'Shark whisperers' hit Auckland

Ocean Ramsey is on a mission to change attitudes to sharks. Photo / oceanramsey.com
Ocean Ramsey is on a mission to change attitudes to sharks. Photo / oceanramsey.com

Conservation: Hawaiian-born 'shark whisperer' Ocean Ramsey is teaming up with local shark expert Riley Elliott for a one-off public event in Auckland.

The pair have been touring New Zealand since the start of the month to drum up support for shark conservation. The tour follows the New Zealand Government's announcement in January of a plan to completely ban shark finning by 2016. Shark finning in local waters has increased dramatically in the past decade and New Zealand is one of the top 20 exporters of shark fins to Hong Kong, with an annual average of 24,000 tonnes.

Ramsey, who gained fame when she posted a YouTube Clip that showed her free diving with a large great white shark, and Elliott, a researcher at the University of Auckland, will host a public event on Sunday February 16 at the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum in Auckland.

As well as a public discussion and question-and-answer session, Ramsey and Elliott will reveal new video and photography footage at the event.

"Many people fear sharks and have unfortunately only seen them portrayed on TV and in films as mindless man-eating machines," Ramsey writes.

"In truth, sharks are intelligent, calculated and generally very cautious about approaching humans. More importantly, sharks play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. Many people are unaware that sharks are being over-fished to the point of extinction."

For more information, check out the page for the public event on Facebook.

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