What We Do
Who We Are
Safeguard The Seas (STS) is a non-profit, 501(C) (3) organization and was founded in 2019 by William Mckeever, an author and filmmaker with a passion to protect the oceans. Oceans are under tremendous threat from overfishing of fish species such as sharks and tuna. In addition, single-use plastic is choking our oceans and threatening sea life. Our goal is to raise awareness to these issues through books and films. Once enough people understand sharks, we will see further progress in ending this pernicious shark fin trade and provide protection for sharks.
Safeguard the Seas (STS) is aggressively pushing for legislative and regulatory change. Despite the massacre of 100 million sharks a year, it is not too late to save sharks; however, action must be taken now. STS is working on several fronts to protect sharks.
End Harmful Shark Tagging
Tagging sharks is one way to understand shark ecology and behavior. However, current methods are such that tagging inflicts wounds. Examples of inhumane methods include: bolts through a dorsal fin, surgical implants, and “dart” tags. The damage done to sharks and other fishes using anchors imbedded in muscle is well known and a problem. These issues include localized tissue breakdown and hemorrhaging. Moreover, the ulceration from a tag implanted with an anchor in the muscle provides a potential site for secondary infection. Fouling of the tags from algae growth can also result in skin abrasion, ulceration and disease. In addition, the surgical procedure for inserting a tag in the abdomen and then sewing it up involve invasive handling of the shark. In short, many tags stress the shark and negatively impact their health and behavior.
Safeguard The Seas has an on-going project aimed at proving certain tags cause damage and their use needs to be stopped. We are experimenting with designs for shark tags that offer the best HUMANE methods for tagging. For example, recreational fishers may be using dart tags supplied by Fish and Game or Federal agencies. We have concept designs which would offer far more humane attaching technologies. These would replace the current bad tags with those that are non-wound inflecting. One such option is to attach an acoustic tag by banding to the shark’s caudal peduncle or tail area. See photo below. This tag will fall off the shark’s tail after a certain amount of time. The same approach can be taken with critter cams that can fall off after a few hours.
We are looking for funds to continue this important scientific research into 1) proving some tags are harmful to sharks and should not be used, and 2) our tags are safe for sharks and should be implemented. Moreover, we want to make sure that tags are used in a way that deliver important results. Too often, these tags are used without regard to a cost/benefit analysis to the shark.
End Shark Finning
The American Bar Association (ABA) recently passed a resolution calling for a ban on the trade of shark fins. Resolution 102A as noted below is ground-breaking in its intent to help protect sharks.
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages all international, regional, national, and state bar associations, and international organizations, to promote policies and laws that prohibit and penalize the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins. STS is working with the ABA to help enact legislation that bans shark fin trading at the state level. Moreover, there is pending federal legislation to ban the trade as well. The House has a bill (H.R. 2811) that would ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States. It was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a few months ago by Reps. Gregorio Kilili Sablan (I-MP) and Michael McCaul (R-TX). We are working to get this bill passed.
End Shark Tournaments
Shark tournaments are a vestige of an era when nature was to be conquered and animals were scary beasts to be killed. Sharks are crucial to the marine ecosystem and should not be used to entertain people for the weekend. The reality is that many important shark species are killed in these tournaments and end up being thrown in the garbage. The mako shark is currently classified as endangered by the IUCN. Having makos killed in shark tournaments damages the environment and hurts everyone. We are working to end these tournaments.
STS seeks to upend the antiquated view of sharks as man eaters and replace it with the vision that sharks are crucial to the marine ecosystem and are disinterested in humans. To that end, the book and the film of the same name, Emperors of the Deep, seeks to educate legislators, students, and the general public about the real truth of sharks.