Friday, April 24, 2015

Numbers!

Source - check it out and weep!

This sucks.
And more, generally depressing statistics here and here!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Endothermy and Performance - Paper!


Click for detail! Interestingly, Leatherback Turtles have a warmed body core and Swordfish, a rudimentary heat exchanger allowing them to reduce heat loss.
 
Nice!

Rad this.
Warm-blooded Fishes like Mackerel Sharks and Tuna perform better = swim faster and migrate further. Despite of the high cost of keeping one's temperature elevated, these species appear to derive a comparable advantage over ectothermic Fishes, and I cite.
In conclusion, our comparative analyses indicate that a potential ecological advantage of RM endothermy in fishes is the ability to cruise faster, which not only increases prey encounter rates, but also enables larger-scale annual migrations and greater access to seasonally available resources. We suggest that this advantage, coupled with the previously recognized benefit of thermal niche expansion, could outweigh high energetic costs incurred by RM endothermy and, thus, has facilitated the radiation and diversification of tunas and endothermic sharks. Our analyses also indicate that fishes with RM endothermy are similar to birds and mammals in many respects, including not only high metabolic rates and temperature dependence of muscle function, but also fast cruising speeds and the capabilities of large-scale migrations.
Story here and here.
Now you know! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mangroves for Fiji - Social Media!

Love love love this logo - click for detail!

Finally!

Projects Abroad have been planting and nursing like crazy.
And it's about bloody time they told the public! The website has been updated accordingly, and here are the new Facebook page and blog - they are obviously still work in progress but expect many more news, videos and pictures (!) to start populating them soon!

And if all stars align, there will soon be major news.
Ever since we launched the project five years ago, MFF was meant to be open for everybody in Fiji wanting to offset their carbon footprint - but that requires a major marketing effort, and BAD is just to small, and also too busy to take on that task. Now we may have found a solution and if so, the depth and the outreach of that partnership will be simply spectacular.

So keep watching this space.
And do Like the FB page and above all, do come and do some planting yourself!

PS - Martin here. Badass huh - thanks buddy! :)
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blacktip Reefies vs Surgeonfish!


Love love love this kind of stuff!

Story here - PDF here.
Here in Fiji we may be possibly witnessing something similar - at least, that is our working hypothesis although we're still debating about how to test it. Maybe you remember this paper, and this picture.


It is an old graph of Bull Shark sightings.
In essence, it shows how the Bulls disappear at year end for pupping and mating, and how they then return for the Running of the Bulls in late December/January.

But there's also another detail - see it?
Every March/April, an this usually around the Full Moon, we get a notable temporary dip in the number of Bull Sharks. Our hypothesis is that they are being drawn away by some event that is likely linked to predation - and it just so happens that many Fishes like incidentally those Surgeonfish form spawning aggregations around the Full Moon, this because the associated strong tides favor maximum dispersion of the fertilized eggs. 
Obviously, so far, this is only a correlation and thus merely speculative - but it is a testable hypothesis and if certain things come to pass like we plan them to, we may soon be nearer to solving that riddle!
So keep watching this space! :)

Anway, real interesting observation from Moorea.
Nice job Ornella, Johann and Serge

Monday, April 20, 2015

Corkscrew Killer Conspiracy - ad acta!


Remember this stupidity?
Well, the mystery has been solved.

Read this - evidence here.
In all likelihood, the injuries of those Seal pups were caused by cannibalistic adult Grey Seals = likely NOT by a man made object or machine - but by no Shark, either!

Source - click for detail!

And thus, Patric is now free to consecrate his treasured vintage fine, (signed) bottle of cheap and ordinary wine to some other worthy cause.

Like Coq au Vin.
Cuz I would't drink that plonk if my life depended on it!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sharks in Fiji - Status Report!

Blacktip Reef Shark - one of the species that is increasingly being targeted for food. 
Stellar pic by Ozzie Sam!

So what about Helen's report.
And I cite
So far no significant decrease in coastal shark populations has been seen, good news for those of us fearing that shark-fin fishing was continuing to damage shark stocks, but we can only confirm this one way or the other by continuing these surveys over the long term.
Yes and no!
But first, watch Eli's video!



Bravo Eli, totally agree!

See what I mean?
This is obviously Mexico where the situation appears particularly grim - but having conducted additional investigations that will be disclosed in due course, I can reveal that the situation here in Fiji is slowly trending that way, too. 

Here and throughout the Pacific Islands, coastal fisheries are at risk
Much of the fishing is clearly unsustainable and as a consequence, many of the prized big reef Fishes have disappeared at least around the principal islands, or have become simply too expensive - and the once reviled Sharks are being increasingly fished and consumed as an alternative source of protein. Furthermore, Sea Cucumber stocks have all but collapsed, to the point that a single White Teatfish now yields a staggering 150 dollars, notabene to the fisherman - and as a consequence, the traders are diversifying into Shark fins and further driving the depletion of both Sharks but also Guitarfishes whose fins have a high count of ceratotrichia, the ingredient of the infamous soup.

Yes stocks overall show no signs of depletion - yet.
But they do in selected hotspots, and on our dive, we are recording the disappearance of many of our named Shark. So far, numbers-wise, they are being replaced by the many new sub-adults - and incidentally, remember Catlin et al
But if I go through the list, old beloved regulars like Kinky, Cilla, Fold, Second, Valerie, Lee, Crease, Twist, possibly Sickle, Moana, Ms Big, Jaws, JJ, Chopper and probably also Scarface have all been MIA for a long time indeed which is really breaking our heart - so you can maybe understand my elation at seeing Bumphead after close to a year of absence!

