Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Junior - final Chirp!

Junior with the tag, as posted on Domeier's website. See any damage to the jaw?

Did you understand this comment?
I'm not a native English speaker and did not. Apparently, it means no one is listening and by implication no one wants to hear it. It’s a sound gag used when a comedian tells a joke that falls flat and not a sound is to be heard from the audience.
Fair enough.

So there, let's put this baby to rest.
Three independent sources have told me the following.
  • The video(s) were shot by two researchers sometime between September and the end of November, 2010. I know their names but have no proof that they are the authors of the smear campaign, so the names will remain unmentioned.
  • They work for TOPP under the formidable Barbara Block. This has happened on her watch and it is her job to get to the bottom of what really went down within the organization she heads.
  • There was a GFNMS observer
  • The research has been paid for by, and the video(s) are the property of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Stanford.
  • A copy of the video(s) was given to the GFNMS.
What then obviously happened is this.
Somebody grabbed some stills off those videos. That person was then able to peruse archives with older images of Junior and produced the before-and-after pictures that were then leaked. That is not the spontaneous action of a Shark activist who stumbled upon the information - that takes a lot of time and effort and is something only an insider could have achieved.

And who is it that leaked the pictures?
From the e-mail I received.
I’m a shark enthusiast...
After inquiring with some students that study white sharks, I became aware that this same shark was re-sighted and identified with video almost a year after it was tagged. According to my friend some of the images were submitted to the sanctuary during the public comment period for the tagging permit renewal...

My concern is that other scientists or media hounds will try to do this again, heck, who knows how many of these sharks have already been severely impaired as a result of this same researcher’s made for TV science. 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.
I’ve included the images that I was sent, showing the shark before and after the horrible incident.
Genuine? My intuition tells me, it is.

Big picture?
This is a smear campaign against Michael Domeier.

Forget the opinion of the inevitable expert bloviators.
Half of what they assert is just speculative BS that has been completely debunked by several pictures that show that Junior had no abrasions, nor dislocated jaws whatsoever after having been hauled aboard. And what about the general bad condition of the animal: do you really believe that it is the consequence of the brutal treatment it suffered one year earlier (!), due to some obscure reduced caloric equation and the like? C’mon…
How about invoking the much abused Occam. Is it not much more plausible that a Shark with two big bites on his back and a further nasty bite on his mouth (just to keep with Domeier's explanation - there could be heaps of others) would be in bad shape, at least temporarily? Plus, keep in mind that the tracks indicate that Junior is still migrating normally, and this 18 months after the accident!

Also, Domeier’s research is by no means redundant as some are asserting.
Yes in their present configuration, those SPOT tags are way too invasive and I also think that the procedures are way too brutal. I commend Domeier for having exhaustively documented what led him to choose those specific protocols here, but I still strongly differ with his conclusions that the research ought to continue basically unchanged. I say, the gizmos need total re-engineering and the procedures need to drastically change before any further deployment.
Still, this does not disqualify the study per se, only the methods. It would be great if the researchers would dispose of precise multi-year tracks enabling them to shed light on the life history of those GWs, especially when it comes to their breeding cycle and mating and pupping grounds. Telemetry will obviously not answer all questions, but it would give valuable pointers about where to start investigating with other means.

I say, with the exception of the damage caused by the tag, there is not one single shred of proof here.
The only possible evidence is the video – and is it not revealing how it never surfaced, and how none of Domeier’s detractors are asking that it be produced?
Anyway, my call is that Domeier has nothing whatsoever to do with those injuries and that this is a well orchestrated ignominious campaign aimed at rubbishing him. I’ve said it before, despite of the techniques he has employed where I continue to be highly critical, he is a brilliant researcher and does not deserve this.

