Wednesday, October 01, 2014

IGFA Weight Records - Rebuttal!

This stuff is just not cool - source.

The debate continues.

Remember David's paper, an the lame reply by the IGFA?
Here is his response, and I cite,
We are grateful for the productive discussion...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Cannibalism does happen.


Methinks it's a mistake.
I've seen it happen twice at Shark Reef - once when two Bulls homed in simultaneously on a Tuna head falling from the suspended bin, once when there was a bit of a kerfuffle about who would first get a head from Rusi. Both Sharks were bitten on the head, with everybody hearing a loud crunch - but they appeared rather unfazed and continued feeding, and did turn back up on subsequent days.

Anyway, lucky, spectacular footage!

Tagging Controversy - Paper!


You really got to read this!
Neil, Austin et al are wading right into the hornet's nest that is the whole bloody Shark tagging controversy -biofouling, harassing and all- and attempting to encourage dialogue to establish a set of possible rules that may satisfy all the diverging resource users from researchers to operators to fishermen to conservationists to aficionados.
Not gonna happen of course - but valiant try! :)

And I cite.
Some recommendations to help engage local stakeholders in the significance of tagging research include
  • (1) use of informative posters or flyers; 
  • (2) meetings with stake holders ahead of time; 
  • (3) involving members of the public in the research (i.e. citizen science) or inviting them to observe the tagging activities; 
  • (4) providing public talks (e.g. schools, clubs and museums); 
  • (5) working closely with stakeholders (such as hiring guides or tourism operators to help with research)
  • (6) use of traditional mass media (print, radio and television)
  • (7) publishing tagging results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely fashion
  • (8) use of online materials such as websites, short videos, teaching via social media and even online platforms that allow the public to follow the movements of the tagged animals; and
  • (9) keeping the public updated on results.
Indeed - see Fischer's bloody communication breakdown in SA vs the much improved outreach when he moved operations to the US East Coast!
And I did like this.
While this discourse has mostly focused on stakeholder attitudes as well as user consideration and responsibilities, manufacturers have an important role to play in improving tag function and animal welfare.
While there is certainly considerable manufacturer effort to improve tag performance (battery life, transmission rate and size), there needs to be a greater focus on engineering instruments that eventually detach from animals, especially if a large proportion of tags inevitably become functionally impaired. The software does exist for some tags (mostly satellite tags) to determine their functionality (e.g. battery life/power level or light level that could determine biofouling) which could trigger release mechanisms of external tags. Tools could be further developed or studies designed in a way that tagged animals are recaptured at the end of a study.
Again, indeed!
Kinda reminds me of a rather lengthy (!!!) post somebody wrote a few years ago! :) 

Anyway, brave and interesting paper!
Like I said, you really got to read it, and I'm sure the authors will be happy to provide you with a copy should you ask them!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Vaquita - last Call!

It's nearly over.

The reason - accidental entanglement in gill nets of poachers targeting the Totoaba, once again an expensive and totally useless Chinese "delicacy".
Article here.

And the SSCS, defender of Cetaceans?
Nowhere in sight but instead, wasting time and money on non-conservation issues - which begs the question, what does that "C" really stand for? Anyway, you may want to remember that when they once again ask for your money.

And you Whale huggers in the USA?
This is happening on your watch, just south of the border.
Maybe you want to get off your slacktivist arses and do some guarding there and not in Japan!  

Fucking PRIORITIES anybody?

Shark Nets in Western Australia?

Shark barrier in Old Dunsborough - source.

Read this.
And this.

Yes they are planning to install up to 20 nets.
And I cite.
The state government is now considering installing shark nets on a number of metropolitan beaches as well as others in the South West and further up the coast north of Perth. 
According to a review of the Dunsborough Beach Enclosure Trial compiled by the state government, no by-catch was recorded as part of the net trialled in Dunsborough. 

A spokeswoman for the Premier told Fairfax Media that while the net announced on Friday was not the same type of net used in Queensland and New South Wales, it was made up of a mesh type netting. The state government's review said the planned net for Busselton would be more of a "beach enclosure" deployed to create "an impenetrable barrier to sharks".
So calm down people.
Before going out and pandering to the whacks by lamenting about wildlife traps and the linke, do your bloody due diligence. This is good news as it a) keeps the Sharks out and people within the enclosures safe whilst b) not harming the Sharks and the Fishes, see links under the picture at top and below.

