Friday, March 18, 2011

Is this Domeier's Great White?


Like obviously Patric, I got these pics in an e-mail message.
The message purports that it is this Shark.

From the message
The shark is emaciated, with a brutally damaged jaw that will no longer close.
The shark has a tumor-like lesion where it had been man-handled by the team and it appears as if the shark can no longer feed as it is only a fraction of its original size. The shark’s dorsal fin still has the researcher’s tag in place, but unlike the original description, which claimed that the tags would last for 6 years, the ta
g is fully overgrown with algae and the fin has already begun to deform.


Since the latest information suggests that there are less than 300 individuals in this area, I am very upset over the lack of oversight these researchers have when working with these magnificent creatures. If we can’t protect these sharks inside of a sanctuary, then we are no better than the commercial interests that we routinely blame for the shark decline.


The message continues, I was made aware that Maria Brown the Superintendent of the Farallones (a minor dental procedure - right?) saw these same images months ago and has been sitting on them.

I have no way of verifying any of this - but somebody got some xplaining to do!
How about comparing the sightings to Domeier's tracks. If they don't match, then a grave suspicion can be assuaged - if they do, this has to be stopped at once.

To be continued!

PS: Answers here!

33 comments:

OfficetoOcean said...

It's absolutely disgusting that this has been allowed in the first place, I am of the opinion that in this instance, the television series has had the precedence over anything it purported (and failed) to prove or disprove.

Neither series told us anything new, yes the concept of prolonged tracking is a good one scientifically but the damge to the animals in the location who are precious few, isn't worth anything. The whole series was a sham, a shark fishing show claiming to be about research conservation, the broadcast community needs to seriously pull it's finger out and do something new and worthwhile in regards to it's shark content.

It absolutely boils my piss (pardon my french)

George said...

It'll be interesting to see how one plays out. Regardless of whether Junior was the shark left with a hook in his jaw, he definitely looks like he's in rough shape. I've never seen an injury of that nature on a white shark before.

Anonymous said...

Everyone, including the writers of this blog and others knew that this likely happened. At the time they wanted to take action, as did I, but the topic slipped away and sank out of sight like many of the sharks likely did. We are now given a second chance to criticise those who are supposed to be protecting our resources and those who are trying to pretend like they are studying these magnificent creatures. This scientis and his groupies sold out our most prized and protected resource in order to make a buck.

In my opinion there is no difference between this show and those big game hunting shows. At least the latter do not try to cover up and hide what they have done.

OfficetoOcean said...

@anonymous

Hear hear

Shark Diver said...

Dr.D and Maria Brown have a lot to atone for if in fact this is the same animal. Right now it looks to be the case but we're still waiting for a final verification.

Maria Brown is the Farallones Sanctuary Manager who likened this hooking event to "a minor dental procedure"

Video:

http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/11/farallones-abc-news-investigates.html

There was a titanic failure of sanctuary leadership on this one by Maria Brown. The Farallones have the most restrictive white shark interaction protocols on the planet, why she let this film crew in to actually hook a protected species is beyond me.

I am assuming she got star struck and did not think this through. But that still does not explain her allowing the crew to resume work after the mauling that first shark took. Another failure in leadership and one these animals can ill afford.

DaShark said...

Thank you for your comments.

The post and links actually touch on several subjects:

- the fate of this individual GW who if the suspicions are correct has been tortured when it got caught and is now slowly withering away and highly likely to die a horrible death, probably of infection and/or starvation.

- the fact that big game fishermen were allowed to go and catch themselves a trophy shark within two marine protected areas, and the role the researcher and the authorities played in facilitating this

- the apparent glaring lack of accountability displayed by both the researcher and Mrs. Brown

- those spot tags. I've come across several resources dealing with the associated problems and will blog about this in a forthcoming post

But there's only so much I can do here in Fiji - it's up to the public in California to go and ask the obvious questions and to keep the local authorities honest.

Jupp said...

If this is in fact one of Domeier's sharks, wouldn't a petition and a photo on sites like facebook create a worldwide outcry, which hopefully would put an end to this kind of "research"?

The Sharkman said...

As others said before me, no matter what shark or whose tagging, this was, this should not be allowed to happen.
This shark will not survive the ordeal "all for the sake of science"!!

This is not the way to protect these species.

DaShark said...

Alex: amen - totally agree!

Jupp, I understand that people have already contacted the authorities.
Let's not forget that these are civil servants paid with taxpayer money and thus hopefully accountable to the public, and I have no doubt that now that the cat is out of the bag, there will be an inquiry and answers will be forthcoming.

