Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Revolution in Shark Control - two!



And I cite.
The Shark Monitoring Program of Recife has been developed specifically for the local conditions, which involved specific taxa (mostly tiger and bull sharks) and environmental characteristics. Therefore, replicating this strategy elsewhere may depend on a number of adaptations that must be carefully considered. 
Hazin and Afonso are the authors of the Recife Shark mitigation paper.

Quod erat demonstrandum!

Brooding Deep-Sea Octopus - wow!


Great find and great video!

Story here, open-access paper here.

Shark Tagging in Fiji - a big fat Bust!

Tiny Silvertip - source.

Watch this.

Yes there are Sharks - but that's the SRMR.
Bless Jess for her valiant effort to pick up the turd by the clean end. But those are accomplished Shark fishermen that would have surely caught more Sharks - if only there had been any!

Long story short?
This is additional evidence that the state of our pelagic Sharks is dire indeed.

To be continued no doubt!

Spatial Behavior in Elasmobranchs - Papers!

OCEARCH tracks in SA - so far, highly ambiguous!


I've been remiss in not posting about several new papers.

This one by, among others, (the proudly left-brained, and obstinate) Michelle Wcisel, describes the movements of GWS in the Dyer Island and Geyser Rock system near Gansbaai and observes that they differ substantially from the GWS movements in Mossel Bay. As a possible explanation, it observes that the former Sharks are largely sub-adult to adult (= seasonal hunters of Mammals ) whereas the Mossel Bay Sharks are predominantly juveniles that feed predominantly on bony Fishes and Cephalopods.
Offical synopsis and great infographic here.

This one examines the abundance and sexual composition of GWS in Gansbaai in relation to the season and ENSO, and comes to the conclusion that females appear to favor warmer water whereas males do the opposite, possibly owing to competitive exclusion by the larger female conspecifics.

And this one by, among others, Tiger Shark supremo Yannis Papastamatiou describes the movement patterns of Reef Mantas at Palmyra Atoll with its two immediately adjacent lagoons. Whereas most Mantas in one lagoon alternate between lagoonal and offshore habitats, those in the other lagoon appear to be much more resident, possibly owing to the different hydrology and/or capacity of the lagoons to provide for adequate nourishment.

And the take-away message of it all?
What once again strikes me in all those papers, is how behavior is being mediated by the environment (= climate, geography, habitat but also occurrence and/or migration of prey etc) but also by factors like gender, age and of course, individuality - and this all within one and the same species!
And if Michelle and Yannis can show significant variance across the smallest of geographical areas, and this within one single population - isn't it only logical to expect even bigger differences between distinct populations that are completely separated both genetically and geographically?

Definitely a big yes for Tiger Sharks - and the GWS?
Even discounting the Fischer factor, it seems to me that all those many comments about those tagged GWS are tacitly assuming that all GWS must necessarily follow a life cycle that is analogous, if not identical to what has been documented by Domeier for the Guadalupe population.
But with the above in mind, is that even plausible?

Take the Atlantic.
Its hydrology (think: Gulf Stream), climate and fauna are very different from that of the Eastern Pacific. Other large Sharks like Great Hammers and Tigers have been shown to migrate smack into the middle of the Atlantic, quite possibly following prey - so why not some of those GWS. Other, possibly younger GWS could be following the Bluefin into the Gulf. Consequently, the overall picture is much more ambiguous - incidentally, much like in South Africa with its ENSO-mediated interplay between the Benguela and the Agulhas!

There are two genetically distinct GWS populations that both migrate to the Neptunes where they intermingle as they prey on Pinnipeds - meaning that barring the discovery of some highly sophisticated reproductive isolation mechanism, one would have to assume that they mate completely elsewhere. And if so, this would be very different from what is being postulated for Lupe where the Pinniped colony appears to act as a focal point for mating!

Or the Mediterannean GWS.
Much more restricted habitat and quasi absence of Pinnipeds owing to the extirpation of the Monk Seal - surely this must have big effects on both their diet and migration!

Long story short?
We should really refrain from resorting to those very broad generalizations when describing the behavior of those different Sharks. Instead, let's stick to the evidence that keeps reminding us that things are complicated!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jackie's first Shark Dive!

