Sunday, March 24, 2019

Do MPAs improve Climate Change Resilience?


Spoiler: they do not!

Surprised? Me not at all.
Over the years there has been a plethora of irritating scientific studies wanting to link climate change mitigation to a whole host of factors ranging from somewhat plausible like the present MPA theory to outright outlandish like the ridiculous Whale poo theory - and let's not forget the infamous Sharks and Oxy Myth that STILL reverberates in some of the stupidest Shark conservation circles!

So kudos for setting the record straight.
And in analogy to the conclusions of the paper (read them!), let me re-post what I wrote back then, slightly abridged.
Want to combat Global Warming?

Stop faffing around about irrelevant topics and work on reducing the anthropogenic carbon emissions that cause it!
Reduce your own emissions! Vote for politicians, parties and government that advocate global reductions! Educate others! Do something to enhance carbon sequestration, like we do!

In closing.
Like a broken record and Erik the Mad Hatter, let me quote myself.
The facts and numbers?
Science is in continuous flux and the data do indeed change – but until they do, the latest peer reviewed science remains the best approximation of the truth. Thankfully, there are now plenty of resources where anybody can consult the latest insights and data, meaning that those who continue to operate with inflated statistics and outlandish assertions lack any excuses and credibility whatsoever. The facts are plenty horrible as it is – so let’s please stick to those and refrain from the usual stupid inflated hyperbole!

Conservation is never happening in a vacuum - it is being used to advocate legislation that in its marine context will deprive fishermen of income and quite possibly, of their livelihoods. With that in mind, we owe it to them, but also, to ourselves not to cheat and to use misleading perceived "marketing", or whatever, but to be truthful and fact based instead.

The situation is really, really dire and there's absolutely no need whatsoever to inflate numbers and to come up with ludicrous propositions.

And then there's this.
Assume we succeed in having laws enacted based on misleading data - what would prevent the legislators from repealing them once we got caught out?
Think we would ever get a second chance after such a fiasco?
And there you go.
Paper here, synopsis here.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Silkies vs Whale Shark!

Source - click for detail!

Watch.
Yes it's very much belated - but still!
Story here - enjoy!



Flying Mobulas!

Click for detail - source below!

Watch - awesome stuff!





And here's the BBC - unmatched as always!



Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Oslob - bloody Quagmire!

Source - click for detail!

The q being, am I gonna wade straight in?

You betcha I will! :)
But fear not - this is way too complex, inconclusive and also, way too agenda-driven for me to take a strong position and start unleashing.

Just this.
Alessandro Ponzo (che tutt'ora rima con stronzo) and his cohort of Shark huggers are still at it in trying to bring down the Whale Shark feeding industry in Oslob, e.g. here. My pal Mark Meekan and creepy Judi are pushing against it which is essentially a good thing. 
And there sure is a lot of controversy as per eg this thread.

Methinks that the truth lays somewhere in the middle.
Despite of their best efforts, there is so far definitely no clear evidence that the Sharks are being harmed, period - and in that respect, invoking the precautionary principle and asking for the reversal of the burden of proof is just unacceptable, especially considering the consequences for the local community. 
Conversely, the non-adherence to the protocols is a cause for concern and needs to be addressed - this especially considering that the financial success of Oslob is already spawning copycat procedures = feeding in other juvenile Whale Shark aggregations across the Coral Triangle. The massive demand for these interactions can easily lead to unchecked development and if so, it is certain to have deleterious consequences if not managed properly - so once again, people get your fucking act together!

And that's it.
Once again it's probably not the WHAT but the HOW - and whereas for now the what appears unproblematic, the how needs urgent attention!

In diesem Sinne.
Let's go Shark diving - responsibly!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

World Wildlife Day 2019!

Lots of Elasmos - I like it! :) Click for detail!

And I cite.
The World Wildlife Day 2019 aligns closely with the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water, which focuses on marine species, and will be an opportunity to highlight the critical issues and values of marine wildlife to our everyday lives. The occasion will also celebrate successful initiatives to conserve and sustainably manage these species, and to scale up support for future initiatives.

In line with the UN General Assembly Resolution proclaiming World Wildlife Day, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP call on all the Member States and organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and all interested individuals, to: 
  • observe and raise awareness of the theme for World Wildlife Day 2019; 
  • associate the celebrations with major national and international conservation events; 
  • build collaborative partnerships; 
  • organize campaigns to support the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources and their products using targeted strategies in order to influence consumer behavior; and 
  • make use of the World Wildlife Day logo as widely as possible.
So there.
Supporting the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources is what we do every single day - and you now have the opportunity to assist in that endeavor.
And right now there's even a special promotion

With that in mind, please, Adopt Your Shark Now!
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - Victory!


I was wrong - thankfully!

Check out the pic - click for detail.
This has been adopted in the final regulation = at the very last minute, they have mandated that the line must be cut, see below.
So again, bravo to the indefatigable Kim who has continued to pester everybody asking for that change - and contrary to what all those self-promoting back-slappers out there would have you believe, this has been 100% her doing.
Kudos, excellent job!


Now to the enforcement...
To be continued no doubt!

Monday, February 18, 2019

South Africa: This and That!

Great pic, and so very Allen - click for detail.
 
Well well.

The really bad news first.
Irrespective of whether I respect, let alone like Craig O'Connell (spoiler: ever since I've discovered him palling with ABC4$: not much), or his fake kelp, or whatever (spoiler: even less so):
This is just simply egregious.
So there, re-posted in its entirety - and no, not at all surprised!
Very happy to see my invention, the SharkSafe barrier, being deployed in Reunion Island; however, I am a bit shocked because as the principle investigator I was unaware of this deployment. 

Although many of you already know, the original SharkSafe barrier was invented by myself while in Bimini, Bahamas during my internship at the Bimini Biological Field Station and then I brought it to South Africa and formed a collaboration to test it on large sharks during my Ph.D.-related research expeditions. In fact, I started developing the barrier in 2006 after receiving a prestigious internship for my shark deterrent barrier proposal, which I sent to the station in 2005. 

I find it quite interesting that the team from University of Stellenbosch is deploying my invention without my permission or knowledge and it is quite sad to learn about it from the Press! 
To read multiple misquotes in recent SharkSafe barrier-related media and now to read in this article that the barrier was "Developed in South Africa", it worries me that additional quotes may mislead the public about the utility and safety of the barrier - especially being that the people who have deployed this in Reunion do not have the experience or the Behavioral Science background to truly understand the barrier's functionality. I mean sharks are complex animals so to also be misquoting the barrier to be “100% effective” is not sensible and is an indication of their lack of familiarity of various SharkSafe barrier results and studies. I am the inventor and I began inventing the SharkSafe Barrier in Bimini, Bahamas in 2006.

There isn't too much more to say about this other than this is disheartening and a poor example of how collaborative conservation and Science is done. Feel free to share this post so others don't make the same mistakes I did!
And now to the great news.
Our friend Allen has just won the shark photography category of the prestigious World ShootOut - story here.
Bravo buddy, we're proud of 'ya!

PS - see here.
 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Seven Days of Blunt!


Behold!



It's always such a pleasure, and relief to see them coming back!
The even better news being that if you play it back in 1080 and look really carefully, you can just about discern some faint and well healed mating scars, meaning that she will hopefully get pregnant and give birth to yet another batch of chubby babies in early December!

This would be my very favorite Shark.
I've known Blunt for now 10 years and must say that apart from being incredibly impressive, she's just simply the most cuddly and adorable Bull Shark of them all - and yes I know, considering that she's a huge badass apex predator this is highly inappropriate language, but still!
And anyway, I know that everybody who knows her will agree!

Anyway, to celebrate, Tashi Blue is running a special!
For obvious reasons, we really only have ever been able to attribute a handful of teeth to an individual Shark, so this is really a totally unique opportunity - plus much like her, that tooth is just simply huge, and pretty much unblemished, too!  

So what are you waiting for.
Adopt Blunt Now - and don't forget to Upgrade!

Vinaka Vakalevu!

PS - Congratulations mon ami!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

White Sharks vs Sevengills - Paper!

First image of Sevengills on this blog = as always, great pic by Peter! Source.

Just in case you've missed it.
Watch.



I must say that I really like it.
Obviously, correlation is not causation so we'll never know 100% - but as somebody who has been equally documenting long-term changes in abundance that are likely partially due to competitive exclusion, I can only applaud the authors for advancing an astute and I believe highly plausible hypothesis.

But go see for yourselves.
Paper here, synopses here and e.g. here.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - New Rules!

