Project AWARE made some significant strides in protecting the ocean last year, and the organization only hopes to further that in 2017.
Among the organization’s accomplishments was getting 13 new species of rays and sharks — among them the devil ray, thresher shark and silky shark — listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):
“Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.”
Additionally in 2016, Project AWARE launched its “Adopt a Dive Site” initiative, which encourages the public and private sectors to protect their dive areas and collect local data on marine debris in their areas.
According to Project AWARE Community Relations Specialist Alexa Ward, writing in PADI‘s Sport Diver Magazine:
“More than 185 dive sites have been adopted so far, with more than 1,500 participants from about 50 countries across the globe removing and reporting close to 45,000 pieces of marine debris. The accomplishments of Project AWARE divers in 2016 show that when we come together for a common cause, we have the power to make a huge, lasting impact. But our work is far from over. Marine debris continues to permeate unprotected marine environments, and many sharks and rays still face threats like finning, bycatch and overfishing. Now more than ever, our ocean depends on divers coming together to speak out and take action for its protection.”
For more info on Project AWARE‘s plans for 2017, check out the organization’s website at projectaware.org.