Saturday, December 26, 2015

Healing in Sharks - Paper!

Click for detail!

Love it!

Check out this new paper.
Much like we continue to document the miraculous healing power of our Bulls, the authors describe the same faculties in Blacktip Reefies, often equally through observations in the field.
Very nice!

And I like the part about releasing hooked animals!
Our Sharks regularly steal bait and fish from the local fishermen, and we get to see countless individuals sporting hooks, with and without lines; and with the notable exception of Pointer that got hooked in the throat and had a rope trailing from her gills for several years, we could not discern any notable reduction in the Sharks' fitness, with all hooks disappearing within weeks to as couple of months.
With that in mind and considering the substantial fragility of some species, I totally agree that it's probably best to forego hook removal in favor of minimizing handling time and thus potentially lethal stress for the animals, and that all unwanted Sharks should be released even if mechanically injured.

Anyway, very well done indeed.
Enjoy the paper!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Basking Shark Scotland - Scottish Wildlife Spectacular!

Source.

Spectacular indeed!
Basking Shark Scotland are a member of Global Shark Diving, your home for safe, responsible and sustainable Shark diving.
Story here.

Enjoy!



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Conservation Shark Diving in Fiji!


Love the title! :)

Martin has penned this piece about his next trip to Fiji.
Yes it's obviously marketing for his trips - the good news being that every single word is absolutely true!
Thanks buddy - much appreciated!

And here's that video again.
Enjoy!



Friday, December 18, 2015

Cristina - Shark Love?

Watch what happens at 1:45ff...



Amazing isn't it.
A pal writes,
The romantic in me says it's LURVE
The cynic says the shark is assuming that position to have ectoparasites removed - and simply following what it takes to be the ecto-parasite-removing creature when it retreats. I think this shows how we, as hug-loving mammals, are hard-wired to misinterpret what is presumably going on - and hence how easily the idiots (Ritter, Treadwell et al) can go off the transcendental deep end. 
Yes and no!
Clearly, those are conditioned Sharks that as a minimum have been habituated to humans insofar as they appear to have lost their natural fear of them. This is one of the known side-effects of provisioned Shark dives that when they are conducted responsibly, leads to less agonism = defensive aggression - the flip side being that the resulting familiarity can lead to the well-known problems with those infamous beggar Sharks, hence the need for good protocols.

So yes those Sharks may well want to get cleaned.
Jimmy did show me equally amazing footage of Lemons snuggling up to divers at the Tiger Beach cleaning station, and equally only being rewarded with a friendly rub. Both Jimmy and Cristina have removed squillions of hooks, and the Sharks may indeed regard, and thus seek them out as some sort of cleaner organism as a consequence.

But maybe it's something else?
Specially in the case of Cristina that induces a trance-like state (not tonic!) by stimulating the Sharks' snout, the Sharks may simply come in for the resulting, obviously pleasurable sensation. Does that equal LURVE and affection and the like? Methinks not, it may be more akin to us, ahem, visiting a brothel - but it is totally amazing nevertheless!

And now?
Does this mean that we should all swarm out and start giving Sharks affection, or whatever, by conditioning them to come in and get petted?

Certainly not!
Back then in 2008, Patric asked
Is it not enough to "witness" these animals in all their grace and elegance? Do we need to touch them and ride them as well? Do photographers really need to shoot inside a Tigers mouth? Do we need to throw pokey-sticks at them? Where does it end, where do we call the game and set the safety goal posts?
And for me, the answer is crystal clear.
Like I never cease to repeat, Shark dives need to be regarded as wildlife encounters and subsequently, conditioning needs to be kept at an absolute minimum = limited to attracting otherwise shy species, and ensuring the necessary degree of safety. All else is just simply unwarranted and often disrespectful showmanship that benefits only the human, with only more risks for the animal.

Cristina and Jimmy of course get a pass.
Mind you, this not because of what they do but because of who they are!
The other molesters, not so much - but once you've logged thousands of Shark dives, devoted your life to Shark conservation but above all, removed hundreds of hooks, you too will be entitled to some rather superfluous, and clearly not reciprocated Shark LURVE - petting, scratching, hugging and kissing included!

In diesem Sinne - happy Shark diving!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Diving with Bull Sharks in Fiji - BAD Reports!


Nice!

We've recently hosted several shark-enamored bloggers.
Please read this by Kathryn of Friends for Sharks; and this by young Shark researcher Tom; and this by OWUSS Australia Rolex scholar Ben!

Vinaka!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Very early mating - El Niño?


Who knows - but it is definitely happening!

