Monday, October 31, 2011

7 Billion - how scary is that!

I'm apparently # 2,763,421,221.

Depending on where you start counting, it has taken man between 2.5 million and 160,000 years to get to that number.
It has only taken slightly more than 56 years to more than double it.
Yes, read that again!

Sorry TNC, I cannot see anything good in that.
And to top it off - Ecological Footprint anybody?

PS: simply BRILLIANT by Patric here.
BUT, buddy - yer precisely 53,227,618 too late so stop the chest beating & start becoming part of the solution!
Chop chop!

CNN and the Shark Free Marinas!

Stories here, here and here!

Angelo - Big News!

And talking of having no social skills.
Angelo is about to piss off hundreds of friends and relatives.


Sharks and Bears, no less!

Salmon-poaching and Bear-killing Sea Lion!
Oh for crying out loud! 
From the article
 “After Jaws, shark hunts increased and disrupted the balance of the ecosystem in a number of regions. In California, for example, seals and sea lions were able to thrive without a natural predator, leading to a depletion fish populations that eventually effected bears. It’s a domino effect.” 
And with those Shark hunts endangering Smokey the Bear, it follows that those wild fires would increase - and lo, they have
Beware of the dreaded domino effect! 
What can I say. 
Collier of SRI and SRC has already earned himself the uncontested distinction of having uttered this year's stupidest propositions - but this one must be truly the absolute, albeit I fear only temporary pinnacle! 
So there
  • There is indeed a correlation between declining Bear populations and declining Salmon runs (and here, etc)

  • The causes for the decline in Salmon on the West Coast are overfishing, habitat changes, hatcheries and hydropower, along with Global Warming. See here, here, here, here, here, etc. - no I'm not a Salmon specialist, I've just googled sockeye decrease causes.
    There is also evidence that pinniped predation does in fact effect already depressed populations of Salmon - but in fact, they are not the cause for that depression, they affect the recovery!

  • And the principal cause for changes in the population of Pinnipeds?
    Read this! = Sharks and Orcas do not have any noticeable regulatory influence on population size. In fact, since the protection of Great Whites nearly 20 years ago, the Californian population of Sea Lions has continued to grow! This because the people (not the GWs!) have stopped hunting them!

  • Long story short: there is ZERO correlation between Jaws and starving Bears!
But who cares about facts - right? 
Facts are booooring!  
PS - and how about those Chinook-eating Orcas
Are they killing the Bears, too - or are the Sea Lions killing the Orcas, or what??? 
Damn domino effect! 
 HUGE hat tip to that, and I cite, deplorable, self-centered, self-absorbed, egotistical, hate mongering, ignorant, insecure, piece of crap with very limited brain power and little to no social skills!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Numbers - more Backlash?

Lookee lookee!
The European Elasmobranch Association is meeting in Berlin - and who is the first keynote speaker? None other than Shelley Clarke who is obviously poised to once again rant against the abuse of her numbers!

I'm of two minds about this.
Yes it is terribly frustrating to see how some of the Sharktivists continue to spew the same old tired nonsense, as in this brand new press release by Sea Shepherds that prattles on about almost 100 million (the "number", if you really want to use one, is 38 million!) and about the oceans providing for up to 80% (really???) of our oxygen, as if the latter had anything to do with Sharks!

On the other hand, Ms Clarke's public wailing is frankly starting to become irritating.
More and more, this is looking like a self serving crusade, the more as everybody and his dog has read her original piece in SeaWeb - especially her audience at that meeting!
I would be much more impressed if Ms Clarke decided to become part of the solution and started working on a new peer reviewed paper about the actual numbers more ten years later - and I would be incredibly impressed and thankful if Bayesian inference or no Bayesian inference, she could provide us with something a little more specific than a number with an error margin of 92%!

Or, may this be no more than some rather thinly veiled angling for funding - and if so, any takers givers?

