Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Scientists about Shark Mitigation Measures!


97% of those polled scientists are against lethal control measures.
Incidentally, those would be the very people that were picketed, heckled and insulted by Lesley Rochat and her Shark Warriors.

Vindicated my ass!
This whole project, or whatever, is increasingly becoming bizarre and frankly, rather sad.
What a shame.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Wild Tiger Shark in Micronesia!

Just got this from Timbo.
I had an interesting trip that went from Cenderawasih, West Papua, to Ulithi. We had an "interesting" tropical storm in Ulithi. 
My biologist friends from Guam were there, mostly snorkeling, looking for manta sites. Look what happened when they were snorkeling. The guy who shot this was the only guy with a big camera.

So much for Tigers being nothing but placid Buddhas.
And no, there was no bait in the water - you TB groupies and sharkxperts, take note!

Sustainable Shark Fins - encore!



I totally missed this when it came out.
Please do take the time to watch it.

And now, read this op-ed by KT Tan.

Same old same old - remember this post
There you will also find links to excellent answers by Shark Savers to those allegations. In essence, KT's arguments once again detract from the fact that the majority of the fins originate from completely unregulated, unsustainable and often illegal fisheries.
So no need for me to dwell on a rebuttal.

But of course there's also a big kernel of truth!
It is certainly completely wrong to engage in unilateral Asia bashing. 
And from a conservation point of view, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to ban the fins of (already dead) Sharks that have been fished sustainably, let alone been certified - the more since if you watch the interview with the Singaporean fin trader at the end, there already appears to be a trade in sustainably sourced fins.

So, it's back to square one isn't it.
The various campaigns to curb the demand for Shark fin soup are laudable, and the successes are impressive - nice synopsis with excellent comments by Sam here. But like she correctly remarks, Sharks continue to be targeted for other reasons, and bycatch rates plus IUU remain a grave concern.

Solutions - and I am of course repeating myself!
But to facilitate the monitoring and the enforcement, this is what we should ask for
  • That anybody trading in Sharks and Shark parts come up with independent proof that his merchandise originates from sustainable and legal fisheries and has been obtained by legal means
As long as that proof is not forthcoming, the pressure on the industry should be kept up.
But once the industry shows a willingness to reform,
  • Let us help establish and grow a premium market for certified Shark fins from sustainably managed Shark fisheries!
I know - not what the breathy sharktivists want to hear.
But it is the right thing to do. Like I said, you may oppose it and and then find yourselves trying to catch up later - or you can embrace it and be at the forefront of smart pragmatic conservation.

The choice is yours.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shark Porn in New Zealand!

Watch the video - nothing has changed! Source.

And I cite.
Discovery's angle seems to hinge on the fear people have of the unknown, and especially the unknown in the water where they swim. Shark Week has been so good at tweaking and magnifying this fear, that generations of viewers who grew up watching the show are afraid to go in the water...

The problem is not only that there is a fatal prejudice against sharks, but that it is not even recognized.
In the case of other animals, such as snakes, everyone knows that there is a deep bias against them, but in the case of sharks, the stark contrast between sharks as they are portrayed, and sharks as they really are is unseen.

The public actually believes that sharks behave the way they are shown on Shark Week.
Indeed, and bravo Ila!
Watch what these people do to New Zealand's GWS.
Think that those Sharks are behaving naturally around boats, or have they been amped up intentionally in order to create all that idiotic drama - and how does this disrespectful rubbish adequately illustrate those past 10 years of stellar research by NIWA and DOC?

Yes it's same old same old, pure Shark Porn.

Have you read this comments thread?
Pitchforks and Flaming Brands is obviously an insider, and she knows what she is talking about. Shark Week is not some amorphous entity, it is people - and together with Sorensen's small team who defines the overall direction (= ever more exploitative garbage), those folks she calls out are definitely some of the worst serial perpetrators.
And like an old broken record, let me repeat.
Here are my own questions to fellow Shark diving operators and conservationists.
  • Are we gonna continue pretending this aint happening?
  • Are we gonna continue watching that shit?
  • Are we the operators gonna continue enabling it?
  • Are we gonna continue giving our business to operators that do?
  • Are we gonna continue associating with those people?
Is anybody, ever, gonna learn the obvious lessons?

The good news?
From a conservation point of view -and here I differ with Ila- it thankfully matters not!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

IGFA - lame lame lame!

The IGFA keeps defending unethical trophy fishing - not cool!

Remember David's paper about trophy fishing?
As a reminder, here's a nice synopsis, and I cite
“To us, ‘don’t kill IUCN Red List Threatened species for fun’ should be a part of any ethical angling policy, and many IGFA member anglers that we’ve spoken to agree,” Shiffman said. “We can only hope that the IGFA leadership decides to take the simple step that we propose.” 
Well said - totally agree!

And here is the answer by the IGFA.
Well, nobody really expected that they would fully endorse the paper's recommendations - but this?
This is unprofessional demagoguery at its very worst, to the point that one really has to ask the question whether the Conservation Director (no less!) is just simply hopelessly out of his depth? Nobody disputes that the principal cause for those collapsing fish stocks is not the recreational anglers but commercial (and subsistence!) fishing, at least when it comes to the marine species - but this is in no way an excuse for continuing to promote policies that are ethically reprehensible and hopelessly antiquated!

