Monday, November 30, 2009

Very cool!

Nice pic by Victor!

Check this out.

It's by Victor Maginnity, one of the co-perpetrators of this year's search for the Bull Shark nurseries.
Victor has been exceptionally busy ever since, having submitted a fabulous university paper that has earned him 91 out of a possible 100 points and co-authored his very first proper scientific paper that is hopefully going to be published soon.

He has just popped by for a short visit and we have agreed upon a rough outline of how we want to proceed going forward, always with the consent and under the guidance of Juerg.
In essence, we need to catch or otherwise conclusively identify the Sharks, after which we will strive to learn more about their life cycle in Fiji's rivers. Wouldn't it be just spectacularly cool if one day, one of our river Sharks would turn up on Shark Reef!

Anyway, here are some impressions of the places they went in June.

Pro-Shark Media

I did like this article.

Not only because of the interview with my dear friend Gary who along with the Swiss Shark Foundation he represents, has been a mentor and staunch supporter of what we do here in Fiji.
I like it because it's a perfect example of how the more mainstream media are thankfully slowly embracing the new image of Sharks and increasingly depicting them in the same fashion as they depict any other apex predator out there. Had this been a piece about, say, the threatened Amur Tiger, it would not have sounded any different - and that's a remarkable development in itself.

Kudos to Anne Canright for an exhaustive and well written overview depicting the plight of Sharks and the need to protect them.
Kudos also to California Coast & Ocean for promoting the conservancy of Sharks and for abstaining from any gratuitous sensationalism. Anne's article and this equally interesting witness account of the situation in French Polynesia do not contain a single reference to Shark attacks and have managed to entirely avoid the usual stupid stereotypes.

Now, if only the Sun could learn to do the same.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biofuel - from Sharks?

Well well.

Some rocket scientists in Greenland are proposing to convert Greenland Sharks into biofuel.
Apparently they are caught by the thousands when fishing for Greenland Halibut and discarded since their meat is toxic. Ragnhildur Gunnarsdóttir and Marianne Willemoes Jørgensen of ARTEK believe that they could be converted into biogas for the inuit.

Apparently, a majority of the population concurs, the more as the Sharks are considered a pest that devours fish, squid, seals and other marine life, and it also ruins the lines and nets of the halibut fishermen, according to, unsurprisingly, the head of Greenland's hunting and fishing association.
And then, I read this.

Aksel Blytmann, a consultant at Greenland's fishing and hunting association, says the shark could turn out to be an "unexpected energy source."
He explained that Uummannaq once paid a 200-Danish-kroner (26-euro, 38-dollar) reward to fishermen for a shark heart in order to keep their numbers down. Other municipalities in the northwestern and western parts of Greenland still continue this practice, he said.
The species "swarms in the Arctic waters and is not in danger of extinction," Blytmann claimed.

It fatally reminds me of what they used to, and still do to wolves: to demonize them and then, to put a bounty on their head (or legs), allowing some trigger happy morons to go killing them in unethical, and possibly illegal ways.

Thing is, contrary to wolves where there may indeed be a need for controlling some populations, Greenland Sharks are listed as near threatened by the IUCN.
The justification for it is that apart from having limited reproductive capacity like most Sharks, this is a deepwater species that grows extremely slowly and at an estimated 200 years, may well be one of the longest-living vertebrates (this is a fascinating link - read it!).
Does anybody really believe that the Arctic Ocean has the carrying capacity for "swarms" of gigantic Sharks, or that evolution has selected for high fecundity in an animal that can live for centuries? Killing thousands of slow breeding apex predators is an ecological catastrophe that needs to be stopped, not exploited!
Orange Roughy anybody?

Far from being visionary, or whatever, this so-called eco-venture is a plan from hell.
If implemented, it will generate new demand for Greenland Sharks who will inevitably become one of the principal targets for the Greenland fishermen, rather than being mere bycatch like they are now.
What really needs to happen is not to find ways of exploiting, and thus targeting them, but instead, to limit the baycatch by forcing the fishermen to adopt adequate protocols. No idea what those may be - but that's why we're paying fisheries biologists and donating hard earned $$$ to those NGOs - right?

Keep watching this space as this stupidity unfolds.

Hat tip: Tafa thanks for the heads-up.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Marine Extinction - two

I'm talking about us!
Us, the baby boomers - me, I learn, being a Joneser.