Hopefully, it will not again be a whitewash like this one http://farallones.noaa.gov/eco/sharks/pdf/independent_review_sept_2010.pdf!

But apart from being deeply upset by the horrible fate of this individual Shark, I remain highly concerned about the effects of those SPOT tags - see my next post.

I believe that we all need to look into this and if it turns out that those deformities are not the exception but the rule, all donors (like the SRI) should abstain from funding any further research until the tags are dramatically re-engineered.

Jupp said...

Yes I agree fully. I hope something will happen to stop this. I'll talk to my people about those tags.

Anonymous said...

I agree fully, we need to look into this as a community of concerned and responsible citizens. Its obviously the case that those in charge are ok with this situation. What if all of the sharks that were tagged show this type of delayed mutiliation! If the latest estimates are even near correct, that would suggest that 10% of the sharks in the region have been mutliated by this guy and his team of actors?


Jared

Anonymous said...

The Domeier expedition to tag white sharks via the use of giant 'hollywood set-prop' barbed hooks was huge leap backwards (overboard) for shark research conservation.

This is what happens when the Dept of Commerce (NOAA) permits a cold hearted academic to do a conservation researcher's job; -- never mind the fact that local long term resident researchers have already been successfully generating telemetry data for almost two decades now.

The made for TV hook and haul method is even more shocking for its 'backwards' approach when compared to the non-invasive lure and lance method which generates almost identical and far more natrual behavior data.

That it (hook and haul method) was permitted to happen in an ostensible wildlife sanctuary is also really bad business.

The welll tested and innovative 'Lure and Lance' method places the difficulty and burden of effort upon the researcher, with the Domeier hook and haul method it reverses that consideration to make it easy on the 'scientists' thus fully compromising both the 'wild behavior' and health of the targeted specimen.

It may look spectacular to hoist a huge shark from the water and have it at ones mercy but it's also really harmful to the animal.

Anytime one lands a fish or shark of over 1000lbs (on deck) it is compounding a number of likely injuries.

With hook and line tagged and released tunas there can be a 20% mortality rate which is completely unacceptable for a protected species (California) being targeted in a federal 'sanctuary'.

The public would do well to remember that the only reason that the 'Monterey Bay Aquarium National Marine Sanctuary' established white shark regulations was because it was hit with a law suit from the Santa Cruz Chapter of Surfrider Foundation in mid 1990's.

Shark conservation and research in California's marine sanctuaries has a very very interesting history of litigation, regulation and enforcement efforts.

The establishment plays favorites and have been very manipulative in regards to public notices, meetings and the flow on information and interphase.

White shark filming, permiting and associated management is all about controling public mind share, marketing angles and business arrangements, it has very little to do with protecting the wildlife.

Otters and sharks are big money, and its about the money with these institutions and their 'conservation' efforts...

I think it's time the public actually started being informed about 'public meetings' and decision making events whereby public input is clearly needed.

Support California Assembly Bill 376 --(shut down finning industry/fisheries in CA)!

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
Santa Cruz California

Anonymous said...

From the looks of it, those pictures were taken last year. And yet the sanctuary has not even announced if a permit renewal will be issued? Seems like this information has been under wraps to keep the "research" team from choking on their own words. Just like the rest of this bad reality tv series, things just don’t add up here. The divers that support shark conservation and the rest of the public deserve some answers.

Volker

Anonymous said...

I just saw this link and read a little about this actor/scientist Domier on Nat Geo's website http://natgeotv.com.au/programmes/shark-men/interviews/dr-michael-domeier

Here is one of my favorite lines from the so called scientist's interview. Of course he offers an "on the air" answer.

This is likely a line that he is now trying to forget he ever said.


"...white sharks are vulnerable, charismatic creatures that deserve the same conservation efforts as their terrestrial brethren, the lions, tigers and bears of the world."

I'm just glad I'm not a tiger in this guys sanctuary.

Denise Robinson

Anonymous said...

I don't think sharks should be studied at all. I don't think we need to understand them to save them. If we want to save sharks, we should just leave them alone. Completely. Utterly. I know this is an alien concept to scientists who believe that only through their studies can we 'protect' sharks, but ultimately the scientists have made one critical error. Native peoples around the world understood this at a very fundamental level. Just leave them alone. If we want to help sharks we need to stop other humans from killing them. It's that simple and of course, that complicated. Actually this is also true of all creatures and the environmnet. How many more studies need to be done before the scientists come up with the same conclusions as the native peoples around the world?

DaShark said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment.

With all due respect, what you propose, whilst certainly charming, is fallacious and contributes zero to solving real problems in today's real world.