The whole thing, at least for me, is rather puzzling. 
Contrary to what you may have assumed, the current severe El Niño has brought us way colder, not warmer water - and with the Bulls being poikilothermic, this appears to have delayed fetal development insofar as all of the pregnant females are still sticking around for a bit longer instead of having already absconded to give birth in the river nurseries.

And the mating?
I would have thought that it would be triggered by some environmental factor - but compared to a "normal" year, the water is definitely still on the cool side, and precipitation is also sub par = I would have thought that mating, too, would have started later.
But then again, who am I to say!

This is where the males are trying to latch on with their teeth - click for detail.

Anyway, all very interesting!
And with Bull Shark numbers already climbing back to several dozen, the proper Running of the Bulls may be only a few weeks away!

 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Slick - encore!


Turns out that madame est un peu impétueuse!

And yes, I'm being uncharacteristically diplomatic!
The bloody Shark is a total wrecking ball, and with a good dozen ingested Tuna heads, greedy to boot!

Lest you wonder - Tumbee is not trying to out-Eli the Eli but merely trying to prevent the Shark from biting off his head!

And this strange skin pattern?
The Shark is merely turning towards me - but I love the effect! :)

Click for detail!

Anyway, we had a memorable time.
To be continued no doubt!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Slick!

 

Behold!

It's still low season for the Bulls, and here comes a new Tiger.
We've named her Slick for obvious reasons - tho why she's missing most of her first dorsal will forever remain a mystery. Likely not because of some nefarious fisherman who at the current price of 150 bucks per kilo would have likely cut off all her fins; possibly it was a prop strike or maybe another feisty Tiger who knows.

Anyway, great to have met her.
Tip o' hat to intrepid Tumbee who's becoming a veritable Tiger tamer and did handle her beautifully, click for detail - and to Manoa, for missing his third Tiger in as many weeks!
Gotta be in it to win it buddy!


Welcome aboard madame!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Coastal Fishing for Sharks in Fiji - Paper!


Finally!

So here are the facts.
Whilst others continue to bullshit the public with tall tales of them spearheading the fight against finning in the SoPac, or whatever, we've decided to finally shed a light on what really happens in Fiji away from the well-documented shenanigans (and here!) by the Tuna long liners.

In essence, we've embarked into a two-month road trip throughout the country - and lemme tell 'ya, it has been epic!
Under Juerg's leadership, we took Swiss masters student Kerstin Glaus to every single coastal village we could reach, see the paper, where she conducted interviews with the local fishermen; and then, we visited some of the principal fish markets in order to verify and collect further evidence.

The results were equally impressive and disturbing.
Contrary to common lore whereby Fijians don't fish for Sharks, we found that local small- and medium-scale subsistence and commercial Shark fishing was very much alive and even on the rise following the defeat of the Shark Sanctuary Campaign but also very much because as Sea Cucumber stocks were being wiped out, the bêche-de-mer traders were increasingly asking for Shark fins as a commercial substitute, and because Sharks were increasingly being consumed as stocks of other more prized Fishes were dwindling.

A first outcome was Kerstin's stellar masters thesis, see at top.
Much more comprehensive than the present paper -and we shall come back to that-, it was the basis of a series of presentations to Fiji's Department of Fisheries that having so far lacked any relevant data, had been largely unaware of the extent of the problem and consequently failed to enact any management measures. Thankfully, this is now changing, also owing to the implementation of the latest protection measures under CITES.

And now this knowledge is finally open source.
But whilst I loved the masters thesis, I'm somewhat underwhelmed by the present paper.

And this is why.

There is bycatch and bycatch.
If a coastal fisherman goes out to net himself some Mullet and having left the net to soak overnight, comes back to find a dead Blacktip Reefie among his catch, then the Shark is genuine bycatch = unplanned, unintended and unwanted.
 
But what about this.
If a spear fisherman sets out to catch himself a Parrotfish for dinner but upon encountering a Blacktip Reefie, decides to shoot it in order to sell its fins, then I hope that we can all agree that the circumstances leading to the Shark's demise are radically different from the first example. Same-same as if that same Parrotfish-hunting spearo ventured across a White Teatfish and decided to collect it in order to pocket its staggering price of 150.00 bucks, notabene for a single individual.
In both these cases, the take is equally unplanned and thus defined as bycatch - but it is certainly very much intended and wanted!