But that's just cantankerous me.
Others may differ, and I shall undoubtedly hear about the reaction of her fellow researchers, the more as Juerg will be in Berlin to present the results of Kirsty's foray into the arcane realm of the shy-bold continuum.

So, here's to a positive outcome of this controversy!

Junior - in California!

Turns out that Junior has been visiting the Farallones.
The tag is failing so this is likely the last we'll hear of him - unless some of the local residents out there have recorded his presence.
Story here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Graphic by Pew - click for detail.

It's that time of the year again!
ICCAT is meeting in Istanbul, the economy is still fucked, actually probably more than ever, and consequently, my hopes remain dim, at least when it comes to the Tuna (read this!).
The good people at Pew have produced an excellent report (do download and read the PdF!) that illustrates how widespread IUU in the Mediterranean (under- and non reporting, poaching, fraud and the illegal use of drift nets by the Italians, etc) has led to total catches of at least double the official quotas.

Not into reading?
Here's what I'm talking about - and remember this post?
Watch out for the puny tuna coming out of the hold - shocking!

And what about the Sharks?
In comparison to the Tuna, they are not really of any economic importance and consequently, I remain hopeful that ICCAT will decide something positive, be it only to distract from what I fear will be another fiasco for the Tuna - or do you really believe that in this economy and amid those political upheavals, Berlusconi is going to direct the police to go and arrest those poaching fishermen!

Take a look at the recommendations by Pew.
As always, they are totally well researched and make total sense - and as always, I fear, they will not be heeded. I however remain hopeful for Shark protection, tho fully protecting the Porbeagle that is a food fish is probably going to be ambitious. A moratorium and then, strictly monitored and enforced (I know I know...) science based quotas like suggested for the Mako would certainly be a good step in the right direction. And the fin removal ban clause would be really nice and does not look impossible at all.
There's of course much more to do - see the recommendations by the Shark Alliance!

And what about ending the overfishing of the Tuna and Billfishes?
Hmmmmmmmm - but hope, as they say, springs eternal.

Best of luck to Pew - I know they're gonna try their best!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shark Dances!

Bull Shark - by none other than the great Dr. Hammerschlag himself!

Great stuff!
For the countless fans of David's dazzling footwork, here's a longer clip of his beautifully choreographed Bull Shark dance, along with excerpts from several more species-specific routines that are quite obviously still in their early production stages - but certainly getting there!
Still eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the Thresher Shark dance tho!

Seriously, big kudos to Christine!
This instant follow up was seriously smart - and yes, kudos to Neil and to David, too! :)
I must say, this whole RDJ venture is simply stellar outreach and I invite everybody to go and explore the sheer scope and depth of that website. If ever there was a question about how to best communicate science and to fascinate and activate the public at large, let there be no doubt that this is how you do it!

And without further ado!

Shark Hope Video!

Story here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seychelles - it was a Bull Shark!

Toothy Bull by Sasha.

As so often, Patric has been spot on.
Something was indeed rotten in the state of the Seychelles.
Turns out that the Shark that fatally struck a tourist was not a foreign GW but a local Bull Shark. Gotta love the Shark experts who made the wrong ID - so much for unmistakably!

Story here.
Kudos to Mahmood for providing the correct answers.

The learning curve however appears to be flat.
Despite of Mr. Cliff's totally botched diagnosis, it now appears that the Authorities will continue to rely on "expert" advice from SA's infamous KNZSB and are planning to set up shark nets. As for the ludicrous claim that those would be tailor made (presumably to catch only Bull Sharks), read this.

A World without Sharks?

Douglas' contribution to this year's wallpaper challenge - click for detail! Depicted among others: Sickle, Brenda, Tipless and Long John

Sharks evoke the true meaning of the word ‘awe’.

They instill a sense of wonder, admiration, reverence… and a bit of fear. Few other aquatic animals, except perhaps great whales, can evoke such emotions. But beyond ‘selfish’ love of nature for its own sake, self-interested man surely must appreciate that without sharks, ecosystems collapse, collapse fully and completely, and they do not rebound. Unlike terrestrial national parks, predator reintroductions are not possible with sharks. There is no successful captive breeding program.
Once they are gone, they are gone for good.