Which brings me straight back to the TOPP labs and the role they have played in this latest fiasco. All the leads converge there.
The videos were shot by them, in fact, those two guys saw the Shark and know whether it had other shark bites - which means that if Domeier's explanation is correct, the "evidence" is fabricated! Somebody was then given access to that video and even more telling, to archives of further images of GWs from the Farallones. The person who leaked the pictures speaks of students that study white sharks and of images that I was sent. What I find particularly disturbing is that those researchers have not only possibly fabricated the evidence and not posted the video that could exonerate Domeier, but that they continue to snipe from the safety of anonymity on top of it – or how are we to interpret A source close to the photographers who saw Junior last October!
I say, this is underhanded, unprofessional and cowardly, and in total breach of basic ethical tenets and collegiality. Disgusting.
Barbara Block as the person in charge sure has a lot to answer for.

This is happening on the money of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Stanford and I must also say that I’m starting to be concerned about their oh so politically correct silence. Like it or not, they are parties to this - how long can this continue without an unmistakable statement from their side before they do become accomplices!

Sean Van Sommeran?
In a twisted way, I must say that I’m rather impressed by his passionate stance and his total lack of political correctness. Normally, donors don't like controversy and having been intrigued by how he could afford to speak up like he does, I went snooping for his sponsors: talk about an eclectic and anarchic combo with among others, Sea Shepherd - and a gun training outfit! If that doesn’t say it all - and being a combat shooter myself, I can confirm that we always shoot to kill! :)
Anyway, yes the ramblings, self promotion, innuendos and outright insults are at times terribly irritating - but he's sure got chops and his latest exchanges with Greg Barron on SFS (bottom of thread) and on Alastair Bland’s second article reveal the whole extent of the shenanigans, from heaps of history, infighting, food fights, territoriality and xenophobia to his utter frustration with the authorities who are seemingly totally failing to do their job.
Very interesting and very revealing indeed!

Indeed, the GFNMS role in this has been highly questionable to say the least.
Read the Barron/Sommeran exchanges and you can clearly discern the extent of the rot, from the anti-public and anti-industry agendas to the favoring of certain groups at the expense of others, and how in this specific case, they spectacularly failed to discern the basic fact that a fishing show and experimental and highly invasive research had simply no place in a marine sanctuary. Plus, what’s that about the excuse that images and video footage of the injured shark were received too late - what was the purpose of the observer if not observe and report?
This has happened on the watch of the current boss, Maria Brown. It is she who ultimately bears the responsibility for it.

There you have it.
I’m done with this, the more as I’ve noticed that Greg Barron, a local with plenty of insight who is obviously both principled and objective has decided to look into it – bottom of this thread. Much much better this way.
I sure wish him not to get some nasty infection by wading into this toxic quagmire!

Long story short?
I have been asked to post "evidence" that Domeier has caused permanent damage to Junior - meaning that the emaciated status and injury on the mouth were alleged to be the direct consequence of the brutal treatment the Shark had been subjected to one year earlier.
Having looked, I now believe that the evidence is fabricated, and that this is a smear campaign against Michael Domeier that has been orchestrated by circles associated with the TOPP labs - but as always, I shall be happy to be proven (!) wrong!

Over & out!

PS excellent article here - kudos!


14 comments:

OfficetoOcean said...

The thing that stands out from all of this sorry episode is just how depressing it all is. Blame culture, oneupmanship, egos, all this stuff does is create paranoia and ill-feeling and ultimately, clouds over shark conservation and ethical issues towards the treatment of these animals...

Not good.

Excellent input from you though, all that is missing is a brown overcoat, a chewed sigar and a "just one more question..." ;)

The Saipan Blogger said...

Never mind the crickets comments. Somebody is reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

blogger "DaShark" wrote:
'Also, Domeier’s research is by no means redundant as some are asserting.'


Im sorry to disagree, however as a researcher with a decent amount of telemetry and tracking experience I must correct the above assertion by blogger named 'DaShark'; in fact the visiting researchers SPOT tags generate data that IS largely redundant to the far less invasive PAT tags; the data is identical to within 10 kilometers. What is the point? Data indicating exact location to within 10 kilometers out on the open ocean is pretty redundant yes? Depth of dive, water temp and all that are not at all favored by the SPOT tags; moreover the latest generation of PAT transmitters (Microwave Telemetry) are awesome. And there are other transmitters as well, ultra-sonic acoustic transmitters work wonderfully.

blogger "DaShark" wrote:
'Yes in their present configuration, those SPOT tags are way too invasive and I also think that the procedures are way too brutal.'


Hey, hey easy there, that sounds like a smear campaign from sport-divers with competing interests..?

blogger "DaShark" wrote:
'I commend Domeier for having exhaustively documented what led him to choose those specific protocols here, but I still strongly differ with his conclusions that the research ought to continue basically unchanged.

Why bother commending an individual for 'exhaustively documenting' a protocol and then claim to totally disagree with both his conclusions and methods...? Seriously- be plain spoken.

Do you commend the project and methods or do you 'stongly differ with his conclusions that the research ought to continue basically unchanged.'?

Are you waffling so that in any case you may later claim to have disagreed while at the same praising the flawed design and stubborn, careless designer?

That's speaking two tongues at once to use an old phrase; you sounds funny.

blogger "DaShark" wrote:
'I say, the gizmos need total re-engineering and the procedures need to drastically change before any further deployment.



Wow!!! Sounds just like what I said only without the BS.

blogger "DaShark" wrote:
Still, this does not disqualify the study per se, only the methods.


And what does that mean? - "oh yeah, the project is great! methods suck; but otherwise its greeeeaat!!!"

What would disqualify the project? Besides a dead shark with finger prints, security camera video and witnesses...?

Is there any possibility that someone may voice concerns or disagreements out of genuine and sincere concern without being accused of ulterior motive and questionable motive...?

The shark named 'Junior' by the amazing scientist involved is clearly injured and not doing well.

The hook and line methods is harmful... do you understand that simple statement. Up to 30% of marlin and up to 20% of tuna die following hook and line release...

That isnt good, it isnt needed and research is already underway at SE Farallons and has been for 2 decades. Domeier should establish a new site (instead of following others) and he (as you sort agree, at moments) needs to amend his transmitter rig and attachment.

Thanks for your time, I enjoy our discussions.

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Executive Director
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/research/index.html
~Now of facebook~
Since 1990

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

Anonymous said...

we're reading...
http://youtu.be/K8E_zMLCRNg

Volker H. said...

I find it hard to believe that this is your final input on this matter after watching the manner that the sharks were treated in the filming of this despicable program of the shark men. I certainly did not see any science that is reinventing what we know about white sharks and is so badly needed to conserve the shark population. I saw a traumatized shark gagging on a buoy and a giant hook while guys tried to pry and cut hardware while getting a sample of what 'might be sperm'. All of this ground breaking research does not qualify endangering any protected sharks in the name of conservation. It seems likely to me that will be one less shark that we will ever see again. I don't know how they can have the audacity to call it 'Lucky' as that has got to be the unluckiest shark in the sea.

Anonymous said...

Sean you claim to know telemetry but still dont know that SPOT and PAT tags produce different things. A PAT tag DOES NOT produce the spatial resolution of a SPOT, thats simply false. You may at times get 10km resolution, but thats not constant error and can be much higher at times (especially for an animal swimming from california to Hawaii). So your claim that PAT tags tell you the same thing as SPOT's is wrong.
Furthermore what is the point of your comment that 20% of marlin die after hooking? You know for a fact that "junior" survived the tagging.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
'Sean you claim to know telemetry but still dont know that SPOT and PAT tags produce different things.'


Dont try and insinuate that I dont know the subject matter, it makes you seem dishonest and manipulative.

Anonymous wrote:
'A PAT tag DOES NOT produce the spatial resolution of a SPOT, thats simply false.'


I never said that PAT tags produce the same resolution as a SPOT tag; I stated that the data generated is LARGELY REDUNDANT. Your assertion is what is false and you attempt to distort what I am saying. How underhanded and lame.

Anonymous wrote:
'You may at times get 10km resolution, but thats not constant error and can be much higher at times (especially for an animal swimming from california to Hawaii).'


