Yesterday was really weird, really, really weird. Thank you to the 200 or so people for your very kind messages regarding the blog which, when I woke up in the morning, had exploded everywhere which I hadn't really expected at all as I was only chipping in my bit on a "hot" topic. Thank you also to the very small handful of people for the not so nice messages, whether you were in support of the overall message (as 99% were) or not, you engaged directly and I enjoy that so cheers, but I do ask of everyone, please, stop posting under the cloak of anonymity if at all possible. I put ownership on everything I say, I think it's fair to ask others to do the same although that does raise the issue that many of the people who contacted me who are active conservationists and advocates stated they were afraid of the backlash they may face from others if they dared speak out but that's for another time.
Today, I want to focus on everything right in conservation media.
I had a lovely chat yesterday with Jorge Cervera Hauser who is part of Pelagic Life, an organisation I have admired from afar for a while now and it appears we have a mutual admiration and he is someone who shares many of the same opinions and ambitions I have. In amongst the fallout from all the other stuff that's been going on this week, it was great to have an intelligent, articulate and inspiring conversation with someone representing a group who completely "get"what conservation and media messaging is about in 2014.
Pelagic Life was formed off the back of work they were doing in the Baja Peninsuala, paying fishermen to allow them to free the sharks they had hooked. It was a small gesture in the overall grand scheme of things but it is such a great message, to see passionate watermen and women giving something back to the ocean and the sharks who have given them so much pleasure and it also raised awareness of the issues facing sharks in Mexican waters. You can see several short videos of there work here and I strongly suggest you do because they are great!
These are not noisy, privileged, white people stomping into a developing nation screaming at people to "stop shark finning," these are intelligent, articulate, informed and pragmatic people who understand that shark conservation is a far more complex issue than mindless sloganeering and catchphrases, it's a socio-economic issue that is as much about social disparity and capitalist exploitation of the poor as it is about environmentalism. These guys get it and I respect them enormously.
I was lucky enough that Jorge gave me the chance to see their film, "Mexico Pelagico" and I have to say, I was mightily impressed. It's well made, with a great message and as a group, they all come across incredibly well, as articulate, well informed people with warmth and a genuine desire to do something good. This really is brilliant conservation media that has a soul and spirit you only really find in films that are truly independent productions. This is the kind of film we, as people passionate about shark conservation, need to get behind and push out there to a wider audience.
Check out the trailer, join their Facebook page and give them your support. These are people out there, boots on the ground, doing it off their own back with a sustainable and innovative long term goal.
PS - More from Jorge here!
Mexico Pelagico | Trailer (2) English from Pelagic Life on Vimeo.