Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Chumming Ban - revisited......

Photo: Chip Scarlett 2005

Well, as you may have noticed, I was somewhat irritated by the recent chumming ban in the Farallons. Not to be relying on hearsay, I got myself the whole original document, of which the relevant rules read as follows (italics are mine):

"H. Prohibit the Attraction of White Sharks

This rule expands the prohibition on attracting White Sharks in state waters of the MBNMS to the entire MBNMS and GFNMS. It also prohibits approaching within 50 meters of a White Shark within 2 nmi around the Farallon Islands.
Attract or attracting means the conduct of any activity that lures or may lure any animal in the Sanctuary by using food, bait, chum, dyes, decoys (e.g., surfboards or body boards used as decoys), acoustics or any other means, except the mere presence of human beings (e.g., swimmers, divers, boaters, kayakers, surfers).
Disturbance related to human interaction is increasing as a result of controversial cage Shark diving operations, also known as adventure tourism, and other wildlife watching operations. These activities may degrade the natural environment, impacting the species as a whole, and individual Sharks may be negatively impacted from repeated encounters with humans and boats.
Implementing these regulations will resolve user conflicts (between Shark researchers and adventure tourism) and prevent interference with the seasonal feeding behavior of White Sharks. Reducing human interaction and chumming would decrease the impacts on natural Shark behavior.
This regulation is not expected or intended to impact any current lawful fishing activities within the GFNMS and MBNMS.
The purpose of this prohibition is to protect White Sharks from intrusive activities during their critical feeding life-cycle in the GFNMS and the MBNMS. With respect to the MBNMS, this rule modifies the regulations to expand the prohibition against Shark attraction to the entire sanctuary. White Sharks have experienced disturbance from cage diving operations, filming, and other wildlife watching operations. The former regulations prohibited White Shark attraction activities within specific areas of the sanctuary, including the area out to the seaward limit of state waters (three miles from the coastline). This rule extends the prohibition to the entire sanctuary."

In brief, in their wisdom and after seven years (!) of soul searching (or whatever, but certainly not data collection - mind you, all at the expense of the taxpayer!), the thus enlightened Authorities have concluded that:
  • Anything that may attract Great Whites is bad and thus prohibited!
  • Surfboards with no people on them: forbidden! Surfboards with people on them however are most welcome!
  • Swimmers? The more the merrier!
  • "Adventure tourism, filming and other wildlife watching operations"?: Bad!
  • And obviously: any food, bait and chum prohibited - unless one's intentions are to engage in "fishing activities", as in catching and killing the animals! In a Marine Sanctuary! The only possible explanation being that those guys believe that this will not "degrade the natural environment, impacting the species as a whole" and that individual Sharks will not be "negatively impacted", a truly remarkable insight!
Always good to go check the sources, don't you agree?

May this tree-hugging triumph have anything to do with the abovementioned "user conflicts (between Shark researchers and adventure tourism)"? May this be aimed less at securing the welfare of the animals, and more at securing exclusive rights to the scientists, especially in the lucrative filming business?
Honi soit qui mal y pense!

No comments: