Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WA Shark Cull - Public Assessment!

There are new developments.

For once, this is good news.
As hoped for, there will be a Public Environmental Review of the Shark cull, with a four-week public submission period.

But please, be careful with those submissions!
There will be a formal process (good fact sheet here!) and those dudes are not those maligned politicians but people that generally know what they are talking about and that are able to distinguish good arguments from sharkitarian BS. So once again, please spare yourselves the insults, the platitudes and the pathos and make sure that what you submit is grounded in fact, for which you will need to inform yourselves.

Please follow the advice of the leaders.
My preferred source of information continues to be SOS where Ryan Kempster has been leading the fight from day one. He is in WA, is a Shark biologist and as such, he disposes of the required knowledge and also, of invaluable contacts within the scientific community. Here is an excellent resource and please do peruse the open letter by those 100+ Shark experts as a starting point for your argumentation.
Conversely, DO NOT follow the advice, or whatever, of the crazies like Brush and the likes, and DO NOT utter the dreaded O-word!

NGOs: Leadership and guidance please!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie!

Diego Cardeñosa inserting a tiny PIT tag for estimating the population size via mark-recapture - source.


We got ourselves another minuscule Bull Shark!
Kudos to Projects Abroad's Shark supremo Diego for having doggedly persevered and finally managed to hit the right combination of habitat, current, temperature and salinity!

May this be the start of many more such exploits?
We shall see. For now, it's an A+ for sheer determination - the question being, is this the pathway to triumphal glory or will it lead to utter piscatorial ignominy instead?

No pressure!



Remember that redescription of Sharks and Rays?

Try not to be deterred by the pathos - just keep an eye on those Grey Reefies that are recognizable by the black trailing edge of their tails.

Notice those big white tips on the first dorsals?
Those would be those infamous Carcharhinus wheeleri, the (Short Nosed) Blacktail Reef Shark, one of JSD's favorite photographic subjects - compare to the Reef Whitetip and the Silvertip that are equally featured, and then compare to these "normal" Grey Reefies.
Convinced? Me, not so much!

And those Sharksuckers at 0:46?
Go wonder - must be some Maldivian thing as Lill saw the exact same mobbing on a trip to the Maldives in November of last year!

Good to see so many Sharks in the Maldives!

Big GWS in Asia - Paper!

Geographical extent and size distribution of white shark observations. Color legend for country of observation occurrence applies to entire figure. A) Approximate location of observation or landing for individual white sharks. Circles on land indicate observations that only reported country of landing. Annual average sea surface temperature is indicated by color gradient. B) Percentage of white shark observations by country landed. C) Size of white shark observed by country landed (top two panels) and as a percent of all observations (bottom panel). Note–the Philippines observations did not have an associated animal size. 
Click for detail!

Great stuff!

Finally, somebody is describing those sightings from Asia.
It looks like the NW Pacific harbors its own distinct population of GWS, and it appears that Japan may be an aggregation site for large adults much like Lupe or the Neptunes, whereas geographically widespread sightings of subadults suggest that there may be multiple nurseries.
And, a female from the East China Sea measuring a whopping 6.02m is the largest ever reliably measured GWS anywhere, with an enormous individual from Taiwan reputedly even larger!

But check it out for yourselves.
Thankfully, the paper is open source, and it is brimming with interesting information.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stewart Island - troubled Waters!

Looks like matters have come to a boil.
Since writing this post, I've talked to several people in the know and it appears that there has been an abject lack of outreach and education by both the scientific and diving community. Apparently, research reveals that Stewart Island is a major seasonal aggregation spot for New Zealand's GWS that are believed to be mating there, meaning that the cage divers have followed the Sharks and not vice versa, and that any perceived increased risk is not attributable to them.

But that needs to be communicated - any takers?
After the season, the GWS disperse and many travel far north to Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia (and here) meaning that during that time, the Pāua divers should be safe - and if so, wouldn't that be a starting point for an equitable compromise, as in agreeing on spatial (!) and seasonal, mutually exclusive closures for both activities?

Very much as anticipated, the imbeciles that got turned away from Guadalupe have relocated to NZ and are attempting to illegally exit the cages and flip a GWS there. Fingers crossed that the (other) naive operator that took the booking (undoubtedly, for the Sharks) will exert common sense and immediately stop the shenanigans - or you may as well kiss the industry goodbye once the footage airs.
As always, we shall see - and no, I'm not very hopeful!

To be continued no doubt!

Monday, April 14, 2014

WA Shark Cull - Recommendations by Riley!

Source - and do watch the video!

Read this.

Totally agree.
Please submit your comment right away as the submission period ends this Wednesday, April 16.
Like Riley, I advocate choosing as it is less rigid than API category B and also more open to scrutiny by the public.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A tale of two Atolls!

Juvenile Galapagos Shark, by Thomas Peschak. Source.

Great job!

Story here, in depth coverage here.
Which once again goes to prove that it is possible to enjoy excellent Shark media without having to endure the stupid clap trap, gratuitous drama and narcissistic self promotion of those media whores!


Drones - breaching GWS next?


Story here.
Which obviously begs the question, who is gonna regale us with equivalent footage of GWS from places like South Africa!

Eagerly standing by!

Hooking Great Hammerheads?

Is this cool? Source.

Watch this.

David disapproves.
This is an old and extremely thorny debate.
GHH are protected in Florida, but catch-and-release is perfectly legal - but ever since the publication of Austin's paper, we know that the post-release mortality rate is unacceptably high, meaning that anglers should actively endeavor to avoid hooking that particular species which is obviously easier said than done.
This is also the gist of this article in the Huff Post featuring quotes by both Austin and Neil, and where Kim Holland doubles up by asserting that in many cases, we know that even a moderate amount of handling will result in death even if you don't actually see it happen immediately in front of you.

So far so good.
So what about this - posted by the very same people who have published that paper and are lecturing the recreational anglers?

To say it mildly, this is a tricky one.
Do those mortality rates also apply to GHH that are being hooked by researchers - and if so, can David's passionate defense of research really be regarded as a sufficiently convincing blanket justification for angling for this unusually fragile, protected species?
Yes of course research into philopatry is extremely important (and in some aspects, controversial) - but in this specific case, there exist other, way less invasive protocols (and here) that may well yield very similar data!
With that in mind, would it not be appropriate to sacrifice some of the higher resolution and longer battery life of SPOT tags in favor of e.g. PATs that can be set on the fly either underwater of from the boat after the GHH has been teased to the surface?

Tricky tricky - thoughts?

Comments policy.
Read this. Not everybody's opinion is equivalent, and I shall only post cogent arguments about this specific matter, not attempts at engaging in the usual frothy tirades against researchers in general and/or OCEARCH in particular, etc.
My blog my rules!

And the Number is....


This is Ozzie Sam's count.
But then he writes, when i pump the contrast I can squeeze 4 more - so there! :)

As to Martin's boisterous announcement - we shall see!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shark City - epic!

Click for detail - and marvel!

Huge kudos to Ozzie Sam, especially considering the poor viz!
This is now the clear frontrunner in the ever ongoing Bull Shark wallpaper challenge - and lemme tell 'ya, theoretically, it is possible to one-up it! :)

Which begs the question, how many Bulls are in this frame?
Please answer here and not on FB!

The Huff Post - promoting illegal Shark Rides?

The wealthiest and most curious tourists can dive outside of the cage. No, actually they cannot because it is illegal. Source.

And I cite.
This whole Huffington post article is exactly why these idiots are doing these stupid stunts. They get into the media. They get their 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately it's those kinds of "experts" that the media relies on, when it comes to covering anything shark related.  How can they quote an "expert", that tells people not to do what they themselves do? Aside from giving hypocritical advice, by giving these guys the publicity they seek, the Huffington post actually promotes the illegal diving outside of cages and riding sharks at Guadalupe.
Bravo Martin!
As to the assertion that it all happened naturally - not so!
This was a meticulously planned trip to Lupe on Chris Wade's Shark Boat with the explicit intention of having both the peroxide whisperette and the trigger happy Ms Werner illegally ride those GWS. There were corporate sponsors, cameramen and photographers, scripts, media plans - the works. The bimbos jumped onto the perplexed Sharks, the media snatched up the videos, the pimps made their money, the plebs gobbled up the pseudo-conservation clap trap.
And the rest is history

This is about when and how the shenanigans started - but at least back then in early 2000, people were aware of the risks and not trying to sugar coat everything with stupid sharkitarian sound bites. 

To be continued no doubt!


Source - click (twice) for detail!

Very witty!
And, there's much more here - some of which is truly epic!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Protect the Shark Sanctuaries in the Pacific!

Bravo Shark Savers!

Please sign the petition - more details here.
And BTW, do you like the picture? Those are our Sharks, and they are fully protected because they live in the SRMR! :)