Once again, this is excellent pro-Shark media by Douglas David Seifert, one of the world’s top shark-watchers and award-winning shark photographers and I may add, passionate Shark conservationist and dear friend.
Having participated in literally thousands of Shark dives, Douglas understands Sharks like few others and what he has written here is a testament to his love of the animals but also very much to his meticulous research and erudition.

This article needs to be savored like a good glass of Bordeaux.
Lean back, relax and learn about Shark taxonomy, biology and life history, about food webs and trophic cascades - but above all, about the threats facing Shark populations and the absolute need to preserve them.
Enjoy and be amazed!

Juliet - excellent, once again!

Killed for nothing - Shark cull in Sharm - pic via BushWarriors

Thank you Juliet!
If Shark conservation has indeed gone mainstream, it is in large part owing to the relentless efforts of Mrs Eilperin who continues to crank out excellent pro-Shark media (this is just a small sample) in the most prestigious and widely read publications.

Case in point, this article in the Washington Post.
Starting from re-branding Shark attacks as Shark strikes, this is smart, well documented and compelling reading that once again helps put things into the right perspective. The pictures are by Christine Shepard, like Madi Pip a young passionate and extremely promising Shark media lady with a bright future ahead of her.

As always, required reading!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bull Shark Dance!

Hammerhead! from the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program blog

What was I thinking!
Now that I see it, it was always clear that David would not engage in just any Shark dance but develop beautifully choreographed species-specific routines instead - and not only that, they are being subjected to instant peer review by none other than Dr. Hammerschlag himself, as it should be!
Now that I can see where this is leading, I can quite picture the routine for Hammerheads, see above, and maybe even that for Tigers - but I must confess that I can't wait to see the Thresher Shark dance!

I must say, I am deeply impressed!
Kudos for having had the vision of bonding exquisite artistic expression with research, conservation and outreach. This is smart, inclusive and eminently entertaining - and it works!

David in snazzy Floridian attire at 00:16.
Absolutely adore the flowery shorts - but where are the de rigueur orange Crocs?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sea Stewards - really?

Check out the credentials of the Sea Stewards.
Impressive, huh?

But then, I read this

Apex predators, sharks are at the top of the oceans’ food chain, and once removed, all of the oceans species will fall like a house of cards. With scientists estimating 34 % of the world’s sharks already extinct, and up to 99% of species decimated, we may be the generation that is responsible for killing off a species that has been in existence for over 450 million years.

  • Not all Sharks are apex predators
  • The assertion that the removal of Sharks will lead to the collapse of all of the oceans (sic) species is just plain ludicrous and supported by zero research
  • Not a single species of Shark has been documented to have gone extinct since the advent of man
  • up to 99% (of what - the remaining 66%?) decimated? I wish! Decimate from Latin decimare, to kill one in ten. Didn't even get that one right...
And so it goes...

Excellent Interview by Barry Bruce!

Check this out.
As we continue to be bombarded by a deluge of self professed Shark experts with pavlovian on-camera reflexes, Barry Bruce of CSIRO stands out as extremely knowledgeable, reasoned and highly compelling. This is one of Australia's foremost researchers of Great Whites who has collected numerous tracks that show how Australia's GWs migrate north along the Eastern seaboard and to WA at specific times of the year, possibly following their prey.
Barry is also the man behind the call for less Shark diving operators and Shark diving days in Neptune Island, South Australia, this based on objective data gathered during years of research into Australia's Great Whites, video here.
Andrew Fox agrees so it's probably OK.

But I'm digressing as always.
Enjoy the interview - this is as good as it gets.

Further compelling statements against the Shark cull in WA
Tip o' hat: the Dorsal Fin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Victor - getting there!

Feeding Bull Shark, screen shot from Saturday's dive - click for detail

Remember the strange contraptions?
Yes they were indeed molds - but not for the company logo!
Instead, they were for the rear end of a Bull Shark, seen here in red wax on the left hand side of the pic!

