Monday, August 06, 2018

Emerging Challenges - Really?

Mentioned in the paper: Guadalupe cage breach.


Take a look at this.
Austin and Charlie are certainly good guys and good researchers, and quite knowledgeable about the Shark diving industry, too; and with that in mind, I can most certainly refrain from delving in the nether regions of stuff like the infamous Kardashian Index (and here - anybody come to mind? Hint: "cites me") let alone level accusations of sesselfurzing or ultracrepidarianism, the more as the paper, albeit being a bit lean, is certainly nothing terrible.
And yet I am once again irritated.

First things first: those issues they mention are valid.
In fact we've continued talking about them (= that would be 120+ posts: enjoy!) ever since that blog post 10 years ago, and at last count we've also enabled 16 peer-reviewed research papers, many of which are investigating the effect we're having on the Sharks but also their environment. And finally, we're also a founding member of an association of operators who  practice and promote safe and sane, sustainable Shark diving and are clearly the best in the industry.
So yes, granted, there are challenges.
But we as an industry are on top of them and are continuously evolving and improving - and the only thing that is emerging here, is that terminally irritating fad whereby there appears to be grant money for all those people = mostly scientific lightweights, to come sticking their noses into our business unbidden!

So at the risk of repeating myself.
A. We are not the problem.
Commercial and recreational overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and habitat destruction are.
Instead, we are certainly a part of the solution - even the worst ones among us! But yes we always need to learn, evolve and improve - and this ideally via self regulation. And if not, then regulation is certainly both opportune and necessary!

B. When it comes to the whole fucking never-ending controversy about provisioning.
People who feed and condition Sharks are called fishermen - not a few dive operators: so please do focus on them and not us! And anyway, this is one of the safest underwater activities by far = with one single fatality during thousands upon thousands of baited dives, it is orders of magnitude safer than ordinary SCUBA!
Yes there are effects on the animals, the principal one being conditioning - but they are largely short-term, localized and sublethal, and in no way comparable to the threats Sharks face otherwise! But yes there too we need to minimize our impact - and guess what, most of us largely do!

C. And finally, to those researchers and NGOs.
We did not ask for this - and all this incessant nagging and lecturing by people who ultimately have no clue about, and zero investment into our industry is frankly becoming terminally irksome. There is now a whole cabal of  researchers whose academic niche (and thus career and thus income) is predicated upon being considered ecotourism experts, or whatever, and who appear to be operating with questionable agendas and also appear to desperately want to meddle instead of waiting to be asked.
So, thank you gents - I know you mean well.
But now, if I may: could you please refocus your attention and notoriously scarce time on more pressing issues than whether Shark provisioning may also, gasp, condition and feed some Fishes!, and revert to doing research that actually helps us save some Sharks?

Thank you.


Tropical Selkie said...

Kardashian Index. Perfect. And hilarious.

DaShark said...

Not that it really matters - but yes, indeed, perfect!