So what? The data is sufficient to accurately track and plot the animals' movements, global position and depth, speed and direction of travel. The SPOT tags do not generate data that is significantly different to that already in hand and already being generated as I write this, we tagged our 38th white shark this season just north of Monterey bay and the data is awesome; coupled with the ultra-sonic acoustic transmitters the data is awesome and sufficient to track these sharks. SPOT tags can deform the sharks fins and the hook and line method is retarded.

Anonymous wrote:
'So your claim that PAT tags tell you the same thing as SPOT's is wrong.'


I never claimed they are the same, what I said was that the data generated is largely redundant and does not justify the injurious hook and line method used to attach the damaging devices. Please be more accurate while attempting to conduct your end of this debate; and please grow a set and use your actual name. To make such bold and stupid statements while hiding your identity makes you seem shady, stupid and dishonest. Kindly stop distorting what I write and trying to puppet both sides of this discussion, I am able to speak for myself.

Anonymous wrote:
'Furthermore what is the point of your comment that 20% of marlin die after hooking? You know for a fact that "junior" survived the tagging.'


Inaccurate once again, what I actually wrote was that 30% of marlin die after hook and release, around 20% mortality for tunas; for a protected species of shark numbering in their low hundreds (listed at threatened) the hook and line method makes no sense in terms of any attempt at conservation science. I dont know if the anonymous author of the post I am replying to is dishonest or just incompetent, however I would urge them to try and he more accurate, truthful and honorable.

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Executive Director
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/research/index.html
~Now of facebook~
Since 1990

Sean Van Sommeran Fined $21,000? said...

Sean Van Sommeran Fined $21,000

By the way this happens to be the SAME SVS who was fined $21,000 by NOAA for dragging “exact duplicates” of Namibian Cape Fur Seals through a protected marine sanctuary to entice white sharks to attack the decoys.

Problem is on the west coast of the USA there are no Cape Fur Seals so this televised experiment was deemed to be junk science.

Sean is a television production fraud who is complaining about another production fraud…oh, the pathos, the irony.

For your review and entertainment.

http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/news/Shark.final.pdf

Anonymous said...

a cowardly anonymous author wrote:
‘By the way this happens to be the SAME SVS who was fined $21,000 by NOAA for dragging “exact duplicates” of Namibian Cape Fur Seals through a protected marine sanctuary to entice white sharks to attack the decoys.’

--In reality the $21,000.oo fine and outrageous allegations was dropped, we went back to work and the program went on to be an award winning Discovery Channel documentary which is still highly regarded as excellent educational film.

One of the lures was a realistic research lure in the form of a generic pinniped decoy complete with class eyes and whiskers and underwater camera unit. The California designed and constructed lure is towed at low speed in order to replicate the movement and speed of live seal or sealion. The lure was used in California and Africa and then the team traveled to Australia and successfully documented white shark behaviors. The lure type is now standard issue in the NOAA controlled sanctuaries.

http://www.pelagic.org/archive/DSLIDE3/slide60.jpg

The lures are used to for tagging and photo ID work.

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/36665-jaws-of-the-pacific-ano-nuevo-shark-study-video.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mcPveOt4Jk

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/6807-shark-week-shark-tagging-explained-video.htm

http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/great-white-shark-uncaged-saving-the-sharks.html

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/36670-jaws-of-the-pacific-satellites-for-sharks-video.htm

I can be contact at psrf@pelagic.org if anyone would like to have more information about the matter described in the outdated press release provided by the anonymous writer. It’s clear they now want to damage my reputation with false allegations about paying $21,000 fines etc. It remarkable however that I was targeted for simply using an innovative lure whereas Domeier uses huge barbed hooks and somehow that was okay, even something to be defended; and funded. Really a shame that such mis-managements have been allowed to occur.

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Executive Director
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/research/index.html
~Now of facebook~
Since 1990

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

Scot said...

@Sean: you're extremely boring

@all the others: don't feed the troll!

Anonymous said...

