BlueShark Learn More About the founders

 


 

 

 

 

Katrien Vandevelde and Jan Wouters met in the local diving club after discovering the vibrant and exciting world beneath the waves while snorkeling on holiday. Their adventurous souls soon lead them to Australia, where they dived with manta rays and whale sharks at Ningaloo reef. Here, their shared passion for this pristine underwater wilderness made them realise they were soulmates and so they closed each other and the ocean in their hearts for ever.

The seed of activism was sowed a few years later, when they learned that a mega resort with hotels and a marina was scheduled to be constructed at their underwater Eden. They felt compelled to take action and so they contacted NGO’s, dive centers and dive tourism companies all over the world, to raise awareness for this serious issue. Fortunately, the building plans were ultimately overturned and the area was designated as a World Heritage Site.

This was however just a prelude to their battle for marine preservation. As the years went by they became increasingly concerned by the deterioration of our oceans: the pollution and the litter, the collapse of coral reefs, the vast emptiness where schools of fish used to swim and the alarming absence of sharks in seas and oceans around the globe...

As most people have no idea of the profound devastation which is happening in the watery world below their dangling feet, Jan and Katrien now feel that it is imperative to be intensly dedicated to the cause and to make people aware that our lifeline is slowly dying. The hobby that turned into a passion, has now become a pure necessity, a moral obligation to do whatever they possibly can do, to assist in saving our cradle of life.

Katrien was also 

  • a boardmember of Sea First Foundation from November 2010 to August 2013
  • Shark Savers' volunteer from June 2011 to May 2015
  • the communications and press officer of Sea Shepherd Belgium from May 2014 tot December 2016
  • the social media administrator of Ocean Impact Alliance since October 2016

 

BlueShark Conservation is a Belgian not-for-profit (facto) organization focusing on ocean and shark conservation, using well directed projects and photography to raise awareness and promote change. BlueShark Conservation initiates grassroots projects and aims to be of assistance and to cooperate with national and international NGO’s during their ocean or shark conservation campaigns. BlueShark Conservation also raises awareness by donating photographic materials, publishing articles and hosting shark conservation talks and lessons. 

The name BlueShark Conservation was chosen in honor of the mysterious and beautiful blue shark species, which is arguably the species most affected by the shark fin trade. The blue shark used to be the most abundant large shark species in our oceans and while they are currently not the most endangered, their numbers have declined dramatically. The blue shark is the most harvested shark species within the European Union. No less than 80% of all sharks landed in the EU are blue sharks. They are also a major bycatch species for long lining and driftnet fisheries and as their meat is not very tasteful, they often become the victim of “shark finning”.