Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Fischer - the next Cousteau or a Corporate-sponsored Hype Machine?

Well done Abe Streep!

But first.
Read this piece of self promoting crap and compare it to what Michael posted back then.
  • Did the Sharks choose him - or did Michael have to convince him to even consider Sharks? 
  • Is he the first person to ever tag and track fully grown Great White sharks - of have others tagged them with PAT and spaghetti tags decades before? 
  • Do hundreds of millions of Sharks get killed every year? 
  • Do Great Whites need a plan of action for their conservation - or are they already very well protected, with many populations rebounding = meaning that at this stage, the real urgent challenge is finding ways of coexisting peacefully with those increasing populations?
  • Did Fischer sell his house, put his belongings in storage, buy a boat, put together a team and set out to capture and tag sharks - or did he already have a boat, was a Billfish angler and was on the verge of losing his boat? 
  • If anything is possible when you do not care who gets the credit - why is it that he continues to take credit for everything, with none going to the researchers?
  • this after a cursory read -  I'm quite sure that if you bother to search, you'll find plenty more breathy BS!
See why I just can't get myself to respect the dude?
It's exactly like Michael said.
Perhaps lessons have been learned. 
But in my heart I know Fischer’s ride is about recognition…not about sharks. He didn’t know a clasper from a cloaca before I met him. I hope he does great things for the world…I hope he becomes more self-aware and learns to let his actions speak rather than his words.
And now, read this piece by Abe.
This is true journalism, not the usual crap posted by writers that owe the man a favor or that parrot his bullshit without ever engaging in even the slightest bit of due diligence. It paints a remarkably balanced picture of the man and his org, of his achievements and of the controversy surrounding what he does.  I'm of course with RickMac - yes there is science, but all that relentless showbiz is drowning it in an ocean of self-promoting BS. Meaningful real Shark conservation, not so much. And no, the science is not groundbreaking, the system is definitely not broken and Fischer is not the last great hope for Sharks!
Anyway, well worth reading!

What however does dismay me are many in the research community.
I'm seeing a lot of rather pathetic public fawning and praise of Fischer as long as he is, or could in the future be footing the bill and give away gratis tags and boat time - but I see none of that once the expeditions are over. On the contrary, all I get to hear are underhanded whispers of him being a self-important jerk!
So what is that: zero principles = total hypocrisy, as in pecunia non olet?

Me, I continue to try and be open about this.
I'm certainly never gonna side with the wailing anti-OCEARCH hyenas - but at the same time, whilst acknowledging that he is facilitating sometimes important research, I continue to dislike the person, question the antiquated unnecessary hauling out of the Sharks and profoundly dislike his MO where he continues to want to barge in on other peoples' territory, and on that of fellow Shark diving operators.

Case in point, Australia's GWS.
Once again, the WA government has told him to fuck off - and yet he continues to use the media to publicly apply pressure citing public safety concerns. But a pal in the know assures me that it aint gonna happen - thankfully!
And I cite.
The big question the public has is why the hell would the gov't say "no" to such an incredible research opportunity? 
But here's your answer: white shark research transcends science and bleeds into politics and public policy. In other words, white sharks are a hot, sensitive issue.

The involvement of OCEARCH comes with a loss of control of not only the data, but also the message.
Fischer has a very poor track record when it comes to publicly discussing/speculating the results of the work he has sponsored, and this very much to the embarrassment of the researchers. How many times have we heard him say that Shark X is going into the med to pup, or mate...or get its teeth cleaned??
There is no way that government will relinquish control over the narrative to an outsider - and at the same time, there's no way Fischer will ever keep his big mouth shut.

The white shark researchers in Australia are actually well funded right now and they already have the capacity to tag even the largest white sharks...without lifting them from the water. 

So it's a no brainer: they need to keep doing what they know how to do and keep control of the data and message!
Indeed - very astute!
And on the flip side, like I already said, there is a real risk that those idiots may abuse those publicly available tracks to go and kill the very Sharks they should be protecting! 

Same-same for New Zealand BTW.
Like in Australia, the nurseries are well known, and the researchers have SPOT tagged those GWS for years now - but there, too, conflict is rife and adding Fischer's mouth to that explosive mix could have devastating consequences.

Long story short?
No he ain't a Cousteau and never will be! 
Yes to the hype machine - but maybe, just maybe he'll finally learn that it is up to others to judge, and maybe praise him; to stop embarrassing the researchers he works with by refraining from talking about the science; and generally, to shine through his deeds and not through his unremitting self promoting loquacity.
And if so, he's really got a chance to earn the recognition he is so obviously craving for.

We shall see shall we not!

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