Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fiji Bull Sharks - full Circle!

Kerstin - intrepid and extremely successful!

Finally!

We've detected two of our pregnant Bulls in one of our rivers!
Despite of our best efforts and more than a dozen years of research into the life history of Fiji's Bull Sharks, coming up with concrete evidence linking Shark Reef to one of the putative river nurseries has always eluded us as the tags would come off and the frequent floods would wash away the receiver arrays. But we've persevered, tinkered with the hardware, tagged a dozen pregnant Bulls in October and deployed new receivers in several rivers - and bingo, and this despite of the horrendous weather and floods a fortnight ago! With this having been little more than a small trial run, expect much, much more of the same next year!

And the river are teeming with babies!
This is obviously recruitment time, and Kerstin and her assistants from Projects Abroad and  the USP are reporting impressive numbers from all monitored rivers - the bad news being that absent any management let alone protection, the little Sharks are being obliterated by the local fishermen. 
This may well explain the disappointing numbers later in the year and is of course cause for grave concern, not least because it is also directly impacting on the long-term viability of Fiji's thriving Shark diving industry. But now that we have the evidence, we shall certainly go and speak to the powers that be - so fingers crossed!

To be continued no doubt.
Happy New Year everybody - may 2017 bring many more fantastic adventures!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sharkbanz - q.e.d!

And I cite, nor would a band worn on one's wrist prevent a bite to the other hand

Bingo.

Check this out - glad the kid is OK.
And then, stop being suckers - the bloody Sharkbanz and those other bracelets, and those wetsuits etc are all scams! What does work, albeit with caveats, is the Shark Shield!

So be careful folks - and use your common sense!
 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Everything you need to know about Shark Diving in Fiji!


Nice! :)

Kudos to Sam for having listened and above all, understood!
She was here during the very low season when the pregnant bulls go to the rivers and the others abscond for mating, so thank you for still having found it worthy of a piece on Singapore's online dive mag GoodVis. With Singapore being Fiji Airway's newest destination in Asia, this could not have come at a better moment.
Much appreciated!
 
With five full years finally in the bag it's time for some data analysis and publishing of results - so keep watching this space!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Dean Grubbs about Bycatch - epic!


This is really as good as it gets.

Remember Dean Grubbs the slayer of the exploding Cownose Ray myth?
Now he has penned this excellent and exhaustive overview about fishing by-catch, a veritable tour the force that touches on all the important topics from the infamous Dolphin-safe Tuna all the way to all that at boat and post-release mortality that continues to doggedly threaten the effectiveness of those Shark sanctuaries.

 This is an infographic - open in new tab!

Required reading.
Bravo Dean - and bravo SOSF Magazine for continuing to lend a voice to such an impressive array of illustrious contributors, and for the slick way in which all that science is being presented.
Well done!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Xmas Video!


This is the video from their latest Pelagic Safari.
I actually heard of it one month ago in Playa when some of his friends complained that Jero was not only incredibly lucky, but that he also always managed to get the shot on top of that.

And get it he did!
Obviously I love it, as it exemplifies everything that makes the people, and the deeds of Pelagic Life so special.

So without further ado.
Enjoy - and Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shelley!

Source.

Check this out!

Yes that would be she, the one and only!
We met serendipitously a few years ago - and lemme tell you, it has been quite a revelation! Turns out that Shelley is very much one of the good ones, very impressive both professionally and as a person, and I've become a huge fan. And if you haven't read her latest papers, click on the above link and do - and above all, learn, especially that operating with faulty numbers and under faulty assumptions is doomed to fail!

We've since kept in touch and I must say that I've learned a lot, something that is very much reflected in this blog where I've gradually transitioned towards a more holistic and pragmatic definition of conservation as trying to keep mortality below sustainable levels = we need to focus not on individuals but at the (local) population level and we need to consider all causes of mortality very much including habitat loss and in the case of Sharks, the overfishing of their prey, etc - and there the situation is dire indeed!

