And on a completely different note - but then again, maybe not so far off topic!
2. New Nominations
Biggest Shark Conservation Fail - Fiji Shark Sanctuary Campaign
What can I say - literally!
As a foreigner on a visa - only so much!
Anyway, the Sanctuary is toast and the Authorities have decided to instead manage Shark fishing via a NPoA Sharks. I've seen one of the many drafts and it talks about having it ratified by Parliament, meaning that any such measures will be implemented, if at all, after the elections in 2014.
Meanwhile, this is continuing unabated.
And the reasons for this debacle?
One is certainly the campaign itself.
Instead of quietly concentrating on assisting government in drafting the actual legislation, the campaign managers decided to roll out a premature national awareness campaign. The frothy activism and associated NOISE were increasingly been viewed as an irritant by the the powers that be, and the media announcements finally managed to activate the Shark fishing industry that mounted a vigorous opposition, much along the lines of this shit.
And when Sea Shepherd announced that they were coming to Fiji to kick ass, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back - see below!
And what about this.
There must always be a cohesive medium between the various factions and a complete ban on longline fishing (while it would solve all conservation problems) is just not realistic as it wouldn't address the inherently important issues like food and economic security. We must always remember that we are talking about the livelihoods of many Fijians, many Pacific islanders for that matter Joel Evans therefore we must take all the variables into consideration and try to achieve that essential yet elusive balance.
Sorry Art - love you, but this is just idle clap trap!
We're talking about 130+ METRIC TONS of Shark fins that get exported annually, principally brought in by the Taiwanese long distance fleets (likely now from Tonga, too) that pay no taxes, create no jobs and sail away with the profits whilst a handful of Asian traders are lining their own pockets - and those are merely the OFFICIAL figures! Essentially, Fiji is acting as a turntable for the produce of IUU and very possibly also finning that is being perpetrated by foreign interests on the high seas, and this much to the DETRIMENT of the SoPac that is being stripped of its marine resources!
And then there's the massive increase in coastal fishing for Sharks that is already effecting the dive sites and impinging on a totally sustainable and non-extractive industry worth approx. FJD 80 millions to the country, and on countless jobs in the tourism industry - and we're not even talking about the ecosystem services that so far remain unquantified!
This is all about making fast profits and got nothing whatsoever to do with Pacific Islander livelihoods, food security and jobs, the more as the Sanctuary decree had an exemption for Canacana fisheries!
And the National Plan of Action Sharks?
Compared to sanctuaries, traditional management measures are complicated and extremely costly to implement. Does Fiji dispose of the necessary resources and if not, who is going to provide them - and with that in mind, what are the chances of this being a successful undertaking?
None I am at liberty to discuss in public - but clever minds are working on stuff!
- Shark Conservation Con of the Year - Operation Requiem
I've said it before, like others, I'm of two minds about Fat Paul.
He has managed to alert the public to several issues he holds dear - but he's also a total bullshitter and now it turns out, a total coward! And the SSCS - read these posts by Patric who obviously cares much more than I ever could!
And the track record after those 30+ years of NOISE and simply stupendous expenditures?
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING - the Canadians continue to bash those Seals to death, the Japanese continue to hunt those Whales, the Faroe Islanders continue to hold their grinds, and the guys in the Cove continue to butcher away and don't give a rat's ass about Hollywood, end even less about the krazy new age shepherdettes!
Those are the FACTS - but who cares, right?
A shame really, because the frothy bullshit and NOISE drown out the few remarkable legitimate initiatives, like the Society's involvement in the Galapagos or e.g. what the fiery and irreducible Gary has achieved by relentlessly chipping away at CITES - and buddy, it sure looks like it's gonna be a win for you and zero for me! :(
SPOT ON - re-posted specially for YOU Megalobomb! :)
But I'm digressing as always.
What I really wanted to talk about is Julie Andersen's junket where she, boyfriend Wildman and a couple of sea shepherdettes paid themselves a pleasure cruise throughout the Pacific on donor money.
This was the bombastic announcement.
Chances are that after I post it, they will make it private like the version on Vimeo. WTF - I thought they would be PROUD of it and wish a maximum of people to see it???
Take special note of the usual SSCS bullshit of putting one's lives on the line and being ready to DIE for one's clients - incidentally, just like Fat Paul!
Just remarkable ain't it.