There are approx 6.8 billion people, and counting.
With that in mind, do you really believe that even if we chose to do so, we could leave anything alone?

What you call "native people" were few and the damage they could inflict was smaller - but there's clear evidence that the advent of Homo sapiens in places like the Americas, Australia or New Zealand was in no way "harmonious" or the like, but that it precipitated the extinction of the local megafauna instead.
This is just who we are and what we do.

I can't go into detail here but you may want to read http://fijisharkdiving.blogspot.com/2010/07/nature-management.html.
About Sharks, you may want to read http://fijisharkdiving.blogspot.com/2010/03/dear-mary.html.

In order to manage "nature", one needs to know about the specifics of those habitats: how they function, what is there and the life history of the animals and plants they comprise.

That's why research is so eminently important.
What I'm however saying is that research needs to always be subjected to the most stringent ethical imperatives.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the 'ignorance is strength' strategy will work.

In regards to the 'native people around the world' comments I can only remind the anonymous person who made the comments that all people are 'native' to earth.

Meanwhile, 'shark research' has become a product in and of itself, and unfortunately it is not at all times in keeping with the original ostensible motivation, to protect sharks... Efforts to protect sharks shouldnt involve injuring the animals when its clear that there are alternate (although to some tastes, less dramatic) methods to track sharks. As mentioned earlier, the sharks injured by Domeier's TV series were and are already being tracked and monitored by a number of teams; and none of them need to hook the sharks or lift them from the water (how dramatic!!) in order to attach tracking devices, collect DNA, photo ID etc.

We need not only to understand the animals, we need to prove our case.

--the prosecution rests... :-)

Sean R. Van Sommeran
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
-check it out on facebook-
Since 1990

Anonymous said...

video clip from 2009:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7122385

Anonymous said...

Interesting post here. I have read this post and others like it, and while the image of the injured white is somewhat ghastly, I have a hard time believing the injury is a result of the "foul hooking" or that it is even the same shark.

First, if you read the descriptions of the incident where the shark was foul hooked and compare it to the injury picture above, you can see that the lesion is not on the gills at all. It is located in the corner of the jaw. If anything it seems like such an injury would more likely be caused by a hook that was left in the mouth or that had broken off. Support for this can be seen in the relatively common footage of Caribbean reef sharks at various feeding sites, as many of these sharks have hooks lodged in their mouth. I can personally attest to having caught sharks in my own research with other hooks in their mouth and those hooks have caused small lesions.

Second, I understand that the researchers doing the photo ID work with the white sharks are very good at what they do. However, I find a hard time believing that the two sharks in the first picture are the same one. Given the lower quality of the 2nd image, the glare of the water on the animal, and the injury, it is difficult to see the all the markings from the shark above it. But, I am no expert on photo IDs.

While it is unfortuante that this shark has sustained this injury and may or may not survive, I don't feel as though accusations can be made on who's fault it is. From watching the show it seemed as though the tagged animals all survived and transmitted signals long after capture and release (you posted such in your original blog). Do questions need to be answered? Yes. Is the capture technique used completely fail-safe? I'm not sure. Is the research important? Of course.

Also, keep in mind, that the use of spot tags in shark tagging is not limited to this research. They have become quite common in shark research. Obviously they represent a great step forward in the field, and the "damage" they cause is minimal if at all.

Mike

DaShark said...

Mike thank you for your comment and I agree with most of what you say.

The debate has progressed and you may want to consult subsequent posts on this blog.

It is the same shark.
At this point, the question is, has the injury been caused by another GW. I think it has not, Domeier says it has and that there is a video proving it.

I say, let's see that video.

Also, there are questions concerning the permanent (as I don't think they will ever fall off) placement of those SPOT tags on the animals.

Anonymous said...

On those same lines, did the crew think to use a zink bolt, so that the tag actually corrodes off after it stops working, or will more than 10% of the sharks in this region be wearing permanant jewlery for the rest of their lives (10-20 years). I'm no expert, but I'll bet you that stainless and plastic live longer than a white shark.

They (meaning the team of TV stunt doubles) likely didn't think that far ahead, as that would require some long term thinking with something other than the little brain. Gotta love the macho shark men!

You'd have to tie me up and tape my eyes open to watch that show.

Denise

Anonymous said...

I think that Denise has the matter ranged and zeroed in pretty well.

