Thursday, January 29, 2015

¡Hasta Luego, Tot Ziens, Goodbye!

Standing, ltr: Miti, El Diego, Tumbee, Andy, Ana, Papa, Salesh, Ned, Jone and Silio - sitting: Rusi, Kira and Nani.

This is a sad day.

We just did bid farewell to the incomparable  El Diego, Kira and Andy.
Projects Abroad's Fiji Shark conservation Campaign is one year old, and they are moving on to new challenges and new adventures. We did one last Shark dive, tears were shed, speeches given, kava consumend, Isa Lei sung - and off they went.

Safe travels and godspeed.
You've become like family, and we will always be happy to see you again!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fiji - incoming?

The pic above is merely a forecast.
But Metvuw is usully pretty reliable, so be forewarned - 988 millibar is likely a Cat 2 to 3!

Good luck!

Pew - Eyes on the Seas!


Great stuff!

Watch the following.
Posted specifically for the usual naysayers that continue to assert that those Shark Sanctuaries are nothing but bullshit as nobody is enforcing the regulations. I say, SINOs my ass - yes it's hard work, yes it's frustrating and expensive but slowly slowly, the noose on those poachers is tightening!

Details here.
And here is an article from Palau showing how a poacher was apprehended with this technology.

Well done Pew - I'm impressed!

Fiji - Cyclone Season!

Here we go.
As the weather warms up, stuff is inching closer.
You know what to do!

Monday, January 26, 2015

WildAid - Manta Ray PSA!

Source - read it!

And I cite from this horrific report.
It turns out that the shark fin traders, in a move to offset diminishing profits due to the scarcity of large shark fins because of over-exploitation, had revived a relatively obscure, pseudo-medicinal coastal remedy called Peng Yu Sai.
Peng Yu Sai is a soup consisting of boiled Manta gills, Seahorses an Pipefish that is prescribed to treat fevers, chickenpox, and heat in the body. I call this "endangered species soup". The traders then began marketing the remedy as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a niche industry was born. It is worth noting that our interviews with TCM practitioners revealed that Peng Yu Sai was in fact not considered a part of TCM.
Much more info here and here.
And now, watch.

Well done WildAid!
But - no Shark Savers logo?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tiger Beach - cool Research!


I must say, I really like this.
It's about bloody time somebody took a long hard look at Tiger Beach - both to assess its biological importance and hopefully, one day, to finally evaluate the impact of those diverging diving protocols!
And since we're at it - could somebody please turn it into a full no-take MPA?

Anyway, bravo Neil for starting to tackle those obvious questions!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

SRMR - first Management Meeting!

Epic boatload: Elisabeth; SRMR managers Ian, Bati and El Ciro; El Diego and Kira from Projects Abroad; and a whole gaggle of BAD boyz - click for detail!

Great day!

But first things first.
That lady in the bottom right hand corner is none other than Elisabeth Holland, a veritable Nobel Prize laureate! On our boat!
Who would have thought that possible when we embarked on this crazy journey eleven years ago! Needless to say that she is (obviously!) smart and incredibly passionate - but she's also refreshingly humble, very witty and just a genuinely nice person on top of that.
Really nice meeting her - and yes, we are incredibly honored!

And then we had our first management meeting.
Juerg is abroad but will be here next month - but with the freshly coined Director of Fisheries, Aisake "Bati" Batibasaga, El Ciro and Ian we did have a quorum and were able to formulate a first set of immediate initiatives, first of which will be a substantial increase both in the number of fish wardens and the number of patrols. 
We've just received our first baseline report (= detailed Coral cover assessment, and rough assessment of Fish and Invertebrate abundance) from Helen, and there are indications of recent small-scale fishing. In itself, this is not terribly worrisome - but it IS poaching and we need to nip it in the bud.

And after that, there will be other stuff.
No as usual I'm not telling as it's way too early to divulge any details, let alone make breathy announcements - but i can assure you that you will like it! :)

So, keep watching this space!

Mega Bull Sharks!

Happy Fiji Bull Sharks in Fiji's first National Marine Park - great pic by Allen!

Here's some video from the other day.

And, we got ourselves an attack on a diver!

Yes those darn Damn-sels are feisty!
Michael's comment here.


Are GWS Populations in Decline?

No, "they" are absolutely not!

DNS doesn't post my comment, so there.
This is just simply wrong. It appears to principally base its assertions on the 10-year old assessment by the IUCN - but in the last ten years, things have obviously changed. 
GWS are one of the best protected species both internationally (CITES and CMS) and nationally, and those decades-old conservation measures are not useless and ineffective but instead, we have plenty of indications that they are quite obviously working.

Here's the situation as I understand it.
  • USA: populations are rebounding on both coasts following the protection of both the Sharks and their pinniped prey. Although there are only published data for California, the increased sightings on the East Coast lead to the conclusion that as a minimum, juvenile and subadult GWS now have a better chance of surviving = there will be more Sharks of a size where they will switch from a fully piscivorous to a mixed diet and become a threat to aquatic recreationists.
    This means that GWS sightings but also strikes will increase and that the authorities need to think now about preemptive measures = education of the public but also Shark-friendly mitigation measures from seasonal beach closures to spotters to exclusion nets, etc.
  • South Africa, reputedly the largest population, appears to be flat to in slight increase.
  • Mexico's population may be at risk due to incidental catches of YOY and juveniles - but nobody quite knows. In any case, the sightings in Guadalupe (= only adults) are not declining which is a reason for cautious optimism.
  • Mediterranean completely unknown - but in view of the desolate condition of all Shark populations there, prospects for the Mediterranean GWS are likely equally grim.
  • NW Pacific population (= Asia) unknown.

DNS, not impressed!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pelagic Life - something is brewing!



Stuff (= much hard work!) has since happened, and they are off to a great start - and this being a mere teaser, you can look forward to a great production that includes everything I love about Pelagic Life!
And btw that's a rarely seen Smooth Hammerhead!

Like I said back then,
These are not some naive tree hugging idealists, these are smart and extremely well connected young professionals who understand the rules and are making realistic, modest plans and  growth projections. And who instead of trying to re-invent the wheel and learn the lessons the hard way, are eager to communicate and learn from other already established ecotourism operators, to then adapt any insights to those local circumstances.
So far, fully confirmed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Australia - Environmental Vandalism!


Read this.

Alas, I'm not even surprised.
The Abbott government is methodically undermining past conservation successes, and this is but one of many other examples. Just makes you wonder why they even bothered to approve the listing in the first place!

Of course the Sharks that are being opted out of are all threatened.

How to spot Bad Science - Infographic!

Click for detail! Source.

H/T: David!
And if you like that one, you'll like this one, too!