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Richard Peirce

ISSUE 9 ARCHIVE - SHARKIPEDIA

Richard Peirce

I hate children! Well actually I don't hate them, but when I'm doing shark talks to groups aged seven to eleven, they terrify me. You never know what's coming next. Question time at the end of the talk, and an innocent little hand goes up, under which is an innocent little face, and BAM 'Please sir do sharks fart?' 'Is it true that boy sharks have two willies?' (this from a little girl accompanied by lots of giggling). 'How do sharks make babies?' (also from a little girl, but thank God not the same group from which came the two willies gem). From a little boy 'How long would it take a Great White shark to eat you all up?' That's better, much safer ground, I can blag my way out of this one with no blushing.

So when, on a horrible dark winter's morning in early November, I set forth from Cornwall to the Cotswolds to a prep. school talk, I was ready for the worst. I needn't have been, they were great, lots of really good questions and they bought lots of books and DVD's so I could afford the petrol home. Tomorrow belongs to them, and the future of the planet and everything that lives on it, sharks and all other creatures is in their hands. That's why I do schools, and actually even the embarrassing questions are quite fun really, and at their age I think I would have tried to find questions like that!
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I believe that in modern shark history 2009 may come to be recognised as the year that real visible progress started to be made around the world to ensure that future generations have sharks to dive with and enjoy. Palau became the first country to declare all their waters closed to shark fishing. In the Adriatic, Croatia took a European lead in passing some really wide ranging laws protecting sharks. Last October the U.K. announced the cessation of Special Fishing Permits (SFP's), which effectively means an end to 'finning' as sharks will now have to be landed with their fins attached. This move by the U.K. places additional pressure on Spain and Portugal to follow suit and thus bring about an effective E.U. finning ban. In November the Shark Conservation Society (SCS) announced that the government of Qatar had agreed to new measures protecting the critically endangered green sawfish, closing a milk shark nursery area to fishing, and stopping all shark landings in Qatar for three months.
In December, at the meeting of the European Fisheries Council, conservationists made progress in reducing Total Allowance Catch (TAC) levels and quotas for both porbeagle and spurdog sharks, and applauded the addition of new species to the prohibited species list.

The war is a long way from being won, but we are definitely winning the battles on the way.

The London Dive Show is now only weeks away and I hope to see lots of you there. I'll be presenting a new show called 'Mediterranean (Adriatic) Blue & Great White Sharks', and I will be able to be found lurking around on either the Shark Conservation Society or Shark Trust stands if anyone wants to come and talk sharks.

The publishers have kindly said I can push my books and films, so please note that all my books and films can be bought online and this month my latest book on Pirates will be published.
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