Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hawaii - The Facts

Kim Holland is a good guy.

He is also a brave man.
Instead of kowtowing to the virulent Hawaiian anti-Shark witch hunt, he has come out with an unequivocal response to the allegations that the ground-breaking paper he has co-authored (yes that would be the "Meyer paper") may in any way be "suspect". Kim leads the world-renown "Holland Lab" of the University of Hawaii and his research is regularly coming up with fabulous insights into Shark behavior.

This is what he's got to say.

Shark Tours: Study shows no increased risk

I am obliged to respond to Greg Knudsen's inaccurate characterization of our research paper concerning North Shore shark tours. Three points:
1) The paper was not based solely on data from tour operators.

2) The operators' information was provided prior to the recent turmoil; there was no incentive for false reporting.
3) The paper was only published after review by independent experts.

Soon-to-be-published results of shark tracking research show that sharks found at the tour sites don't come close to shore.

Several elected officials such as Mr. Knudsen took public positions on this topic before they had sufficient objective information or after listening to "instant experts."
Apparently, ego now prevents them from changing their minds even though the scientific facts do not support their opinions.
Objective data indicate that the tours do not cause increased risk to humans and do not significantly impact the biology of sharks.

The tours do provide local employment and they probably increase the general public's appreciation of marine life and how worthy these resources are of our respect and protection.

Kim Holland, Ph.D. Researcher, Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology

Full stop.
Everything else is just demagoguery of the very worst kind.
But we knew that already, didn't we.

PS Underwater Thrills have just weighed in on the issue.

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