World's best safety stop  - great pic by Allen Walker!

Very nice!

They and the editing are courtesy of Magnum Productions, Fiji's very best one-stop production house. Have real close look at the drone footage at 3:18f  - those are our small reefies on the world's best safety stop!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fishing for Piranhas!


A classical case of watch your fingers, see at top!

Naomi's Nightmares of Nature - Cute!

Great presenter - Naomi Wilkinson!

Bravo BBC - as always!

This is great nature programming. 
In all of its levity, it brings across all the correct messages, foremost of which Rachel Graham's recommendation to relax, observe, enjoy - but don't touch them, don't grab them, don't hug them, don't kiss them! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Right - batshit crazy!



Our Sharks on Facebook!

I can recognize 5, possibly 6 named individuals - can you name them?


Projects Abroad have started to post pics of our Sharks.
The page will be shortly populated by many more pictures of the now 150+ identified Bulls, possibly along with the other species and hopefully with more explanations about their diagnostic features and names.

Anyway, it's a beginning.
Keep watching that page!

MPOs Mako - two!

Like I said, there's plenty more!

I just had to share this.
That's a big badass lady with a mouthful of teeth!

WA Shark Cull - Submission!!

This is really as good as it gets.
Yes it was commissioned by Sea Shepherd for whom I harbor, to state it mildly, mixed feelings - so kudos to them for having aligned with (?) this simply brilliant environmental lawyer!

Required reading!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Caribbean Reefs and Parrotfishes!

When people talk about “keystone” species, they’re generally thinking about predators that shape the behavior of every other creature in their habitat, or about prey that serve as dinner for the entire neighborhood. But a new report on the collapse of coral reefs across the Caribbean is a reminder that entire ecosystems can depend on species that do little more than graze.
As in Parrotfishes and Sea Urchins!
This truly epic report details how the Caribbean has lost 50% of its Corals since the 1970s, and suggests strategies for their recovery - the most astonishing one being the need to restore Parrotfish populations!
Not necessarily Sharks tho it will certainly help, too!

Synopsis here, executive summary here.
Required reading!

Sea Shepherd - milking the Shark Cull!

Oh yes, this would be another Shark Operation - remember?

Have you seen this?

It's the usual tried-and-tested MO.
Having squandered heaps of donor money, made a lot of noise and achieved A Big Fat Zero like always, Sea Shepherd now want more of your money. For something that has already been done better and pro bono by others who have then posted it online so that everybody could watch it for free.

And money they will get.
Didn't we just mention PT Barnum yesterday?

Oh well.

Small Hammers in Malpelo - brilliant Video!


This is great.
To me, this looks like an aggregation of subabdult females and males, likely before the reported sexual segregation.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Discovery - messing with the Researchers!

The Shark researchers are up in arms.

And Discovery are having a ball.
They keep pushing the right buttons, elicit the usual indignant verbose Pavlovian responses, and are being handed heaps of free advertising for Shark Week in the process.

Guys, seriously - you gotta stop being suckers.
Just ignore those provocations and simply stop mentioning that shit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MPO's Mako!


And knowing the man, there's many more pictures where this one came from - minutes or not!
A MASSIVE (in the truest sense of the word) female Shortfin or Longfin (should know soon) Mako Shark estimated at easily 13-14 ft. and 1,000 lbs. 
The blue sharks, which disappeared immediately, looked like toothpicks next to her. 

Reportedly the largest Mako ever seen by dive operators in Pico, this enormous shark rocketed from the blue below and swam among us until we ended our dive - in minutes . She was so big at first I thought she was a Great White Shark (a close cousin). 

The Mako is the top predator in the pelagic (offshore) marine habitat, preying on a variety of big fish (tuna, billfish, etc.) and even marine mammals. 
And this place has plenty of both. 

Unfortunately, sharks like this are becoming harder and harder to find because of fishing. I have to say it's the most impressive shark I've ever seen, and this encounter ranks as one of my top experiences in 3,000 dives in 22 years. 

Truly spectacular - check out the mating scars.
The head is pretty much all teeth.
So what is this - Longfin or Shortfin?
Methinks the latter - alas!

Vu sur Terre - all the Dates!