IMO rightfully, Kerstin decided to highlight that difference.
She decided to differentiate between accidental and intentional bycatch, and I cite from her masters thesis.
Several studies indicate that threatened species are also caught as bycatch in artisanal fisheries (Godley et al. 1998, Jaramillo-Legorreta et al. 2007, Peckham et al. 2007). Bycatch is defined as the capture of non-target species or undesired sizes of target species (Lewison et al. 2004). Thus, bycatch is typically discarded. However, bycatch can also be retained as valuable source of income, and hence be sought intentionally (Ebert et al. 2013). Furthermore, the association of intentional bycatch of several marine species with artisanal fisheries has recently been reported (Casale 2011). Therefore, inshore shark species may be increasingly under pressure from local-scale artisanal fisheries...

Respondents who had sharks as bycatch were further divided into accidental and intentional bycatch (further described in chapter 1). The distinction between intentional and accidental bycatch was mainly based on the use of sharks caught. Discard of sharks caught is the main criterion in this study for accidental bycatch. Since non-targeted but used sharks may be caught intentionally, any kind of usage (e.g. fin sale, meat sale, regular and repeated consumption) is regarded as main criterion for intentional bycatch.

Gill-nets and hand-lines are commonly used in artisanal fisheries to target reef finfishes (Pratchett et al. 2011). Therefore, the deployment of lines with catch capacities of around 100 pounds and more is used as a further criterion for intentional bycatch. Moreover, the application of spears and spearguns is considered here as technique used for intentional bycatch, since the intrinsic purpose of that fishing gear excludes accidental bycatch.
And with that in mind, this was the result.


See what I mean?
Suddenly, those otherwise rather innocuous bycatch statistics become highly relevant. As a minimum, they document that catching Sharks has become desirable for well over half of Fiji's coastal fishermen - and we all know all-too-well how that desire will lead to dire consequences!
Case in point: we're definitely losing Bull Sharks at a rather alarming rate!

Alas, the paper's peer reviewers did not agree.
The differentiation between accidental and intentional bycatch was scrapped, IMO much to the detriment of the paper's relevance along with its value for any fisheries management bodies.
Oh well - at least the authorities here know the whole picture.

And one last thing.
Remember the musings about Spinner Sharks in Fiji? 
Kerstin's picture from the Lautoka market has been recently corroborated by this catch in the Rewa. That's not a Blacktip C. limbatus but a Spinner, C. brevipinna - check out the anal fin and compare to this ID guide!

But I'm digressing as always.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Oslob - killing the Golden Goose?

Forbidden interaction - pulled directly from the website of an operator no less! This is just fucking stupid!

Oh FFS - have you seen this paper?
And I cite.
Compliance to the required minimum distance from the shark was investigated during the 1,082 complete focal follows. During 907 focal follows (84%) at least one snorkeler or boat-holder was observed being less than 2 m away from the whale shark, inconsistent with the code of conduct (Table 2). On average there were 1.9 snorkelers or boat-holders (S.D. = 2.6) and 0.2 scuba divers (S.D. = 0.9) within 2 m of the whale shark recorded every 5 min. The maximum number of snorkelers and boat-holders around a single shark was observed on 7 September 2013 when 19 people were recorded within 2 m of a whale shark and, respectively, on 10 December 2012 when 10 scuba divers were closer than 2 m from the shark.

Data on the number of guests within 10 m of sharks was missing from 62 focal follows in 2012, the remaining 1,020 focal follows showed that in 56.1% of the surveys the maximum number of snorkelers allowed per shark (i.e., 6) was exceeded. The maximum number of snorkelers and boat-holders within 10 m of a shark was 33. Records of the number of scuba divers within 10 m of a shark only started in July 2013. During these 406 focal follows, the maximum of 4 scuba divers was exceeded on 79 occasions (19.5%). Twenty-one scuba divers within 10 m of a shark was the highest number of divers recorded per shark.

From May 2012 to January 2013, researchers systematically counted the amount of active touches from guests and feeders on sharks. A total of 4,832 active touches were recorded over 545 focal follows. Feeders pushing away sharks with their feet or petting the sharks with their hands accounted for the majority of these active contacts (97.6%); while guests were observed touching sharks 117 times. During the 2013 and 2014 survey seasons, feeder touches were no longer systematically counted, because of the lack of reaction observed in the whale sharks. On 114 occasions guests were recorded to actively touch whale sharks during this same period...

The assessment of the compliance to the code of conduct revealed very low adherence to the regulations in place in Oslob.
Most worrying was the decreasing trend of compliance from 21.4% in 2012 to only 3.4% compliance in 2014 in terms of minimal distance to the whale shark. Our numbers are conservative because only people within 2 m of the shark were included in the count, whereas the code of conduct regulating the whale shark watching activities in Oslob dictates a minimum distance of 5 m from the side and tail of the sharks, which means that the real compliance might have been even lower. Free swimming, snorkelling guests tended to have lower compliance than guests holding on to the boat while watching the shark underwater. Snorkelers can control the distance to the shark by either actively approaching the animal or swimming away to keep the required distance; nevertheless 85% of snorkelers were too close to the shark in 2014.
Seriously, WTF?
I've been a staunch supporter of Oslob's highly controversial Whale Shark feeding encounters, but this only provided that there are good interaction protocols, and that the rules are being followed - and this is just highly disappointing, and pretty darn stupid to boot.
One may question the usefulness of certain prescriptions - but if so, they can be changed. Simply ignoring them is reinforcing the arguments of the many detractors and will undoubtedly precipitate some unwelcome reactions by the Authorities.
C'mon people!