This is nothing more than Andersen's narcissistic attempt at finally getting her own television show, specifically some kind of Shark Wars on Animal Planet. Compare the above to this trailer for Seal Wars where Andersen made a cameo appearance and contributed NOTHING as always, and you can discern how this shit was concocted.
And how about this
On Andersen's and his webpage, Wildman describes his work in 2012 as follows
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - "Operation Requiem" - Underwater and Topside Cinematographer, Producer, Director, Editor - Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Vanuatu, 2012.
Think this is anything but a commercial venture? And, did they obtain the required shooting permits, and state that this was a shoot for Sea Shepherd?
With Discovery having halted all projects following the defection of Brooke Runette, we can only hope that nothing will come of it - but who knows, the more since Andersen is certainly crafty in the game of smoke and mirrors!
Should you be interested in details, do peruse their News from the Field - and LO, you will discover a long succession of inane (and I note, poshumously embellished) posts about... NOTHING SUBSTANTIVE!
Our South Pacific shark campaign under the direction of Julie Andersen has just completed an awesomely successful campaign in Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati - MY ASS!
Collaborative relationship with Tonga huh - SHOW ME!
But that's the SSCS for you!
It has long morphed into a cult - and if the disheeples want to continue ignoring the evidence and pay for that fraud, too bad for them! My only grievance: that pseudo-conservation hydra is very good at vacuuming up resources that could do so much GOOD if they were donated to legitimate orgs instead!
But Fiji is of course unforgivable.
I was frankly astonished to find a pretty accurate description of what happened here - and no I don't know who that blogger is.
The perpetrators who weaseled in posing as Shark Angels: squeaky SSCS Director of Shark Campaigns Andersen, boyfriend and illegal commercial shooter Wildman and rabid shepherdette Basset who then had the audacity to publicly sport a SSCS shirt in a Fijian village! All aided and abetted by, inter alia, Sarah Fisk, another shepherdette and PHD on a visitor's visa - talk about a total lack of RESPECT for the wishes of her host country!
You can see them clowning around in Fiji here - whilst pretending to be somehow involved in a conservation success they had NOTHING to do with, ZERO!
So, were those disrespectful fools the principal cause for the Sanctuary's demise?
NO they were NOT - but having personally been at the Fisheries offices when it all went down, I can attest first-hand that it is THEM, and the idiots helping them, who have tipped it over the edge!
And this after Andersen and Fisk were told by both Coral and Pew not to come!
I say, WHAT A FUCKING DISGRACE!
All to satisfy the sick personal ambitions of one person - not to mention the pecuniary agenda! And from what I hear, it may not even be over as they are STILL trying to weasel in!
- Shark Troll of the Year: Sean Van Sommeran
Check out the word's definition here.
Then compare it to SVS's Hyena wails here - merely one example of literally hundreds of similar ones he finds the time to post each year!
Like I said during the Junior controversy, I have a grudging admiration for the man as he is passionate and DOES things - but boy-oh-boy, talk about a dude with a paranoiac hatred of what he appears to consider the conspiracy by the authorities and the academic establishment!
And then, there are his rants against Shark provisioning - as legendary as they are completely misguided!
And this? Still in no way resolved - or is it?
- Shark Fruitcake of the Year: still and unequivocally Erik Brush!
But this year, we got ourselves an runner-up!
Behold the self promoting Scott Cassell (52 miles non-stop huh - THAT ALONE would be fodder for another post...) who has single-handedly revolutionized everything we know about the GWS in the Northeast Pacific by claiming that he befriended a female named Spots in the Farallones only to later be reunited with her in Lupe, a migration hundreds of tags have been unsuccessful in documenting!
Having then discovered images of her de-finned and de-jawed carcass from Baja and wanting to bring Spots' fins home, he then took a junket to Asia on sponsor money where he proceeded to EDUCATE the masses about the risk of an imminent invasion of Humbold Squid - yes, in ASIA!
And, on his off days, he travels to Tiger Beach, again on sponsor money, to play fetch with Emma! AND, he teaches us that when you eat sharks and tunas, you are responsible for grizzly bears attacking people in Alaska! Ring a bell? It's all about Collier's dreaded DOMINO EFFECT and got certainly nothing to do with this!
Red flags anybody?
Whatever - right? It's all FOR THE SHARKS ergo totally legit!
Simply too weird to be true? If you DARE because it's painful (WARNING!), watch THIS !
- Idiotic Shark Conservation Meme of the Year: The Oxygen Myth
No, not THAT ONE!
After last year's treatment, only a total fruitcake would dare spout those idiocies in public - oh, and of course JESSICA, now freshly re-named!