This dive has been in the planning for as long long time.
You truly only become a real friend once we've thrown you to our Sharks - but Shelley is incredibly busy so finding an adequate time has been challenging. But finally all stars did align as the WCPCF did hold its latest meeting here in Nadi, and she was able to slip down to Pac Harbour a day in advance - and throw her to the Sharks we did.
Despite of not having dived for 25 years, she not only survived but did so admirably - so here's to continued friendship and continued collaboration!

The WCPFC meeting btw was, again, shite.
It looks like ultimately, and contrary to the ICCAT that appears to have at least saved the Atlantic Tuna where stocks appear to be recovering (and btw Patric: you owe me a bottle of vintage Chateau Petrus!), those guys don't even care about properly managing their Tuna - so don't be surprised about zero progress for the Sharks that are treated like pests and at best a side show!

Anyway, this can't go on like that. 
Methinks in a few years the WCPFC will have lost all relevance: the North Pacific with its large tracts of international waters will become a free-for all where stocks will get hammered by the Asians; the Tropical Tuna will be more or less managed by the PNA; and the Southern Pacific Tuna, by the parties to the Tokelau Arrangement.

We shall see - but that's my prediction.
To be continued!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fiji Weather!

Christmas Eve weather - fingers crossed!

Well well.

As they say, be careful what you wish for.
So, we got ourselves the weak cyclone slash tropical depression to suck away some of the heat - and suck away it did, so at least the coral must be happy!
Looks like after several days of howling winds and biblical deluge, the bloody system is slowly moving away - so here's to a sunny Christmas and provided that all that brown water manages to dissipate in time, to some epic Shark dives!
With The running of the Bulls fast approaching, you may well be in for a real treat!


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve!

Source.
 
Great news!

Read this.
Looks like Playa's Sharks and especially, their habitat are about to be protected, meaning that the petition by Saving our Sharks has equally been successful. Quintana Roo has been experiencing an explosion of only partly controlled tourism, and this measure could not have come soon enough.

And the Shark tourism activities?
There, too, news are excellent as it appears that like in Guadalupe, baited Shark diving will be tolerated within the Biosphere but only provided that the operators adhere to the code of conduct and possibly, that they join and thus contribute to the efforts by Saving our Sharks.

Bingo.
This once again goes to show that given the necessary leadership, responsible dive operators can make a huge difference. As a reminder, Shark diving in Playa and the push to protect them have all started with Chino Loria and Phantom Divers - and the rest as they say is history.
 
Obviously, Phantom Divers are a member of Global Shark Diving, you global alliance of responsible and long-term sustainable Shark diving operators.

Well done!
 

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

1982 - The Sharks!


Awesome!

Featuring many of my heroes.
Including the world's most famous piece of Shark bait testing the first Shark suit, a rather insane feat that earned her a bloody hand and a bite to the buttocks at 41:34 - remember Collier's demented dog and the moronic paper that ensued?

But I'm obviously digressing.
Enjoy!



Thursday, December 01, 2016

Südsee: Paradies am Abgrund!


Check this out.
Faszination Erde by the ZDF is Germanic blue-chip nature programming, and Dirk Steffens is their Attenborough.

Very nice indeed.
Projects Abroad and Mangroves for Fiji 09:00ff, BAD 18:15ff.

Enjoy!

Playa Sardines!

Charlie with one of his girls. Source.

So, I finally went diving with the Caribbean Sardines.

It was great.
Of course I dove with  GSD member Phantom Divers and I must really say that Chino has created an awesome slick, professional, fun and above all, very safe Shark diving machine that is among the best I've experienced anywhere - and yes, witnessing Charlie, and Ramón with their babies has been a special privilege.