And the other effects?
Yup, there's conditioning by positive reinforcement, leading to a higher tolerance towards people by the WS, more vertical feeding etc etc. This deviates from the behavior of non-fed, non-conditioned "wild" WS - but that's all one can say at the moment, meaning that the concerns by the researchers about possible associated risks to the WS' well-being are so far undocumented and thus merely speculative.
So far, not to worry.

But the non-compliance sucks big time.
I say, follow the bloody rules or you may spoil it for everybody.
 
This is not rocket science - so just fucking do it!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Flying Fish Hunt - Epic!

Source.

This is simply insanely awesome.
Enjoy!



Cyclone!

Click for detail - source.

Hang in there Vava'u!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Shark Bites in Moorea - Paper!


Pretty grim - and these bites are merely superficial! Click for detail.

Bingo!

From the Abstract.
  • Introduction: Shark-based ecotourism is significantly developing around the world, often without appropriate management of risk. This activity involves a risk of accidental bites on divers that can be quite severe or even fatal.
  • Objectives: To determine if ecotourism companies’ liability can be engaged in the context of bites on scuba divers in presence of hand-feeding practices, supporting the legitimacy of financial compensation for the victims.
  • Methods: We analyzed the development from the mid-eighties to 2010 of shark-based ecotourism through artificial provisioning practices in Moorea Island (French Polynesia) and more specifically the features and motivation of two bites on divers by Sicklefin Lemon sharks.
  • Results: The specific practice of hand-feeding can be considered as a facilitating factor for accidental bites on divers, potentially involving the diving operator’s responsibility.
  • Conclusions: Our findings should support the technical work of experts that might be called in such cases.
Didn't I tell you that the last paper had an agenda!
This one, titled Determining the Role of Hand Feeding Practices in Accidental Shark Bites on Scuba Divers is by one of the previous authors, my pal Eric Clua, and by, I believe, anthropologist Frédéric Torrente. It describes the history of the chaotic and now largely defunct Shark diving industry in Moorea along with two of the numerous non-predatory strikes by provisioned Sicklefin Lemons, see pic at top. It comes to the general conclusion that in certain cases, Shark diving operators may bear some responsibility and may even be liable should a client be injured.

Totally agree!
Like I've stated for many, many years, baited commercial Shark diving is not SCUBA diving, and the clients have a reasonable expectation that we operators keep them safe. Yes, we make them sign liability waivers which should hopefully exclude the most frivolous complaints - but when operators are clearly negligent, it is only fair that they be held accountable!

Seriously, WTF? 
But having said that, Elke obviously likes to get real close and undoubtedly bears her share for the fiasco. Having been at the receiving end many a time, I can attest to the pressure those eager image hunters will bring to bear - not easy to handle in an industry where client satisfaction and word-of-mouth recommendations are critical to one's financial survival!

Long story short?
Good one Eric - and for you out there who STILL don't understand what it means to conduct Shark tourism dives, re-read a) these 90-odd posts about our industry and then, b) these 80-odd posts about the need for proper procedures!

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Brinkley - September!

Source - Fabi and the nae nae in the video!

Nice!
And yes, we got Sharks! :)
Thanks Brinkley!

Enjoy!



Sunday, November 01, 2015

Feeding Sharks and Rays - Paper!

One of the many stupidities found here!

Johann alerts me to this new paper.
It comes to the conclusion that ecologically, provisioning can have effects at the individual, group and population level, and that those effects are generally neutral to negative.

Well what can I say - probably that's true!
It just so happens that every single one of the authors is a pal of mine - and because I know them, I also suspect that on top of the science that is probably pretty much irrefutable, the paper also has a political agenda, and that is, to obliquely address the mess that is Shark diving in French Polynesia, see the link at the top.

