Protect what we love
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”
(Baba Dioum, 1968.)
From deep oceans to vibrant reefs, we encounter the shark in nearly every marine environment. There are over 500 species of shark, all with different personalities, shapes and forms, adapted to living in this diverse range of aquatic habitats. Their intricate skins allow them to move quickly through the water with ease and efficiency and their predatory nature is essential to the natural order of the ocean. Despite this, sharks are gravely endangered with over 200 species on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list, thanks to habitat loss and human greed.
Fourth Element’s Fin Collection takes inspiration from the shark in all its forms, naming each design after a chosen species to celebrate the diversity and majesty of these animals. And of course, we have used our fabric made from ECONYL® 100% recycled nylon made from Ghost Fishing Nets and other post consumer nylon waste.
We asked seven inspirational divers, environmentalists, and ocean advocates to act as “shark ambassadors”, celebrating their work and their special connection with sharks and with the ocean.
OUR FIN COLLECTION ‘SHARK AMBASSADORS’
REEF – Cristina Zenato
Cristina has been diving with sharks for the last 22 years. Her field knowledge about sharks has been utilised by scientists, filmmakers and people interested in learning about sharks, the world they live in and how to protect them. Practicing a specialised technique known as Tonic Immobility (a state of relaxation), she is the first woman in the world to have used this technique on Caribbean Reef Sharks. To the observer, this looks like a shark falling asleep right in her lap. She uses this technique to remove hooks from sharks’ mouths and to remove parasites. Cristina has developed a Caribbean Reef Shark Awareness Distinctive Specialty and was the initiator of a campaign that resulted in the complete protection for all species of sharks in the entire Bahamas.
TIGER – Jillian Morris Brake
Shark conservationist Jillian Morris Brake has combined a background in science and media to educate students around the world about sharks. She is a marine biologist who has filmed and photographed for The Discovery Channel, BBC, National Geographic, Ocean Geographic, Animal Planet and more. Additionally she has worked as a researcher and naturalist in Australia, California, the Bahamas, Florida and the Dutch Caribbean. Jillian is unabashedly obsessed with sharks and doing everything she can to save them. “It is my mission to create the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure,” she says. She is the Founder and President of Sharks4Kids, Inc.
OCEANIC – Amanda Cotton
Amanda Cotton is a professional photographer specialising in underwater imagery. As an avid scuba diver and ocean enthusiast, Amanda’s goal is to help the general public embrace the beauty below the waves, in hopes that with awareness comes concern. The conservation and preservation of this ecosystem is of the highest priority to Amanda and she takes great pride in working with like-minded organisations that genuinely care about the planet and its inhabitants, both above and below the waves. Amanda’s imagery has been published in major publications and news sources worldwide including National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, Smithsonian Magazine, Times Publishing, CNN, Scuba Diving Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine, Natural History Magazine, Earthweek, and Science Daily.
HARLEQUIN – Mae Dorricott
Mae has been diving from the age of 12 and has always aspired to work within and contribute back to the underwater world. With a background in Marine Biology (BSc) and Science Communication (MSc) it has been her goal to understand and share the wonders of the life beneath the sea. In 2017 she was awarded the OWUSS (European Our World Underwater Scholarship) Rolex scholarship, which enabled her to gain experience around the world with leaders in a variety of marine fields. Her adventures as the scholar included exploring mesophotic reefs in Micronesia, diving with bull sharks in Fiji, conducting repellent tests on Great White Sharks in Australia and clearing up ghost fishing nets from Wellington harbour in New Zealand. She is an avid campaigner against single-use plastic and an online blogger. Currently, she is working in TV on a new series to be aired on Animal Planet.
THRESHER – Megan Cook
Megan Cook is an ocean explorer, taking robots deep into Earth’s oceans illuminating animals and landscapes never before seen by humans. Working beside legendary explorer and Titanic discoverer, Dr. Robert Ballard, Megan inspires audiences around the world with biological, geological, chemical, and geographic discoveries from the deep. Megan coordinates Ocean Exploration Trust’s outreach and education programs and has worked as a submarine copilot, a professional diver, an ‘invasive species wrangler’, an educator in and on the water, as well as being honoured as a Mission Blue Young Explorer and North America’s Rolex Scholar in 2012.
MAKO – Jill Heinerth
One of the world’s most accomplished cave divers, Jill Heinerth has already chalked up over 7,000 dives, many of them pushing technical boundaries. Jill was the first person to dive into the depths of Antarctic iceberg-cave ecosystems, was on the team that created the first 3D map of an underwater cave system, and has travelled more than three kilometres into a cave on a single dive — farther than any other woman in history. Of her exploration, director James Cameron has said, “More people have been to the moon than to places that Jill Heinerth has explored deep inside our watery planet.”
She is a veteran of over thirty years of filming, photography and exploration on projects in submerged caves around the world with National Geographic, NOAA, various educational institutions and television networks worldwide. She is the inaugural Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, recipient of Canada’s prestigious Polar Medal and the diving world’s highest award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, the NOGI.
DUSKY – Madison Stewart
Madison Stewart, better known as ‘Shark Girl’, has been campaigning for shark conservation since she was 14 years old, when she first noticed their dwindling numbers while diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Over the years she has lobbied government to shut down shark fisheries, appealed to supermarkets to stop selling shark products, but perhaps her most powerful conservation efforts are the stories she tells through the medium of film, her efforts to show people just how majestic these creatures are, and why they need to be saved. Conversation and education has become the foundation of her work, from working with shark attack victims to transforming shark fishermen into tourism operators. In 2017, she was awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year award.
Header Image Credit: Danny Tayenaka