Enter Victor Douieb, sculptor of Sharks and passionate Shark diver.
Visitors of DEMA 2010 may remember him from the Unexco booth where among several others, he was proudly showcasing his sculpture of Cristina balancing one of her Sharks. I like the man, his artwork and his philosophy and when he told me that he was going to sculpt a feeding Bull Shark, I was eager to assist in any way I could.
We've been e-mailing back and forth ever since.

Victor is a perfectionist and progress has been slow.
You can follow it when scrolling down on his Facebook page, from the first lump of clay in August and the entire animal at the end of that month all the way to the cast in wax and finally, the big metal sculpture fresh from the foundry below. The pictures Victor is consulting are screen shots from the Shark Dive and I am proud to say that the end result very much resembles one of the Beqa Sharks!

Keep following Victor on his wall as he applies the final touches to his latest masterpiece!

I say: this is something that should grace the board room of a Fiji-loving Shark NGO - or even better, said NGO should donate it to BAD!

Mind you, just a hint! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Shark Dance?

There goes the gravitas!
David aka WhySharksMatter has been outed as a consummate, and successful performer of arcane Shark attracting rituals.
Story here!

Can't wait to see his demo on YouTube!
Will it be indigenous like this one,

or more contemporary like this one (1:20),

or something more impromptu, but equally wonderfully choreographed like this one?

I'm still here!

More (un)timely advice here!

Well, that in itself is no wonder.
Being an avowed and totally unrepentant antitheist, I would not have qualified anyway.
But, have the fundamentalist Christians finally absconded?

Worry not, there will be a new date - and if not, as of right now, our final-final appointment with fate is only 424 days, 13 hours, 53 minutes and 24 seconds away!

Australia - kill those Great Whites!

Australia - back to the 50ies

Well, what can I say.
There has been another fatal Shark attack off Perth and it very much looks like the authorities have resolved to order a Shark cull.
It will achieve nothing - but it will likely placate the public and be the lesser evil when compared to other measures like anti-Shark legislation. No don't get me wrong, I hate it - but with people like this idiot stirring the pot, some kind of a political knee-jerk reaction was all but inevitable.
Talk about a timely post by Patric!

Anyway, not good and very much q.e.d.- alas!

PS much the same, much less polite here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dugongs - the Demise of the Mermaids

I must say, rarely have I found a picture more disturbing.

Sad story here.
Dugongs are classified as vulnerable and as usual, the main causes of population declines are anthropogenic, with hunting, habitat degradation and fishing related fatalities being the principal ones.

2011 is the Pacific Year of the Dugong.

There's even an action plan by SPREP and I sure hope that it will help curtail the abomination that is the hunting for Dugongs in Australia's North.

We the People - done!

Great news!
The petition has attained the all-important threshold!

Now, let's watch the Administration squirm! :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taiwan - bad, bad News for Sharks!

Pic by Shawn Heinrichs.

You really want to click on this pic and look at it in full resolution.

It is from Taiwan.
This is but one of many such places world wide and illustrates graphically the sheer scope of this trade. It's big, big money and will not just simply disappear without a fight, petitions or no petitions.
Thankfully, the people at Pew understand this and focus on policies as opposed to activism.

Story here, more gruesome pics here.

Simians on the Rocks!

Not a Great White? Pics by Oceans Research - click for detail.

Poor reviled Leon Bekker did not know he had hooked a Great White.
He certainly did not haul it onto the rocks.

He also most definitely did not pose with the Shark!

As Patric says.

We understand that S.A is a world away from conservation norms, but to those who would claim that they are the leaders of any conservation movement with sharks in S.A we say
"show us what you got".

It's your backyard and this guy just took a great big dump in it.

Thank you Oceans Research for breaking the story.
PS there has been a public outcry - let's see if it leads to something!

Shark Defenders Petition - Urgent!

