Thursday, June 20, 2019

Two Years of Strap - Field Note!

2016-2018 - click for detail!

Remember that poor Shark back then in 2016?

We named her Strap and have kept tabs ever since.
And here comes the according Field Note documenting the initial worsening and then, thankfully, improvement in her situation all the way to the point where the strap did eventually burst and has since mostly fallen off .

My personal take-away?
First and foremost, this once again proves the value of our continuous long term monitoring where our humongous data base is documenting over 15 years of Shark diving and the life history of a whopping 250 individual Sharks!
What I also find particularly remarkable, is that during the course of the whole ordeal, she never appeared to be particularly inconvenienced and  instead maintained her agility and continued to compete successfully during the aerial feeds. In fact I fully expect her to completely heal to the point where she will shortly look similar to Gillette who only upon very close inspection appears to have survived a very similar incident.

Intrigued?
Strap is up for adoption, so there - and don't forget to upgrade in order to receive your quarterly updates!

And because I can.
Here is the entire Field Note for your perusal - as always, great job by Juerg and for the first but certainly not last time, by Tashi Blue!
Please click for detail and, Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Essential Waters - Paper!

Intrepid and indefatigable - co-authors Kerstin and Gauthier, and Tom! Source.


All I can say is, at long last!
This has taken three interminable years of braving the weather very much including the historic TC Winston and navigating a myriad of  imponderabilia very much including plenty of the usual indigenous shenanigans and squillions of always famished namus, both of the flying and bipedal kind - not to mention the desperate advances of the infamous desperate expate housewives, let alone the even desperater expat singles!
So first and foremost, a big BRAVO, I'm mighty impressed for having stayed the course in the face of all those never-ending adversities - and I can most certainly leave it at that, the more as I trust that anybody with even the slightest knowledge of life in the SoPac will most definitely understand! :)

So there you have it.
This is the result of three years of mostly incredibly tedious fishing for juvenile Bull Sharks in the Rewa, Navua and Sigatoka. Taken in isolation, it once again confirms that Fiji's rivers harbor juvenile Bull Sharks, and that the likely parturition season coincides with when we observe that our big pregnant Bull Shark mommas leave the SRMR. 
Talking of which: so far the most likely candidates for 2019 are Shark Icon Tip and our usual Shark Superstar Brenda who will never forego the chance of some hanky panky with Whitenose - so what are you waiting for!

But that's just part of the story.
Our Bull Shark research is definitely coming full circle, and as time goes by and more data are being acquired and analyzed, you can expect more revelations about the nurseries but also likely population size, kinship, paternity and eventually, even philopatry - so keep watching this space! 

Great blog post by Kerstin here.
Enjoy!

Sunday, June 09, 2019

World Oceans Day - Ocean Championship!


And I cite.
Today is World Oceans Day
ARE YOU AN OCEAN CHAMPION?

At Shark Diver, we receive a lot of inquiries from individuals looking for opportunities to help in the area of shark or ocean conservation. There are so many ways to apply the diverse amount of talents out there that people possess. So this year, we decided to show our support for those who are making a difference toward protecting the oceans we love and their inhabitants, by awarding them with the experience of a lifetime!

Today, on World Oceans Day, we officially begin the Ocean Championship, a competition for conservationists of all ages who are working to preserve anything and everything ocean related.
Your focus could be saving sharks, saving dolphins, protecting coral reefs, cleaning the beaches, or bettering the ocean in general. What is your passion? Social media awareness is nice, but it doesn’t always get the job done. We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated, and driven individuals who are working hard to make a direct impact. Are you working with legislators to enact protection laws? Are you working with businesses to reduce or eliminate plastic usage? Are you planting mangroves? Have you started a major ocean/beach cleanup effort? The sky is the limit. We want to know how you are making a difference. Do you know what you’d like to do, but just haven’t put your idea to work yet? What are you waiting for? Get going! We want to hear from you.


Here’s one example of conservation efforts at work: Beqa Adventure Divers created a national marine park called the Shark Reef Marine Reserve through their bull shark diving operation in Fiji. Regular surveys and fish counts are conducted in an effort to help in the long-term survival of endangered species. Their findings led to the expansion of a vitally protected area now called the Fiji Shark Corridor which runs approximately 30 nautical miles along the southern coastline of Fiji’s beautiful main island of Viti Levu.

Yes, some efforts take a lot of time. 
And yes, some efforts take a lot of money. But many major efforts begin with just one thing. Love. If you love the ocean and its incredible inhabitants, let’s see what you can do or are doing, so that generations to follow will be able to love it too.

This competition will yield two big winners!

