Archive for April, 2011

The Eastshore kids strike again! (1 Comment)


Eastshore Elementary School sixth-graders, from left, Lawrence Lai, Cade Turner, Chad Gibbon, Samantha Yuhan, Yahel Michael and Emily Ha display their second-place certificates in the 2011 QuikSCience Challenge at an awards ceremony Thursday in Huntington Beach. Behind them is their faculty adviser, Eastshore sixth-grade teacher Bill Brooks. COURTESY OF KEVIN LAI

Published: April 8, 2011
Updated: April 9, 2011 12:40 p.m.

Irvine kids continue shark-fin advocacy, win contest



IRVINE – A group of local sixth-graders who became advocates of a statewide ban on shark fin sales after entering a local science contest has taken second place in that competition, even as they continue their statewide advocacy efforts.

The team of six children at Eastshore Elementary School in Irvine took second place Thursday in the middle school division of the 2011 QuikSCience Challenge, which invites middle and high school students from across Southern California to write an ocean-related academic curriculum that includes a community service component. The Eastshore team’s project focused on shark ecology.

“This is a huge accomplishment for us considering that we were a sixth-grade team against many seventh- and eighth-grade teams,” team member Caden Turner, an Eastshore sixth-grader, said in an e-mail.

Although their project began as an entry into the QuikSCience contest in February, it quickly blossomed into an indefinite advocacy effort. The Eastshore team started a website devoted to the issue (, met with local elected representatives and began selling “I Love Sharks” T-shirts for $10 on its website and in a handful of Orange County stores.

The students have sold about 375 of the shirts so far, said faculty adviser Bill Brooks, an Eastshore sixth-grade teacher. Proceeds will be donated to the shark conservation groups Shark Trust and Imanya Oceanica.

Assembly Bill 376, introduced in February by state Assemblymen Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, would halt all trade of shark fins in California.

AB 376 passed its first legislative committee hearing March 22, receiving unanimous support from the state Assembly’s Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee, according to news reports.

But it is opposed by some Asian-American leaders as unfairly targeting their culture and cuisine. Shark fin soup is a classic dish traditionally served at Chinese banquets.

Federal law already prohibits shark-skimming, which is the practice of capturing sharks, cutting off their fins and tails, and then throwing them back into the ocean to die.

Some conservationists estimate that as many as 100 million sharks worldwide are killed each year for their fins, according to National Geographic magazine. The United Nations has pegged that estimate at a much lower figure – 10 million – while a 2006 British study suggested it was 38 million annually, the magazine reported.

What is clear, though, is that the worldwide shark population has been decimated – a consequence, many scientists believe, of the demand for shark fins.

Eastshore’s six team members – who include Chad Gibbon, Emily Ha, Lawrence Lai, Yahel Michael and Samantha Yuhan – became interested in the project after watching the 2007 documentary “Sharkwater,” an expose on the shark-hunting industry. All of Eastshore’s sixth-graders were invited to write an essay on why they wanted to be on the team, and Brooks chose the top six.

The Eastshore team already has met with state Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, and representatives for state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, and has gathered about 200 signatures in support of the bill. Next up is a letter-writing campaign to other state lawmakers, Brooks said.

For winning second place in the QuikSCience Challenge, the students received a certificate, a Quiksilver backpack, a Quiksilver Foundation shirt and water bottle, and a solar radio/light. Brooks’ classroom received $250 to use for science instructional materials, and the team will spend four days at the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island in June.

Rob Stewart Sharkwater Legacy (2 Comments)

Watch the inspirational story of Simon Sanchez High School in Saipan and George Washington High School in Guam who succeeded in getting a shark fin ban passed after watching Sharkwater and wanting to make a difference!

A New Recruit (No Comments)

Hi there,

I want to help you guys out and grow the movement. I live in Taiwan and Im an English teacher here. I unknowingly ate some shark at a wedding I attended recently, and its left me feeling very dirty… I want to help you guys out here. This week alone I have taught 200+ students what a crime it is, and have shown them all this very effective video I found on youtube

Next week for movie appreciation week they will watch Sharkwater!

Im thinking of going all-out, first I will try to organise the foreign community here, then try and get some boycotts and awareness generated in the city I live in. Taiwanese people in general are some of the kindest, warmest, nicest people you will ever meet. The ones doing this are gangsters, but nonetheless, I think a lot of Taiwanese opinions on Sharks could be turned. Shark finning is a total atrocity against nature and must be stopped before its too late.

Couch Surfing and Shark Saving (No Comments)
The following is an excerpt from sammysharkblogspot

A Brilliant Idea!

Ok so this post is way overdue. For those of you who don’t know, I am backpacking through Europe for the month of April during Easter holidays trying to raise awareness and money for the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation dedicated to shark conservation (if you haven’t seen his documentary.. you should). For any non marine biologists, here is a quick recap.

Shark have been on this planet since before dinosaurs and in approximately the last 100 years shark populations have decreased by 90% worldwide.  This is ridiculous.  One of the major causes of this has been the demand for shark fins to make shark fin soup in China and other parts of Asia.  Shark fin soup is a sign of wealth.  Basically if you can afford it, that means you have money.  The sad part is that the shark fins add absolutely no flavor to the soup at all.. just a weird texture.  Honestly, I have nothing against shark fin soup or any culture’s traditions.. I have a problem with the way sharks are being fished to meet this demand.  Not only do fishermen use illegal forms of fishing such as long lining in order to catch as many sharks as possible, but they also only keep the fins and throw the rest of the shark back in the water (still alive) because the rest of the shark is not as valuable as the fins themselves so they don’t want to take up space on the boat.  Watch this video,   It summarizes what I’m saying really well.  It’s disgusting and it makes me sick.  And then I had this idea.

One day I was sitting in my room and a few students came by and started talking about a university sponsored (University of Southampton) hitchhiking competition to raise money for HIVE, HIV Education.  Teams of two or three have 36 hours to get as far away from Southampton as possible without spending any money on travel.  My friend Sara and I went to the meeting and found out that they have had people get as far as Australia!!!  They even told us all the secrets to hitching free rides on buses, trains, ferries and even planes!  It seemed completely possible to at the very least make it to continental Europe.  I talked to one guy who hitched to eastern Germany in 36 hours and then hitched all the way back in 24 hours!  I immediately fell in love with this idea but I wanted to do it for a cause I am passionate about.. a.k.a. SHARKS!!!  And that’s how this all started.  I am going to blog during my travels and if you feel like donating, just click on the handy dandy Donate button on the right side of the screen.  My goal is to not spend ANY money at all and raise money instead. ALL donations will go to Sharkwater.  Any size donation is welcome and keep checking back for updates!

Shark Love (No Comments)

After we watched Sharkwater over a year ago, my girl wrote to the UN and my son gave the DVD to his teacher. A recent article in the paper spurred my 9 yr old daughter to make her first video. Please leave her a comment on the You Tube Page if you feel so inclined (she doesn’t have FB) so she can revel in knowing that yes, a 9 yr old can indeed make a difference

Scott West from Sea Shepherd (No Comments)