Source - simply disgusting, and nope, NOAA does not condone any of that shit! Click for detail.

Oh well.

Behold: here are the proposed rules, presentation here.
I did ask, are they gonna be good enough and the short answer is, not really, but at least there is progress.

My principal grievance?
Anglers will continue to be allowed to kill those Great Hammers by fighting them to exhaustion - reminder here. And then in the draft rules I also find this (emphasis in cursive is mine)
(d) A person who catches a prohibited species while fishing from shore must release such prohibited species immediately at the site of capture, without unnecessary harm. Delaying the release of a prohibited species for any period of time longer than necessary to remove the hook or other fishing tackle is prohibited. The permissible temporary possession provisions provided for by 68B-2.002(2), F.A.C., do not apply to prohibited species.

(e) A person may not remove a prohibited species from Florida Waters. The gills of a prohibited species must remain submerged and the entire length of the organism must remain in the water. This subparagraph shall not be construed to prohibit temporarily lifting the head of a prohibited species from the water in order to speed removal of a hook or other fishing tackle or to require unsafe practices while fishing from shore.
That stupid exemption is a huge loophole.
The anglers are already exulting as it effectively cements the status quo by leaving the determination on whether a practice is safe to them, meaning that as long as they cite safety aspects, they will be able to continue dragging the Sharks ashore in total impunity "in order to remove the hook or other fishing tackle".
Case in point, these pronouncements by Jorgensen - and thank you David for stating the obvious, i.e. that the much better solution is to leave the bloody hook in = bloody cut the fucking line, and this ideally immediately upon positive identification!

Not gonna happen alas.
The commission will be meeting on February 20 and barring a miracle, those will be the new rules - and if so, the wanton and completely unnecessary killing of endangered and protected species will continue basically unabated.

So, yes, congrats to everyone involved.
This is certainly a remarkable victory - but methinks that you have merely won a battle and not the war = when it comes to those poor GHH, the obnoxious saga is most likely not over.
But I've been wrong before, so here's to that!

Oh, and  incidentally.
Bravo Jimmy et al for the victory in the fight about the Blue Heron Bridge where the prohibition will be sanctioned at the same commission meeting!
Well done, I'm really impressed!

And finally Bravo Kim.
Without you none of this would have happened.
You know who you are!

To be continued no doubt!

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Depressions, and More!

Click for detail!

Well well.

Looks like we're in for something.
The way I read the various pages, the convergence zone will shortly become active and spawn several tropical depressions and quite possibly a cyclone that would be intensifying whilst moving towards port Vila in Vanuatu. 

Forecasts here and here.
And you may obviously want to keep an eye on the warning and alerts by the FMS!

You know what to do!
Wishing you the best of luck!

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Shark Central!


Behold - page 12ff!

Very nice indeed!
Always nice when a local comes diving and appreciates what Fiji has got to offer.
Vinaka Alisi.
 
Enjoy.
And Adopt Your Shark Now - timing is simply ideal!
Thank You!
 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Reef Shark Science - the Compendium!

One of our protected Blacktip Reefies. Great pic by Allen!

Wow.

This is just simply brilliant.
Quite the erudite tour de force, and penned by some of the very best minds in the field, it recapitulates the current scientific insights about Reef Sharks, and  charts the way for future research.

No need for synopses as it is thankfully open source.
Just this: among a plethora of valuable information, it also addresses the topic of Reef Shark - mediated trophic cascades along with those infamous postulated inverted pyramids where I also discover this equally unequivocal statement in the cited literature. 
Long story short: both are nothing but breathy myths that need to be binned once-and-for-all! And yes, it's all very much q.e.d (!!!) - and no, I'm not going to repeat myself; instead, please do re-read the part about using spurious garbage when advocating conservation right here!

But I'm obviously digressing as always.
What I really wanted to say is that this is a great paper- and big kudos to the authors!

Required reading - enjoy!

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Tiger Shark vs Manta Ray!

Yes some Sharks will attack Manta Rays - source.

Wow - source here.

It obviously begs the question, did the Tiger kill the Manta.
I'm also amazed at those many Reef Sharks as I've never seen them scavenge like they are doing here
And I must add that all those unprotected punters are a scary, scary sight, the more as Tiger Sharks are known to vigorously defend their meals, and perceived interlopers have already been grievously injured.