Case in point - now it's about Global Warming, too!
No I'm talking about the following!
And I cite.
Studies show that over 70% of the planet’s oxygen is generated from the ocean. Plankton are at the greatest risk of ocean acidification, and it is the plankton that creates that oxygen - which is being fully seconded by the OCEAN GODDESS herself who teaches us that Our living ocean generates 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and sequesters carbon emissions that have risen over the last century.
Or to quote Chris Hartzell the pompous bloviating fireman.
The debate over whether the ocean or the forests has been strong.In the 80's scientists who studied the ocean and the forests doing field work discovered approximately 60% of oxygen came from diatoms in the ocean (plankton) and 20% from the forests. However, today scientists say it is almost 50/50. However, it should be noted that the scientists in the 80's did actual field work for 100% of their sampling while today's scientists attribute their results to roughly 50% field data and 50% computer modeling. Either way, if diatoms were to take a big hit in the ocean, the global oxygen supply would be catastrophically hit and it is estimated that between 1/3rd to half of the human population would die off.
Wow! Truly the man is a CORNUCOPIA of erudition - and not only about Sharks!
And guess what: it HAS taken a big hit!!
Look no further than this paper by Boyce et al that comes to the conclusion that we have lost 40% of the Phytoplankton since 1950 - which is being fully confirmed by our very own rocket scientist, Tony Marr!
And the consequences?
Let my try and illustrate this with one of Jessica's sillygisms that goes thusly
Major premise: 70% of the atmosphere's oxygen is generated by the Phytoplankton in our living ocean
Minor premise: 40% of that Phytoplankton is toast
ERGO: we've just lost ourselves 28% of the planet's oxygen!
Bingo - and it's all SCIENCE ergo TRUE!
We haven't caught on to it quite yet - but we're ACTUALLY all writhing on the ground gasping for air, just like the truly unequaled Chris has announced!
Wow - again!
But wait a minute: how come when I calibrated my O2 analyzer before yesterday's dive, it did not show 15.12% but 21% as usual? Read this drivel and you will discover that the ocean's oxygen production trope is at best a misconception and at worst, bunk science and disinformation.
Tu quoque Sylvia?!?
And then, read this - seriously, DO!
Straight from the frothy Piranha tank, it documents how the Phytoplankton paper was the result of sloppy research coupled with a sloppy peer review process coupled with a sloppy journal that failed its due diligence as it wanted to stand out by publishing a BIG story. It is bad science, published prematurely - in brief, TOTAL BS!
Tu quoque Boris?!?
Back to the Sillygism!
Major premise: not so fast!
Minor Premise: HELL, no!
- Least impressive Shark Conservation Initiative - Listing the NE Pacific Great White Sharks under CESA and ESA
Short story here.
First, to the easy part.
This matters because, as apex predators, sharks protect other fish populations by keeping seal and sea lion populations in balance. Sharks also play a crucial role in protecting barrier reefs. In short, if we lose our sharks, we lose our ocean's nurseries.
Our Pacific coast needs great whites.
As some of the oceans' top predators, they keep the food web in balance.
As much as we may fear them for their bad rap, we need great white sharks to keep our oceans healthy. Just as wolves keep deer populations under control, great white sharks play a critical top-down role in structuring the marine ecosystem by keeping prey populations in check, such as sea lions and elephant seals, benefiting our fisheries and abundant wildlife.
Sharks and barrier reefs huh.
Apart from attributing to GWS faculties that apply, if at all, to completely different species, these statements suggest that apex predators are automatically keystone species. The FACT is that GWS are clearly NOT - and this especially if the postulated number of 350 were correct!
Seriously, to suggest that a few hundred Sharks could control the Pinniped populations (estimates here) from the tip of Baja all the way to Alaska and over to Hawaii is just simply LUDICROUS - especially considering that GWS do not prey on Pinnipeds until they are large sub-adults, and even then only during a very short season before moving offshore!
And the hint that the exploding Pinniped populations may endanger fisheries - may we be painting the specter of predator overpopulation, and this at the expense of species that have barely recuperated from decades of human exploitation?
But that's just the usual stupid hyperbole.
Same-same for this stupidity (yes there are TWO petitions!) - upon reading that for example, on the eastern seaboard of the United States, a decrease in Great White Sharks resulted in higher populations of mesopredators like the cownose ray and decreased populations of bivalves like scallops (Myers et al. 2007 at 1849) I've simply stopped bothering!