If you want to rant, rant about this
Rogue Sharks are as real as Megalodon, Sharknados and Godzilla. 
But if a large Shark should linger in some spot, which they certainly do, evacuate the area til, being migratory, it moves on. No need/sense to remove, let alone kill it.
That simple.

And then, there's this.
Philopatry teaches us that those Sharks, far from being distributed randomly/evenly, favor determined locations. Identify those locations (which are but a few and may be determined by telemetry and/or past sightings and/or past strikes) and tell people to stay away during the GWS season which is only relatively short anyway.
Once again, not rocket science!

TGIF - amazing Video!

Story here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Recreational Shark Fishing in Florida - Paper!


I like research with immediate implications for conservation!:)
Good to see that most operators care and practice catch-and-release - now they only need to be educated to keep off those Hammers!

Paper here, synopsis here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Celebrando México: Jorge Cervera!


Really nice! :)
That's how you do it - bravo Jorge!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

30-foot juvenile Megalodon!

Another view of the very same spectacular animal! Source:  هلال پاڪستان (Millat)


Check this out - absolutely unbelievable!
So after all that frothy lambasting by the entirety of the Shark intelligentsia, it turns out that Discovery Channel was right after all - yes they are lurking in the deep! And considering that the fisheries authorities in Pakistan know nothing about what lives in their ocean, I would not at all be surprised at further equally spectacular discoveries!

BTW Franck is totally correct, and I cite
Well fisherman , another great living giant that you have killed for what ?
I am a great lover of sharks and seeing this makes me sick , serious think of how old is this shark , how many more sharks are we going to kill and tell me what are you going to do with this shark now , seriously your f….d up 
You guys make me sick 
Well said!

More Marine Protection in the Pacific!

Bravo Obama!

Read this - and this!
This is really really great - especially considering the continued bloody shenanigans by that coalition of evil that is the  WESPAC that did mobilize the usual cabal of shady characters in a last-ditch effort to derail the process. And BTW, great to see that Matt is back doing what he does best - inspiring others to enact spectacular marine conservation!
Now, can somebody please finally investigate those folks and pull their funding?

Correct me if I'm wrong - but we're still bloody waiting for NMFS/NOAA to bloody make up their bloody mind.

Standing by!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

F@$%ing Mermaid and Ecoterrorist!

This or dead Mantas from here - decisions decisions... Source.

Oh I know I know.
This is gonna earn me plenty more irate comments!

I've been remiss in not posting earlier about Shawn the Ecoterrorist's indefatigable efforts in trying to establish some sort of an economic alternative in Lamakera, one of the hot spots of Manta hunting in Indonesia. I was there, and in neighboring Lamalera where they Hunt Sperm Whales in the early eighties, and can attest that those hunts are their ancestral way of life - meaning that any change will, if at all, only eventuate slowly, and only if pursued in a respectful, consensual and culturally sensitive way.

But money talks, and should Shawn's project be embraced by, say, the fleet of Indonesian diving live-aboard vessels, then there is a real chance. Shoestring land-based ecotourism by enlightened travellers methinks not so much, as the economics are probably too feeble, and the logistics may prove to be prohibitive - but who knows, he is there and I am not, and he probably knows best.
Anyway, as always, huge kudos for trying!

And his co-conspirator, the f@$%ing mermaid?
Oh yes, turns out that it was really her!
And still, although that was an exercise in utter foolishness, and although I shall never really fathom the whole phenomenon of why people choose to dress up in fish tails, and why other people love that, I must reluctantly confess that I've become sort of a fan. No NOT of the mermaid thingy - but Hannah Fraser has a genuine wish to make a difference, does so in her own fashion = artistic expression, and probably really does make a real contribution.
Case in point, after her much reviled (and much more admired) Tiger Shark dance, she did launch this petition and was able to have over 8,000 anti-cull signatures hand delivered to both the WA EPA and the Federal Minister - and guess what, she just DID it and didn't brag about it!
Anyway, here is a recent interview I found rather endearing.

So well done and godspeed to both of them!
And before you ask - NO, there will be no f@$%ing mermaid bloody dancing with Bull Sharks in the SRMR anytime soon! :)

Shark Chick - curiouser and curiouser!

Wow wow wow!

