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New non-profit focuses on shark advocacy

This week marks the launch of Shark Advocates International, a new, non-profit initiative dedicated to shark conservation.

"Sharks are among the oceans' most vulnerable animals, and now more than ever they need our help," said Sonja Fordham, Shark Advocates International president, in a statement. "After decades of steady progress, recent months have brought serious setbacks in international shark conservation. Starting immediately, Shark Advocates International will fight to reignite and accelerate progress toward effective shark safeguards."

Most sharks are susceptible to overfishing due to slow growth, late maturity and small numbers of young, according to SAI. Given that most are top predators, shark depletion can negatively affect entire marine ecosystems.

SAI aims to collaborate with other interest groups, scientists and governments to secure international, as well as national and regional, policy advances.

"Shark conservation is at a critical juncture, and great advances are within our reach," said Fordham. "While key shark protections have been denied, awareness of the shark's plight has never been higher. Our team will mobilize diverse coalitions and brave tough policy arenas to defend sound policies and help secure a brighter future for these remarkable animals."

The newly formed organization's Web site is still under construction.

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