Winner number 1, picked by Shark Diver, will receive a 5-day inclusive Great White Shark Diving Adventure at Guadalupe Island, Mexico where you will cage-dive with great white sharks! No SCUBA certification is necessary. Spend 5 days with Shark Diver’s owner learning about the magnificent great white shark, which finds the volcanic island of Guadalupe a mating ground and plentiful food location.

Winner number 2, selected by our sponsor Beqa Adventure Divers, will win a shark adoption through their My Fiji Shark shark adoption initiative, plus a full week of diving at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji to ‘meet’ their shark. (SCUBA certification required)

Both are unique and unforgettable experiences!

Get inspired! Do something! Stop talking about it and take action… be an Ocean Champion!

Shark Diver hopes to make this an annual event. Good luck!

CONTEST RULES:

Ocean Championship is open to any individual to enter.
All submissions must be sent to oceanchampionship@gmail.com.
Entries are subject to being published on SharkDiver.com and FijiSharkDive.com and/or all participating sponsor’s social media pages or websites. Finalists will be asked for verification of all documents submitted and may be asked for references for contact. Airfare to and from San Diego/Fiji is not included.


Enter by May 1st, 2020.
Winner will be announced on World Oceans Day, June 8th, 2020.
So there.
When Martin contacted us with his stellar initiative, we were more than happy to contribute. As detailed above, the winner of our prize will be selected by us and receive
  • A free adoption of one of our Shark Stars through our My Fiji Shark initiative, and

  • One week of diving with us.
    This usually comprises 5 days of two-tank diving in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve and two days of two-tank coral and/or wreck dives. Diving is FOC but exclusive of the daily Marine Park Levy of FJD 25.00 and the cost of any rental gear or other extras like Nitrox fills, etc.
Having said that, there is a high probability that as time progresses, we will announce further perks and prizes - so keep watching this space!
As to what we like and want to reward
  • Obviously, Shark conservation!
    But please, something tangible on the ground and not merely the dreaded raising awareness by posing for selfies and posting dreadful home videos, or misguided petitions for finning bans and the like! And no, contrary to what some quarters would have you believe, petting, riding and otherwise molesting Sharks is not Shark conservation - especially not in bikini!
    What we are looking for are initiatives that actually reduce Shark mortality to below sustainable levels - e.g. read this!

  • And because the Sharks cannot survive if we fish away their prey and obliterate their habitat, we'd also like to see more holistic projects like implementing effective sustainable fisheries management or the establishment of well-enforced MPAs, etc - but please, spare us the fashionable but misguided fads!

  • And please, show us the track record even if what you do is still work in progress and there is only partial success - but mere breathy announcements do not count!
There you have it.
Wishing you the very best of success - and hopefully, see you next year in Fiji's first National Marine Park!

To be continued!
 

Saturday, June 01, 2019

White Shark Nutrition and Cage Diving - Paper!


Well well.

Remember Kátya's stellar paper?
As a reminder, it showed that despite of being fed one ton of  highly nutritious Tuna heads every week, our Sharks showed only negligible nutritional impacts, i.e. a) no evidence of bait incorporation by our non-resident Bull Sharks, whereas b) for some of our much more resident Whitetip Reefies, the Tuna incorporation was a mere 8–22%.
Consequently, we surmised that both species are not being harmed but instead continue to fulfill their ecological role practically unchanged.


I'm obviously totally not surprised.
All global cage diving regulations stipulate that the Sharks can only be teased but not fed, which far from being "good" let alone "eco", actually appears to harm them as they incur a metabolic loss as a consequence - and if our highly fed Bulls show no bait incorporation, there was never any way that the tiny amount of Tuna pilfered by those GWS would have any effect at all!

And then there is this, and I cite,
The provisioning attracts a number of animals, including birds, teleosts and other chondrichthyans, some of which are potential white shark prey items (e.g. yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi, bronze whalers Carcharhinus brachyurus, and rays). However, the shark's unaltered diet negates concerns that large groups of teleosts, encouraged by the presence of bait and chum, create additional feeding opportunities around the cage-diving operators....

Additionally, dive operators and scientists have yet to witness attempted predation on any of the species attracted by the bait and chum, despite close proximity and apparent ease of capture (pers. com. A. Fox and A. Wright). This combination of observation and dietary biomarkers negates the hypotheses that provisioning creates additional or unnatural foraging opportunities for white sharks around cage-diving operations.
Bingo - this is totally our observation, too! 
Those prey items obviously know that the Sharks are there and remain highly vigilant - and having lost the element of surprise, those Sharks don't even bother trying.