Bonjour à tous!
Dear all!

La saison V de la série documentaire "Vu Sur Terre " sera à l’antenne chaque mardi de cet été, à partir du 22 juillet 2014 sur France 5 à 21h30. Vous trouverez- ci dessous toutes les nouvelles destinations et leurs dates de diffusion.

Somewhere On Earth, Season 5, starts showing tonight on France 5.
More info here  and of course our website for trailers and more.

  • Croatie/ Croatia- Réalisation/ Directed by Laurent Cadoret:
    le mardi 22 juillet 2014 à 21h25, le samedi 26 juillet 2014 à 16h10, dans la nuit du dimanche 10 au lundi 11 août 2014 à 00h05 et le jeudi 14 août 2014 à 16h45.

  • Chili Austral/ Southern Chile- Directed By: Laurent Cadoret:
    le mardi 29 juillet 2014 à 21h30, le samedi 2 août 2014 à 16h10, dans la nuit du dimanche 17 au lundi 18 août 2014 à 00h05 et le jeudi 21 août 2014 à 16h45.

  • Malawi- Réalisation/ Directed by Laurent Cadoret:
    le mardi 5 août 2014 à 21h30, le samedi 9 août 2014 à 16h10, dans la nuit du dimanche 24 au lundi 25 août 2014 à 00h05 et le jeudi 28 août 2014 à 16h45.

  • Iles Fidji/ Fiji Island-Directed by Scott Schneider:
    le mardi 12 août 2014 à 21h30, le samedi 16 août 2014 à 16h10, dans la nuit du dimanche 31 août au lundi 1er septembre 2014 à 00h05 et le jeudi 4 septembre 2014 à 16h30.

  • Norvège/ Norway: Réalisation/ Directed by Anne Viry-Babel:
    le mardi 19 août 2014 à 21h30, le samedi 23 août 2014 à 16h10, dans la nuit du dimanche 7 au lundi 8 septembre 2014 vers 00h30 et le jeudi 4 septembre 2014 à 16h30.

  • Nouveau-Mexique/ New Mexico: réalisation/Directed by Scott Schneider:
    le mardi 26 août 2014 à 21h30, le samedi 30 août 2014 à 16h10, dans la nuit du dimanche 14 au lundi 15 septembre 2014 vers 00h30 et le jeudi 11 septembre 2014 à 16h30.
L'équipe de Patly Productions

Manhattan Beach - common Sense?

This just not cool - source.

Good one!

Could not agree more.
It's not about the ordinary anglers - it's about those guys that have upped the ante and are recklessly, and illegally targeting the big game right in the middle of the crowds. And yes, the swimmers and other aquatic recreationists need to be mindful of what's going on around the pier, and stay clear of those fishing lines - and vice versa!

Story here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pissed-off Sailfish!


"Story" here.

Shark Repellents - the Bible!

Shark repelling Batspray in action!

Talk about a monumental tour de force!
If you ever want to talk about Shark senses and Shark repellents with any degree of competence, you must get your hands on this simply epic treatise on the topic!
Very impressed!

No I'm not gonna try and write a synopsis.
It's simply too monumental, complex and exhaustive - and when it comes to the finer details, I'm also too stupid!

Just this.
I really had to laugh out loudly when reading the following.
Taking a different approach based on his experiences diving in the western Pacific, marine biologist Walter Starck developed a black-and-white banded wetsuit that was intended to mimic the banded poisonous sea snakes that many sharks appeared to avoid eating (Doak 1974; Nelson 1983).

Whilst T. obesus appeared to be unaffected by the banded wetsuit, it was reported to have a repellent effect on C. amblyrhynchos, C. galapagensis, and silvertip sharks (Carcharhinus albimarginatus Rüppell, 1837). Doubt was cast on the effectiveness of the banded suit based on testing performed in the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, but these negative results might have been because the test sites were not inhabited by sea snakes, and local shark populations may not have had the opportunity to learn to avoid them (Nelson 1983). 

