All five species of Pacific salmon are present, providing the basis for a prosperous fishery. When spawned out or dragged into the forest by grizzlies and bald eagles, these fish deliver the nitrogen needed to grow trees to a size they have no business reaching at this latitude. This in turn allows for healthy and sustainable forestry.

Mercifully, the communities that have been sustained by this wondrous ecosystem for millennia do not share our paradoxical undervaluing of nature. B.C.’s Coastal First Nations know well that Great Bear’s value as a functioning ecosystem dwarfs the tantalizing but fleeting promise of short-term cash from oil revenues.

And they know from history what we know from traditional science: that this meticulously interconnected ecosystem is very vulnerable to disruption. A toxic event, even in Enbridge’s own estimation, cannot be ruled out. The 1,170-kilometre pipeline would divide the rainforest, crossing countless salmon rivers. At Kitimat, toxic diluted bitumen would be loaded onto supersized tankers.

Each year, more than 200 would travel through narrow fjords out into some of the world’s most treacherous seas.

© Andrew S. Wright / WWF-Canada

This isn’t the first time the Great Bear has been threatened. Just 25 years ago, it was slated to be clear-cut. After 15 years of conflict, a group of unlikely allies found a solution. First Nations, forestry companies, NGOs, the Harper and Campbell governments and both Canadian and U.S.-based philanthropists came together to create a world-leading model of ecosystem management and economic development. By combining conservation with better logging practices, and using a public-private funding model to finance new economic development, we found a way to protect the environment and the economy of the Great Bear.

The current question of whether foreign interests can participate in the NEB hearings is curious in this context. Should we prohibit oil sands companies, the majority of which are foreign-owned and operated? It also hypocritical, given that the industry and government has spent untold millions to lobby foreign governments, air PR campaigns in foreign markets and solicit foreign direct investment in the oil sands. The message we are sending the world is that you are free to come to Canada to exploit nature, but not to protect it.

In the interests of full disclosure, less than two per cent of our revenue came from U.S. foundations that have been targeted by smear campaigns recently. We are proud to add that support to the larger contributions we receive from almost 150,000 like-minded Canadians. We are also proud to provide a platform for Canadians who care deeply about conserving nature around the world, from the Amazon to tiger habitats of Russia and south Asia. Most important, we are transparent about our sources and uses of revenue (see wwf.ca), which cannot be said for those leading this spurious campaign.

Ultimately, this debate is a red herring designed to distract. The Great Bear is globally significant. If this development were proposed for the Amazon or the Great Barrier Reef, people around the world would engage. These are irreplaceable sites and input from global citizens who care about nature should be welcome. This expectation ought to be second nature in an open-society such as ours.

A version of this opinion piece ran in The Globe and Mail on January 11, 2012.


Link to “Proposed Enbridge pipeline threatens humpback whales: DFO” below