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Oceana Announces Partnership With Discovery Channel's Shark Week, Urge Passage Of Shark Conservation Legislation

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oceana, the world's largest international conservation organization focused solely on protecting and restoring the world's oceans, announced today its partnership with Discovery Channel's Shark Week, which premieres Sunday, August 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

"Sharks deserve widespread attention not only because they are fascinating but also because they are in terrible trouble – each year industrial fishing kills more than 100 million sharks a year ," said Andy Sharpless, CEO of Oceana. "We applaud Discovery Channel's efforts to make Shark Week's millions of viewers know about the threats to sharks, and the need for better policies to protect sharks."

Discovery is helping Oceana educate the American public about the plight of sharks – and what people can do to help – through blogs, social media outlets and public service announcements that will air each night during primetime. Viewers can look for a PSA for Oceana featuring Craig Ferguson, host of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

"Shark Week, now in its 23rd year, has become a perennial favorite among viewers who are fascinated by this powerful and often misunderstood creature," said Clark Bunting, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel and President of Science Channel. "With shark populations in serious decline, Discovery Channel is partnering this year with Oceana on a PSA campaign as well as joining them in support of legislation to help strengthen the U.S. ban on shark finning and ensure the U.S. is at the forefront of shark conservation."

The organizations are also calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the Shark Conservation Act. The Act would require all sharks caught in U.S. waters to be landed whole with their fins still attached. This would put an end to shark finning, as well as improve shark fishery management and international conservation efforts.

The Shark Conservation Act (S. 850), introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in April 2009, passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in November 2009. Similar legislation (H.R. 81), introduced by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), passed the House of Representatives in March 2009.

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