Sunday, March 10, 2019

Silkies vs Whale Shark!

Source - click for detail!

Yes it's very much belated - but still!
Story here - enjoy!

Flying Mobulas!

Click for detail - source below!

Watch - awesome stuff!

And here's the BBC - unmatched as always!


Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Oslob - bloody Quagmire!

Source - click for detail!

The q being, am I gonna wade straight in?

You betcha I will! :)
But fear not - this is way too complex, inconclusive and also, way too agenda-driven for me to take a strong position and start unleashing.

Just this.
Alessandro Ponzo (che tutt'ora rima con stronzo) and his cohort of Shark huggers are still at it in trying to bring down the Whale Shark feeding industry in Oslob, e.g. here. My pal Mark Meekan and the rather insufferable Ms. Lowe are pushing against it which is essentially a good thing. 
And there sure is a lot of controversy as per eg this thread.

Methinks that the truth lays somewhere in the middle.
Despite of their best efforts, there is so far definitely no clear evidence that the Sharks are being harmed, period - and in that respect, invoking the precautionary principle and asking for the reversal of the burden of proof is just unacceptable, especially considering the consequences for the local community. 
Conversely, the non-adherence to the protocols is a cause for concern and needs to be addressed - this especially considering that the financial success of Oslob is already spawning copycat procedures = feeding in other juvenile Whale Shark aggregations across the Coral Triangle. The massive demand for these interactions can easily lead to unchecked development and if so, it is certain to have deleterious consequences if not managed properly - so once again, people get your fucking act together!

And that's it.
Once again it's probably not the WHAT but the HOW - and whereas for now the what appears unproblematic, the how needs urgent attention!

In diesem Sinne.
Let's go Shark diving - responsibly!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

World Wildlife Day 2019!

Lots of Elasmos - I like it! :) Click for detail!

And I cite.
The World Wildlife Day 2019 aligns closely with the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water, which focuses on marine species, and will be an opportunity to highlight the critical issues and values of marine wildlife to our everyday lives. The occasion will also celebrate successful initiatives to conserve and sustainably manage these species, and to scale up support for future initiatives.

In line with the UN General Assembly Resolution proclaiming World Wildlife Day, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP call on all the Member States and organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and all interested individuals, to: 
  • observe and raise awareness of the theme for World Wildlife Day 2019; 
  • associate the celebrations with major national and international conservation events; 
  • build collaborative partnerships; 
  • organize campaigns to support the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources and their products using targeted strategies in order to influence consumer behavior; and 
  • make use of the World Wildlife Day logo as widely as possible.
So there.
Supporting the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources is what we do every single day - and you now have the opportunity to assist in that endeavor.
And right now there's even a special promotion

With that in mind, please, Adopt Your Shark Now!
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - Victory!

I was wrong - thankfully!

Check out the pic - click for detail.
This has been adopted in the final regulation = at the very last minute, they have mandated that the line must be cut, see below.
So again, bravo to the indefatigable Kim who has continued to pester everybody asking for that change - and contrary to what all those self-promoting back-slappers out there would have you believe, this has been 100% her doing.
Kudos, excellent job!

Now to the enforcement...
To be continued no doubt!

Monday, February 18, 2019

South Africa: This and That!

Great pic, and so very Allen - click for detail.
Well well.

The really bad news first.
Irrespective of whether I respect, let alone like Craig O'Connell (spoiler: ever since I've discovered him palling with ABC4$: not much), or his fake kelp, or whatever (spoiler: even less so):
This is just simply egregious.
So there, re-posted in its entirety - and no, not at all surprised!
Very happy to see my invention, the SharkSafe barrier, being deployed in Reunion Island; however, I am a bit shocked because as the principle investigator I was unaware of this deployment. 

Although many of you already know, the original SharkSafe barrier was invented by myself while in Bimini, Bahamas during my internship at the Bimini Biological Field Station and then I brought it to South Africa and formed a collaboration to test it on large sharks during my Ph.D.-related research expeditions. In fact, I started developing the barrier in 2006 after receiving a prestigious internship for my shark deterrent barrier proposal, which I sent to the station in 2005. 

I find it quite interesting that the team from University of Stellenbosch is deploying my invention without my permission or knowledge and it is quite sad to learn about it from the Press! 
To read multiple misquotes in recent SharkSafe barrier-related media and now to read in this article that the barrier was "Developed in South Africa", it worries me that additional quotes may mislead the public about the utility and safety of the barrier - especially being that the people who have deployed this in Reunion do not have the experience or the Behavioral Science background to truly understand the barrier's functionality. I mean sharks are complex animals so to also be misquoting the barrier to be “100% effective” is not sensible and is an indication of their lack of familiarity of various SharkSafe barrier results and studies. I am the inventor and I began inventing the SharkSafe Barrier in Bimini, Bahamas in 2006.

There isn't too much more to say about this other than this is disheartening and a poor example of how collaborative conservation and Science is done. Feel free to share this post so others don't make the same mistakes I did!
And now to the great news.
Our friend Allen has just won the shark photography category of the prestigious World ShootOut - story here.
Bravo buddy, we're proud of 'ya!

PS - see here.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Seven Days of Blunt!


It's always such a pleasure, and relief to see them coming back!
The even better news being that if you play it back in 1080 and look really carefully, you can just about discern some faint and well healed mating scars, meaning that she will hopefully get pregnant and give birth to yet another batch of chubby babies in early December!

This would be my very favorite Shark.
I've known Blunt for now 10 years and must say that apart from being incredibly impressive, she's just simply the most cuddly and adorable Bull Shark of them all - and yes I know, considering that she's a huge badass apex predator this is highly inappropriate language, but still!
And anyway, I know that everybody who knows her will agree!

Anyway, to celebrate, Tashi Blue is running a special!
For obvious reasons, we really only have ever been able to attribute a handful of teeth to an individual Shark, so this is really a totally unique opportunity - plus much like her, that tooth is just simply huge, and pretty much unblemished, too!  

So what are you waiting for.
Adopt Blunt Now - and don't forget to Upgrade!

Vinaka Vakalevu!

PS - Congratulations mon ami!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

White Sharks vs Sevengills - Paper!

First image of Sevengills on this blog = as always, great pic by Peter! Source.

Just in case you've missed it.

I must say that I really like it.
Obviously, correlation is not causation so we'll never know 100% - but as somebody who has been equally documenting long-term changes in abundance that are likely partially due to competitive exclusion, I can only applaud the authors for advancing an astute and I believe highly plausible hypothesis.

But go see for yourselves.
Paper here, synopses here and e.g. here.