FYI Myers et al. 2007 at 1849 states that The remaining four elasmobranch-consuming great sharks were caught too rarely to detect trends from this survey. Two of those, great white (Carcharodon carcharias) and sand tiger (Carcharias taurus) sharks, were each caught only once and early in the UNC survey (in 1974 and 1978, respectively).
Graph here - see any GWS?
The REAL problem here is that the 350 number is just bullshit!
Yes it may be the best available science but then again, does a deeply flawed population estimate even qualify as such? Expect vigorous rebuttal from the jugular-slicing ninjas shortly - and if so, will that then become the best available science and thus completely invalidate the petition?
And the petition proper?
Certainly voluminous and erudite - but once again, fraught with obvious shortcomings, the principal other being that there is no evidence whatsoever that the population is declining, let alone that the US West Coast population is at serious risk of extinction!
In fact, there is evidence that the population may be INCREASING which would also account for the increase of incidental bycatch of juveniles!
“These majestic predators are vital for the health and balance of our ocean ecosystems,” said David McGuire, Director of SharkStewards. “Even the removal of one sexually mature individual from a population this small can have serious impacts on the population as a whole. They need stronger protection immediately.”
Yeah, right David - whatever!
Leaves the consequences of the listings.
Probably overly harsh - especially at the federal level where an ESA listing would imply sweeping management measures throughout their immense habitat that would likely unnecessarily impact even the remotest commercial fisheries regardless of their actual GWS bycatch statistics - and thus likely lead to both unnecessary loss of income and unnecessary investment of resources for monitoring and enforcement. That can't be good can it.
Considering what we know about the philopatry of this specific GWS population, wouldn't it have been much more credible and thus less controversial, and also more efficient (= cheaper) to concentrate on the known hot spots (= essentially, the nurseries) and regulate the specific fisheries that lead to the bycatch - this always assuming that the associated mortality is really impinging on the recovery of the population, something that is very much debatable?
This being CALIFORNIA, chances are that CESA listing will be granted regardless of the shortcomings - and if so, like the fin ban, it will be nice but certainly not good!
Like I said here
This is never happening in a vacuum - this is being used to advocate legislation that will deprive fishermen of income and quite possibly, of their livelihoods. With that in mind, we owe it to them, but also, to ourselves not to cheat and to use misleading perceived "marketing", or whatever, but to be truthful and fact based instead.
And we got ourselves a runner-up!
This is actually really good - so why the misleading Petition?
The problem for Sharks is OVERFISHING and specifically in the Gulf, the problem is POACHING - not finning which as far as I understand it is illegal in all US state and federal waters anyway! And the tens of millions - we simply do not know whether they are being killed for their fins alone!
The depletion rates? That would be Baum and Myers 2004 that is however controversial - and since then, there has been Baum and Blanchard 2010 that comes to different conclusions, albeit for a different time frame and a larger area. So what is the best available science, the more as from the first document, I learn that Texas has enacted vigorous management measures that may well have led to improvements?
Is the hyperbole really necessary and above all, does it add to the credibility of this project?
- Irritant of the Year - Shark Wunderkinder
I must confess, after the disappointment with Madi Pip I may be a wee touchy.
But then again, check this out.
I am DISGUSTED with our kind! THE OCEAN IS THEIR HOME! Our home is on land! WHEN YOU ENTER THE OCEANS, YOU ARE A GUEST ENTERING THEIR HOME! YOU (WE) ARE THE ONES INVADING THEIR HOME!! OUR HOME IS LAND! THEIRS IS THE OCEAN!!! THEY WERE THERE BEFORE US!! IT'S THEIR RESIDENCE. IF YOU ENTER THE OCEAN, IT'S A RISK YOU ARE TAKING AS THE INVADER!!! Are we seriously going to start a cull to kill sharks so people can safely swim in the waters!?! Are you crazy!?!? That's not going to work. Sharks are going to continue coming around. Sharks are going to end up being killed off. Many species are critically endangered, now including the Great White Sharks....
This particular specimen is Shark Girl Hannah, a Floridian like the whispering BooBoo that is equally somehow associated with Shark Savers. They are but two of a long list of young Shark advocates that come across as being very ENTHUSED! Can't quite put my finger on it - but to me, it's all a bit LOUD and a bit MUCH!
But then again, maybe it's an age thing - theirs and mine!
As always, we shall see!
And here endeth the ominous list - believe it or not!