Now don't get me wrong here.
Shark diving in French Polynesia is nothing short of stellar.
But when it comes to the feeding dives, most local moniteurs appear to believe that they're god's gift to Shark diving, meaning that they are entirely impervious to accepting even the most common-sense advice (steel mesh gloves anybody?) - and as a consequence, bites are rife. So far, most of the accidents did involve the comparatively harmless reefies - but now that everybody and his dog is flocking to the new, completely unregulated and multi-user Tiger Shark dive just outside of Papeete, the risk profile has risen astronomically and once again, it's really only a matter of time til things will end up in tears. Same-same for the stupid idea of having snorkeling tourists hand feed the small reefies - seriously, WTF?
It's same old same old, so I'm really not gonna dwell, the more as having been there, the discourse is way too ego-driven and frankly leads to nowhere, meaning that the situation appears pretty much hopeless unless the regulator decides to finally regulate.
Hint hint! :)

But I'm digressing.
I can't really say that I love the paper because its conclusions are pretty much obvious, and because it does not really address the principal cause of most of the enumerated problems = bad procedures. As an example, the much-cited disaster at Stringray City is entirely the consequence of piss-poor management and regulations!

Anyway - worth reading!
My take-away: better procedures and more research into those possibly negative effects - pretty much done on the former (tho always learning and always adapting!), and very much working on the latter, so keep watching this space!

And one last thought if I may.
The problem is not Shark diving - not for the animals and not for the people.
Compared to the overfishing and the habitat degradation, the inconvenience caused by the industry is nothing. And yes there have been many, mostly accidental bites - but as far as I know, during literally innumerable provisioned Shark dives, there has been a grand total of ONE documented fatality. Compare that to the same time spent engaging in ordinary SCUBA and ask yourself the question, which is by far the safer activity? 

Just sayin'!
So, lets please keep things in perspective - and let's also never forget to always mention the industry's enormous contribution to both conservation and research that outweighs any of those possible minor deleterious effects by far!
 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Lupe: pregnant GWS with Boyfriends?

GWS with boyfriends?

Oh for crying out loud.

Have you seen this?
So Deep Blue has a boyfriend; she and several other GWS that come to Lupe are pregnant; and they are now at danger of being killed by poachers when visiting the nursery grounds. And Mauricio wants to tag them in order to then help protect those nurseries.

How touching. 
If only this was supported by any evidence.
GWS litters have tested positive for multiple paternity = no boyfriend; GWS females at Lupe often feature mating scars = if they're mating they can't be heavily pregnant; Domeier's multiple satellite tracks do not show them coming to Lupe during pregnancy; most other specialists ascribe their girth to their age (like many other Sharks, GWS do bulk up as they get old) and possibly, recent predation = a full tummy. 

Long story short, methinks this is a load of crap.
I say, hombre: how about more real science and less media!
After all those years of countless donations and freebies from the Shark boats, how about finally coming up with some good old-fashioned quid pro quo = some scientific paper describing the movements of those GWS around Lupe?  Wasn't that the purpose of all that industry-sponsored acoustic tagging?

Yeah I know.
Writing papers is fucking boring, whereas all that playing at science = the television cameos, the junkets, the hanging out with the Shark crowd, and being popular on social media is much, much more exciting - but the output so far is thin, and I hear that the patience of the donors is rapidly eroding, as is the scientific relevance. Plus, is it really still satisfying to be used as the provider of permits, only to then play the token Mexican in those productions and in those papers by the gringos?

Just wondering!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sustainable Shark Diving!



Looks like yet another initiative is about to be launched!
According to this announcement, the indefatigable Rick will be unveiling his Sustainable Shark Diving project at this year's DEMA show in Orlando. Like I never cease to repeat, I'm a big fan, and this promises to be yet another brilliant undertaking.

Like I said back then, there will have to be industry buy-in.
I ignore the finer details but Rick being Rick, I anticipate that BAD will embrace and promote it enthusiastically - and probably also GSD, at least if I should have it my way.

But first, let's see what's been cooking.
My hope is that the criteria will follow Austin & Co's stellar rating system and if so, this could not have come soon enough!

So kudos buddy - for now! :)
More once I've had a chance to see it - keep watching this space!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shark Conservation - Job done?

Yao Ming - Shark saver extraordinaire! Source.

And I cite - proudly posted by Shark Savers.
Ming joined forces with conservation non-profit WildAid to launch a public awareness campaign about the devastating effect this soup is having on the ocean’s wildlife...

The campaign has been a huge success, credited with a 50 to 70 per cent drop in shark harvesting. Even better, recent studies show that 91 per cent of Chinese citizens now support a ban on shark fin soup.

Ming’s not stopping there. Having saved the lives of some 50 million sharks...
Oh well - then let's all go home!
According to the paper, killing those remaining 30 to 50-odd million Sharks (or possibly, based on assumptions, even a lot less - read it!) would more than halve the exploitation rate, allow Shark populations to rebound and thus be sustainable! Plus, it turns out that after all, the Chinese don't like that shit anyway! 