Plus, progress on the conservation front has been simply stellar.
Under the leadership of its new full time director Luis Lombardo, Saving our Sharks is progressing from strength to strength, with more than 40 dive shops and dozens of boat captains observing the code of conduct and contributing funds, with substantial money going to fishermen in exchange for not fishing Sharks, with continued research and public presentations by Shark researchers, and with massive outreach to the public and to schools.
Bravo!

And then there was that remarkable tooth.
A present by Ramón who collected it right in front of me, it looks totally different from any Bull Shark tooth we've ever found here in Fiji - and trust me, we've found a few! 
It's the tooth on the left, together with two large Fijian ones - and considering that those Caribbean Bulls are a distinct genetic population with individuals that are notably smaller than those in the central Pacific, its size is simply spectacular. But then again, those are Mexican Sharks - small in size but packing a mighty punch! :)
Click for detail!


Anyway, nice to be home again.
It's the low season when the pregnant Bulls travel to the rivers to pup whilst the others are getting ready for mating and in turn appear to lose their appetite for juicy Tuna heads - but we've got heaps of other Sharks, and this also gives us a chance to focus on the countless Fishes.
It's already hot hot hot - so here's to a tropical depression to suck away some of the heat, as parts of Fiji are already experiencing dangerously hot surface waters.

But that's the topic of another post.
To be continued!

Friday, November 11, 2016

DEMA 2016!


See you in Las Vegas, booth 7115!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Great Fiji Shark Count - WWF!


Great!

Read this.
Just as we were resigning ourselves to forever having to pay for the GFSC out of our own pocket, here comes the welcome support by the WWF. As you may remember, WWF and partners are developing a Shark RAT, and the GFSC is definitely going to be part of the mix both in terms of actual data but also as a template for similar undertakings in equally data-poor regions.

Welcome aboard folks - much appreciated!
 

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Yucatán Manta Ray?

Source.

Watch.



See those Mantas?
They sure look different - and I cite.
Manta sp. cf. birostris

Selected synonymy. Cephalopterus giorna Lesueur, 1824.
Common names. Atlantic manta ray, Caribbean manta ray

Diagnosis. Overall body shape and size similar to M. birostris, although differences in colouration, denticles and dentition occur. Maximum disc width over 6000 mm. Slender whip-like tail with reduced caudal spine predominantly encased in a calcified mass present on the dorsum of tail immediately posterior to the dorsal fin. Small, knob-like dermal denticles occur on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces, which are non- overlapping but densely and non-uniformly distributed. Ventral surface has slightly larger denticles. Terminal mouth with tooth band on lower jaw comprising 77% of total jaw width and containing 9–11 rows of small cusped teeth.
........
A third, putative species, Manta sp . cf. birostris, in the Atlantic may be distinct from M. birostris.
This putative species shares some characteristics with M. birostris, such as a large maximum disc width and the presence of a distinct, reduced caudal spine. However, from the limited specimens and photographs examined, clear differences exist between Manta sp. cf. birostris and M. birostris including dissimilar denticle morphology and distribution, intermediary dentition and, most noticeably, differences in dorsal and ventral colouration.
While Manta sp. cf. birostris occurs in sympatry with M. birostris in parts of the Atlantic and Caribbean, there is some evidence that differences in fine-scale habitat selection and seasonal habitat use may occur in some locations (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953, Notarbartolo-di-Sciara and Hillyer 1989). Bigelow and Schroeder’s (1953) description of M. birostris from the Western Atlantic is one of the most comprehensive descriptions compiled, but includes material from both the wide-ranging M. birostris and the localized Manta sp. cf. birostris. To help clarify the situation, photographs, notations on colouration and descriptions of denticle and tooth morphology of both M. birostris and Manta sp. cf. birostris have been provided to supplement this description.

At present there is not enough empirical evidence to warrant the separation of a third species of Manta.
At minimum, additional examination of dead specimens of Manta sp. cf. birostris are necessary to clarify the taxonomic status of this variant manta ray. Further examinations of the distribution of Manta sp. cf. birostris, as well as, studies of its ecology and behaviour within the Atlantic and Caribbean are also recommended.

