During this year the Society’s legal advisors highlighted the risks to the Society in case of injury or accident to a volunteer taking part on an expedition. All our volunteers have to get their own insurance before coming on expeditions, and all volunteers agree to sign waivers making clear that their attendance on the expedition was acknowledged by them to be entirely at their own risk. Despite these measures we were advised that should an accident or death occur, the insurers acting on behalf of the volunteer could sue the Society to re-claim any amount they had paid out.
SCS is a small volunteer run Society which does not have the resources to be able to afford the £6,000+ annual insurance required to cover the Society in this event. Our policy has always been to pass costs onto volunteers on an ‘at actual’ basis, (i.e. no add-ons) and it can be seen that in the event of one expedition a year with twelve volunteers taking part, paying such a premium would increase the cost to each volunteer by £500. This is plainly both ridiculous and unaffordable, and so the directors of SCS are trying to find ways to raise the money to be able to continue with expeditions without having to pass costs onto volunteers. This sad state of affairs is hardly an ‘achievement’ but unfortunately it is a ‘milestone’. We hope it is a milestone we will soon successfully pass!
SCS continued to enable the publishing of scientific papers. The Society also launched its 'Ehfazo Khaleej' (Protect the Gulf campaign). The acclaimed film 'A Short Time Dying' was released and distributed to activists within the Gulf.
Blue shark research expeditions were carried out in both the Azores and the Adriatic.
On February 22nd 2012 Order (1) of 2012 was signed into law by HH Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. The new law prohibits all and any targeted fishing for the Green Sawfish (Pristis zijsron) in Bahraini waters. Fishermen are required to
The law is directed under the auspices of the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife.
In April 2010 SCS commenced discussions with the Bahraini government and were invited to make a proposal regarding protection for the Green Sawfish. The new law is a result of the Society's proposals, and the Society congratulates the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain on passing this important legislation.
Civil unrest in the Kingdom of Bahrain forced the government to delay the SCS 2011 Bahrain expedition until 2012. However Richard Peirce and Mark Boothman visited the Kingdom in April and in addition to signing an MOU confirming the 2012 expedition, they proposed that the Bahrain government declare the Green Sawfish a protected species. The Bahrain government accepted this proposal and a law will be passed to this effect.
In October the board decided that it would be appropriate if the word 'exploration' could be incorporated into the Society's name e.g. 'Shark Conservation and Exploration Society'. The board believes this will more accurately describe the Society's activities and ensure the Society's future relevance if and when the major conservation battles have been won. The decision was taken in principle, but the name change, and the actual new name will be decided on in due time after consultation with our Registered Supporters.
At the end of 2010 the Society became aware of the potential threat to the Dyer Island marine habitat in South Africa, which is so important to Great White Sharks. This threat is posed by the possibility of a new nuclear power station being built at Bantamsklip which is less than 5 miles across the water from Dyer Island. SCS offered its services to those involved in the 'Save Bantamsklip' campaign.
In April 2010 a small SCS team worked in Qatar for the second year to prove a nursery area near Aliyah island. The work was successful and will be followed up in 2011 with the third such visit.
Following the deferment of the April 2010 UAE expedition, the SCS board agreed to pay the airfares for our Gulf scientific advisor to travel to Abu Dhabi to continue with the market survey aspects of the work being carried out by the Society in the Gulf.
In March the Qatar government issued a decree giving total protection to the Green Sawfish in Qatari waters. This legislation was proposed by SCS following the two expeditions to Qatar in 2009.
In October the 3rd Ardriatic expedition succeeded in its aim of gathering evidence of a Blue shark nursery area and the data has been passed to Alen Soldo (SCS Scientific Advisor) to enable him to work towards implementing an effective fisheries management policy for sharks in the region.
September saw the publication of the first SCS newsletter and opening of the SCS online shop.
In September a small SCS team visited Qatar and in talks with the Qatar Ministry of Environment (Dept. of Fisheries) suggested the following conservation measures:
SCS April Qatar Expedition this expedition continued the work which was started in Kuwait in 2008 and by the end of the expedition:
Release of Sharks in British Seas on DVD. The first film made about Britain's sharks SCS were major contributors to the film.
RPSC morphed into the Shark Conservation Society (SCS)
SCS Kuwait expedition marked the first shark research work carried out in the Arabian Gulf, which resulted in:
2nd Porbeagle expedition continued producing a Porbeagle map of the north Cornish coast, and scientific paper was published based on the results of the satellite tagging carried out by the Society in 2007 (Pade)
1st Cornwall Porbeagle shark expedition achieved:
2nd Adriatic shark search expedition reconfirmed 2005 results and recorded and filmed large Blue sharks in the central Adriatic.
Massive publicity accompanied the launch of UK shark cage diving, and this was successfully used by RPSC to further awareness of the need for shark conservation.
Our 1st Adriatic shark search expedition confirmed highly depleted shark numbers and:
RPSC supporters helped in the first pilot project leading to the successful launch of cage diving in the UK in 2006.
3 week shark search expedition off Devon and Cornwall generated more media interest than any other pervious 'shark event' in the UK. For the 3 weeks TV, radio and newspaper coverage was used to increase awareness of the plight faced by sharks and the depletion of sharks off Devon and Cornwall.
RPSC paid for the building of a prototype propeller guard for use by South African White shark cage diving operators.
RPSC financed the re-commencement of the tagging of all sharks caught by the Shark Angling Club of Great Britain.
The SCS forerunner, Richard Peirce Shark Conservation (RPSC), was founded.