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Environment

Shark populations over the last 50 years have decreased dramatically. From habitat degradation to overfishing and finning, human activities have affected their populations and made certain species all but disappear.

A recent article in Current Issues in Tourism by Austin J. Gallagher and Dr. Neil Hammerschlag of the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami study the impact of these apex predators on coastal economies and the importance of including conservation efforts in long term management plans.

On Tuesday, 5 July, the government of The Bahamas will announce new protections for sharks in the country's waters, approximately 630,000 square kilometers (243,244 square miles). This declaration is the result of a partnership between the Pew Environment Group and The Bahamas National Trust, which began just as a major Bahamian seafood company announced its intention in September 2010 to catch sharks and export their fins.

Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson (left) joined José González (center), assistant director of Miami-Dade County Environmental Resources Management Department (DERM), and Susanne M. Torriente, Director, Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability, on a boat tour of key points around District 3 including Port of Miami improvements, the working waterfront and Miami and Little Rivers, bay habitat restoration projects and artificial reefs. Vice Chairwoman Edmonson also was joined by Dr. Stephen Blair, Chief, Restorations and Enhancement Section and Dr. Susan Markley, Water Resources Coordinator and Chief, Environmental Education Communication Office (EECO) who provided updates on the County's efforts to preserve and enhance our waterfront.

Two of Miami-Dade County’s environmentally sensitive areas include the shallow waters in the vicinity of Card Sound Road and southern Biscayne Bay, where lost and abandoned crab and lobster traps can have a negative impact on marine resources.  These “derelict” traps may harm sensitive ecosystems, cause economic impact to the fishing industry, and can be a hazard to recreational and commercial vessels.  Derelict traps frequently continue to ensnare and kill crabs, fish and other marine organisms for years.

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