No I'm not gonna dwell.
The proposed solutions are compelling and easy to implement, and they would instantly affirm the IGFA as a responsible and forward looking organization - AND help preserve the Fish stocks the IGFA relies upon for its existence.

Not gonna happen - and fuck the breathy mission statement.
Not impressed!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sustainable Shark Diving - Progress!

Divers and Fiji Bull Sharks by Ozzie Sam - simply amazing! Click for detail!

I've just got some excellent news.

No I can't divulge anything quite yet - but soon! :)
But I can reveal that the global Shark diving industry is about to experience a whole array of excellent initiatives that are all pursuing the aim of creating a more eco-friendly and sustainable product that will positively impact business but above all, the Sharks.
This is a topic I am passionate about (yes that would be a whopping 69 blog posts, and counting!), and I must really say that I am elated to witness the sheer caliber of the people an orgs that have decided to tackle this thorny issue.

This is obviously under construction - but I happen to know the person behind it and have no doubt that the end result will be nothing short of stellar.
Keep watching that space!

This is the results of many years of quiet and extremely difficult behind-the-scenes efforts to reform the Shark diving industry in Playa del Carmen. Saving Our Sharks is the brain child of Chino Loria, the ever busy and ever overworked owner of Phantom Divers and I must say that I am deeply impressed by the progress to-date.
Chino has invested literally thousands of man hours and thousands of his own hard-earned dollars into sponsoring research, advocating Shark conservation, establishing a productive dialogue with the local and national authorities and dealing with the local fishermen - and this (quasi miraculous!) common code of conduct is going to project the local Shark diving industry to the next level and make it sustainable and profitable for many years to come.
Huge congratulations!

And let me add this.
Whilst all those pathetic self promoters and media whores post breathy announcements and celebrate their non-achievements in the social media, the people that really do the heavy lifting do nothing of the kind. They're not in it for the glory or for the money, they do it because they care deeply about the animals and simply want to do what is right - and if you happen to know about some of them, it is inevitably only because others have praised them, as it should be!

Think about it please.
And please, stop admiring and giving your money to those self promoting impostors.

Hunting Hammerhead in Destin!

A Southern Stingray with Great Hammerhead shark bites. Source

This is way cool.

Talk about not in the slightest caring about those people!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Feeding Lionfish to Bull Sharks?


Watch this.

So Cassell is back.
Which immediately begs the question, with or without Spot's fins?

But I'm obviously digressing.
The uncontrolled feeding of Lionfish to Sharks is a bad bad bad idea - the more as contrary to Playa where they encounter female Bull Sharks that are indeed conditioned and rather mellow, the Bulls in Cancun are feisty males that have already bitten people. With that in mind, does anybody think that the authorities are gonna be as delighted as Cassell appears to suggest?

Having inquired with a friend, his answer is
Hola Mike. I tried to feed lion fish to the bulls and they spit them out. Nobody is feeding in Cancun because it is a marine park and it is not permitted. Actually i don't think these guys have a permit to do what they want.
And why am I not surprised - caveat emptor!
To be continued no doubt!

PS! - less than a day after posting this, the video has been made private...
As I said, caveat emptor!

Here comes Taryn!



This is she.
This tiny subadult female Bull Shark has been around for a while, but I've only now managed to get a somewhat decent picture today. She's a tad shy yet inquisitive, and generally very sweet. We've named her after Taryn Naggs, the lady who made that amazing donation to the AABS fundraiser - and this not because of the fundraiser but because everybody here at BAD likes her very much!
Case in point, the nomination comes from none other than Rusi - and lemme tell 'ya, that man is neither easily befriended nor impressed!

May they, the shark and the human, grace us with their presence for many years to come!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Best fishing Video!

Great find by Allen!

Yes I do fish.
Many I release, some I eat - and as long as they are fast growing and plentiful species like e.g. Mahi Mahi, there's nothing wrong with that. Provided that they are managed/fished sustainably, Fish are a renewable resource - and extreme positions like this one do NOTHING in helping to address the very real issue of overfishing.
Not impressed!

Great video - enjoy!

Manta Ray in California!

What species is this?

Wow wow wow!

Have you seen this post?
Now, I know nothing about kelp diving and what to expect there - but it looks like the NiƱo is driving all kinds of tropical Fishes north, so having a Manta migrate north from, say, their known range in Baja/Socorro doesn't seem like such a big deal.
But watch the video.

See what I mean?
That's not one of the Pelagic Mantas that are ubiquitous on the tropical West coast of the Americas - that's a Reef Manta! Mantas have been shown to change color, but that apparently does not apply to the ventral side - and if you look at the comparative pictures, that Manta is definitely not featuring an uninterrupted dark terminal band but is instead featuring coloration that is diagnostic for Manta alfredi!

Check out the distribution of the Reef Manta.
See? No records for the Eastern Pacific, meaning that this is either a massive range extension, or that this is a straggler that must have swum over from either French Polynesia or more likely, the Hawaiian Islands - and this in a species that is generally believed to be highly coast-oriented!