Dr. Antoniou is currently working as the Executive Director for Fins Attached, which he founded in 2010. He has had a passion for shark research and conservation for 20 years.
Dr. Antoniou, in his pursuit to protect sharks. has traveled to places such as Honduras and Baja California, the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Guadalupe Island and Socorro. On October 28, 1999, Dr. Antoniou met with 50 Honduran government officials in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to ask for protection for whale sharks in their waters. Officials from the Navy, Department of Tourism, Biodiversity, Marine Fisheries and the Department of Agriculture attended SRI’s presentation. After reviewing data provided, the Honduran government decreed the whale shark a protected species their territorial waters with severe penalties for violators. Passage of this law made Honduras the first nation in the Caribbean to protect whale sharks.
Perhaps Alex’s greatest achievement was the recent acquisition of a 134-foot, long range research expedition vessel, to be able to expand the work of Fins Attached. The vessel has been renamed to “Sharkwater,” in honor of the work started by Rob Stewart.
“The Sharkwater team is proud to be a part of the Sharkwater research vessel and we know Rob Stewart was thrilled to have been involved in this significant initiative. It’s imperative we support the oceans and all its creatures and this boat will provide an excellent resource for researchers, scientists, and conservation groups for years to come,” began Brian and Sandy Stewart. “A giant thank you to Alex…and his organization Fins Attached for making this happen. As Rob said, ‘Conservation is the preservation of human life on earth and that above all else is worth fighting for,’ concluded Brian.
Originally the the vessel was built to be used by Japanese fisheries, but now she has been converted for her marine research and conservation mission. Sharkwater will be a host to many different professions within the field. Scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), marine science students, and documentary crews will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and to achieve the objectives of Fins Attached with marine research and conservation.
“Having an expedition vessel to further the mission of conducting research and promoting conservation is a giant leap forward for Fins Attached. We are so excited at the possibilities and the amount of work that will be done,” says Alex Antoniou, Ph.D. “Fins Attached was created to do just that, to work towards protecting sharks and the marine environment, which ultimately benefits all living things.”