If distinct, we propose that a third species of Manta , Manta giorna, be resurrected from Lesueur’s (1824) description from North America.
That was back then in 2008 when Andrea resurrected the Reef Manta.
And after that, alas, having become the Queen of Mantas, Andrea's career appears to have become, for lack of a better description, a tad less focused and the third Manta Ray is still awaiting description.

Anyway, voids tend to get filled, and others have now stepped in.
I must say that despite of very much being a lumper, I really like this paper, that the evidence looks compelling and that I'm totally sold on the idea of a third species - but who am I to say, the more as naming the Yucatán Manta Ray cannot yet be performed without careful inspection and genetic analyses of several museum specimens.

Any takers?
Or will we have to wait for another 8 years for the final solution to this fascinating riddle?

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Great Fiji Shark Count!


Wow.

We've just started count # 10.
And once this November count is done, we'll have collected a full five years of invaluable data and will finally be in a position to do some in-depth analysis and publish a first set of conclusions. Remember, this is not a census but long-term monitoring in the hopes of documenting trends in Fiji's populations of Sharks, Rays and Turtles - and with thousands upon thousands of records, document we certainly did!

Honestly, I didn't think we'd come this far.
Fiji's diving industry is characterized by a remarkably high turnover of expat owners and dive shop managers, and participation volatility has been according; donors that have given enthusiastically at the start did eventually lose patience, and funds have fizzled out; personal issues and personality clashes have been at times highly disruptive.
Yes it has also been lots of fun, and good tourism - but challenging! :)

But we've persevered - and here we are!
So, count count count - and then it will be up to the management team to dazzle you with facts, maps and trends! If I look at our own data that are definitely documenting a creeping loss of Bull Sharks, I'm not at all confident that the findings will be all positive - but let's first see what has happened Fiji-wide; and if warranted, we'll be finally able to advocate for the according remedies based on facts and not mere hearsay.

To be continued - and that's a promise!

PS: Fiji Times here!
 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Praising Fiji!


Excellent!

Read this.
Could definitely have happened sooner - but I'm sure that Bati et al will greatly appreciate it and more importantly, that they will continue to be supportive whenever the NGOs will come knocking again. I also hear that after having already posted this in the lead-up to the CoP, the Manta Trust has formally acknowledged and thanked the Fijian government, as it should be.

So well done folks - better late than never! :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cyclone Outlook!


Watch.



The question being, how strong?
Report here.

Fingers crossed!
 

Nautilus Cage Breach - Videos!

Nothing about this is cool, sorry - source.

Watch.



And this one is from inside that cage.



Not good.
Nautilus Liveaboards are a member of GSD and owner Mike Lever is a friend who genuinely cares and is trying to do the right thing - but I cannot just pretend I haven't seen this.

Once again it appears that Mike is being torpedoed by his own staff.
If you watch at the very beginning, you can discern that some fucking moron trying to emulate the Deep Blue moment (where the diver also had no business being where he was and doing what he did) climbs to the top of the cage and starts gesticulating to, and then manhandles the Shark who then obviously targets him on the second pass - and what follows, including the injuries to the animal, is the direct consequence of that one idiot's gratuitous bravado.
Trip report here.

A witness writes,
Allowing people to experience these majestic animals raises awareness that these are calm and curious animals enticed by the scent of tuna, not humans, and has influenced advocacy efforts worldwide. With a set of jaws selling for thousands on the black market, the sharks are also at risk of poaching, which is greatly deterred by the presence of the shark dive boats. 
In going on a trip like this, we all must accept that there is an element of risk to ourselves. 