One of the most interesting topics of discussion at this year's DEMA was how population dynamics are affecting our industry.

It is very much us the boomers who have pioneered SCUBA diving and who have developed it from the initial passion of a select few intrepid adventurers to a world wide movement that has become universally accessible. It is very much us who have discovered and developed most destinations, opened the first dive centers, built the first liveaboard vessels, established the accepted diving procedures and developed the modern dive gear.
And most passionate, committed, wealthy and experienced clients hail from our ranks - especially those who book trips on liveaboard vessels.

But now, we're getting ever older and ever more frail, and dying.
Gone are the glorious days of hard core diving in some remote corner of the world - nowadays, it's Old Farts' Diving, as Bob Halstead calls it: no more schlepping of tanks, no more currents, no more risks, no more reckless adventure and exploration.
Enter the global recession that has wiped out most 401Ks and by the time we’ve managed to re-coup our losses, it will be too late - for us and for the conventional liveaboard industry.

Because the next batch is nothing like us.
To them, diving is just one among many other activities one can pursue during one’s holiday. They care not for dive dive eat dive dive eat dive sleep, the rather basic food, the occasional roach infestation and the constant rocking whilst trying to fall asleep on a narrow hard bunk .
They want to be able to play a couple of rounds of golf, sip a cocktail at the pool, have a massage, download their mail and watch news, go sightseeing and shopping and sleep in a proper bed.
Plus, more often than not, they tend to be accompanied by a non-diving and boat-o-phobic partner and a bunch of kids for whom diving is something un-cool that only old people do.
Not the kind of people who book traditional, old-style liveaboards, that’s for sure.

For that very specialized industry segment to survive, it will have to evolve, and very fast on top of that.
I believe that with the exception of very select destinations that will always remain iconic and attract a loyal following, like Cocos and the Galapagos where land based diving is really not an option anyway, the trend will have to be substantially shorter trips coupled with a much wider range of activities and services. Think “very small adventure cruise ship” offering a wide range of aquatic and land based activities including several X-activities like kayaking, surfing, hiking, canyoning and cross country biking along with cultural immersion and shopping - and even the all-important yoga, wellness and spa! And the connectivity! And the luxury!

Not really – but it will imply a change of mind set, strategy and marketing. And substantial investments on top of that, something I fear only few will be able, or willing to shoulder in these challenging times. Having talked to quite a few, many just can't be bothered and will just sell their vessels and retire.

Le Roi est mort - vive le Roi!

Marine Extinction - one

Talking about getting the facts right.

When writing that post, I was reminded of a recent lunch with a fellow Shark conservationist.
We were comparing the image of terrestrial vs aquatic apex predators and he looked at me and said that contrary to the fishermen, the hunters had never led to the extinction of a species.
Passenger Pigeon (mass ornicide) anybody? Quagga, pictured above?

I of course went looking and found these lists.
Heaps upon heaps of terrestrial animals, be it Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and even Insects! And freshwater Fishes! Many of which certainly hunted, and fished to extinction! But of course the man was partly right: modern hunters have indeed changed their ways and don't do those things anymore - and I may add, contrary to the game fishermen who still target pregnant Sharks in their stupid quest for trophies!

And how about the Ocean?
How many marine Mammals have gone extinct during the Holocene, i.e. from approx. 12,000 years ago til now? Steller's Sea Cow (hunted to extinction). Caribbean Monk Seal (overhunted). Japanese Sea Lion, possibly only a sub-species (hunted to extinction). Sea Mink, more coastal than marine (hunted to extinction - even before being scientifically described!).
Incidentally, I could not find any marine Cetaceans - yet.

Marine Reptiles?
Can anybody name a single one?

And how about a single marine Fish, Sharks included?

Don't get me wrong: I'm by no means suggesting that the situation is OK.
It is certainly very dire and we must continue working very hard in order to prevent what appears to be the imminent collapse of some of the most threatened species, like the Northern Bluefin, the Flapper Skate, many Sharks and the whole sad lineup on the Red List, many of which Corals. Still, the Ocean is a very very big place and it appears that so far and despite of our very best efforts, its Fishes have managed to dodge everything we've thrown at them, from reckless overfishing to reckless pollution.