This controversy also serves to highlight the difficulties in assessing repellence when complex multi-sensorial cues are available and the problems inherent in testing shark repellents when sharks must be induced (with food) to interact with them. The repellent effects of some devices may be subtle and provide a useful level of protection against unprovoked bites under normal conditions, but may be significantly reduced when sharks are provoked into feeding, especially when in groups (Gilbert 1962).
Even if we choose to forget the WA Tiger Sharks that target Sea Snakes, and Marine Dynamics' zebra decoy - how many Banded Sea Kraits does a GWS typically encounter in his lifetime?

And the funny disquieting part?
Hart and Collin are the very researchers that are lending scientific credibility to that whole Aussie wetsuit scam where the marketing team has even got the audacity to go and praise themselves on self-congratulatory and eminently deceiving TED talks

So what is this. 
Honesty in peer-reviewed articles - but then, aiding and abetting the brazen profiteering?
May this be a case of, gasp, integrity vs money?

Questions questions - but do read that article!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't buy Tramadol!

Here we go again!

I'm being spammed by a deluge of messages selling that shit.
Those fucking dimwits don't appear to notice that not a single one of their comments ever makes it onto the blog, and continue undeterred, for days and weeks on end.

So, don't buy that crap.
It's being marketed by total morons, and the side effects are just simply unacceptable.

Eat THAT, assholes!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#SHARKWATCH - good Article!


You got to read this.

It's an excellent synopsis of global Shark conservation efforts.
Bravo Alan Boyle - job well done!

She's pregnant!

And huge!

Blunt was always BIG, but now she's GINORMOUS!
The screen grab with those projecting teeth looks fearsome - but that's how she always feeds, this whilst actually being one of the sweetest, most considerate and borderline shy individuals, and getting even mellower as time goes by!
A big, old Shark with a big tummy = a big litter, making her specially valuable.

To be continued!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Revolution in Shark Control?

Shark cull in Reunion - source.

Have you seen this?

I must say that I'm irritated - intellectually that is.
So, the cull in Hawaii did not reduce the incidence of shark bites. Indeed, because those are highly migratory Tiger Sharks, and new Sharks moved in and took the place of those individuals that were removed by culling - correct?

The target species of the WA Shark cull are those highly migratory GWS.
So if lethal removing of migratory Sharks has been shown not to work in Hawaii - what leads us to boldly state that non-lethal removing of migratory Sharks in Western Australia will?
Can't have it both ways!

And why did the relocating work in Recife?
Because those were Bull Sharks = a not highly migratory species! The Sharks were dragged offshore and released, after which they likely settled somewhere else on the coast and/or may have learned to avoid the region were they had been subjected to such a traumatic experience.

Which begs the question, would this strategy work in Reunion?
Alas, methinks not - because the island is so small that it likely does not feature any "unproblematic" coastlines for the Sharks to relocate to, and because it is too isolated for the Sharks to swim somewhere else! By the same token, in Reunion, culling is likely to reduce the incidence of Shark strikes as it will gradually whittle down a discrete resident population of Sharks.
Not nice - but people are working on alternative solutions!

The good news?
The data from Western Australia's Shark Bay are much more ambiguous, meaning that a good portion of those WA Tiger Sharks are likely not highly migratory - remember this post? Tiger Shark migration appears to be mediated by the geographical location insofar as closer to the equator, temperatures vary less, prey migrates less and thus evolution has not selected for Tiger Sharks to go walkabout.
And if so, relocating those WA Tiger Sharks may well work!

Detail detail!
Or am I missing something here?

Choked to Death?


Story here.
What is believed to be the same Shark has later washed ashore - apparently, it had choked to death on a Sea Lion.


For our Chinese Friends - two!

This is excellent pro-Shark media.
And even better, it directly addresses the audience that matters most.

Kudos to everybody involved!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lemon Shark nails Remora!

Watch - 0:50f!

A clear case of mistaken identity - not! :)
Other than that, this is everything I hate about Discovery - and shame on the producers, the operators that enable it, and the cameramen that film this shit!

Anybody come to mind?

Shark Diver missing!

Several people have sent me this.

Not good.
But, there's no mention of any interaction with a Shark and as such, this got nothing to do with Shark diving but is instead a diving accident. 

Diving is dangerous, and unfortunately, shit happens. 
But barring gross negligence by the operator (which is not being asserted), certified divers are essentially "on their own" and assume full responsibility for their doing.