I was obviously overly confident.
The Shark Defenders petition has not yet reached the required 5,000 signatures and there are only four days left to reach that aim. From what I can see, this is really a one-off as it very much appears that the Administration has since increased the threshold to 25,000 (bottom of page).

Yes I understand, signing may be marginally cumbersome.
One has to open an account and it appears that there may be technical problems - still, it should be possible to rustle up a paltry 750 signatures from the Shark Defenders fan base of 72,350? Isn't that what social media are all about, to have one's voice heard?

Anyway, here is the petition.
Sign sign sign!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Australia - WTF?

Patric is right.
If you are a Shark, take a left in Sydney and get the hell outta there!

We've blogged at length about the appalling decision by the NSW minister for primary industries Katrina Hodgkinson to lift the fishing ban at the Grey Nurse aggregation sites Fish Rock and Green Island which are still enumerated in the Ministry's pamphlet but now acutely threatened.
The submission period (this one is excellent - read it!) has closed on August 26th - and what has happened since? So far, I hear, nada de nada de nada, meaning that the Ministry has given no feedback whatsoever and that the sites are still open for fishing.
Sadly, I'm not at all surprised.

Then, much like in SA, there's the shark nets and drumlines.
They are hopelessly antiquated and ecologically unsustainable (and here) and in other countries, they have been widely replaced by equally effective modern beach safety techniques. But when the public continues to advocate culling "rogue" Sharks after somebody gets attacked, rolling back those perceived protective measures may be politically impossible. Read this excellent feature from the Save our Seas Foundation on the problems of coexisting with Sharks and the various measures implemented - an here's a good one about Shark nets in Oz.
Incidentally, I was particularly appalled by this article. In it, one Terry Peake has the audacity to make the following statements.

“There’s a lot of ‘green money’ tied up in shark research.
Certain organisations are given money to protect something, so they do whatever it takes to say they’re protecting it, then at the end of tenure they present facts saying protection must continue so they receive more grants,”

As fishing stocks deplete, sharks are starting to adapt their food sources.
“Sharks need food with a high fat content and in the past humans wouldn’t provide that. However they’re getting desperate. Now we’re hearing stories about people completely disappearing, not just being bitten. It’s not a case of mistaken identity anymore, sharks are adapting out of necessity.”

Yes, this would be totally Vic Hyslop redux!
Shocking - but then again, maybe not so much. One could put it away as the ramblings of merely yet another unhinged Shark hating lunatic, were Terry not the Australian investigator of the GSAF, a bogus Shark Attack database closely affiliated with the equally bogus Shark Research Institute, the home base of other luminaries like Ritter, Collier and Amos - and I spare you the links to posts on this blog, the more as you can search for them yourself!
I say, quousque tandem - and Jupp, should you read this, get the hell outta there - ehrlich, in Freundschaft!

But I'm digressing as always.
Back to the Ozzie Shark fiasco and we find the Queensland East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery ECIFFF that is taking 600 tons (or maybe more) of Sharks from the GBR Marine Park each year.
Yes read that again - from a Word Heritage Area!

I mean, seriously!
It has been known for years that any such fishery is completely unsustainable and that reef Sharks in the GBR are in big trouble - last confirmed by this open source paper as recently as last month.
And now, Fisheries Queensland has made a submission to have this abomination declared an approved Wildlife Trade Operation, this based on a rather problematic (!) report and this in diametrical contrast to the aspirations of the dive industry.
And the Federal Government is asking for comments.

Enter Madi Pip Stewart.
I must say, I am increasingly impressed by this very young underwater cinematographer, by her passion, by her product, by her outreach, by the quality of her statements. Anyway, you want to check out her blog where you will find a template for a comments letter and also, an assessment of Elasmobranchs caught in the GBR. Once again, very impressive indeed!
The consultation period closes on October 21 - and alas, I once again fear that the end result will not be in favor of Sharks, Pip passion or no Pip passion!

