Thursday, July 30, 2015

Birds of a Feather!

Source - click for detail!


Cleverly worded - but everybody understands what is being claimed. 
Brought to you by the very school of conservationism that continues to suggest that abusing Sharks as underwater scooters is leading to their protection. But worry not - certainly this is nothing more than yet another unfortunate misunderstanding!

Actual facts here.
Comments policy: meh, don't bother.
What needed saying has been said!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pacific Islands - El Niño Warning!

Click for detail - Source.

I trust the above is self-explanatory.
FMS outlook here - and yes, it is already bloody cold!
UN-ESCAP here!

Not good!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Shelley Clarke - even more Inconvenient Truth!


This Shark is possibly being finned.
Long-held belief among Shark conservationists has it that the body will be likely thrown overboard as fishermen are only interested in the fins because the meat has little to no value.
But how about the following pictures.

Kesennuma, Japan - source.
Ranong, Thailand - source.
Tung Kang, Taiwan - source.
Vigo, Spain - source.
Lombok, Indonesia - source.
Mirbat, Oman - source.
USA - source.
Mogadishu, Somalia - source.
Mexico City - source.

Think those Sharks have been killed for their fins?
More importantly: think that a single one of those Sharks would have been spared owing to a finning ban? Or for the matter, as a result of some bikini bimbette changing perceptions by snorkeling with Sharks at TB, or some bimbo illegally riding GWS at Guadalupe? 
Think again!

Shelley has done it - again!
In a rather monumental tour de force that leaves me quite in awe, she has meticulously rummaged through the data like only she can, and presents us with an equally amazing and frustrating opus about the Status of the Global Market for Shark Products. Read it!
And here are the two principal illustrations - click for detail.

See what I mean?
This is not about to go away anytime soon. 
And if like I believe, Shark Conservation consists in reducing Shark mortality to sustainable levels, then Shark conservation efforts need to start focusing on the whole range of present challenges: global overfishing, including the still rampant IUU, to aliment the trade in both their fins and other products; the important and largely unresolved issue of incidental bycatch; the widespread lack of data, let alone proper stock assessments impeding proper conservation and management measures; and last but certainly not least, the many-fold threats to both the Sharks, their prey and their habitats.

And talking about bycatch.
Remember this?


Read this report by, again, Shelley. 
Long story short, even with legislation and even if we naively were to assume the best intentions of everybody, the situation on the ground remains complex and frustrating to the max.

Just saying.
Please, do read and above all, understand the implications of Shelley's paper = sustainability not prohibition!


Friday, July 24, 2015

Fiji - El Niño!

See the bloody cold creeping up? 

And I cite.
Future Impacts:
The below average rainfall recorded in June follows similarly dry months in March to May of 2015, and with seasonally low rain over the west and north expected to continue through August, accumulations both above ground (in rivers and reservoirs) and below ground (in aquifers and soil moisture profiles) are expected to be significantly below average. The evolving El Niño event is already placing stress on water resources in parts of Fiji, especially the outer islands and remote rural areas where piped water is not accessible. There is an extremely high risk of major and catastrophic drought impacts during the latter half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

This year we can expect an increased risk of tropical cyclones in the 2015/2016 cyclone season with both the overall numbers likely to be greater than average, and the number of severe cyclones (Category Three or higher) is also likely to he greater than normal. The risk of cyclones east of the date line is especially high during El Niño years, and this season will likely be no exception. With rainfall likely to be below average through the summer months also, it is expected that the passage to tropical cyclone systems over or near island groups will be the primary source of significant rainfall.
Not good - despite us being just west of the date line!
Read NaDraki's excellent albeit depressing forecast here!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And THIS is why I love you RickMac!

Aaaah Rick...

Talk about having caught me on the wrong foot!
I was actually planning to get back at 'ya for this comment, and had even asked David to rehabilitate me by posting some unedited clip where I said Fuck - but it turns out that I really didn't say it even once! Talk about fucking embarrassing!
And now this, and I cite,
Did the shark seek out Fanning in search of hugs, and then—after a punch from the surf champion—add more salty tears to an already full ocean?
So there buddy - this is why you're one of my heroes.
First, because this is just fucking brilliant - nothing to add, amend or subtract, and way more eloquent and balanced than I could have ever penned myself. Second, for having the chutzpah of posting Panglossian at a time where the kids when speaking to each other, face to face, actually say the word "hashtag" and then top it up by making the sign with their fingers. And thirdly, for continuing to do all that heavy marine conservation lifting without the slightest shred of ego, to the point where you graciously step aside when others then parachute in to reap the plaudits. 
So kudos and chapeau my friend - again!

And this blog?
I've decided to put it on a backburner.
Because of the kids. Because I'm frustrated. 
Both commercial Shark diving and Shark conservation are clearly at a crossroads - but all I get to hear, see and read is the same old tired claptrap. Little knowledge but plenty of bombastic pronouncements; little fact but plenty of new age thruthiness; no relevant content but plenty of dumbing down wrapped in social media wizardry; little integrity but plenty of breathy self promotion by the posers, cheats, charlatans and media whores; ever more awareness but zero tangible achievements. 
It's the fucking dolphinization on steroids - and now with 30% more political correctness! I mean, seriously, how fucking pathetic! 

But above all, there's zero vision - and I can assure you that despite of all that noisy do-goodery, global Shark populations are continuing to decline along with their prey and their habitats!
Have you seen this? And this? And this? Think they're not having an effect?
Did I tell you that I'm frustrated?

Time to rethink the Shark.
There's also plenty to do, and not having to slave away at the computer has certainly helped increasing real world productivity.
BAD is a Shark research and conservation project that is being financed via ecotourism. Luckily for us, so far, there is still enough divers that do not ask for troglodyte Shark diving to keep us thriving. Luckily for us, there  is an increasing number of  conservation-minded researchers, and there are selected individuals and orgs that pursue marine conservation with integrity, are not after fame but want to get the job done - and they are all happy to engage. Luckily for us, the Fijian authorities are highly supportive, and aware and willing to tackle the issues at hand.

But the area is tiny and subject to significant anthropogenic pressure. In essence, it's little more than a proof of concept - and unless the lessons learned and the public-private partnership can be upscaled to national and global levels, its contribution to Shark conservation will always be ephemeral. So there's stuff to do - and we are. 
We're also wrapping up a multi-year research project, still engaged in two more and pondering a new one. And there will be new papers - one in review and several more in progress.
And finally, there is a need to continue reforming the Shark diving industry - via dialogue with our peers, via GSD but also via other initiatives that will be launched shortly.

But of course I'm digressing, and then some.
All I wanted to say is, bravo Rick, I'm proud of 'ya!

Enjoy Rick's post.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Read this - how can you not love the gal!
And this is that video!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Global Fin Print - epic!

Great stuff!

Read this and this announcement.
I've heard whispers about a meeting of seriously wealthy people wanting to contribute serious money to Shark conservation - and although this is pure speculation, this may well be strike one! Be it as it may, the lead team is just simply awesome and above all, it is finally (!) showing the kind of productive cooperation I've been publicly advocating for so long.
So congrats, and godspeed!

And have you noticed the videos?
Compare to this, showcasing the work by Projects Abroad's science supremos El Diego and Gauthier under the leadership of Demian and Mark - remember?

Great to see it embedded in such a prestigious project!
Just goes to show that once you stop the blathering and start the doing, good things will follow!

To be continued no doubt!