But incidents like the one in my video are unacceptable...for the sharks. 
As a group of ocean-loving environmentalists, we should not allow this to happen. Whether it's a redesign of the cages, prohibiting "chum bags" in the submersible cages, or ending wrangling, it's time to start a serious conversion about what can be done to better protect the sharks, the divers, and the future of Guadalupe operations.
Totally agree, well said!
It's not about the wrangling that is perfectly OK if conducted properly; it's about recognizing that this is not some kind of "adventure diving for adrenaline seekers" but a product in Mexico's ecotourism industry. If conducted properly, it is a fantastic wildlife encounter, has close to zero ecological footprint and endangers neither the animals nor the tourists - so bloody keep it that way!

Follow the bloody rules - to the letter and in spirit, too!
Put the people into the bloody cages and keep them inside, including their heads, arms, hands and bloody cameras. Abolish the balcony. And when it comes to your staff, you know what to do - theirs is a job, not "fun" = the dive is not about them but for the clients!

End of rant!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Baiting and feeding Sharks - good or bad?


Oh for crying out loud!

After those two incidents, the shit has hit the fan.
Out of many, read this defense by Martin, and then this and this by some ultracrepidarian chick at Nat Geo, and this misleading piece (the Nautilus did not break, but did certainly bend the rules correction: the video evidence now shows otherwise; and the Solmar has a history like many others) by some other ultracrepidarian chick on Earth Touch News.

Nah don't worry.
I'm not going there - but if you really care, feel free to consult my 50-odd posts on the subject. Or if you cannot stomach that, simply do re-read this one from 4 years ago.

Just this.
Burgess needs to comb the data he has been hoarding for decades and come up with evidence about a causal connection between Shark provisioning and unprovoked, let alone predatory Shark strikes. There is none - but until then, he really needs to shut the fuck up. Pavlov my ass - or did those dogs bite and devour unsuspecting bystanders?

Yes the Shark diving industry needs to always improve.
Provisioning has effects, albeit overwhelmingly (!) only locally and temporarily, and those effects need to be identified, investigated, understood and then mitigated and managed. Our best players know that and have started to associate in order to promote a more long-term sustainable product; and the others need to reform and failing that, they need to be exposed - and now there is a public tool for that.
So don't whine - rate!

And finally.
We are not the problem. 
Commercial and recreational overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and habitat destruction are. But we are certainly part of the solution - even the worst ones among us!
So go barking there, not here!

End of rant!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Lupe - Great White Shark Cage Breach Accident !

Source. Methinks, same boat!

Watch.



The caption reads,
This is not our usual kids content and Gabe and Garrett did not go on this trip, this video is from my trip to Guadalupe Island (I'm their dad).

On a recent great white shark cage diving trip we experienced a very rare event, a shark breaching the side of the cage. What might appear to be an aggressive great white shark trying to attack the cage, this is not the case. These awesome sharks are biting at large chunks of tuna tied to a rope. When a great white shark lunges and bites something, it is temporarily blinded. They also cannot swim backwards. So this shark lunged at the bait, accidentally hit the side of the cage, was most likely confused and not able to swim backwards, it thrust forward and broke the metal rail of the cage. There was a single diver inside the cage. He ended up outside the bottom of the cage, looking down on two great white sharks. The diver is a very experienced dive master, remained calm, and when the shark thrashed back outside the cage, the diver calmly swam back up and climbed out completely uninjured. The boat crew did an outstanding job, lifting the top of the cage, analyzing the frenzied situation, and the shark was out after a few long seconds. Everyone on the boat returned to the cages the next day, realizing this was a very rare event. The boat owner, captain, and crew are to be commended for making what could've been a tragic event into a happy ending. I'm sure God and luck had a bit to do with it too!

I want to return next year for another great white shark adventure!
And this is what the Guadalupe regulations state,
6.8 The permit holder shall ensure that the bait line is immediately removed from the water if the white shark following the bait approaches within 6.5 feet (2 m) of the vessel.