But first.
Andrew Scerbo feels slighted.
As per my reply here, apologies. I thought that in my last post, it was clear that I was linking to this thread containing the picture - but obviously, this has led to confusion which I regret. It is Andrew who has first pointed out the discrepancies in the posted picture of the Shark bite, and all credit for that belongs to him alone.

I've woken up to a myriad of e-mails, the story keeps evolving, and this is what I read.
  • On Sunday = before  the pic was outed as being a fake, the privileged Shark chick states.
    Clean bite refers to quote a minor injury relatively speaking and anyone who knows me in person knows I am barely 5foot3 and any injury does look mammoth.
    Meaning that the picture is legit, but that the injury looks bigger than it is.
  • Yesterday = after questions are being asked, she states.
    A picture was used that I posted to Instagram with no caption and no explanation.
    The caption and explanation being...?
  • On her website, under Corrections and Retractions, this is what she had posted. The page is currently "in maintenance" - let's see if afterwards, even that statement will be corrected and retracted! :)
    Pictures of alleged injuries vary site to site and may have not been vetted by Elissa. 
    No they don't vary. There is only one. So, has it been vetted, or not?
  • Then Andrew notices that several and not only two pairs of staples are identical.
  • Then David reports that more than 80% of her Twitter followers are fake.
I'm done with this.
By now it should be clear to everybody that this is, for lack of a better word, highly bizarre. That Corrections and Retractions link on her website alone (read it when it's back up!) is a red flag for pathological behavior - and I can certainly leave it at that.

Just this.
These things don't happen in isolation, or like I said a while ago.
The Heroes and heroines, warriors, whisperers, experts, specialists and whatnot are all legit if the moniker is being assigned by others - but when it is self promotion and really nothing more than branding, it becomes irritating.
Does sharktivism really need its own version of the Kardashians and the associated frothy adulation and gossip? Maybe – but like in real life, I don’t like it one bit!
Think about it please.
We really got to stop adulating those self promoting frauds, narcissists and media whores.


And here.
I don't seek out the spotlight like a number of other scientists

the take home message for today is that the old eco-tactic of fabricating events to boost your cause is no longer viable

PPPS: David as always (well, mostly...) brilliant
It's all very well rounding on Elissa, getting the pitchforks and flaming torches out but maybe we might want to start looking at the more uncomfortable truths, that the people looked upon as bastions of Shark Conservation because they ride sharks ("for the sharks"), wear bikinis ("for the sharks"), make crappy TV ("for the sharks"), get you to donate your hard earned money to their projects which don't actually do anything ("for the sharks") or simply spend all their time on Facebook telling you how brilliant they are ("for the sharks") aren't actually doing it "for the sharks," at all but instead, are doing it solely for themselves and that these narcissists are merely creating more narcissists who do nothing other than push their brand at people who believe they are helping by supporting them in doing so?
PPPPS: Christine Haines
Last summer I joined the nosharkcull movement because I was appalled that sharks were being killed and maligned for being sharks.
Over the course of the trial I learned alot about the politics in environmental groups. And it's not nice. I was shocked to find that these groups were just as hypocritical as the wrongs they were fighting. They used misinformation, sex, phsychic connections and other questionable practises with as much abandon as the wrong they were fighting. I was sure that the tactics used by some people and groups were not right. I have unliked and unfollowed some organisations because I think that while the cause is right the methods were wrong and only served to reinforce the stereotype of the cosmic, tree hugging, hippie type of activist that would stop at nothing (including deliberate false and misleading information). I want a group whose ideals agree with mine and who deals in scientific fact. My illusions were shattered but at least I'm wiser.
P5S: Have you seen this?
Now she is a bloody "PETA Celebrity" = more fucking branding even whilst trying to make that totally insincere retraction?

There's only ONE (1) Shark celebrity in Australia, and her name is Valerie Taylor - this for 50 years of pioneering diving with Sharks, for countless equally pioneering Shark documentaries, for having been instrumental in having the Cod Hole, the Gray Nurse, the GWS, Ningaloo protected.
Not the home schooled brat that keeps re-editing the footage daddy took of her whilst they were vacationing in the Bahamas. Definitely not this forgettable calculating self-obsessed chick that has ZERO ACHIEVEMENTS apart from volunteering on a SSCS boat like dozens upon dozens of other volunteers.