Snot wrote:
'@Sean: you're extremely boring'

My being boring is both an artifact of cowardly people staying stupid things anonymously and stupid people anonymously saying things cowardly. I would also part company with you in that sharks are actually very interesting to talk about and discuss,(Socratic free style debate). Watt you may find boring and a bit over your head may likely be of great interest to others who share similar interests. Furthermore, you are not exactly a completely fascinating piece of work either; and you dress like a ferry, get off my lawn before I call the cops.

Warm regards,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Executive Director
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/research/index.html
~Now of facebook~
Since 1990

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

Anonymous said...

Sean, which is it? either you know that SPOT's produce much higher resolution data than PAT's (which have 10km resolution at best, often much lower) or you dont? If you do, then you know that the movement tracks from SPOTS's will provide new insight you cant get from a PAT.
Is it worth the stress on the shark? Maybe not.
but if you want to have a discussion, present all the facts, not just the ones that suit you.

Anonymous said...

-- The data generated by SPOT tags is not significantly different than the data generated by PAT tags, there is a difference of around 10 kilometers for the most part; meanwhile sharks go to the same place regardless of the devices.

One of the primary difficulties is that these sharks can travel into depths that actually crush the divices, or even if the transmitter ejects if the depth is too deep the transmitter sinks or is at mercy of currents. The SPOT tags have a very, very high failure rate. The latest generation of PAT tags are smaller, lighter and gathers and delivers even deeper water data sets and longer duration tracks. The anonymous commenter adheres to an outdated brochure speak that is not in keeping with the front line facts on the ground (or water as it is).

We know where the sharks are going on the West Pac and Central West Pacific however as a conservationist I am not at liberty to discuss details.
http://youtu.be/FpuhjBYrtsQ

Long Term Monitoring Studies are far superior to one off reality TV reenactments using needlessly violent and harmful methods.

Anonymous writer wrote:
'Is it worth the stress on the shark? Maybe not. but if you want to have a discussion, present all the facts, not just the ones that suit you.'


The above anonymous writers main difficulty here is that he cannot disagree with my position on the matter but at same time cannot be seen agreeing with me or permit me to remain correct and knowledgeable on the matter. They also lack the fortitude or courage to confront me on anything cogent or specific, rather they distort and disinform the readership with allegations, insinuations and assertion that I must swat down like flies with each and every post.

For your review and entertainment.
http://youtu.be/yq-aNkBc2_M

The sharks are already protected in California and we already have sufficient data to protect the white shark throughout its Eastern Pacific range; white sharks should be listed as a pan oceanic protected, no-take species.

We do not suddenly need to fish for white sharks in order to protect them from the harmful effects of fishing pressures...

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Executive Director
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/research/index.html
~Now of facebook~ Since 1990

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

Anonymous said...

-posted by blogger DaShark at 13:53 on 12-Apr-2011 :
' Alastair Bland’s second article reveals the whole extent of the shenanigans, from heaps of history, infighting, food fights, territoriality and xenophobia to his utter frustration with the authorities who are seemingly totally failing to do their job.'


Id be interested to know my comments and record as a conservation researchers can characterized as involving "food fights, territoriality and xenophobia"?

Why is blogger named 'DaShark' making personal attacks and innuendo involving fictional food fights and-- xenophobia?

What is that supposed to mean? Aside from impugning my reputation in retaliation for participating in a discussion cogent to you tourist blog?

-posted by blogger DaShark at 13:53 on 12-Apr-2011 :
'Very interesting and very revealing indeed!'


....Indeed!

-posted by blogger DaShark at 13:53 on 12-Apr-2011 :
'Indeed, the GFNMS role in this has been highly questionable to say the least.'


Once again, it is clear that the bloggera identifying themselves as 'DaShark' are trying to kill the messanger while attempting to deliver the same message; -that being the SPOT tagging is harmful.

The bogus allegations of $21,000.oo fines, xenophobia, food fights and other evil doings are just marketing tactics used to distract from my commentary on the actual subject matter.

Mahalo,
Sean

S.R. Van Sommeran
Executive Director
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/research/index.html
~Now of facebook~ Since 1990

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