But the conservation fiasco not only limited to Australia's Sharks.
South Australia and NSW are bowing to the pressure by the anglers and other ocean recreationists and re-zoning their marine parks.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth is completely ignoring unanimous scientific advice, and that of the community, when defining its marine parks in the South West Bioregion that features an exceptionally high concentration of iconic marine species, many of which are endemic and can thus be found nowhere else on the planet. And worse than that, it is now actively muzzling and censoring dissenting researchers, Texas style.
Bravo to Corey for speaking up - and having talked to a few friends, it is exactly like he says!

So, WTF is going on?
Ever since the fratricide of Rudd and the subsequent botched elections, the Labour-led government there has been nothing but an appalling joke whereby anything and anybody, let alone useless baggage like ideals and principles are being sacrificed on the altar of self serving political survival - and yes I'm trying to be polite!
Gone are the days where Australia was a shining beacon of visionary conservation, gone the days where it could lecture the Pacific Island States who are now showing Big Brother the way forward.

Alas, short term, I am rather skeptical.
The political trend appears to be pointing towards a shift to the right where Big Mining and Big Oil are calling the shots - and obviously, those entities could not care less about Australia's ecosystem, marine and otherwise. But as long as there are young passionate people like Madi, there is hope, at least in the long term.

Fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shark Skeletons with their Fins naturally attached?

Read this - just unbelievable!

It is clearly against the aim of the legislation - but depending on the exact wording, it may indeed not be prosecutable. Looks like the anti-finning laws need to be re-written to include both the requirement that the fins be naturally attached and that weight-to-body ratios be no more than 5%.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mobulas: Awesome!

Check this out!
It is from the Sea of Cortez and depicts one of the four local species of Mobula, a small relative to the Manta Rays - the latter in plural as now there are at least two: remember? Large Mobulas can be distinguished from small Mantas by having the mouth beneath and not in front of the head.
I'll venture a guess and state that this is most likely an aggregation of Pigmy Devil Rays, Mobula munkiana, a small gregarious migratory species that is endemic to that coast of the Americas.

Enjoy and be amazed!

Karen Berger on Pac Harbour Shark Diving!

Predators on Shark Reef. Epic pic by Timbo!

Meet Karen.
She's been here a short while ago and has posted her experience on Suite 101.

I must say, it's quite a nice piece.
Being the journo she is, Karen had of course to dwell on the usual controversy about Shark feeding etc, the more as she obviously had a rather bad experience in Bora Bora. Quite frankly, I'm rather bored with the old tired allegations that are increasingly being dismantled by peer reviewed scientific publications, the last one of which a rather epic upcoming paper by Juerg.

But, I'll concede this.
What most of the critics fail to catch on to, is that baited Shark diving is neither good nor bad. It can be either, and this both for the animals and the divers, based on how it's being done - and there are plenty of places where the protocols are unequivocally faulty, making those reckless, stupid and dangerous undertakings.
No, no links this time! :)

Thankfully, according to Karen, Fiji is not one of them.
So, what are you waiting for! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CNN on the Shark Sanctuary in the Marshalls!

Very cool!
As I said: Big Big Big Big!

The Huffington Post - Correct but also, totally Wrong!

Squalus suckleyi, North Pacific Spiny Dogfish. Photo by Andy Murch (

From the article.

Even if one doesn't like the taste or idea of shark fin soup, what is at stake is the individual's right to choose what to eat within the confines of the law, regardless of whether its production is offensive to some campaigners, celebrities or politicians.

The attempt to prohibit shark finning is an example of our illiberal times, where private activities such as eating are fair game for criticism and moral posturing.
It's an easy target for organisations such as PETA who have lost the public argument over the use of animals for other ends such as medical research and are looking for cheap victories elsewhere. It also reflects the difficulty we have in understanding where our food comes from and our estrangement from its production. Finning may be uncomfortable to watch but how easy would it be for most of us to watch what happens in an ordinary abattoir?