And the underhanded critique of Jimmy?
Sure, years ago he was controversial - but if I compare him with his peers and copycats, now he is actually  one of the most responsible operators out there, with some of the best and most stringent Shark diving protocols. The market has very much evolved, and diving cage-less with those big coastal Sharks is now the norm not the exception - to the point that none other than Neil Watson is now running cage-less dives with those "deadly" Bimini Hammers! Remember the accusations back then?
With that in mind, I would much rather call Jimmy a visionary pioneer!

So calm down folks.
No need for the told-you-so, the finger pointing, the smirking and/or the doomsday scenarios.
As a minimum, let's wait and see what comes of it.


PS - read this.
If confirmed, this obviously opens up a whole can of worms. The situation appears to be in flux, so for now, I'm gonna hold off - past thoughts about sustainable Shark diving, multi-user sites etc here.
Shame this tragedy is affecting the one operator who has made the biggest effort to establish good procedures, and who has done most for Shark awareness and conservation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WA - massive GWS!

That's one big Shark!

Nice comments by the fisho!
Hillarys appears to be a good place for encountering big GWS - philopatry anybody?


FUN FUN FUN - three!

From the comments thread.

Navy Seaman 3rd Class Igor Igorigorevich has left a new comment on your post "FUN FUN FUN - two!": 

Good day Comradette Kat77. 
This is your new best friend Navy Seaman 3rd Class Igor Igorigorevich, third latrine attendant at the top secret Avosk-Brakoskov Siberian Fleet base in Avosk-Brakoskov in Siberia. How are you today? I am very busy. The nuclear subsurface torpedo vessel Ivan the Terrible is coming into port so I am reinforcing the urinals with extra cement.

I want to thank you so much very for this:
'And anyone who actually believes that photograph is real needs to have their head examined.'

I went to see Comrade Surgeon Doctor Gregor Gregorgregorovich and he said my head is fine. 
So now I am worried. The internet is a dangerous place if you are innocent and not the only dangerous place. I have been fooled before. For instance when I was on shore leave for some R & R at Ushuaia on the tip of South America. Oh it was not my fault. My hopes were too high! Comrade Cadette Alexis had warned me about any 'women' over 2 metres tall when not in their heels. Comrade Lieutenant Sakarchov warned me about the ones with deep voices and/or beards. But please understand. I had spend 6 months in solitary confinement at the Imperial Russian Ornithological Secret Oil Extraction Observatory Drill Centre observing the almost extinct last surviving colony of the Antarctic Great Beaked Hopper Penguin. Very endangered. And absolutely no way to get a T-90 down there without it falling through the ice. I did not even have survival rations. When I arrived the colony was 180 birds. I was told to feed myself. I only ate one a day (promise!). I was there 6 months. 
You do the math. 

...So anyway, there I was on some backstreet of Ushuaia with my shore leave pay (2,000,000 roubles) burning a hole in my pocket. Funny color lightbulbs on the street. Lots of shadows and suspicious people in shadows. Drunks everywhere. Cold wind howling. Just like Moscow. And I met someone. 'Her' name was Claudette. 'She' was beautiful -- or beautiful to anyone who has spent 6 months looking at penguins. 'She' was tall (2 metres 12 cms). She had a deep strong voice. I took her back to my hotel and everyone in the foyer was sniggering and pointing, like they knew something I didnt. I took 'Claudette' up to my room and, well, one thing to another led. Boy did I get a shock. The worst fright of my life. She WAS a woman.

So anyway I no longer trust my eyes. 
I have posted some pictures below, Kat77, just for you. Please tell me if they are real or fakes.


For our Chinese Friends!

Mimic Surgeonfish, A. pyroferus, from Shark Reef.

I obviously understand less than zero.
But equally obviously, it is a lovely program - and I would argue, this principally owing to the fact that Stephen and Takako are just simply lovely people!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

FUN FUN FUN - two!

Titled THE_FAMILY_and_HAMMERHEAD - great education! Source.

Worry not!
This time, I'm not gonna utter the dreaded B-word! :)

So, that horrible woman is coming back.
And she is, obviously, totally unrepentant - as in, you are the company you keep!
Op-ed by David here!