Solutions?
Obviously, a drastic improvement of the management of all fisheries (= even if we selectively protected the Sharks, how would they survive without their prey?) - for which we need better data!
This combined with much better regulation of the trade - the more since at present, it is not even being regulated by Fisheries but instead, only by the local municipalities! And please, more fully legislated, well enforced and smartly managed full no-take MPAs with sufficient connectivity so that their effect is bigger than the sum of their physical areas, together with the protection of critical habitat like the nurseries and spawning aggregation sites.

And the oceanic Sharks?
There the situation in Fiji is much much better!
Thanks to the remarkable progress and the hard work of many good people at CITES, CMS and the WCPFC, all the principal commercially viable oceanic Sharks with exception of the Blues and Makos are de facto fully protected as Fiji cannot be bothered with all that paperwork and has decided to simply prohibit the fishing, landing and trading of those species. But of course implementation may still be somewhat sketchy, and the important issue of incidental mortality remains largely unresolved.

Solutions?
Possibly better implementation, certainly once again better regulation of the trade and once again, data data data about that incidental mortality!

Long story short?
Fiji's Sharks are still doing relatively well and no, we certainly don't need a Sanctuary that is IMO presently not feasible politically anyway. And we definitely (!) need no more breathy public campaigns and no more trotting out of the usual charlatans that will only piss off the powers that be, the more as they are very much aware of, and are presently actively addressing the problems at hand.

There is no urgent Shark crisis in Fiji - so, let's do things right.
What we do need is sufficient resources in order to assist the Fisheries Department, Customs, Biosecurity, the Police, the Judiciary etc in better implementing the present legislation; what we do need is a new coastal fisheries law; what we do need is new regulation of the trade in marine products; and in the specific case of Sharks, what we do need is better data so we can preempt and intervene when and if necessary.

Any takers for lending a helping hand?

Dolphins vs Tiger Shark!


Or is it the other way around?
Is it maybe the attempted start of something like this
Who knows!

Anyway, nice video - enjoy!



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shark Rescue in the Bahamas!

Source.

Watch.



This is cute - story here.
Dunno about the asking - but the Shark's docility and the obvious cooperation are certainly remarkable.

If only the man would finally walk all that breathy talk.
If only he stopped enabling all that Shark porn with his pal ABC4 and those horrible people at Gurney Productions. One would think that at our age, money would become less important and integrity, more?

But it is cute, so well done!

Fiji Shark Diving - Award in China!

SRMR - happy Bull Shark, happy customers. Great pic by Allen!

I just got my hands on this press release by Tourism Fiji.
Chinese Dub Fiji as Best Shark Diving Destination 

Nadi, 08 April 2015 – Fiji’s shark dive has gained incredible momentum in the Chinese dive industry and has rightfully received the ‘Best Shark Diving Destination’ Award at the Dive Resort Travel (DRT) Expo in Shanghai. 

The DRT Expo, the only professional diving exhibition in China, is an event developed for the diving industry of Shanghai and attracts exhibitors – enthusiastic diving resorts and live-aboard operators – from all over the Asia-Pacific region. 
The three-day event, from 20-22 March, provided the exhibitors a chance to actively participate and exchange information pertaining specifically to the dive industry ranging from destinations to best diving techniques and equipment. 
Fiji was voted as the Best Shark Diving Destination after EZDIVE Magazine carried out an analysis of its members (the Chinese divers) and Fiji came out on top. Tourism Fiji’s Marketing Manager for the Asia Market, Ms. Kathy Koyamaibole who attended the Expo and received the award on Fiji’s behalf shared, “Fiji’s shark dive was definitely ‘top of mind’ for most of the dive clubs and visitors to the expo.” Ms. Koyamaibole adds, “Receiving this award was a formalization of that. Where in the world can you dive and expect to see more than seven species of sharks in one dive while also feeding them without cages! 
That’s why Fiji is no doubt the best destination to experience shark diving.”
Nice!
And the Fiji Times, bless them, doubles up with two pieces here and here.
I got to attest to Patricia that it appears that she has done her home work, and that most of what she says is correct - and yet I am irritated. It is us the dive operators, not Fiji Tourism, that have done all the hard work here on the ground, that have spent hundreds of thousands of our own money on marketing our product abroad and that have put Fiji on the Shark diving map - so why not talk to the people who walk the walk, and maybe, gasp, even do a Shark dive, the more as Pacific Harbour is a mere 30 minutes away from the Fiji Times offices, and the NGOs are based just around the corner?
It's called reporting, real journalism. Stanley used to know what that meant. This is just lazy.
Oh well.

Anyway, we love our Chinese customers.
To paraphrase our home page, they are neither adrenaline junkies nor shark huggers, don't know everything better and don't demand preferential treatment only because they own a big camera and have once gifted some ordinary images to a dive mag. And many of them smoke! :)
They just come to see Sharks, love our product, buy plenty of DVDs and t-shirts, and are happy to follow our instructions, and thankful that we are keeping them safe. And the extra bonus is that our Shark awareness and conservation speech during the surface interval is reaching the very people that can make a real difference once they return home!

So China, bring it on!
Fiji's Shark diving industry is welcoming you with open arms!