Celebrated cartoonist, Jim Toomey, launches shark conservation appeal
San Francisco. 6.26.10. Today, at the Aquarium of the Bay, shark advocates mark the launch of a new exhibit and shark conservation appeal featuring Sherman, the loveable shark of the syndicated cartoon, Sherman's Lagoon. An upcoming comic strip will urge US proposals for international shark conservation measures including better bans on "finning" (slicing off a shark's fins and discarding the body at sea). The exhibit features a two-week long series of strips in which Sherman loses his fins to fishermen and travels to heaven and back to retrieve them.
"Sherman is calling on kids of all ages to help save sharks by sending drawings of their favorite shark species to the head of the Fisheries Service and asking him to ensure that the US pushes the shark conservation agenda internationally," explained Jim Toomey, creator of Sherman's Lagoon. "Through my comic strip, I have become keenly aware of the growing public concern for sharks, particularly people's disgust over the wasteful practice of shark finning. I am confident that my readers, in large numbers, will jump at the chance to help secure better protections for these magnificent predators."
Finning is driven by demand for shark fins for use in a traditional Chinese soup. The best way to stop finning is to prohibit fishermen from removing fins at sea. Many shark species are also sought for their meat across their vast ranges, and yet there are no international catch limits for sharks.
"The US is a world leader in shark conservation, but the work has just begun," said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International. "Sherman and his followers make excellent ambassadors for encouraging country officials to safeguard sharks on a global scale."
Toomey is hoping that the Fisheries Service will receive thousands of hand-drawn sharks by November as a result of the cartoon.
Notes to Editors: Sherman's Lagoon is an undersea cartoon featuring a dimwitted shark named Sherman, his sea turtle sidekick, and an assortment of other coral reef critters who team up to battle the encroachment of civilization on their remote tropical paradise. http://www.slagoon.com
Shark Advocates International (SAI) is a project of The Ocean Foundation established to provide leadership in advancing sound policies for sharks and rays. Based on nearly 20 years of shark conservation achievement, SAI works to secure science-based limits on shark fishing and trade, protection for endangered species, and stronger bans on shark finning.