I say, not so fast, Mister!
This article has been obviously spawned by the shenanigans of those idiots over at PETA in particular and in general, by the dumbing down of Shark Conservation whereby some quarters have chosen to frame the narrative as an issue of cultural preferences.

It is of course not.
From a conservation standpoint, everybody, and that very much includes the Asian consumers of Shark fin soup and of Whales, is more than welcome to eat whatever they please - provided that what they eat is being harvested sustainably and produced and dispatched ethically!
Nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights and personal taste!

Finning is of course an ethical abomination that needs to be stopped.
But other than that, and I am of course repeating myself: when advocating Conservation, we need to always be pragmatic, fact based, solution oriented and willing to compromise. That also implies accepting that people fish for Sharks provided that it is done sustainably.

Still not at all convinced about the latter.
But, there is now the certification of the fishery for the recently described North Pacific, or Spotted Spiny Dogfish by the MSC . Everybody I'm sure will be watching - but should this really prove to be fully sustainable, I fully expect those fins to eventually turn up in California (hear hear!) following the recommendation of the Ocean Protection Council (scroll to bottom of link)!
And guess what: that's perfectly OK, the more as in Spiny Dogfish, the whole animal is utilized as the meat is much sought after and exported to Europe.

Long story short: we need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Anybody out there?

From a post last November.

I trust you know that the western hemisphere economies are broken.
With the exception of some micro states with special circumstances and Germany that has successfully re-routed its exports to Asia, everybody else is in a terrible mess, with no real end in sight.
The bailouts amount to nothing more than kicking the can further down the road when the billions will have to be re-paid, and the clamoring for austerity and re-balancing of the budgets can really only have one immediate effect: more joblessness that may even become structural, less consumption and consequently, an even slower economic recovery.
Take Europe: Greece, now Ireland, soon Portugal and Spain, possibly Belgium and Italy: more austerity, more riots, more job losses – not to mention a weakening of European solidarity and the Euro.

We need Leadership, not ideology.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Surprise Surprise 2!

The mystery deepens...
Hint: if u really want to know what this is all about, you may want to look at the picture on the last post and start googling for what is clearly written there... :)

Big Big Big Big!

The world's largest Shark Sanctuary no less!
Big kudos to the the Republic of the Marshall Islands!

And to Pew, Stefanie and senator Hee!

Air Swimmers!

This is way cool - the video & the product!
Available here.

Guadalupe - nice Video!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Galapagos Sharks - local anthropogenic Extinction!

Saint Paul's Rock - apparently, not remote enough! Pic by Andre Seale

I always wanted to go diving there.
Now, not so much.

Looks like we've wiped out the Sharks at Saint Paul's Rocks.
Situated smack in the middle of the Atlantic, this is as remote as it gets - but apparently, not remote enough for the fishermen to wipe out all requiem Sharks, principally the local Galapagos Sharks that appear completely gone, but also the previously abundant Silkies that however continue to turn up sporadically. Keep in mind that as recently as 1982, the resident Galapagos sharks have been described as "one of the densest shark populations of the Atlantic Ocean"(Edwards, A.J. and Lubbock, H.R. (February 23, 1982). "The Shark Population of Saint Paul's Rocks")!

From the Abstract.
Until the mid-20th century, visitors to St. Paul’s Rocks invariably commented on the remarkable number of sharks around the Archipelago.
These observations contrast with those of expeditions carried out during the last decade, which report no carcharhinid reef sharks while scuba diving in the archipelago, despite many more hours of underwater fieldwork than previous expeditions. All quantitative and qualitative methods conclude that the reef shark Carcharhinus galapagensis is locally extinct at St. Paul’s Rocks after a sharp decrease in abundance that took place following the commencement of fishing.

You can download the whole paper here.
Table 1 with the historical observations is both particularly interesting and particularly depressing. But there's also real interesting stuff about indications for a possible trophic cascade insofar as there are now many free swimming Moray Eels - incidentally very much like in Malpelo where in many weeks spent there, I've only seen very, very few coastal Sharks but zillions of Morays!
Highly recommended reading!