6.10 Bait shall be thrown from port side or starboard side at the stern in an angle of 45° from the cages to the outside of the boat. Bait line will not be shorter than 40 feet (12 meters) and it shall not touch the cage or pass over the top of the cage.
And now you know why!

Anyway.
Shit happens, and like in this much publicized, and likely equally preventable case, the crew did react admirably - but it is equally clear that competitive pressure continues to tempt some operators and their crew to push the boundaries of legality and good old common sense, instead of all agreeing on sticking to the rules and offering a safe, sane and sustainable tourism product.
I've said it back here: this is just simply bad business.

Oh well.
Like I said, shit happens - provisioned Shark diving does carry specific risks that will sporadically eventuate, and this despite of one's best efforts to manage and mitigate them - incidentally, just like in, say, the airline industry!

But it is still WAY safer than recreational SCUBA! :)
Let's go Shark diving!

PS: Martin here!
PPS: the operator here!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Matthew!

Fiji meet the Sharklab two weeks ago - now Bimini lies smack in the center of the path.

This is a bad one.

Our heart goes out to our friends in the Bahamas and Florida.
Stay safe!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

CITES - done!

Source.


Congratulations to everybody involved.
But not to the POB in Jersey who don't even know what the FAO is, contributed nothing as always but still have the audacity to claim credit for the success!

I really got nothing else to say about the Sharks - but lemme say something about the Mobulas.

Because the proposal to list them came from Fiji.
The parties to CITES are not those NGOs but nation states, and it is only they who can make proposals and cast votes. In brief, had it not been for Fiji, there would have been zero pamphlets, PSAs, press releases, articles, posts and interviews and above all, zero lavish junkets essential trips and conferences, meetings and committees by all those terribly important conservation professionals (yes that's only the provisional list!) that are now busy clapping themselves on the back whilst making terribly profound statements in the media!

And did anybody thank let alone praise Fiji?
So here's to the Fijian Delegation.
  • Here's to you Bati who together with Eleni from Environment obtained Government approval and ensured that the powers that be kept on signing all the relevant paperwork. As always, you rock!

  • And here's to you Ian who greatly, and quietly assisted in keeping the ball rolling!

  • And to you Art who I hear gave a rousing speech that did sway several delegates!
Vinaka vakalevu and very well done!

And since we're at it.
Here's to you DaMary - you know why, and so do they!

And the dreaded Mobula lovers?
I hear that having been led to their senses, they did in fact assist - so here's just a hint of a slow hand clap for those who will always believe that they know better! :)

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Squadron of Hope!


And talking of Mini Mantas.

This is absolutely stunning.
And if you thought that Mobulas were only filter feeders, think again!
The description reads (sic),
There's a few places that I dive and I saw it's getting better and better every year I visited. "Misool" in South of Raja Ampat is one of that places.

Thanks to Misool Eco resort who established MPA(Marine Protected Area) in the area. It changed the place from Shark's poacher campsite to be one of the best MPA in the world.

Recently year I spend time with Black and Blue Manta Liveaboard and we tried to captured one the most amazing phenomenon in Misool area.Millions and millions of Slender Silverside fish (Hypoatherina barnes) all over the reefs and created the baitball attracted lots of the predator. Long-horned Pygmy Devil Rays (Mobula eregoodootenkee) is one the most graceful ray to join this battle. A squadron of rays attacked the baitball again and again created very dramatic scene above beautiful reef in Misool.
Enjoy!



Friday, September 30, 2016

Mini Mantas!


Behold - great job by Danny!

This has been produced for the CITES CoP.
I hear that when it comes to Fiji's proposal to list the Mobulas, things look promising - voting in Committee likely on Sunday, plenary vote possibly on Wednesday, so fingers crossed!

Enjoy - it's in 360 so watch in HD and do pan around!



Guadalupe - giant GWS!


This is the much hyped Big Blue.