Be it as it may - what an awesome encounter!
Enjoy!



Friday, February 01, 2019

Martin about Shark Feeding!

Ring a bell? Click for detail - source.

Read this.

Very nice, and thanks!
The part about Shark feeding mostly echoes what we've been asserting for now many years, to wit this rather random collection of posts. And check this out, too - or if you really got too much time on your hands, feel free to peruse this about Shark feeding in particular and this about our industry in general!
Yes it is complicated - but then again, maybe not so much!

And the conservation aspect?
Yes some of us very much including Martin's Shark Diver are deeply embedded into conservation, and there is even a global alliance of Shark diving operators whose members must have a track record of being active in both conservation and research.

But I would argue that we are the exception.
Yes nowadays everybody is "Eco", and everybody is raising awareness and dispelling the myth, and all of that nonsense.
But the Shark diving industry is obviously a business where one needs to make a profit - and whereas those breathy pronouncements that one is doing it For the Sharks are cheap, pun intended, actually devoting resources to conservation (and research) is costly and time consuming - even if in the long term, protecting one's principal business asset would obviously be a great business strategy!

And all those awareness-raising media?
I will even concede that even when prima facie it's all about personal vanity and $$$, the heart is often in the right place. But as per the comment of JoySeaGal, I can categorically assure you that when advocating Shark conservation with the Authorities, those narcissistic media count for less than nothing! 
Oh and incidentally, this is how you do it correctly = this is strategic, intelligent, focused, targeted and with zero personal ego involved!

Anyway.
Ultimately, one has to look at real track records.
Ultimately, the only thing that counts are tangible benefits for Shark populations - and there, the overall impact of Shark diving operators is rather dismal, especially when compared to the awesome potential.
Alas!

But I'm digressing as always.
Thank you Martin - and yes I will gladly confess that we are mighty proud of our achievements.
Shark tourism is certainly not the be-all and end-all solution to Shark overfishing, and much remains to be done, also in Fiji - but we're certainly working on it, and we're even collecting funds for implementing some forward-looking local remedies.

In diesem Sinne - let's go Shark diving!
And please, Adopt Your Shark Now, the more as Valentine's Day is beckoning!
Hint hint!

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Jason - the Video!

Click twice for detail!
 
Remember?

And, I trust you've seen this?
Here it is in much better resolution - watch in 1080!.


Is that cool or what!
And, did I say, Friendliest, most accessible and most humble guy, ever?
The dude with the beard sitting at the center of the pic is photographer Daniel Smith, obviously a close friend of Jason. Most of the footage, and the awesome little edit are his.

Oh - and now you know why they call us the BAD Boyz! :)
Anyway - enjoy!

Orca vs Turtle!

Source.

Oldie but goodie.
Enjoy - story here!



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Shark Diving in Fiji 2019!

Hunter and Predator - click for detail! 

Behold!



Very nice!
Tom calls it a little teaser, and we are obviously very much looking forward to what is to follow.
More info by Tom here and here.

Enjoy - and a big Vinaka Vakalevu!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ramsey: Shit Show in Hawaii!


Oh well.

I'm sure you've seen the news.
Three very large and very rotund female GWS were seen feasting on a dead Sperm Whale floating off Oahu.

This could have been such an inspiring moment.
  • One could have marveled at the exceptional serendipity of witnessing such a rare and wonderful natural event, as per the beautiful and respectful description of who experienced the first mesmerizing encounter.

  • One could have mentioned Michael and Nicole's seminal paper about the life cycle of the NE Pacific GWS population, and speculated whether those females may be actually pregnant (not a given!) and bulking up in the SOFA and beyond like described therein, or whether they may just be very chubby after gorging on whale meat.

  • One could have marveled at the fact that not one but three such large females have made it to Hawaii and speculated about the possible reasons (Climate Change? El NiƱo? Just happenstance? An outbreak of Wanderlust?), and could have tried to identify them based on Nicole's Guadalupe ID Guide (= that Shark with Ramsey is not Deep Blue). 

  • One could have reminisced about this small paper about very large GWS scavenging on whales, and wondered whether the placid disposition of those Sharks may have been an indicator for postprandial torpor.

  • One could have mentioned all the scientific questions that still remain unanswered.