PS - Christie Wilcox (much too politely and intellectually) here!
PPS - David on SFS here!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Sharks!

This is phenomenal stuff.

David remarks correctly,
This is honest, beautifully crafted and real documentary film-making and reminds those of us old enough to remember, an hour long TV slot used to mean an hour of content as opposed to 47 minutes of content wrapped around what the broadcaster really wants you to watch, the 13 minutes of commercials. 

Look at those involved on screen as well, The Taylors, Eugenie Clark, John McCosker, Richard Ellis, all of whom are there because they have earned the right to be there, they have something of value to add, they're not there because they look cool, because they do as they're told or because they've bought their way in, they're there because they're awesome.

Friday, July 11, 2014

WA Shark Cull - Nat Geo Wild!

The cull is now on Wikipedia.
Not perfect but not bad, either.

Same-same for this reportage.
It sure frames the issue correctly i.e. the cull is ethically and scientifically untenable - but people are scared and demand action = quick-fix solutions.
Anyway, well worth watching.

To Feed or not to Feed - David's Interview!

David has posted his own unabridged interview.

As always, he's making some excellent points.
Re-posted in its entirety, with tacit permission.

What is your opinion on baited shark dives and shark feeding dives, and why?

It’s a strange one, I am neither “pro-shark feeding” nor “anti-shark feeding”.
It would be more accurate to say I wholeheartedly support projects which encourage conservation initiatives for sharks whilst involving local communities and tourism, all with a goal to create long term, sustainable and economically successful alternatives to the short term financial gain of commercial or sport fishing. In short, that generally means eco-tourism shark diving and if you want to ensure your business is sustainable, your clients need a guarantee of sharks and in most places, that means baiting or feeding. 

People have been feeding sharks since the dawn of civilisation.
As soon as we stepped aboard boats and into the water, sharks have benefited from our being there, it’s not this new thing people seem to think it is. This idea that politicians or just the everyday man on the street is going to want to protect something simply because it’s the right thing to do is not only naive, it is grossly misguided. People need incentives to commit to things long term and that incentive has to be financial for it to work properly. Most of the best places in the world to see sharks are third world or developing nations, these nations are already being exploited by fishing fleets looking to empty their waters of fish before leaving them with nothing and heading on to the next location to destroy and for people with nothing, short term financial relief offered by destructive industries is going to be preferable to seeing your family starve. What shark dive operations in these areas can do is provide long term careers and financial stability to areas in desperate need, not just directly linked to the shark feed either but to all the other ancillary businesses which benefit from an influx of tourism capital. 

People who say that these feeds condition sharks to view humans as food or as a source of food simply do not understand sharks.
Sharks are not mindless killers, to imply that seeing a diver behind a cage will condition that shark to equate a diver outside a cage, in a different location, as food is just complete nonsense, akin to claiming a dog can learn to drive a car because he sits in the back seat when you take him to the park. The people who continue to make these claims are implying, whether they realize it or not, that all cognitive development in sharks is in someway ultimately geared towards aggression towards people which is obviously untrue, but also reduces sharks to nothing more than the big dumb animals portrayed in the movies. 

Not all feeds are safe, not all feeds are well intentioned and some are downright irresponsible.
But we cannot condense an industry which on the whole does some incredible things for shark conservation, into one which is creating man-eating sharks prowling the coasts looking for people to eat because the facts don’t lie, shark feeds have not increased the number of shark attacks or the risk of shark attack, anywhere on the planet, the link just does not exist. Those with moral or ethical concerns about the practice need to consider what is better, shutting the feeds down and letting the fishermen in to wipe out the sharks, or choosing not to partake personally in these dives but appreciating the conservation benefit they can provide. 

A protected site under the stewardship of local employees which serves as a site to take tourists out to see what magnificent animals sharks are is the best available scenario we have and shark eco-tourism, is possibly the last remaining realistic way we can halt and then hopefully reverse the alarming decline in global shark numbers. 

Or even, how do you feel about the controversy surrounding baited dives? 