And this is just what Yao Ming and WildAid have achieved!
Add the Shark sanctuaries, the fin bans, the airline boycotts, the management measures and of course the petitions (!) and it becomes blatantly obvious that the problem has been solved!

I say, this is just simply egregious - facts here.
Let's see whether WildAid and Shark Savers have the integrity to post a retraction/correction.

Or not!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015!


This is beyond epic.
Enjoy!



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Duncan - Showreel!


Bravo Duncan.
He may be kinky but he sure knows how to handle a camera - and he obviously understands and above all, respects the animals!

Enjoy!



Adi!

We don't poke, grab, ride or molest - and this is a totally relaxed Shark that doesn't even bother to deploy the nictitating membrane! Click for detail!

Bingo!

The Bulls are pregnant and skittish, and here she comes!
We've known Adi since 2005 when she was a feisty tiny teenager that turned up on one of Michael's first Shark dives in Fiji, see below, and she's been gracing us with sporadic but always memorable visits ever since.


And in the process, she has obviously gotten way bigger.
No, not the whopping 5 meters that are sometimes being reported; but at slightly under 12 feet, she's still of respectable size - and it really does appear that her age and size have finally brought about some Scarface-like gravitas, too! Usually a total wrecking ball and a nightmare to handle, she glided in on her very best behavior, gently took a couple of offerings from Tumbee and elegantly disappeared back into the blue.

So here's to Adi.
May she continue to successfully dodge the hooks, and may she continue to be as gentle and mellow as she was today!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rusty!


Great pic!
This our cat Rusty - she popped by as a stray, discovered the unlimited supply of Tuna and conquered the dive shop!

Thanks Hope for posting it!
 

Big Sharks scavenging - Video!


Wow - watch.



What can I say.
When the video came out in August and the usual dipshits started using it as "proof" that Sharks are harmless, I decided to look the other way; but now it turns out that one of those dudes is none other than my pal Allen who managed to overcome his angst and reluctantly hop into the fray. In case you wondered, I would never ever ever ever!
Ils sont fous, ces  Sudafricains - as in batshit crazy! :)

Plus, there is that Bull Shark, see Allen's pic at top.
You can check her out at 0:04 and she sure does not look good!
Over here, such an emaciated, wrinkly animal is usually either sick and/or very old - or more rarely, simply famished after having gone walkabout during the pupping and mating season whereby it usually manages to bulk back up in no time at all.

Anyway, this is pretty epic.
Allen tells me of multiple GWS, a dozen plus Tigers, plus Bulls, Duskies and Blacktips all feeding simultaneously which is in itself totally spectacular. Maybe I haven't been paying attention - but I was under the impression that the only two species reported to scavenge on Cetaceans are GWS and Tigers, and stand accordingly corrected. This sure raises all sorts of interesting questions about inter-specific competition and dominance, etc., and would certainly be great science fodder - any takers?

So congrats buddy, it must have been awesome!
And no - do not try this at home!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Shark Consciousness, Energy Balls and Quantum Levels - and Spider Beings!


Watch.
Skip liberally - and be amazed!



Wow.
Normally I would say, you just can't make this shit up - but obviously you can! Quite frankly, it makes Ritter with his shamanic seminars and the ghastly Veronica Grey with her pineal gland look like bloody dilettantes by comparison!
Crafty crafty - in so many ways!

And now that she says it, it's so blatantly obvious!
All you gotta do in order to prevent those annoying Shark strikes, is to project your energy ball - much like when dealing with disrespectful Spider Beings, present and future, as per the following equally telephatically insightful instruction!



Bingo - that simple!
Having done some researching (that I now frankly very much regret!), I discover a whole universe of globally interconnected brazen con artists and charlatans visionary benefactors conducting seminars and seances about telephatic animal communication - not to be missed and guaranteed to work!

So now you know.
Consider this a personal favor, from me to you.

You're welcome!
 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

TGIF - Double Crunch!


Source.



PS - the original ad has obviously disabled because of the inevitable yada yada - but I've found another link!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jimmy, Neil and Al Jazeera - great Shark Media!


Affectionate Sharks? Hmmmm...

And talking of bimbos and Sharks.
Watch this.



This is how you do it!
No drama and undue hype but instead, plenty of science and passion garnished with the right conservation messaging that is being delivered unobtrusively between the lines as opposed the usual tired old unappealing pathos. This is really excellent, highly entertaining and highly informative programming - love not loss, remember?
Kudos!

And bless Jimmy!
His love and passion for his Sharks is just infectious and really quite endearing.