Let's just keep that in mind when faced with the apparent hopelessness of our efforts.
It is not hopeless, and we can turn things around.

Well done Maggie!

Wansolwara anybody?

It took me a while to figure out that this is a combined word, in PNG Pidgin, for One Salt Water, meaning the Ocean that connects and unites the Pasifika. It's the training publication of the Journalism Degree and Diploma Programme of the University of the South Pacific, or USP.

I found the following article by pure chance when an employee of Bulaccino, the home of the world's best lime cheesecake, came over to thank me for my advocacy of Shark conservation. He's a member of Taveuni's chiefly clan who regard the Shark God Dakuwaqa as a long lost relative and who to this day revere and protect Sharks as a consequence.
Small world!

Renown FijiTV reporter and USP Journalism student Maggie Boyle has authored a well researched and timely pro-Shark piece for which she needs to be commended.
Please click on pictures to read.

Vinaka Maggie!

PS Patric of Underwater Thrills, bless him, has just unearthed the web-based version of this article

Monday, November 23, 2009

Too Many!

I did like Patric's Sunday Sermon.

It's in the comments section of this post, after which he has posted this one.
Both deal with the numbers circulated by some Shark activists and warn that if we argue with faulty data, we lose credibility and ultimately harm the cause. All very truthful, important and timely indeed.

Thing is, maybe it's really not that much of an issue as nobody really knows what's going on anyway.

Take the assertion that 90% of all Sharks have been wiped out.

Cookie Cutter Sharks? Greenland Sharks? Whale Sharks? Pigeye Sharks?
I've said it before, like "Birds", "Sharks" is an amorphous concept that leaves very little scope for generalizations. What we seem to know is that the stocks of some of the large, oceanic species like Silky, Oceanic Whitetip, Blue, Scalloped Hammerhead and the Threshers that are being targeted in tandem with other apex predators like the Tuna and the Billfishes have collapsed. Other coastal species, like e.g. the Caribbean Reef, Bull and Tiger appear to fare better and are still locally abundant.
Clearly, the assertion is not true - but then, what is?

Think baseline count, the original 100%.
Do we have that information?
I'm inclined to believe that when somebody tells me that over 90% of the large Sharks in the Mediterranean have been wiped out, it is based on fact. The Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by many highly developed countries that could well have established the apparatus for collecting population data and for monitoring any fishing taking place there, and the changes that the relatively recent industrial exploitation of Fish stocks have brought about in the last 30-40 years.
But how about, say, Yemen, another place where there is a large Shark fishing industry? Do you really believe that there are reliable data about the Sharks being landed in comparison to before, or a reliable census of Shark stocks in the Southern Red Sea compared to 1960?

And with that in mind, are the numbers of Sharks killed every year really between 25 and 75 million? 100 million? Or even between 150 and 200 million as one Shark conservation website claims?
And again: is that relevant? What species are we talking about? And how do those numbers relate to the total size of the relevant stocks and the carrying capacity of their habitat? Is that 1%, 10% per annum, or is it more than that? And what is the rate at which those stocks replenish?

Thing is, nobody knows and all of the numbers that are being circulated are nothing more than elaborate and more or less plausible estimates, with huge discrepancies based on individual assumptions (how much goes under- or un-reported, etc) and mathematical models.
Thus, the theoretically impeccable rule postulated on an interesting and intelligent conservation biology blog, that one needs to manage populations in function of the minimum viable population size is certainly highly interesting - in theory. But in practice, it's utterly useless and once again, nothing but an erudite crapshoot when applied to the urgent need to preserve marine species that are often spread across immense areas. Is it really plausible to postulate that approx. 5,000 Blue Sharks spread across the vastness of the Oceans would ensure that the species would survive? And who, please, would be able to count, let alone manage them?

But as I said, the numbers are rather irrelevant anyway.
What is relevant, I believe, is that anybody who has knowledge of the Sea is aware that the marine environment in general and Sharks in particular are in real bad shape.
I remember sailing into Cocos’ Chatham Bay in the eighties and there would be Shark fins crisscrossing the surface everywhere, and heaps of huge Silvertips on every dive. Or sitting at Dirty Rock and witnessing a never ending procession of Hammerheads that would completely fill my field of vision - up, down, left and right, as far as I could see. They were thousands - and today, a couple of hundred are a major event. Or take the Silvertips on the Burma Banks and the guaranteed Whale Shark sightings at Richelieu Rock: gone, likely forever. Or diving with Blue Sharks off San Diego: not anymore commercially viable.
And the list goes on and on and on.

