Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Part One!

Are you ready? :)

First things first.
BAD has once again done really well.
Nothing spectacular mind you: but things are ticking along very nicely indeed.
The research has once again yielded one great paper, see below, with three more (!!!) due in the immediate future - and when it comes to the field work, we've successfully completed a massive and (so far) secret  project that will complement the hugely popular GFSC, and are about to embark into a rather monumental research endeavor with Projects Abroad that will undoubtedly result in more useful insights allowing us to ever refine our conservation strategies.
Other than that, business is good, the staff are healthy and happy and the SRMR is thriving - and we will turn 10 in April which is nothing short of a miracle!
And the blog - well, it is! :)

The Good

I've decided that I'm gonna spare myself the lengthy intro.
More and more, I find myself repeating what I've already stated ages ago, so why bother. Should you really not know where I'm generally coming from, feel free to peruse the last recaps here and here, and maybe read the post about Shark diving, that old post about Shark conservation and finally, the post about the need for a change of paradigms - the latter with many links that you should equally peruse!
Granted, some of the data (e.g. the extent of the Shark fishing mortality) are now obsolete owing to new insights - but in general terms, that's what I believe.
Too far out there? No worries, I'll continue carrying the moniker of Judas Conservationist with the greatest pride and satisfaction - and let's then talk again next year! :)

So without further ado.
Remember these are opinions - not the truth!
  • Most impressive Shark Conservation Org: The Pew Environment Group

    This time, I'm not only nominating the Shark Campaign because there is their Global Ocean Legacy Campaign that is increasingly overlapping and complementing the Shark-centric sanctuaries effort, see e.g. Bermuda and Pitcairn. Talking of which, I also hear that we may be witnessing the reappearance of Matt which would be a great blessing indeed!

    Be it as it may, they just simply stand heads and shoulders, and then some, above everybody else - and the unofficial list of their achievements in 2013, foremost of which the CITES win, is once again unparalleled and deserves our admiration and gratitude.

    With caveats mind you.
    The principal one being that rightly or wrongly, they continuously stand accused of walking away once they achieve legislative change and leaving the long term implementation = heavy lifting to others, namely to the RFMOs and local governments that often lack adequate resources, and to the local NGOs.
    Of course that's partly pernicious sniping by less successful competitors and partly factually misleading, as the implementation of legislation is obviously a prerogative of governments - but there's certainly also a kernel of truth and more importantly, it's bad publicity that Pew would be well advised to vigorously address, both in words and in deeds!
  • Best Shark Conservation Advocacy Group: Shark Savers

    Once again, in their own category, they are simply without peer - especially when compared to the con artists in California, NYC and Jersey!
    Yes they don't only engage in advocacy but also pursue research and hands-on conservation at the legislative level - but especially now that their merger with WildAid is about to be sanctioned, I expect an even bigger focus on curbing the demand side in Asia, a strategy that is clearly showing positive results.

    But that's the future - for now, huge kudos to DaMary, Shawn, Michael, Sam, Jonn and Jennah for an extremely impressive job, see below!
  • Best Shark Conservation Campaign at the Grassroots Level: Pelagic Life

    Now this is obviously highly subjective as I'm sure that there are many other groups doing stellar stuff on the ground - but these gals and guys happen to have caught my eye both with their México Pelágico project but above all, with their work in Baja that will result in a stellar ecotourism venture.
    So keep watching this space and by the same token, keep an eye out for Saving Our Sharks, equally from Mexico - it's gonna be challenging but by no means impossible!
  • Most impressive individual Shark Conservation Advocate: DaMary

    Well what can I say.
    It's her second nomination and she deserves every bit of it, and then some!
    Red her laudatio here, and here is a newer version highlighting the simply brilliant and in many ways pivotal role she has played in getting the Mantas listed at CITES.
  • Best Marine Conservation Videos: Shawn Heinrichs

    Well, Shawn is of course much more than just a video producer - foremost of which an eco-terrorist! :)
    The correct technical term is probably, indefatigable - and I must confess that I'm simply incapable of enumerating all of his activities that see him hopping around from one remote corner of the globe to the other like a maritime Energizer Bunny!
    And whereas others (not Shawn!) may sometimes get a tad tired of all that unbridled energy, one thing's for sure: the heart is very much in the right place and whether you like those mermaids or not, the outreach is simply phenomenal!
  • Best Shark Defender: Angelo Taotaotasi aka the Saipan Blogger

    He is of course long transcended being a mere person but is instead a brand - and as such, he very much eludes definition! :)
    Pointers for why I like him include smart, innovative, extremely well informed, analytical, pragmatic - and above all: very very witty!
    Pointers for why he is actually an asshole controversial: all of the above!

    And the performance?
    Look no further than the rather epic rolling out of the Shark Stanley campaign for CITES, and the continued progress of Pew in closing down the Pacific to Shark fishing! Those are very much his babies - and whereas I have sometimes questioned his strategy and methods, the successes clearly speak for themselves!
    Here's to clever sheepherders! :)
  • Most impressive Shark Conservation Achievement: CITES 2013

    This has been simply epic.
    Even I got caught up in the frenzy and partook vicariously with a barrage of posts. Once again, huge congratulations to everybody involved, foremost of which Pew and the Manta Ray of Hope project - and, and I cite, just a hint of a slow hand clap for those who will always believe that they know better, foremost of which the bickering Mobula lovers!
  • Best Citizen Science Project: Great Fiji Shark Count.