Tho the Tigers and affection thingy, hmmm...
Tricky tricky. I've not been to TB and have never met those specific, highly conditioned individuals. And I totally respect Jimmy for arguably being the world's foremost authority on diving with them, and I also believe him when he states that there's something going on.
 
Still, from my own, granted much more limited experience, I do consider Tiger Sharks to be highly deceiving.
Yes they certainly appear mellow but the way I see it, they are actually always probing for opportunities and likely to pounce when not properly acknowledged and dominated = what I call a head on a swivel Shark that requires constant supervision and should never be underestimated!
Case in point.



To me, that is typical Tiger.
Yes the situation can usually be defused by reacting assertively, much like that dude did with the attacking Blue - but IMO this is never the less a highly dangerous Shark that should never be taken for granted! But who knows - maybe the TB sharks are somehow different? I say, possibly but not very likely. So, please, don't do that at home - and if you really must, then only with great circumspection and flanked with copious amounts of fishy bribes!

Anyway.
Love love love that feature and once again, big congratulations to everybody that has made it possible!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Shark Diving with Salmon Sharks!

Source.

Watch.



Very cool - and great images!
Alaskasharks here!
 

Chris Lowe - excellent Article!


And I cite - the link is mine.
The rise in public and media interest is closely related to the increased focus from a wide array of elasmobranch conservation organisations, many of which religiously sound alarm bells, but often without any need or use for the supporting science....

While sounding the alarm is necessary and will always be needed to promote change and conservation, I worry about its effect on how we do science. I see an unfortunate trend where the best way to make our science important and relevant is to focus on ‘the-sky-is-falling’ issues. Of the past 20 elasmobranch-related grant proposals and manuscripts I’ve reviewed, more than 80% have resorted to ‘the sky-is-falling’ statements to justify the importance their research, regardless of whether they offered a concrete remedy. In addition, there are already signs of ‘the-sky-is-falling’ science having the undesired effect of generating hopelessness among the public and, more disturbingly, among legislators. Crying wolf without good cause is weakening managers’ ability to implement adequate strategies.
Absolutely correct!
You must really read this brilliant article by Chris Lowe, the President of the American Elasmobranch Society.
Well said!

And since we're at it.
Think the recent deluge of pics of the aloha chick posing next to big sharks is conservation like she would have you believe?

Think again.
It's nothing more than the same old self-promotion for, gasp, money - and the inevitable tired old image of her riding a GWS, a protected species, is not only not conservation, it is instead evidence of illegal out-of-cage diving and also animal harassment  = really nothing to be proud of!
So much for "don't be fooled by appearances, I'm more than just a pretty face" as per her recent plea. I say, as long as the chick continues to define herself through those stupidities, caveat emptor - and yes I can certainly leave it at that!

And the Sharkette taking some other random galeophobic gal Shark diving?
I wish it were that simple! Every single one of us Shark diving operators does the very same thing on a daily basis, albeit sans the bombastic noise, the self promotion and the media hype! Were that a legit conservation strategy, the decline in Shark populations would have been halted decades ago!
Plus let's never forget that those same tame friendly Tiger Beach denizens remain wild animals that would have no compulsion whatsoever about snacking on some unfortunate Haitian boat people they would chance upon - meaning that using controlled Shark diving as some kind of "proof" against the hazard of Shark strikes is both stupid and totally misleading!

It's like I said quite a while ago.
The fishermen in, say, Indonesia, UAE and even Spain where the slaughter is happening really don't give a shit about those shenanigans but will only stop fishing for Sharks and killing them as bycatch if and when adequate legislation will prevent them from doing so. Case in point: as we speak, a group of generous philanthropic individuals and foundations are anonymously (!) pumping several million dollars into Shark conservation - and guess what: bimbos and Sharks are not a part of the global strategy mix!

But I'm digressing as always.
All I really wanted to say is, read Chris Lowe's excellent article.

Enjoy!

PS: Case in point: what is better, the drama about some random galeophobic chick, or this? :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

Whale Shark tourism in Ningaloo - Paper!

The strobe ban is baloney (and should be exchanged for a ban on self-promoting peroxide piranhas) - but other than that, this is excellent. Source - click for detail.
 
Wonderful!

Love love love the paper!
Great to see longterm monitoring much like we do here and has been done by Avi in Cocos! Also great to see that grouper challenge  winner Rob is being mentored by Shark tourism supremos Jessica and Mark. And finally, great to see yet another piece of evidence that when done correctly, Shark tourism does not harm either the animals or their environment!
This is obviously different, meaning that it is high time for the regulator to step in and step up - re-read this!

But I'm digressing.
Very well done!