This, and not a set of numbers that are not very tangible and may, or may not be factually correct is why many of us have become Shark conservation advocates.

Want a number, as in how many?
How about: Too Many!

The principal threat to large oceanic Sharks is the fishing industry that targets their fins. This fishery appears to be unsustainable, as witnessed by the reported regional (and some say: global) collapse of stocks.
Here, the main thrust of any conservation efforts needs to be sustainability: first, the stocks that have been overly depleted need to be allowed to recover and after that, one has to agree on quotas. All of that should be based on proper data that so far are largely lacking and until they have been gathered, it is imperative to apply the precautionary principle, operate under worst-case scenarios and to err on the side of caution.
But once the data have been collected, we must be willing to compromise and to allow for the sustainable (and ethical, meaning no finning) harvesting of Sharks as long as there will be demand for their fins – and yes, for the umpteenth time, I’m repeating myself!

On the other hand, and very much depending on location, the principal threat to coastal Sharks appears to be habitat degradation coupled with fishing pressure.
Here, on top of promoting sustainable fishing, one needs to focus on preserving the habitat, be it coral reefs or the equally important nursery areas. This is precisely the kind of work conducted by us here in Fiji, by having established a marine reserve, by now focusing our work on the river nurseries and by sponsoring plenty of research aimed at helping us take the correct decisions. And yes, we’re also engaged in promoting pro-Shark legislation, conservation and awareness.

There’s much to do and it’s not going to be easy.
But maybe contrary to others, I really do believe that it’s neither impossible nor too late.
Shark conservation has come a long way and despite of the inevitable setbacks, we thankfully appear well on course to changing perceptions and to finally depict and treat Sharks as what they are: not unpredictable monsters nor misunderstood pets – but charismatic predators that like their terrestrial counterparts need to be respected and above all, to be protected as they are important and often essential elements of their habitats which they help to regulate.

Long story short: everybody who loves Sharks will find a suitable niche where he can make a useful contribution.
But like Patric, I just wish that everyone could abstain from gratuitous sensationalism and activism and really focus on the task at hand, to engage in effective and pragmatic Shark conservation. That includes less idle chat and more hard and often tedious and frustrating work, less dogmatism and more compromise, less propaganda and more hard facts, less infighting and more coordination, less squandering of precious and finite resources and goodwill.

And above all: lots of love and respect for the animals and passion for the cause!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not surprised!

Well, as I said Amos never disappoints!

Having finally had the time to go through all of the recent Shark-related blog posts out there, I came across this one by the good guys over at The Dorsal Fin highlighting Amos' newest batch of GW pictures in the British media.

For all the hype, most of it is rather ordinary stuff that could have been equally shot from the safety of a cage.
The one I've posted is likely not even from this year's stunt and not by Amos, but from 2008 and by Jeb Corliss - and I may add, I'm far from being surprised by the "confusion" about its authorship.
La volpe cambia il pelo ma non il vizio, as we say where I grew up.

Nor am I frankly surprised that the above link (to an unfortunate article, and shame on DPG for having aided and abetted the marketing of this stupidity) more than amply proves that this was not some spontaneous last-minute decision, but very much premeditated.

Anyway, I'm not about to re-kindle the controversy as 63 comments on my last post are more than sufficient to shed more than ample light on the matter. Incidentally, having met one of the fearless clients, I understand that everything was meticulously planned and impeccably executed - which is good but not the point, and he hopefully now understands where I am coming from.
In any event, we managed to be friendly and to shake hands: Friede Freude Eierkuchen!

What of course remains is the mess.
Obviously, nobody realistically expects Amos and his pet "research" travel shop to kill the newly hatched goose. Plus, want it or not, the goal posts have been irrevocably moved and the Guadalupe operators will undoubtedly be faced with a deluge of groupies wanting to emulate, and even one-up the heroic feat. Having talked to some operators, they are all adamantly opposed to the unnecessary and very much unwanted escalation - but Club Cantamar may not want to play and in view of the treacherous political climate, it may be unwise to confront the Mexican authorities with the fact that the Shark diving operators are not able, or willing, to self regulate.

