Last week, Thursday 19 July 2018, we were delighted to host our Oceans Garden Party fundraiser in aid of our shark conservation programme. As well as some excellent networking over ocean-themed cocktails and vegetarian nibbles, we heard some informative and inspirational talks.
Dr Mark Collins, GCT Chair, welcomed all to the event and emphasised the importance of protecting the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR) and its sharks. Mark was followed by His Excellency Mr Carlos Abad Ortiz, the Ambassador of Ecuador, and His Excellency Mr Enrique Castillo, the Ambassador of Costa Rica who opened the talks. The two countries recently signed a framework cooperation agreement for the conservation of marine species that will strengthen the protection of the Galapagos National Park and the Cocos Island National Park. Both Ambassadors talked about how important it was that migratory shark species were protected both within and outside of these National Parks.
Jonathan Green, Founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project (GWSP), gave an inspirational talk about the project, which we have been helping to fund for a number of years. The support we have provided to the GWSP to tag whale sharks has brought about real conservation and management outcomes. The Galapagos National Park (GNP) requested the whale shark tracks as part of the process to re-zone the GMR to protect the sharks found around Darwin and Wolf islands in the north of the Islands. This resulted in the area being designated as a shark sanctuary with a ban on all fishing activities in the zone.
Building upon the successful re-zoning, we are raising funds to support our partners to take the next step. They will gather scientific evidence for the creation of a protected ‘swimway’ between the GMR and the Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica, to protect whale sharks and other migratory species from threats such as industrial fishing during their migrations.
In addition to protecting migrating individuals, we are supporting work that will improve the understanding and protection of shark nurseries in the GMR. This will include work to identify pupping grounds for whale sharks, and surveys on blacktip and hammerhead shark nurseries. With increased knowledge about sharks throughout their lifespan, we can increase local support for shark conservation and ensure that these charismatic species are protected for generations to come. You can find out more about our work to protect the endangered sharks of Galapagos on our project page.
We were also incredibly lucky to be joined by Mark Brownlow, Series Producer, and Orla Doherty, Producer of BBC Blue Planet II who shared the wonders of the oceans, and their personal insights from making the programme. They revealed fascinating behind-the-scenes insights, anecdotes and clips about Galapagos sea lions, deep-sea shrimps and whale sharks that featured in the programme.
We are aiming to raise £250,000 for our shark conservation programme over the next year. We raised over £100,000 prior to the Garden Party and, thanks to the fundraising activities on the night, we are now over the halfway mark.
A huge thank you to Bridgewater House for hosting the evening, meaning every penny raised went directly to GCT. We would also like to thank everyone who donated prizes to our live and silent auctions, as well as our raffle, and to everyone who came along on the evening and donated so generously at this fabulous event.
If you don’t want to miss out on events like this, become a member today! You can also find out more about our shark conservation work or make a donation today to help us continue to protect the endangered sharks of Galapagos.
Thank you to all of those who donated the wonderful live and silent auction, and raffle prizes: Jonathan Green, David Reyes, Ecoventura, London School of Diving, Haugan Cruises, GeckoArt, Pentatonic, Nurdle in the Rough, Mark Brownlow, Charlotte Morton, Melanie Collins, Susana Cárdenas, Batoko, Argent Aqua and Donna Marie Jewellery. Thanks as well to Uproar for producing a short film for us about the threats to sharks, and to our auctioneer David Palmer.