Enjoy the paper!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Red Meat?


Watch.



Yeah that would be a Shark attack.
It happened because, and I cite,
"Sharks like to eat fatty red muscle...” David said.
Indeed - especially Whale Sharks and Angular Roughsharks!
I mean, seriously, that statement has the same truth content and educational value as if I professed that Mammals like to eat Eucalyptus leaves - meaning plus/minus zero! Like Cristina (brava!), it really bothers me that we put all ‘sharks’ into one pigeon hole and ascribe the same basic behaviours to them all, seldom realising that there are more than 400 species of different sizes, living in different environments and showing different behaviours!
And then, I read
So why do sharks bite?
Shiffman says it’s usually a case of mistaken identity. “Sharks aren’t used to things being in their environment that isn’t food. When a surfer cuts through the water on his board, wearing a white suit, he can easily be mistaken for a seal,” he says. But most of the time, once a shark gets a taste of his bony human dinner, he backs off in disgust. “The ‘hit and run’ is a common bite — they take one bite and realize it’s not what they wanted to eat,” Shiffman said.
Really.
Same old same old, and equally totally misleading - except that apparently, surfers now wear white garb! I can categorically assure you that the Blacktips and Spinners that strike surfers in Florida and the Bulls doing the same in Reunion Island are NOT mistaking them for seals!
Likely, the Floridian Sharks act in perceived self defense or are maybe caught up in a feeding frenzy (read this!); and equally likely, those Indian Ocean Bulls are engaging in predation - but of course we will never know for sure!
Bravo David for the laudable intention of wanting to put Shark strikes in perspective - but the stubborn ultracrepidarianism, and this from a self-proclaimed dragon-slaying myth-busting fact-based researcher is really irritating!

And that Blue Shark?
Judging from the head shake etc, methinks this is an attempt at predation - but again, who knows. But divers hovering next to bait bins whilst being obviously oblivious of the dangers and of their surroundings are a recipe for disaster. If this is a fun dive, then OK, shit happens - if, like it appears, this is a commercial dive with tourists, then those lousy protocols need to be changed, pronto!
Remember this shit? It gets triggered by stuff like that!

Anyway, just sayin!

PS: thread here - agree agree disagree who knows! :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Norman the Nurse Shark - Kickstarter!

Source - watch it!

Damn.
It sure is a creepy world out there!
So to make things perfectly clear, Duncan, no spanking  for you!

Anyway.
Check out the video.



This is, again, great stuff. 
Although I'm not generally a huge fan of those micro-NGOs doing nothing but awareness & education (= instead of having amateur enthusiasts go visit school classes, wouldn't it be more rational to advocate having it included in the official curricula for it to be taught by the pros?), Jillian's science-based Sharks4Kids continues to go from strength to strength and is definitely the cream of the crop.

Plus, I just like those folks, so there.
Here's the kickstarter page - please, if you can, give generously.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

OSAM - Interview with MPO!


Nice!
As a predominantly underwater underwater photographer, our friend Michael is as as good as it gets - and as a person, idem.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Is this the Taste of Paradise?


Really?

Sent to me by a concerned pal.
This is the episode from Taste of Paradise it comes from - 09:20ff.


Not impressed, sorry.
Not by Lance Seeto, not by Fiji TV.
This gratuitous stupidity is no good for anybody - not for them, not as a message to the Fijians for some of which this is highly disrespectful, and certainly not for tourism.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Shark Dancer!


This is just great.

But of course there has to be a but!
Cristina is not a Shark dancer - were it not for the scores of nobodies that have already self-appropriated the moniker, she is the only one fully deserving of being called a Shark whisperer!

But I'm of course digressing.
Amazing, inspiring and intriguing as always, and great cinematography by Juriaan.
Enjoy!



Thursday, September 17, 2015

OSAM - Jillian!


Great Interview!

I got a lot of time for Jillian and Dunc.
Both have been educated by Doc, both do great stuff but above all, they are both some of the nicest, most humble and authentic Shark people around. And yes, having them say nice and insightful things about our project helps, too - tho if they again fail to haul their sorry asses to this year's DEMA they're both in for a massive spanking!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

OSAM - Overfishing!



Great quotes by MPO!
Enjoy - and please don't forget the crowd funding campaign!



Thursday, September 10, 2015

OSAM - Interview with Lindsay!


We here all love Lindsay.
Not the gal - the Shark!

Just kidding, haha.
After so many years, Lindsay the gal is obviously one of us, and it's great to observe her progress on the way to hopefully becoming a stellar researcher on top of already being a stellar educator!

Here's her latest interview, and it's obviously very, very BAD.
Enjoy!