  • One could have even wondered about the wisdom, or lack of, of dive operators throwing in all those unprotected snorkelers atop large scavenging Sharks, and this in open ocean - and about the uncritical willingness of those punters to be thusly thrown, see further below!

  • Hell, one could have gone so far to engage in idle speculation about why those mamas did not chomp on the aforementioned punters! The torpor and/or energy preservation, coupled with a far easier, better smelling and way juicer meal nearby? An already nicely filled belly? No search image for humans as prey? Too much commotion? No attack on alert prey by what is essentially an ambush predator?  Pervaded by the Aloha Spirit?
Not gonna happen, alas.
Like she has obviously intended, the token disrespectful self-promoting bimbette and her selfish shit show have sucked all the oxygen out of the room.
But thankfully and likely not as intended, the reactions by the public are overwhelmingly negative - and have you seen how now she is squirming and obfuscating trying to justify her feat?
Girl, dozens upon dozens of people have far more experience with Sharks, have done far more for them, and yet never put themselves in the foreground!
 
But first, watch.


Source.

I mean, seriously, what a fucking fiasco!

No don't worry, I'm not gonna unleash.
I'd rather defer to others who are way more intelligent and have spoken up much more clearly and politely than I ever could, to wit Michael Domeier's post about the total hypocrisy of "Ocean" Ramsey. 
Indeed, see any resemblance whatsoever between Ramsey's sanctimonious description and her frantic barging in ahead of everybody else and harassing the Shark in the above video?

You may also want to read and above all, understand this post about the likely consequences of that selfish shit. But Oliphant will do every I can to make it happen again
Obviou$ly!

And the fucking, old and tired Raising Awareness, yada yada?
Michael and David are absolutely correct: this is nothing but a serial Shark molester harassing a Shark (watch - did anybody say 6 meters? Hmmmm....), and this solely to pose for image$!
But you sure gotta love the praise by the hypocritical King of Shark Porn for the hypocritical Queen of Shark Molesting - legendary shark conservationist my ass!
And poor Riley STILL just doesn't get it!

Anyway.
It's same old same old - really hardly worth a mention were it not for those poor naive fans and followers who are being conned by the slick media and all those insufferable platitudes, and continue to admire all those hypocritical media whores and their disrespectful feats.
So, people, THINK - especially you researchers and operators who continue to associate with, and even defend those folks despite of all the evidence!

In diesem Sinne - let's go Shark diving!
Respectfully!

Comments Policy: please post your comments here and not on FB. 
FYI this is not a chatroom, comments are being monitored and I reserve the right to publish, or to delete whatever I please - and no, this got nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything to do with Dunning-Kruger!
My blog my rules! :)

PS - Indeed (and here).. and this is just sad....

PPS - Martin here!

PPPS - well yes maybe - but then again, coming after a decade of  very public Shark harassment, it sounds hollow; the more as the punters that are so obviously clue- and reckless may be taking those risks precisely because of all the publicity, and glorification of her feats, and the public belittling of the associated dangers!

PPPPS - Patric here. Well said, Sir - eloquent and totally on point as always!
And I cite, The same stunt with bears, wolves, tigers and gorillas would land you in jail, if done with the exact same shark at Guadalupe Island you would be fined and jailed

PPPPPS - Well said Danny! :)

PPPPPPS - great post by Michelle here - torpor included! :)

PPPPPPPS - Indeed!

PPPPPPPPS - more hypocritical rubbish by the King of Shark Porn. Well, maybe there would not be such a need to change perspectives and creating massive global awareness had you not been so successful in creating the media that demonize Sharks in the first place, to wit e.g. this horrible piece of horse manure you produced!

PPPPPPPPPS - sweet, we got ourselves a tussle among Shark bimbettes! How quaint! I swim with them for pure enjoyment = not for camera? Right, hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.....

PPPPPPPPPPS - and we got ourselves yet another beauty! Yay! This would be one of Mauricio's illegal out-of cage freedivers  scientific collaborators (case in point!) disparaging another - by posting a pic of the illegal irresponsible and selfish behavior that certain individuals have been promoting as conservation science for years... Again, how quaint!

PPPPPPPPPPPS - more by Michael here and here!

PPPPPPPPPPPPS  - And for god's sake, whether you believe Lemuria is modern day Hawaii or not, leave the poor dolphins alone! Figure out how to talk to them from the shore or something. Hahahahahahahahaha!