I would like to add that for some it is a question of whether or not the tumorous wound is the result of being hooked in the throat; the answer is that the 'weakened condition' of the animal is the result of the shark being injured during the throat hook, swallow the ball float, fight to exhaustion and then get haul aboard, drilled, bolted with transmitters that cause damage to the fins and become debri. I dont know which shark it is, but it carries one of Domeier's transmitters and is clearly not doing well. Does anyone in the house care to explain how the shark is in fact better off since Domeier's crew fished for and caught the shark in the sanctuary and hauled it aboard? I dont mean fussy, but really...

Support California Assembly Bill 376 --(shut down finning industry/fisheries in CA)!

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
Santa Cruz California Since 1990

DaShark said...

Methinks yer playing games here Sean.

The debate has continued both on this blog and elsewhere and you've been all over it.
You DO know which Shark this is because Domeier has confirmed it is Junior.

Yes for some, that as you know being me, the question right now is
- did Domeier cause the wound on the head
- who did leak the pictures, and why

Then, at least on this blog, we will proceed over to the bling - ALL permanent bling!

No idea what caused last October's emaciated condition. Maybe it was the brutal treatment when he was caught and tagged one year earlier - maybe not.
Maybe now he looks great - maybe not.
We don't know do we.

I will not engage in unsupported speculation and I believe that as a researcher, neither should you.

I respect your passion but right now, you just make it sound like there was an agenda - and I really don't want to provide the platform for personal vendettas or the like.

Best wait for my next post where I shall elaborate further.

Can you live with that?

Anonymous said...

Blogger 'DaShark' wrote:
'I will not engage in unsupported speculation and I believe that as a researcher, neither should you.'


-- My previous post isnt speculative at all, i merely underscore the obviously diminished condition of shark.

I am not speculating, that is an improvised cunard tossed in by you to squelch my point. It is indeed "Domeier's Great White".

Not as great as it once was, evidentally.


Blogger 'DaShark' wrote:
'I respect your passion but right now, you just make it sound like there was an agenda - and I really don't want to provide the platform for personal vendettas or the like.'


--As an original sponsor of California Assembly Bill 522 (white shark protected status) and the executive director of a shark (elasmo) Conservation, Public Education and Research organization my comments are both cogent and qualified.

If I say anything specifically false or inaccurate please address it directly other please permit me to participate in the discussion without your un-needed translation and side bar narration. What is this? Mystery Science Theatre?


Blogger 'DaShark' wrote:
'Best wait for my next post where I shall elaborate further.'


--Device, design and placement are crucial and I look forward to any discussion you may conjure.


Blogger 'DaShark' wrote:
Can you live with that?

No problem,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
Santa Cruz California Since 1990

Support California Assembly Bill 376 --(shut down finning industry/fisheries in CA)!

Anonymous said...

note: the article below pretty much admits this is a fishing trip for Great White Sharks... it is redundant and sundry to the genuine studies already underway and the conservation effort that has a history going back 2 decades.


National Geographic Channel's Shark Fishermen Hit the Water this April--

By National Geographic Channel/Newswire
Fri, Apr 01, 2011


http://www.sportfishingmag.com/news/news/national-geographic-channels-shark-men-hits-the-water-this-april-1000087761.html

Brandi said...

most of you seem to think this is MTV or NBC, ABC, etc making this show... this is the national geographic here. this is a company who has done more than most of you combined to help preserve and protect our planet and all the creatures on it.

I have empathy for this shark, but ANY information collected is information gained. I would certainly be more concerned if there were many pictures floating around of multiple sharks with the same injuries.

I also do not think for one second that the researchers would harm a shark like everyone seems to think. They take their work just as seriously and seeing as this is not the 1st time i am hearing about this, the accusations are what is absolutely disgusting.

what's killing off these sharks is coming from our hand, not the researchers. Hope you liked the fish you ordered out the other night, who knows how many sharks died at the hand of the fishing nets it was caught in......

Anonymous said...

note: the article below pretty much admits this is a fishing trip for Great White Sharks... it is redundant and sundry to the genuine studies already underway and the conservation effort that has a history going back 2 decades.


National Geographic Channel's Shark Fishermen Hit the Water this April--

By National Geographic Channel/Newswire
Fri, Apr 01, 2011


http://www.sportfishingmag.com/news/news/national-geographic-channels-shark-men-hits-the-water-this-april-1000087761.html

Anonymous said...

Sean, you cant make this statement
"I am not speculating, that is an improvised cunard tossed in by you to squelch my point. It is indeed "Domeier's Great White".

Not as great as it once was, evidentally."

after you have said that Domeier's tagging the shark a YEAR ago, caused these injuries. You for one have NO idea what caused those injuries. you know the shark survived, and it migrated normally (despite your claim that Domeier scared off all the sharks). You have no evidence to back up your claim that the tagging caused the poor condition of the shark, hence you are just speculating.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
-- 'you have said that Domeier's tagging the shark a YEAR ago, caused these injuries.'


