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...


Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Weeeelll, "Mr. Sharky Nostradamus" I think you pretty much called that one.

DaShark said...


Weeeelll, you could say that!

Not in any way proud about it though!

Then again, maybe this was the wake up call everybody needed.
It reminds me of the other debates about Shark media or commercial Shark diving protocols: utter disasters like the present one precipitate a discussion that can, hopefully, lead to improvements and long lasting change.

Fingers crossed!

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Ummm have you seen the media appearances from the researchers and film guys?

"Socratic Debate" with those folks we will not have unfortunately, unless you have some sort of Anti-Hubris spray to cut through the B.S.

Universally the public has stoned these guys in the marketplace and rightfully so.

Everyone likes a high wire act until the guy trips on a knot he put in the rope.

DaShark said...

Ya know what they say, hope springs eternal.

This will serve as a reminder for future research grants, permits, programming and the like. We can certainly influence that.

I got no doubt that the "Fishers" (like the Gurneys)are a dying breed and there's even a chance that the scientists will finally see the light and start asking the right ethical questions when planning their research.

Yes, even Domeier - once he's done posturing and once he re-directs the blood stream away from the gonads and back to his brain.

Anonymous said...

Well, Looks like the Farralon sanctuary folks are trying to let more white sharks get hoisted up for a TV rodeo/research project.

Anything for a buck these days regardless of how you make it, I thought a sanctuary meant the sharks were safe there?

Public comment period on the permit is open