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPS - the bloody Whale carcass has drifted back onshore - and hopefully stays there!

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS - and we got ourselves one more visitor - which begs the question, what is going on: is this exceptional or is it the norm, and we are just finding out about it now? 

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS - The question is, how can we interact with animals and leave their habitat better than we found it? This is why shark diving and shark tourism in marine protected sanctuaries (where fees collected by dive operators and government go towards habitat preservation) are an inspiring alternative. Hear hear!

Monday, January 07, 2019

Individual Shark Profiling? Yes and No!

Click for detail!

We're stuck inside waiting for Mona to unleash.

So there - have you seen this paper?
In essence and if I understand it correctly, it hypothesizes that Shark strikes are not a function of Shark density but that they are instead caused by specific individuals that are so disposed, e.g. possibly particularly bold  - and that as a consequence, the adequate management response would not consist in broadcast culling but that instead, one should surgically remove such problematic animals, much like what is being done with terrestrial problem predators.
And yes that person mentioned at the end would be yours truly.

So let me clarify where I really stand on this.

I agree with the hypothesis, albeit with caveats.
Ages ago, I penned this post about Shark strikes which I believe is still valid. In brief, the causes for Shark strikes are manifold =  whereas some of the interactions are due to predation or happen out of aggression and/or competition and/or self defense,  others are purely retaliatory or not at all driven by intention but simple mistakes (= NOT mistaken identity which is completely something else and  controversial) - and for these latter two categories, Eric's considerations probably would not apply. 
And anyway, for the large majority of cases, determining the specific intention of specific bites is obviously impossible and possibly also ultimately irrelevant.

But of course we can always speculate, see here.
And as somebody who has named, personally knows and spends an inordinate amount of time with individual Sharks and can thus observe their behavior, I can unequivocally confirm that they display great individual behavioral variability - and this very much including the propensity to bite!
In fact, among our Bull Sharks there is e.g. one particularly haughty lady who does not like to be touched and will always retaliate by trying to bite us when we do so; or there is another one, a small male, who despite of many years of hand feeding, appears just simply too stupid to understand the proper etiquette and always comes in too low and too fast, and is thus a constant safety risk to the feeders. Same-same for a specific Gray Reefie who has repeatedly bitten the hands of our feeders - and thank you for bodyguards and especially, for steel gloves!

And then there is XYZ (name withheld).
This is a very large female Bull Shark who can only be described as being sinister and dangerous, this insofar as she is extremely assertive, will frequently approach us closely and not in what we perceive as a friendly way, and needs to be fended away and dominated.
And one day, and I believe because she was cranky for having lost a dominance confrontation with another big female, she has already bitten one of our staff who was incidentally not in the slightest inconveniencing her; this in what I personally interpret as Ɯbersprungverhalten or displacement behavior, or maybe simply the venting of accumulated aggression. Again, we will obviously never really know - but she is certainly an animal of concern.

And when it comes to those predatory strikes.
They are fundamentally different from the examples above as IMO predation = feeding got nothing to do with aggression and/or boldness, and why would it.
But I absolutely believe that some Sharks will sometimes target and consume a human; and I also absolutely believe that given what we know about their learning capabilities, ontogenetic dietary shifts and their individual behavioral variability, we can also absolutely not exclude that this or that individual may develop an individual propensity (or reduced aversion) for targeting humans, which is what Eric appears to postulate.
Yes this is obviously speculative and so far unproven (and likely untestable) - but it is I believe at least plausible - and as long as it is, and as long as it not actually disproven, it is also not false! 

And remember this shit
It mentions, and even depicts that ominous OWT who has been alleged to have bitten no less than three people - and this by so-called Shark experts in a so-called peer-reviewed scientific paper !

Anyway, back to Eric's paper.
Yes in theory, there could absolutely be individual Sharks with as propensity to bite humans; and yes in theory, selectively eliminating those would absolutely be preferable to indiscriminate culling!
So I absolutely support it as a theoretical approach to mitigating Shark strikes! 