Thankfully, the GW season is drawing to an end, meaning that all concerned have 8 months to try and sort things out. It will be interesting to see if they can finally come up with a firm set of universally agreed upon protocols and above all, with a mechanism for enforcing them and for punishing any transgressions.

Because, Amos or no Amos, somebody will try pushing the envelope again - and that, you can take to the bank.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Disaster - as expected!

Domeier apparently thinks that showing off this meat hook is somehow cool - well, it aint!


I've just come back from an epic DEMA Show, only to find out that Domeier has managed to grieviously injure a Great White.
This is what has happened (transcript here).

It's all very very bad but having said it all before, there's no need for me to post any more opines on the matter. Others have taken up the issue, foremost of which Underwater Thrills, Sharky (welcome back buddy), Sea Stewards, RTSea and even the mainstream media like the ABC Blog and undoubtedly, many others.

Just this.

I'm particularly appalled by the reaction of the people involved, be it that woman who gave the permit, Domeier, NatGeo who remained silent and above all, that guy Fisher who chose to act as the spokesperson and greenwasher of the whole fiasco.
Their statements populate the comments sections of the various blogs and articles and are a glaring example of their arrogance, lack of ethical imperatives and pure and simple hubris. Where they should have been eating humble pie, admitted their error, apologized and stopped their stupid undertaking in view of developing better and more respectful procedures, they chose out to lash out against the critics and to point their finger at similar (and equally unethical) experiments by their peers.
Shame on them and shame on NatGeo for not having pulled them back and taken better control of what amounts to a substantial blunder and according tarnishing of their brand.

Secondly, this has come at no surprise.
I chose to chastise it in unequivocal and abrasive terms, partly because of, I hate to admit, my Germanic genes coupled with a sometimes poor understanding of the foreign language I write in - and partly because being literally in the thick of it, I vehemently and passionately oppose unethical and gratuitous science, a recurrent thread of this blog.
Turns out that on top of being unnecessarily brutal, the whole exercise was largely redundant as TOPP and others had already collected a vast sample of identical data. Yes the new tags stay on longer but that's no excuse whatsoever for harming the animals and yes, I'm repeating myself.

Thing is, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this was wrong and that it did harbor an unacceptably high risk of harming the animals. If this comment is true, it appears that they hadn't even figured out the need for using proper circle hooks, something every game fisherman has known for years.
Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I had wished for a more unequivocal condemnation of the way things were being handled - and this from the outset and not only after disaster struck.

Guys, in so many ways, we are the gatekeepers.
So let's be a little less politically correct, a little less timid, a little less oblique, a little less calculating and let's say it as it is - and yes, I'll leave it at that, the more as I'm sure you understand.

Luckily, within the scientific community, many concur that this unethical shit must stop.
I had the honor and great personal pleasure of finally meeting one of the world's foremost authorities on Sharks. We had a fantastic dinner where we exchanged views and lined up some exciting stuff for the future. And I was touched when he said that he started by killing many Sharks, a fact he now regretted as he was seeing what was happening and wanted to devote his efforts to getting the animals protected. What a great thing to witness!

Hopefully, the many new scientists he coaches and mentors will take up this modern view of what science needs to be: committed to conservation and always respectful of the animals.
Hopefully, the likes of Domeier who apparently sold his soul to the gratuitous fame of a stupid reality show will be adequately reprimanded by their peers at the next meeting of the AES or whenever he will try to hawk the data he has gathered. Hopefully, in the future, we will never again enable nor condone this kind of attitude, irrespective of the media dollars and the scientific veneer and according brownie points it may come with.

And hopefully, the poor Shark will survive - and guess who now carries the onus of proving it!

Enough said.

PS The Dorsal Fin has weighed in on this one and if one follows the links, one ends up on Mr. Fisher's website. Pretty revealing huh? So, maybe, this was primarily about reeling in some monster Fish that would have otherwise been protected?
Honi soit qui mal y pense...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Off to DEMA!

It's that time of the year again.

I've packed my bags and am on my way to Orlando.
Beqa Adventure Divers are at booth # 679 and we all look forward to a great DEMA show - and to Doug and Emily's engagement party! And to getting my new video housing!