And there you have it.
Well done Lauren and Charlie for having added another piece to the puzzle - and I may add, for once again exposing all those irritating unsubstantiated reservations by our detractors as being just that, and pretty much rubbish to boot! 

Anyway.
Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!
  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Shark Bites - Dark Little Secret!


And talking of shit happening.

Michael has unearthed a great post by Eli.
Yes indeed, Shark feeders get bitten all the time - not because those Sharks want to eat them but principally due to errors by feeders and Sharks alike; and much more rarely, because the Sharks do it intentionally, this mainly due to agonism = when they are frightened and/or frustrated and/or cranky and/or aggressive - to wit.



I've heard about this first hand.
This is the old Shark feed in Avatoru, Rangiroa, and the dude had it certainly coming for his inane habit of provoking the Silvertips by literally sitting on the bait and poking them with a metal pointer whenever they would approach - until one day, one of the Sharks decided to show him who is boss!

But I'm digressing as usual.
The fact is that in the vast majority of times, the feeders get away completely unscathed, this mainly because the smart ones are suitably protected - and if not, or should the protection fail, some good hemostatic dressing, a good emergency tourniquet, well-trained emergency responders (!) and a good emergency and evacuation protocol (!) will most likely avert the worst.
And if not, not - so let's not be stupid!

Anyway.
Let's go Shark diving - responsibly!

Enjoy Eli's post!
 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Haitourismus und Wissenschaft!


Für undere deutschsprachigen Freunde!

Danke Tom!
Dieses ist mal wieder saubere Arbeit: interessant, informativ, schön bebildert und vor allem wissenschaflich korrekt! 

Viel Spass beim lesen!
 

Wow!

Source.

In case you've missed it - amazing!
Story here - enjoy!



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hawaii - Shark Feeding and Shark Bites?

Yes this stupidity will eventually get you bitten - click for detail. Source.

Here we go again...
Have you seen, and above all, watched this?

Yes those Sharks are definitely conditioned.
And like Michael, I am 100% certain that they are being fed, be it via suspended bait crates and/or by feeding surreptitiously off the bow like described here, and/or by chumming secretly via the bilge pump like I've been told on the qt.  But whilst I concur with most of what Michael has posted, there are still aspects where I strongly differ.

So there.

First things first: shit happens.
Baited Shark dives are risky and despite of even the most stringent protocols, bites do happen - yes, even to us! But as long as one carries the adequate first aid equipment and as long as the staff are adequately trained (in client relations, too!), those situations can most certainly be managed. In fact and in general terms, Shark dives remain orders of magnitude safer than SCUBA, and regulation is really the very last resort - so let's not get carried away, the more as attributing causality is always gonna be more than a stretch!
And anyway, let's never forget that the folks who generally feed and condition Sharks are not the few Shark diving operators but the thousands of fishermen and spearos - with the known consequences e.g. here and here among many, many such examples!

And in this particular case?
The above matters little as Shark provisioning in Hawaii is illegal both in state waters and according to Domeier, in federal waters, too - tho in view of little Marco's recent and ultimately aborted legislative attempt, I find the latter rather surprising? Be it as it may, it is shit legislation and back then I've been opposing it vigorously - but that was in favor of Stefanie's Hawaii Shark Encounters who keep their clients in total safety inside of a floating cage.

Nowadays I see things quite a bit differently.
Partly for these reasons - but I must also confess, very much also because of Ramsey and her retinue of self promoting Shark molesters!
I'm the first one to grant that her heart is probably in the right place - but for me to ever respect, let alone endorse them, the whole exercise is just too slick and vain and profit-driven, and there are just too many inconsistencies and outright falsehoods, starting with her own name, to her claimed academic credentials, to her claimed research, to her claimed conservation achievements (no they did not "introduce" that legislation, some senators did), and the list gets longer every time I bother to look.
 
But apart from all that misleading BS, the principal problem remains that those disrespectful media $tunt$ are making a whole generation of young people want to jump into the water and hug sharks - and that those folks continue to spawn and endorse copycat commercial undertakings, see e.g. the Florida troglodytes, or this stupidity featuring this absolute genius in French Polynesia, or the persistent illegal shenanigans in Guadalupe, or little Riley who still just doesn't get it.
 
And whereas I just personally despise all that gratuitous Shark molesting, I also personally believe that throwing unprotected snorkelers into open ocean is not long term sustainable tourism - especially not in baited conditions where they immediately become part of the food chain!

Which brings me straight to that Shark bite.
The victim has since outed herself in a highly scripted statement and all I can say is, q.e.d. - may she learn the obvious lessons, stop following pied pipers and above all, stop molesting Sharks!

Anyway.
Let's go Shark diving - respectfully!