    This is the only such nation-wide citizen science project and my hope is that it will be only the first of a whole array of similar endeavors. Huge thanks to the team, partners and donors who have successfully cooperated during the past four counts, with many more to come!
    And a special tip o' hat to the irreducible Sam and Shark Savers for the great cooperation during the Adopt-a-Bull-Shark project - it has been loads of fun, and the funds are highly welcome!
    Thank you! :)
  • Best Kids Education Project: Sharks4Kids

    I missed the launch due to absence and have since failed to mention it: but this is the baby of Jillian the one, only and very much original Shark Girl - and it is great!
    Godspeed - and c'ya in Fiji sooner rather than later!
  • Best Shark Diving Paper: Bull Shark Provisioning in Fiji

    What else! :)
    But seriously, this is really great stuff, and based on a huge amount of data that we have collected over many, many years. Please read it, understand the implications and then share your knowledge wide and far!
  • Best Shark Movie: Of Shark and Man

    Yes I know, it's not quite yet completed.
    But the teasers are simply stellar, and having seen what I've seen and knowing what I know,  I for one look forward to David delivering something absolutely fantastic and unique.
    No pressure!
  • Best Resource for Shark Divers: Shark Angels

    Yeah I know I know - but one gotta give credit where it is due.
    Excellent job!
  • Best Debunkers of Pseudoscience: Southern Fried Science

    That's really where they excel, and in the propagation of important research.
    Alas, I cannot really say the same about some of David's opinion pieces. Yes many of views expressed by the movement are shameful in their ignorance and frustrating to the max - but not everything in Shark conservation pertains to fisheries management in the US, and Sharks are much more than simple objects of research and management!
    Come Shark diving buddy! :)
  • Most inspiring Visitors: Kerstin, Taryn and Jaap, Martin, Jero and Ana, Mary and Lupo, Bruno et Antonia, Warren, Ozzie Sam, Ingrid, Mike, Kris and Helen

    You know who you are!
    And Mike: thank you so much mate - that was really, really nice of you! :)
  • Special Thanks: Gary and Brenda, Juerg, Drew, Nani, Tuma and Rusi

    Ten years of friendship and adventure, and counting! :)
    You are the glue that holds it all together - thank you!
  • Special Mention: Scamsters, Vampires and Poo Pads, see at top!

    I could elaborate but I shall not - for now! :)
And here endeth the ominous list!
The juicy part will follow in due course - keep watching this space! :)

PS - dang I forgot to mention Sharknado!!!
You choose the category!
Humblest apologies.


Tropical Selkie said...

Excellent! Agree 99% (a first?). Thanks for the kind mentions for Shark Savers and the amazing people I am honored to work with! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

DaShark said...

And you!

Yes that would be a first - and I SOOO know which 1% you don't agree with! :)

Unknown said...

Thank you for the great write up/break down. Not to undermine your thoughtful list and the great folks you listed, but I'd love to see Sonja Fordham and Shark Advocates International get some well-deserved kudos. This world needs more Sonja's (and Stefanie's, Mary's, Shawn's, Samantha's) let me tell ya!


DaShark said...

Yes you're absolutely right!

But... re-read the part about CITES 2013... :)

Jonathan Gonzalez said...

Touché! I was out of the loop on that one so it went over my head.

Keep up the great work and thoughtful posts. I hope to make it to Fiji some day to dive with bulls and your crew. It's high on my bucket list!


DaShark said...

Thx Jonathan!

And since we're talking - whatever happened to that insightful post about David McGuire I non-ranted about in April? :)

Jonathan Gonzalez said...

Unfortunately my blog got wiped clean from the server due to accidental non-payment last Summer. I still have all my posts and pictures as Word docs, but have a hard time finding the time/motivation to re-upload them all.

Frauds like David are one of the reasons why I decided to start blogging in the first place. I felt more folks needed to be much more critical of those who claim to be "the good guys." Sometimes they are actually very bad people.

But frauds like David (Geoff Shester, Ben Enticknap, Catherine Kilduff, etc.) are also the reason why sometimes I figure, why bother blogging at all? What I mean is, these people are PR machines and deceiving people is their full-time job. I already have a full-time job and sometimes it's a real bummer to find myself spending all my valuable free-time writing angry rants that hardly anyone will ever get a chance to read.

I'm currently devising a new plan of action to combat the NGO BS, but I plan on working smarter instead of harder this time. Hopefully I can contact you about this some day.


DaShark said...

Anytime buddy - I trust you've seen this? :)

Jonathan Gonzalez said...

Oh yes I did, and surprisingly I'd never heard of him. Now I only wish I never had! At least he inspired me to create these...

Couldn't resist...

DaShark said...

Sacrilege - don't u go besmirching the primary biologist!