Dive addicts know it : diving is a passion that takes a lot of time in a life.
Sometimes, this passion for diving goes so far as to encourage its followers to take strong action in relation to the incredible underwater environment and to volunteer in the defense of causes.
Beach cleaning, association for the preservation of marine ecosystems, prevention of diving accidents, promotion of diving activities … opportunities to invest in the world of diving are present and diversified.
Because we all can act for the marine environment we love so much, I invite you to discover the formidable challenge of Fabienne.
An introduction to late diving
At the age of 35, Fabienne, a mother of three children, discovers the pleasures of scuba diving “late on” as she says 😉
After a first holiday in Sardinia where she passes her first level, 1* diver, she didn’t stop the following year in the Red Sea and passes the second level, 2* diver.
For Fabienne, immersing herself in the clear, warm waters of the Red Sea is a revelation. She has the impression of living in a giant aquarium, in another world, the extraordinary world of underwater life.
Diving becomes a passion shared by the family.
Today Fabienne is a 3 * CMAS diver and has a RESCUE and NITROX advanced training just like her husband, while their children have an Advanced Open Water level and Level 1 for the youngest.
Determined to take advantage of it, it doesn’t take long for her to dicover the wonders that offer the seabed in the many destinations she explores: Egypt many times (which remain for her one of the best diving spots in the world by its diversity and magnificence), but also Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Martinique, Crete, Greece, the Bahamas and the Maldives, …
If her favorite dive spots are the Brothers in Red Sea, The Bahamas, Mexico and the Island of Guadalupe, she plans to discover many more dive destinations.
A meeting that changes her life
The encounter with sharks in Egypt in the Strait of Tiran (hammerhead sharks, whale sharks) and the Brothers (fox sharks, silky sharks and longimanus) causes Fabienne a fascination for these “top predators”.
She saw a real awareness of the injustice in terms of image sharks show to the public she lives and the slaughter they suffer in an indifference she describes as general.
This indifference is glaring and could be translated in the future purely and simply by the extinction of sharks !
Fabienne is very touched and decides to take action.
Birth of Sharks Mission France
Faced with injustice, in terms of image, and the need to act to preserve the sharks, whose meeting is so exceptional (and peaceful when we respect codes of good behavior towards them) Fabienne creates in January 2013 the association “Sharks Mission France” of which she is today the president.
The stated purpose of the association is to inform, raise awareness and act in favor of sharks.
5 volunteer members are active in the association and create everything from A to Z: logo, graphic charter, website, … The research work is huge and is also carried out through the organization of conferences with world sharks experts. It is a question of understanding the physiology of the sharks, the existing species, their way of life, their reproduction, … in order to better know how to share information.
The actions of Sharks Mission France
The actions of Sharks Mission France are extended: elaboration of specific brochures, organization of major conferences, in Lyon, with FS Arano, JM Rodelet, Francis Le Guen and also A. De Maddelena (expert of the great whites), interventions in schools and dive clubs, awareness in school canteens, restaurants and other traders to no longer offer sharks for sale and / or in the menu, development of a program to support scientific research on sharks, …
Other actions are aimed at raising public awareness through the media, poster campaigns, information leaflets and social networks that are great vectors of information.
The passion for the cause of sharks inspires Fabienne who then writes a self-published book “Sharks My Feelings”, to explain to all the feeling in the presence of sharks and the journey that led to the creation of Sharks Mission France.
Finally, the volunteers of Sharks Mission France launch a petition for France to vote in favor of increased protection of the fox sharks, porbeagle shark, longimanus shark during the meeting of the “Cites”. The result is coming fast and all these species of sharks have their protection increased and listed in Appendix II of this international treaty to the delight of sharks and Sharks Mission France enthusiasts.
How does the association live ?
All members of Sharks Mission France are volunteers who do not count their hours in the evening and on weekends because the association does not currently benefit from any subsidy.
Also, to carry out the various actions, it is the memberships of the 350 members and the sales of products which are the only financial resource.
“It took a lot of conviction and determination to get to where Shark Mission France is“
Today, more than 11,000 people follow Sharks Mission France on social networks. 6000 people also follow the page “diving with sharks” on Facebook, proof that the cause is of interest to the world of diving.
Three figures, three realities
- Sharks allow the oceans to produce nearly 80% of the oxygen we breathe on Earth. To eradicate them as we do today is to kill ourselves!
- You don’t raise a shark : every dead shark (100 million per year) is a huge loss.
- Today many species have seen their population reduced by 95 to 99%
The plus and minus points of volunteering at Sharks Mission France
Very clearly, if you ask him the question, Fabienne will answer you that the best results occur when someone tells her of a change in his perception of sharks due to the information coming from the association: “I will not hunt the shark anymore. in New Caledonia ” for example is a wonderful reward for Fabienne.
Similarly, when a chain of restaurants stops the marketing of a shark dish or when children, after a presentation, are eager for more information and are no longer afraid but want to know sharks better.
But the best gift is to hear: “you have completely changed my perception of sharks, I understand their essential role in the oceans and the need (or urgency) to back them up”
The less easy aspects of Fabienne’s commitment to Sharks Mission France are probably the hateful messages of shark fishers and the difficulty of having significant means to provoke collective awareness.
Of course, Fabienne would dream to be able to act “bigger”. And if she is satisfied with her action at Sharks Mission France, she would like to expand the team … call is sent to shark enthusiasts … and potential sponsors !
Development of her commitment
Between January 2013 and today much has changed at Sharks Mission France. As the association started from scratch, it took the trust of the public and decision-makers. For this, no secret, Fabienne and the other members of Sharks Mission France have had to show seriousness and determination.
They also had to find partners who followed them: Francis Le Guen, diving clubs, artists (Beli Monaco), tour operators, shark experts, …
All this was not done in a day but today, Fabienne is pleased to see that Sharks Mission France has become a recognized and acclaimed organization, one of the first in terms of the cause of sharks 😉
Link with the world of diving
For Fabienne, the link between her investment in Sharks Mission France and diving is obvious.
So, together with the other members of the association, she sets up partnerships with the diving clubs, develops the first brochure of “conduct to be held in the presence of sharks while diving”, because until then (too) little Information was given to divers traveling to sites where sharks could be seen without a doubt.
Fabienne also notices an evolution in the world of diving: the “special shark” dive has now entered the world of divers and is becoming more and more popular. Hence the need to continue to “educate”, to inform to behave as a guest on the territory of sharks and know what to do and not to do. In this area, it is better to avoid improvisation!
Today, diving is more and more popular especially during holidays in warm seas. For Fabienne, diving with sharks is a fantastic experience that she hopes will be democratized even more, with respect and understanding of sharks.
Projects for the future ?
Certainly, Fabienne would like to dive with the great white sharks. But she also dreams of participating in a mission with scientists and seeing tiger sharks, a species she particularly likes.
On the other hand, she will participate in January at the Paris diving show, a good opportunity to go to greet her and discover the actions of Sharks Mission France.
More info about Sharks Mission France ?
It’s easy, everything is explained on the website of the association and in the video below (only in french ) 🙂
And you, what are the causes related to the world of diving that make you want to invest ?
Want to share your experiences, comments and questions about your projects in the world of scuba diving ?
Post a comment below … it will make me really happy to discover all that diving brings you
Good bubbles and do not forget to be happy 🙂