Thursday, July 05, 2012

Sea Shepherd in the South Pacific?

First things first: read this.
The Fiji Blog is the official blog of Fiji's Ministry of Information.

What followed was a flurry of e-mails.
My friends being who they are, there was a lot of laughing, smirking and conspiratorial winking - so for the record: Beqa Adventure Divers have nothing whatsoever to do with that.
We are a foreign owned company and have no bearing whatsoever on what Fiji's government do and say. As Sea Shepherd HK's fiery Gary Stokes reveals, we limit our activities to feeding Sharks for money and to pursuing our ego-driven campaigns - and yes, we generally just stand on the sidelines and claim to be conservationists whilst having the audacity to critique others for actually doing something!
Well said!

PS! Gary has reached out & we're cool - I think. :)

What we did do, was to politely turn down a request by the SSCS for a few days of filming in the SRMR. As I said here, we want nothing to do with the dolphinization of Sharks, and we also certainly don't want to be in any way associated with Sea Shepherd's radical brand of conservation.
Having met him years ago, I don't like him much - but I do respect Watson for being one of the preeminent marine conservation activists. What I however hate are the personality cult, the hyperbole, the bullshit media, and the fanaticism and glaringly uncritical adulation by his devote followers - and let's not forget the simply atrocious poetry, barf!

And if not...

Huge H/T to David!!!

Oh yes yes, I'm critiquing - again!

We were reinforced in our decision when a SSCS representative started making the rounds here in Fiji.
There was talk of an Animal Planet shoot, of two vessels coming here to hunt for illegal Shark finners, of roping in Ratu Epeli, of buxom bimbettes frolicking with Sharks etc. - in brief, some kind of Shark Wars, or whatever, combined with the usual self promotion by the Shark Angels, both of which I particularly despise.

But now, I read this.
Looks like someone has been listening, as this is really rather good, and kudos for that!

But is this the whole story?
You be the judge of that.

Well well.
Looks like nothing has changed after all.

I say, this is not the Pacific Way.
Nobody is asking anybody to put his life on the line (or was it, putting her life online? Detail detail!), and we down here have zero need for self-appointed deputy sheriffs, the more as this could once again lead to unwelcome political implications.
What we do require is intelligent, informed, committed and passionate people who help in advocating and then, implementing locally appropriate Shark management and conservation strategies, and this in a constructive, respectful and consensual way. This means hard, quiet and persistent work on the ground, and pursuing strategies that are diametrically opposed to Watson's interventionist approach.
This also means providing for resources for capacity building, monitoring, enforcement and prosecution - meaning time, talent and money and not foreign vessels playing policeman whilst starring for sensationalist reality shows.

Long story short?
Better change the playbook - or you'll be quickly celebrating the requiem for Operation Requiem!
My honest advice - free of charge!

PS: David - brilliant!
PS2: Patric on the Watson Doctrine & con-ninnies here!

And the saga continues...


Tropical Selkie said...

"hard, quiet and persistent work on the ground" which is the core of real conservation work does not make for good TV (which, in providing entertainment, is loud sporadic and inconsistent). That is why, to date, TV shows that claim to be about 'conservation' rarely are. They are, however, effective media machines, for good or ill, depending who you are.

Anonymous said...

Effective media machines?

Effective at what? Generating awareness? Donations? Spreading half truths and conservation imagineering?

Do they actually change any paradigms? Have they stopped whaling? Sealing? Tuna?

Anonymous said...

I think it is stupid for them to announce that they are going before they go. A legitimate organization -- business or conservation -- would never do such a thing in advance of actually engaging with people in the country. Can you imagine if someone from another country just announced that they were coming to your country to patrol your waters, build a casino, or do anything for that matter? Especially one labeled as terrorists?

OfficetoOcean said...

Indeed, it's nothing more than hiding behind your mate shouting "hold me back, hold me back" when it kicks off down the pub...

JTruda said...

I certaoinly do not know enough of the persinality clashes that led to this posting or for that matter to the apparent outburst by SS HK that led to it in the first time. What I DO know is that tne world would be much worse off if Paul Watson and his supporters, like them or not, were not around. The same could be said of many of us shark heads I guess. But with respect I think this post apoears more driven by a hurt ego. If I´m wrong, apologies - but in any case I do hope Sea Shepherd does take a m ajor role in shark conservation on a global scale, because neither our governments nor the international treaties are doing any real goog globally given the sheer size, the avalanche of the fin trade.

DaShark said...

Rest assured that the poster is not driven by hurt ego! :)

The SSCS would indeed be a welcome force in Shark conservation.
But this bombastic announcement is very evidently geared towards a reality show for Animal Planet and not towards finding real solutions to a complicated problem in a real and complicated world.

Other organizations like Pew or say, Shark Savers or Shark Trust etc. operate successfully without all that unbecoming personality cult, fanfare and radicalism.

And yes, progress is excruciatingly slow - and yet there is progress, sometimes spectacular!

As I said, back to the drawing board!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, boxom bimbettes? As one of the women who was going to be a part of this campaign, I find that insanely offensive. I care nothing about fanfare or self promotion, I saw the film crew as something I'd have to tolerate. I was however thrilled at the idea of doing hands on, COLLABORATIVE work. Hunting down shark finning boats was never part of the plan, and neither was the media involvement.

Not sure why you despise shark angels, but most of us are involved, quietly, with the organizations you respect. Some work for pew, shark savers, etc. doing conservation on the "ground level" with no press involvement.