And this is Tzitzimitl.
Martin who's been doing this forever and is considered the top authority on Lupe's GWS writes,
We just came back from an awesome trip to Guadalupe Island, where we encountered 33 different great white sharks in 3 days. Among them was Tzitzimitl, the biggest shark we have ever seen. She has been first seen at Guadalupe Island in 2002 and is #54 in our database. She is a very regular visitor to the island, doing the 2 year cycle that the big mature females there are known for. She has been sighted in 2002, 03, 05, 07, 12, 14 and now 2016.

Is she bigger than Deep Blue, the one some people claim is the biggest white shark ever filmed? Click on the link below for the video and judge for yourself.
So there - enjoy, and here!



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jason!


Friendliest, most accessible and most humble guy, ever!
The man himself here, Fiji Times here!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tom - Interview!

Source. Interestingly, this is a subadult Blacktip Shark not a Spinner despite of the black marking on the anal fin that is diagnostic for adult Spinners. Click for detail.

Very nice!

Did I say that I like Tom?
Here he is talking about his photography, his prize and his research to a local TV station.
Enjoy!



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Shark Attack - Video!


Watch - scary shit!



Yes that would be an ATTACK.
Not mistaken identity, not investigatory but predatory.
Yes I'm clearly speculating because it could also have been agonistic - but going for the propulsion is a typical hunting technique, and I'm sticking with my opinion.
This is a rather small animal, possibly a subadult transitioning from a piscivorous diet to also feeding on pinnipeds; and with no parents to teach it, this is likely a period of trial-and-error before, maybe, becoming more discerning - or not!

And try it certainly did!
 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fixed!

Source.

Indeed you did!

Sharks are not fucking underwater scooters, ever!
Thank you Michelle - well done!

Friday, September 09, 2016

The secret Life of White Sharks!


Watch.



I totally support this.
Because a) Charlie is one of the good guys, because b) it involves GSD member Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions and especially, because c) this is important research for the Shark diving industry.
If you remember those papers by Barry Bruce, there were small localized effects with possible  ramifications for the fitness of the animals and the ecosystem, and Charlie is now embarking on a quest to come up with some solid evidence.
 
After Richard and Adam's lastest Whitetip Reefie paper, I very much suspect that those GWS may be expending a tad too much energy on those fruitless hunts (see here = 2008!) - and if so, is anybody taking bets on whether the authorities will then allow for a modicum of, gasp, proper feeding as they should? :) 

And since everybody tells me that the behavior of those GWS is miles removed from that of their placid cousins in Lupe - why isn't anybody seeing them hunt those Sea Lions?

Anyway, all very interesting.
Please do consult this page and make a contribution.

Thank you!

False Killer Whales vs Mahi Mahi!

Source - and would those be Cookiecutter Shark bites?

Wow.
Source - enjoy!



Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Kayaker and Orca!


Watch in HD - beautiful footage!

The encounter, hmmm.
Personally I'm torn between finding it endearing or just plain crazy stupid as the baby Orca appears to be just a tad too interested in nibbling at those feet, and a big bull is obviously hanging nearby?

Anyway, who knows - story here.
Enjoy!



Brinkley - Interview!


And thank you for the recommendation, much appreciated! :)


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Look Who's planting Mangroves!

Source.

And if Ben can do it, so can you!
All you need to do is to get in contact with Projects Abroad or the Uprising Beach Resort, and they will show you how to offset the carbon footprint you've incurred when coming to Fiji.

But if you're diving with us, worry not - we're already doing it for you!
Vinaka Ratu Peni!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Surrounded by Bull Sharks!


This is nice - thank you Martin!

And talking about Topsail.
She's been a regular visitor ever since that first sighting in 2007, is as feisty as ever and has developed into one of our most eager hand feeders. With so many Shark competing for those Tuna heads, success depends on a combination of rank which in our Bull Sharks appears to be determined by size, thus favoring the older females; boldness which generally favors the males and selected particularly feisty small females; and finally, timing and skill which favors the best learners.
Being still quite small, Topsail excels in the latter categories and usually manages to bag a few heads - but beware of her temper when she does not!