Greetings,
What I actually stated was that we are opposed to the method heing employed (hook and line).

The hooking of white sharks (a protected species) within a supposed wildlife sanctuary is unjustifiably harmful.

Especially considering that the data generated by the SPOT transmitters signals are identical to PAT transmitters (low impact, detachable transmitters) to within 10 kilometers.
Furthermore, the SPOT transmitters are literally bolted onto the sharks first dorsal fin, and deforms the sharks dorsal fin.

The SPOT transmitter is permanent attached to the animal, it eventually becomes non-operational (useless debri) and and is simply written off as 'space junk' by the involved scientists.

In my eyes (over 20 years of research experience) the method itself treats the wildlife as if they were machinery.


Anonymous wrote:
'You for one have NO idea what caused those injuries.'


Well, actually I have a fair bit (no pun) of experience regarding both white shark predation and scarification and markings diagnostics and predatory forensics.

I can tell you that it is an ruptured and infected tumorous trauma that is necrotizing the musculature of the upper right (starboard) mandibular/palatal quadrate and that it is dissimilar to any other shark or predation related injury Ive ever seen in over 20 years of research. Rather over-speculate about the minutia regarding causality of the tumorous infection we should note the obviously deteriorated condition of the shark itself including the alarming skinny, unhealty condition of the shark following the harmful procedure.

Anonymous wrote:
'you know the shark survived, and it migrated normally (despite your claim that Domeier scared off all the sharks).'


The shark was still alive winter, If you are going to assert that the shark having a hook lodged in its throat and then immediately fleeing the coast in an injured state AND then returning the following season all messed up is normal then we disagree. The shark fled the sanctuary immediately after release from the fishing boat that landed it.

Anonymous wrote:
'You have no evidence to back up your claim that the tagging caused the poor condition of the shark, hence you are just speculating.'


Unless you are willing to speculate (and identify yourself) that the shark was somehow made more healthy by having been hooked in the throat and having electronics bolted permanently to its fins I think I am probably safer and more neutral in my assessments if I assumed that the huge hook that was lodged into the animals throat and the bolt on debri had a distinctly negative impact on the animals entire life history, let alone its normal behavior and slim down figure...

Cordially,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
Santa Cruz California Since 1990

Support California Assembly Bill 376 --(shut down finning industry/fisheries in CA)!

Brad Wright said...

Brandi nat geo tv is not nat geo. they are completely separate entities.in fact 90% of the staff working at nat geo tv are in fact ex discovery channel drones who were either fired from discovery or left to create a discovery clone with nay geo tv. be aware that productions will do almost anything to get a show off the ground, just because the show has the nat geo brand name does not mean they care about sharks, they care about ratings and money.thanks to a few within nat geo tv a tremendous amount of shark porn has been developed by them and none of it has saved anything. sharkmen is a flagship product and they are very protective of it.

Anonymous said...

stop bashing on these people...they care just as much as you do and it is not like they were meaning for this to happen but it did. yes, they should have taken more precautuins but say you were tagging sharks and this happened to one of your sharks, would you like people out there saying that you are no more than a big game hunter...maybe you should think logically before you open your mouths and you can take this comment or leave it but know that this team is not "hunting" these beautiful creatures!

LEIGH RYAN said...

i have read all these comments and the one thing they all have in common is that everyone is highly concerned for this shark,and rightly so. we will never get tv shows to leave sharks alone,due to the fact that humans seem to crave info on these magnificent animals. i for one learnt everything i know on sharks thru both books and tv, yet i find myself agreeing that we just dont know the long term damage that is possibly being done by these tags and absolutely Dr. D must stop NOW!! so we can assess just what damage has been done. maybe try and re catch some of the first sharks that were tagged and check there health, with a separate official who can monitor and make the appropriate notes. then if all is well with them i can see no reason to stop the program. however if any of them are in any sort of ill health, that can be proved to be attributed to the program then i would not only want to see justice done by both a huge fine and even have him stripped of all his doctorates etc. this shark junior need to be caught and immediate help offered. maybe put him in the Monterey bay aquarium until he is big and healthy again. we need to do everything that is humanly possible to help all of these magnificent animals, i mean if we can put a man on the moon then it shouldn't be to difficult to pull together to stop endangering these sharks i agree with one of the other people on this forum if we truly want these sharks to flourish just leave them the hell alone to do what nature intended.

DaShark said...

Search for "Junior" on the blog - somebody was trying to set up Domeier.