Wednesday, July 10, 2013

They're back!

Betcha that's not a GWS but a Basker - click for detail! Source.

Great that Mundus hasn't managed to kill them all!

The GWS sightings on the US Atlantic Coast are off the chart.
And they are big and hence old - which leads to the inevitable question, where have they been hanging out all this time!

The answer being, likely offshore!
Contrary to common lore, GWS feed on Pinnipeds only when they are large adults, and then often only seasonally, meaning that even those big mamas could have easily survived on Fishes and Cephalopods alone - and possibly also by scavenging on Whale carcasses like in SA!

So why are they back?
Watch this.

I must say, I'm warming up to George - mind you, slowly!
Ever since the ever pompous Collier has replaced him him as the token Sharxpert and source of the most egregious inanities, Burgess appears to have rediscovered science, and his rather rare quotables have become, uh, quotable!
And I'm very much looking forward to reading the GWS paper!

And the link to the increase in Harbor Seal numbers?
There certainly appears to be a correlation - however with the BIG caveat that correlation does not equate causation! At this stage, it remains merely one, albeit a highly plausible hypothesis, and I invite you to read this excellent piece on the subject.

Be it as it may - great that they are back!


Tropical Selkie said...

Good George: "Note that this is a slow, gradual recover..."!

Not so good George: referring to seal rookeries in close proximity to bathing beaches "...this leads to conflict", POTENTIAL conflict.

Lets not suggest that the seal recovery is a 'problem'. Though the populations in the Cape Cod area have indeed significantly increased, they are likely still no where near their historical numbers. SHIFTING BASELINES, please.

DaShark said...

... and never will be, as the shifting baselines apply to their, likely greatly diminished prey as well!

But whether you call it a "conflict" or a "problem", there's now definitely an issue that needs addressing - and this hopefully proactively and not in the usual knee-jerk fashion in response to a fatal Shark strike!

And, simply telling the aquatic recreationists to stay out of the water, or that they are assuming the full risk of entering a wilderness aint gonna be quite good enough!
Bathers in say, Atlantic City have every right to the expectation that the authorities have provided for their safety - meaning as a minimum some monitoring and some form of detection/warning system like sirens, Shark spotters and the like, etc.

We shall see won't we!