And now she's got a little sister, see at top.
We always try to choose names that help us with the ID, and have thus decided to call her Sail, the more as she already appears to be as feisty as Topsail was back then.

Welcome aboard little girl!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Biopixel Drone Promo!


And here's another one by Richard.
Much of it depicts the situation at Raine - including the Turtle lovers, Turtle tagging, Tigers scavenging and finally, Tigers attacking Turtles, and the Turtles' defensive maneuvering.

Great stuff - enjoy!



Monday, August 29, 2016

Papahānaumokuākea - Deep Diving!

Source.

And talking of Rich.

This is what he has been doing for the past 20-odd years - and this incidentally together with John and Rob and I now discover, Yannis.

Enjoy!



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Papahānaumokuākea - Leadership!


Watch.



And if you've been living under a stone and don't know what this is all about,  read this and this - or any other of the zillion pieces that have been published about this literally monumental achievement.

And here's to the other leaders.
Apologies to the many, many others  - but here's to you Matt.
Owing to your vision and your leadership, Global Ocean Legacy has quickly advanced to being today's preeminent marine conservation project, and the world is becoming a better place for it.
Thank you!

And here's to you Rick.
You will always be my hero, for your passion, your erudition and especially your wit. But above all, for always doing all the heavy lifting, anonymously - not because of the plaudits, the recognition let alone the money but because you really believe in the cause.
Thank you!

And finally, here's to you Rich.
For being such a crazy pioneer, explorer, adventurer and impeccable researcher, for having lent your time, voice and you scientific gravitas to this campaign, and for just being such an all-round nice person.
Thank you!

And one more thing: eat that Kitty
How do you and your corrupt gang of sniveling liars, cheats and thieves like being handed such a resounding defeat by the very indigenous people you always profess to represent!
Oh and... fuck you!

And here endeth the Sunday prayer!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ocearch - important Discovery?


Well well.

Read this.
Yes Fischer is at it again - and the rabid anti-Ocearch gang is frothing.
Obviously, all that noise by Fischer is nothing more than his usual breathy BS. If you remember this post, the nurseries have been known for years and in fact, that link [24] leads straight to this paper from 1985!

In brief, this is the most important significant discovery my ass!
This is either totally egregious or at best, totally ignorant - the sad part being that by now, I'm not even anymore surprised!

And then there are those tags, see at top.
This is important research, meaning that I can certainly live with inconveniencing a few juvenile GWS in order to learn more about their movements within the nursery and when they later disperse; but nowadays, modern fin-mounted SPOT tags for small Sharks feature single bolts, meaning that those 4-bolt tags are hopelessly outdated and will likely lead to the same injuries as recorded here, especially in those fast-growing juveniles. From countless observations, it is equally most likely that the Sharks will survive and the fins will heal - but it's unnecessarily invasive and really not good.

Oh well, so much for that.
Several of my researcher pals tell me that Fischer has evolved and become more palatable - but as long as he continues to sabotage himself, his sponsors and the science of the associated researchers, I remain highly unimpressed.

And Alisa “Harley” Newton?
I learn that she's WCS' Senior Veterinary Pathologist for WCS Zoological Health Program, or the like, and that she is joining Ocearch with a whole gaggle of other WCS folks.

Interesting.
So far, WCS' involvement in Shark research and Shark conservation has been patchy at best - but now that they've jumped on the bandwagon and managed to secure their share of muchos shekels by a group of very wealthy donors, they are busy hiring (and you'd be surprised at who is applying!) and obviously eager to be seen doing something. Not a good start as they're now associated with this utter PR fiasco = due diligence anybody?

Anyway.
Be it as it may, this remains an important undertaking, and I very much look forward to reading about the findings.

To be continued no doubt!