It’s a controversial issue surrounded by myths and untruths perpetuated by people who really don’t understand the issue of shark behaviour. 
The primary concern has always been the increase in the perceived risk of attack but it just simply isn’t true, there is zero evidence that a shark feed operation increases the risk of attacks on bathers, divers and surfers, in fact, if you look at the statistics, you are less likely to be bitten by a shark in a location where feeding occurs, than you are in a location where it does not. I recently saw a claim that the cage diving operations at The Neptune Islands, South Australia, could be directly linked to the attacks in Western Australia which is of course ridiculous, but indicative of the kind of opinions some people will believe are credible. 

It must also be said however, that if you start a shark feed 100 yards off shore from a popular beach, you will likely encounter problems, not because of the implausible notion that feeding sharks conditions them to humans as food (something which has been largely disproven) but because you will be aggregating sharks, at least periodically, in areas of high human recreational water use. More people, more sharks, more risk of a bite, it’s that simple. 

If you are going to open a shark feeding site, you must use common sense, pick a site not used by recreational water users, protect the site so you don’t aggregate sharks for the fishermen and put in place protocols from which you never ever deviate. 
The basic logistics of a shark feed should be exactly the same every single day, the sharks need to learn what is expected of them and also, your clients must also be aware of what is expected of them, too many shark feeding sites these days are letting clients dictate what they want from a dive as opposed to the operator having full control over their input to the dive. If multiple operators use the same site and the same sharks, but their protocols are wildly different, that could confuse the sharks and could lead to issues later down the line and nobody wants that. 

It’s all about common sense, a long term initiative which has the sharks best interests at heart and also, involving local communities. Shark feeds run purely for commercial gain, with no thought for the well-being of the sharks, are no good for anybody other than those looking to make a fast buck. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pour nos Amis Francophones!

I just got this message. 
Le film Vu sur Terre, Iles Fidji sera diffusé sur France 5 le mardi 12 aout 21h30, le samedi 16 aout 16h10, le 1er septembre 0h30, le 4 septembre 16h30. 
This is a production we're proud of. 
Vu sur Terre is one of the premium programs of Patly Productions, and the Fiji episode explores the daily lives of a surfer, a rugby player and a Shark feeder, our Manasa, or Papa.
This is by no means a film about us, and Shark diving plays only a secondary role - instead, it accompanies Manasa and his son, feeder-in-training Tumbee from Viti Levu to Rukua, Manasa's village on Beqa Island, and from the Shark feeding dives at Shark Reef to the church service where Manasa officiates as pastor and a fire walking ceremony for which the Beqa islanders are famous. 
I haven't yet seen it, but having met the producer Scott Schneider, I am sure that it will be respectful and insightful, with stunning images by cameraman Manu. 

You can watch a short sequence here, by clicking on SEASON 5. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

White Teatfish in Fiji - brilliant Reportage!

Bravo Amy E. West!

This is as good as it gets.
Of interest, the bêche-de-mer traders are the very people that fuel the recent massive upsurge in fishing for our coastal Sharks. Whenever there is a moratorium for Sea Cucumbers or local fisheries collapse, they ask their suppliers to go and get them some Shark fins instead.
And yes, don't blame the fishermen - tho it's getting worse by the minute.

This is erudite, comprehensive, insightful.
Required reading!

WA Shark Cull - great Turnout!

Good point!

Read this.

That's quite impressive, bravo!
Now we'll see whether the postulated silent majority exists, or not - and if they've chosen to remain silent, then they've missed their chance and whatever they think, or not, is henceforth totally irrelevant!

And this shit?
Merely the rant by some anti-liberal lunatic?
I would think, yes, the author comes across as a total moron - but as David correctly remarks, most of the ammunition for the stupid rant stems from the fact that the anti-cull movement has failed to distance itself from its most radical, stupidest and outright craziest elements that have managed to largely hijack the public discourse with their strident extremist vociferating.

Hopefully, it matters not.
Hopefully, the anti-cull submissions have argued with facts and not the usual pathetic platitudes, insults and threats. Talking of which, I must say that I was quite impressed and actually, pleasantly surprised by this submission by the TGSCI - unfortunately terribly late but other than that, a really valiant effort both in content and in style!

Now we wait.
The WA government has so far shown remarkable transparency and it will be interesting to see the breakdown of positions once the results are published - and of course, to find out about the next move by the EPA!

Fingers crossed!