I understand your stance on sea shepherd, but all of women who was going to be involved in this are impressive, successful, intelligent, warm people who are crazy passionate about sharks, and we all deserve more respect than being called bimbettes.

Anonymous said...

Who were*

Gotta love a phone fail typo when defending my intelligence.

Megalobomb said...

I think the more boxom bimbettes using their powers for shark conservation rather than robbing ugly old white guys, the better.

DaShark said...

Well, there's obviously some confusion here.

No media huh.
You may want to go talk to your planners as the evidence sure points to the opposite.
There were press releases announcing the arrival of two vessels to go hunting for illegal finners, and there's the campaign's video announcement I've posted.
Must I understand that nobody was gonna be putting their life on the line, either?

Buxom bimbettes?
That's what I've been told - after having turned down the shoot (would that be media?) we were not part of those conversations.

I did like the written announcement, and have said so.
There's also nothing wrong with impressive, successful, intelligent, warm people who are crazy passionate about sharks - whether buxom, Angels, or not.
I just despise the self promoting media.

So maybe you may want to go & sort out your messaging and then concentrate on your collaborative work.

Maybe this time: quietly?

Anonymous said...

Buxom bimbettes?

Well said. If your entire contribution to the global shark conservation effort is seen as riding the fins of sharks backed up by a slick PSA video or two one might call you a Buxom bimbette.

The pizza box w lipstick "Save the Sharks" in South Africa was another amazing achievement for sharks and saved at least none of them.

But being the Buxom bimbette in the photo ensured that the SSCS reality TV show for sharks would go on!

Get real anon. Bikinis and sharks are a poor match for corporate fishing fleets and politically based shark quotas.

They do however tickle the fancy of execs at networks and help sell SUV's and detergent to the masses during the commercial break.

Pretty sure everyone who comments on this blog is far more seasoned than you assume them to be.

Perhaps try selling that line on Facebook where folks who do not have a clue will sign just about any petition and believe in any half witted media story.

FYI, the bikinis should have the sea-shep logo on them and a pic of Paul on the back. Hey if you're going to the gold don't do this one halfway.

For the sharks!

DaShark said...

Do I know you?

a) please (caps lock) DO NOT besmirch the pizza box thingy, truly the Rosa Parks moment of Sharktivism!

b) there was ZERO talk of bikinis!
It's Winter and the water is freezing cold. Anybody frolicking around in a bikini would be literally putting her life on the line...

But seriously, in view of this unmitigated messaging disaster I'm starting to sense that there may be at least two conflicting agendas at play: the genuine wish of some to be of help vs the usual shenanigans of a sensationalist reality show on Animal Planet.

Too bad, really.

Megalobomb said...

But that's just the problem in itself. The majority of people on this earth are facebook petition signing, Animal Planet/Discovery Channel watching fools (if everyone was well read and of medium intelligence, we wouldn't have half the conservation issues we have now). So to dismiss that sector of people as not worthy is actually doing more to shoot yourself in the foot.

I'm not saying I agree with making outrageous 'documentaries' that seem shallow and a bit arrogant, but have you seen the type of TV shows out there at the moment? Will you really use South Park in an argument about crap TV??? :-) Frankly, it was the shallow crap documentaries on Shark Week that got me hooked into my current profession, and I'm sure white shark bros at the time were having the same complex.

And about self-promotion, that's how business works and the only way people will listen to your message, whether it's a TV show, a facebook page, or a blog.

DaShark said...

A blog huh! :)

This blog tries to talk about conservation, research, "issues" we find important, plus some interspersed fluff - and yes, about Beqa Adventure Divers, a non-business where the shareholders have never paid themselves a dividend but preferred to invest 100% of any surplus into staff bonuses, voluntary village payments and conservation initiatives.

But personality cult?
I don't think so - apart from having, volens nolens achieved some degree of notoriety/infamy among the sharkos, something that obviously helps in spreading the message.

Your point about Facebook is of course totally valid - but there are also excellent FB pages, and I happen to prefer those to the idiotic ones.

Megalobomb said...

Haha, sorry couldn't help myself.

DaShark said...


But tell 'ya what.
Insults & provocation sometimes do work!

Case in point: after that concerted onslaught, only a total masochist would dare to ever spout that nonsense again - and yet for a while, it had become one of the preferred Sharkitarian memes!

Anonymous said...

Since being Anonymous (#3) is your lame attempt
at showing you don't want attention, let me see how it works for me.

Bimbette...No one cares if you have been insanely offended.
That is the way you treat others so get used to it.
I will speak for everyone when I say that we all know your statement of " I care nothing about fanfare or self promotion, I saw the film crew as something I'd have to tolerate" is a lie.
It is you M.O. It is your history.
If you don't care about fanfare or self promotion then prove it & do things differently. you being the former owner of a successful marketing company.

Sharkangels has NO association with SharkSavers.
No secret that there are 2 shark angels that are listed as, but they have been trying repeatedly to get their name off that list but the puppet master won't agree to it. They do Not want to be associated with Sharkangels but their names are more important to that list than the relationship I guess.

The current Fijian group of people that have taken their efforts this far do NOT need outside help. Otherwise they would ask.
They are also" impressive, successful, intelligent, warm people who are crazy passionate about sharks, and deserve more respect than being called " islanders that need to be rescued by an outside group white people.

We see ourselves differently than others see us but I have to agree with you that you are "crazy"

DaShark said...

Hunting down shark finning boats was never part of the plan, and neither was the media involvement, huh...