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The Current State of Sharks and our Oceans (Zoom Speaker)

March 07, 2024 12:26 AM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

Dr. Antoniou began his shark conservation path in 1994 as the Director of Field Operations for the Shark Research Institute based in Princeton New Jersey. He was the first to tag whale sharks in the Caribbean with satellite transmitters, tracking the sharks thousands of miles and to great depths of the Gulf of Mexico. He is currently working as the volunteer CEO for Fins Attached, which he founded in 2010. He has had a passion for shark research and conservation for over 30 years.

Dr. Antoniou, in his pursuit to protect sharks and has traveled to places such as Honduras  and Baja California, the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Malpelo Island, Guadalupe Island and the Revillagegdo Islands to research sharks and convince their governments to protect sharks. After reviewing data provided, the Honduran government decreed the whale shark a protected species their territorial waters with severe penalties for violators.Passage of this law made Honduras the first nation in the Caribbean to protect whale sharks. Alex was featured in a Discovery Channel documentary called ‘Future Shark’ for his work in Honduras.

Fins Attached has also been involved in advocacy work. In March of 2017 a position statement was submitted to NOAA Fisheries to lobby for the Oceanic Whitetip shark to be placed on the US Endangered Species list, which ultimately occurred.

Perhaps Alex’s greatest achievement was the 2017 acquisition of a 134-foot, long range research expedition vessel, to be able to expand the mission of Fins Attached. He did this by reaching out to colleagues and friends, who cared as much about sharks in the marine environment, to invest in this noble cause, to get the project moving, and to accelerate the effort to save sharks, the marine environment, and us. The vessel was acquired in April of 2017. At a dedication in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in July of 2017, the Senshu Maru was renamed to “Sharkwater,” in honor of the work started by the late Rob Stewart, the producer of the original Sharkwater documentary.

Over the past 28 plus years, Dr. Antoniou has established strong partnerships with scientists around the world. In recognition for his dedication towards shark conservation, Alex was awarded the 2017 “Shark Guardian of the Year” award from the Shark Project of Germany. An international award that is voted on by researchers and organizations from around the world. The equation is simple, Save Sharks + Save our Oceans = Save Us.

In 2022, Dr. Antoniou spearheaded the creation of an ocean coalition called, One Ocean Worldwide Coalition, comprising of Fins Attached, The Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation, For the Oceans Foundation and United Conservationists.

Public awareness is key to the conservation mission. In 2022 Alex attended CITES and helped lobby for the inclusion of 60 additional shark and ray species on Appendix II. He also rallied the public to lobby the USA government to pass the Shark Fins Sales Elimination Act, which was signed into law in December 2022.

Dr. Antoniou's full Biography: Alex Antoniou bio 2024.pdf

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