And in practice?
Unfortunately, there prospects for success look totally unrealistic.
In terrestrial habitats, identifying, monitoring and managing individual animals is comparatively easy - but doing so in the ocean is obviously a completely different matter as the territory is immense, there are thousands of Sharks leading a life that is essentially cryptic as for human observers, everything happens "out of sight" - and thus, identifying, monitoring and then eliminating the individual perpetrators as suggested would generally speaking be extremely expensive and logistically extremely onerous if not outright impossible.
With that in mind, the suggested list of measures aimed at identifying problem individuals, albeit certainly erudite, is more pie in the sky than a viable recipe for success. Or should we e.g. really try and catch, tag and tissue sample every single large predatory Shark in Australia - and then try and catch a single individual perpetrator after a strike?

And, when, exactly, would one effect the removal.
After a first bite? After two or even more? Lethal bites or not? Or would one remove the Shark preemptively already upon identifying a problem in behavior, or e.g. undesired levels of testosterone or cortisol?
And before the removal, whatever the latter means, one should obviously first try other approaches akin to e.g.the hazing and/or other deterrents and/or protections and barriers one would be using in terrestrial situations - correct?
Detail detail!

But of course there could be exceptions.
Specific circumstances obviously vary, and there could be individual, albeit probably rare conditions favoring Eric's approach.

Examples?
The situation with our above-mentioned XYZ could e.g. escalate to the point whereby despite of our best efforts in trying to deter and/or train her, we would have to come to the conclusion that she is becoming too much of a safety hazard. 
Then, we could be forced to choose between either closing down our Shark viewing operation or selectively removing her.

Or take e.g. Cocos.
Remember that Tiger and then, this subsequent event?
Yes this is completely speculative - but considering how well the good people of GSD member Undersea Hunter Group know their Sharks: what if they were able to determine that it was the same, individually known individual? 
If so and considering the risk of further attacks vs the tourism income: could this maybe escalate to the point where the park authority would have to make a decision?

And finally, Reunion Island.
There, the comparatively small territory and likely comparatively small number of potentially dangerous Sharks that could thus be potentially identified individually may well warrant trialing Eric's approach - this particularly in view of the ever-persistent calls for more Shark culls!
Or not?

But again, these are rare exceptions.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, Eric's suggestions, albeit intellectually interesting, are just not sufficiently practicable for them to constitute a viable alternative strategy.
Alas!

And finally, what about this beauty?
I can only note that Neff the token Shark attack apologist remains as predictably irritating as always, the more as his arguments are little more than straw men.
  • Yes the hypothesis by Victor Coppleson of there being "Rogue Sharks" has not been proven - but a) as per above, the fact that something has not been proven does not necessarily mean it is false, either and b) Eric expressly differentiates his hypothesis from it. 
  • Yes as per above Eric's hypothesis does not apply to all Shark bites - but that does not invalidate it a priori!
  • Yes often when asked, the public does not support Shark culls - but a) they continue to happen and b) more importantly, Eric does not at all advocate them but on the contrary, he obviously sees his approach as an alternative to them!
Anyway, all very interesting indeed.
And in the meantime, Mona has come and gone. And we are doing just fine thank you.

Let's go Shark diving!

PS - Bingo...
PPS - Michael here - thanks!
 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

And here She is!

I've just learned something new, to wit



Pretty awesome isn't it.
Anyway, this is the actual situation - and if you click on the line you also get a forecast, and you can also zoom in and out!
The outlook here looks rather grim, and opinions about what is going to happen next differ - but my gut tells me that there will be a landfall, and that we down here will be affected.

So there - you know what to do!


Thursday, January 03, 2019

Tropical Cyclone Mona!

Source - click for detail.


This is not good.
Rather grim forecasts here, here and here, warnings here.

You know what to do.
Stay safe, and best of luck everybody!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Elusive White Sharks - Paper!

Still one of the very best: iconic image by Terry Goss - click for detail. Source.

Great stuff!

If you're into GWS, this is a must read.
Great job by Charlie in getting feedback from the quasi-totality of GWS researchers, which sure makes for an interesting assortment of names; great questions that  obviously also pertain, mutatis mutandis, to other Shark species;  and last but not least, great bibliography for further reading!
So well done folks, and thank you!
 
Enjoy!

AND another One!

Source - click for detail!

Happy New Year and all!

Well, it sure looks like our new year will start with a bang!
Say hello to tropical disturbance TD04F that is very likely to develop into a much more pesky, and very wet Cyclone by the weekend - and the bloody SoPac Convection Zone may well spawn a few more before the current monsoonal phase is over!

Anyway, you know what to do.
Good luck!