Remember this post?
Well, Shark Diver was right: despite of the recession and despite of Fiji having abrogated the Constitution and devalued its currency, it's been a fabulous year! Once again, we were able to welcome more clients, to expand the scope of our research and to make inroads in our efforts to protect Fiji's Sharks, this mainly owing to the Fiji Shark Conservation and Awareness Project and Fiji's contribution to the Shark Free Marinas Initiative. And as we speak, there's more in the offing!

Regarding the industry at large: it will be interesting!
Last time, my impression was that we were overly optimistic, that a lot of overcapacity needed to be whittled away but that in the end, those who did offer a quality product and real value would survive. From this vantage point, this seems to have largely happened, albeit maybe not as dramatically as I would have anticipated. In any case, all the "good" guys seem to have survived, which is great.

Anyway, gotta go!
Vinaka and Moce Mada!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Reeling in Great Whites

One would think that all Shark researchers love the Sharks they study.

Well, think again.
Marine CSI researcher Dr. Michael Domeier goes fishing for endangered Great Whites. He hooks them, drags them aboard and then uses a drill to attach satellite tags to their dorsal fin. The following was apparently filmed in Guadalupe for a Nat Geo documentary and now, Domeier is planning to do the same in the Farallones, equally a marine preserve, once again documented by the inevitable film crew.
Check it out, it's a brutal procedure.

Some of the blue bloggers, namely The Dorsal Fin and RTSea have picked up the story and voiced their concerns, citing the "stress" this procedure could inflict upon the animals. Others seem to be more on the fence.

Me, I'm simply appalled and outraged.
Great Whites can be easily lured next to boats and hundreds of them have been successfully tagged using a pole spear - and yes, one can also easily take DNA samples and with a little bit of ingenuity, blood samples as well. Granted, some of the tags costing thousands of bucks will detach themselves and be lost, but -and this is what counts!- the animals are neither "stressed" not otherwise negatively impacted.

Here, the Shark is hooked and then left to fight a couple of buoys until it is completely exhausted, then dragged onto a hard platform where its own body weight can easily crush its internal organs and potentially kill any unborn fetuses, then completely removed from the water and left to lay semi-comatose and desperately fighting asphyxiation for a good 20 minutes whilst somebody uses a drill and other implements to make holes in its body. You can check it all out in this, I believe shocking image gallery.
It thus comes as no surprise that some specialists assert that some of the Sharks are likely to die as a direct consequence of this treatment.

How about if anybody did the very same thing to a Dolphin, notabene an animal that is not highly endangered and that can breathe outside of the water?
Yes, no catching with nets, none of those purpose-made, body-hugging cradles preventing the animal from hurting itself (check out the fresh cuts on the Shark's caudal fin and the lack of chafing gear on the rope), no padded water tanks supporting the body weight, no exquisite care administered to the animal in order to prevent dehydration of its sensitive skin - just the same nasty fishing hooks, the same brutal and heartless treatment and a comatose Dolphin left to fight for its life on a hard naked wooden platform whilst somebody drills holes into its body?
Still think that this is maybe OK?

I've said it before: this is not the seventies.
Since then, the public's sensibilities and the rules about what is acceptable in science have thankfully changed- and this is just not acceptable.
Do I really need to spell out that the "objects of research" are really not objects and must be treated ethically? Does Dr. Domeier really need to be reminded that Sharks, and GW in particular are particularly vulnerable and that hurting them and endangering their life is just not on?

Why MCSI has chosen to abandon its own successful, tried-and-tested non-invasive techniques and to resort to such brutal and heartless manhandling will always leave me baffled. I understand that the tags may be some novel gizmo requiring this kind of deployment - but then, the gizmo is faulty and needs to be re-designed or the protocols, to be drastically changed. Always keep in mind that nothing of this is either necessary, or urgent: not for the advancement of scientific knowledge and especially not for the survival of the species!

Full stop.
No data set is worth torturing animals in this brutal and heartless fashion!

Guys, Please: show the Love and the Respect!

PS Underwater Thrills have weighed in on this and further emphasized the need for controlling the associated media output. That's a valid, although I believe, secondary point. Those "fun" images of "cool" guys posing next to the comatose animal are certainly highly inappropriate.

We'll be keeping an eye out - for the Nat Geo program but above all, for reports of any tags having been "lost" (as in Sharks having perished) in the research paper.