Monday, September 30, 2013

Adopt a Bull Shark - we have a Winner!

Soon to be named!


Taryn has won the week of diving!
And not only that - far from donating the minimal amount, she is making the highest of all donations and as a consequence, she's also going to be naming this lil fella whilst earning a grand total of 10 full days of diving with us! Betcha that I already know the name she's gonna choose, and betcha that she plans to turn the prize into a 5-day dive vacation for two - and if so and because this is simply epic, we're adding 4 days and converting it into one full week for two!
Because we can! :)

Thank you, you're a star!

Adopt a Bull Shark - last Countdown!

So this is it.
Sharpen your wits if you want to win yourself that week of diving!

Wishing you the best of success!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hunting Threshers - Two!



Here are some more hunting scenes.

Source - click for detail!

Citizen Science - Mantas!

The goddess of citizen science has done it again!

It comes to the following conclusion.
Our study provides a broad overview of population trends and human use patterns of mobulids around the world, and supports previous studies in describing that mobulids are relatively rare within their range, are largely in a state of decline and are being fished in several areas that are not officially reported to the FAO.
Despite some limitations of our data, and their application, these findings broadly support calls for increasing international conservation efforts for mobulids and helps to identify unprotected mobulid hotspots. Such regions could become a priority for increased monitoring and conservation initiatives. A paucity of data describing realized exploitation rates (percent of the population that is removed relative to the total population), suggests that this may be a priority for future research efforts. In the meantime, data collection needs to be improved with more accurate reporting of mobulid landings to the FAO – this may be as simple as providing species identification of catches.

Finally, our study suggests that diver observations can be an important source of information in data-poor situations, and could be utilized more fully into the future.
Here's to citizen science - and this is precisely why we have initiated the Great Fiji Shark Count and asked Christine to please assume the scientific leadership role which she has graciously accepted.
As a reminder, the GFSC is not a census but long-term monitoring, and I am quite confident that it, together with another so far unpublished initiative will provide us but above all, Fiji's fisheries managers with excellent long-term data about trends, upon which to base any management policies.
I also have no doubt that the trend is increasingly negative - but more about that later.

Regarding the abovementioned species identification of catches.
Contrary to what the usual nay-sayers may claim, there are already multiple excellent resources.
Now, it's a matter of legislation and then, implementation.
With the CITES implementation looming, those countries that are still engaging in fishing for Devil Rays got their work cut out to get their shit sorted out in time.

And the citizen scientists shall be watching!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Free Marine Textbooks!

And there's even stuff about Sharks!

You can download the PdFs here.
Some are somewhat dated, but they do contain a lot of useful information - and anyway, they are free so do take advantage of this opportunity!

Jaguar vs Cayman!

More awesome pictures here!

And great commentary, so refreshingly different from the bombastic clap trap we get served by the anchors on the Discovery Channel!
Story here.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Adopt a Bull Shark - one last Push please!

This is what you can see if you win one of the two prizes - awesome pic by DaMary! Click for detail.

Last chance!

But first things first.
Thank you Shark Defenders - the brilliant and passionate team at Shark Savers has indeed been instrumental in many Shark conservation successes and really deserves the support of every Shark enthusiast!
Much appreciated!

As the project is drawing to a close, some of the very best perks like this one-of-a-kind, epic t-shirt are still up for grabs. And this awesome little Shark is still without a name!
PLUS, you can win two whole weeks of Shark diving in Fiji - one by chance and one by smart timing!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pacific Islands - running out of Fish!

Forget the romantic past: THIS is a typical Pacific Islands fisherman. Source.

Did you see this?
The coral fishermen of Vanuatu are facing a growing crisis: they are increasingly returning from their fishing expeditions with ever dwindling hauls. 
That‘s because the coral reefs that they travel out to are disappearing at an alarming rate as are the fish stocks near the coast that have traditionally served as the staple diet for people in the region. It‘s a similar story in the other Pacific Islands too. 

A variety of factors are responsible for the phenomenon. 
In addition to environmental pollution, rising temperatures and a creeping acidity in the ocean‘s waters – both a consequence of climate change – have taken a huge toll on the reefs. In fact, the ocean’s chemical makeup has changed more now than it has in 55 million years. That has put incredible pressure on the region’s embattled coral reefs, which have seen their rich biodiversity diminish.
Once again, the culprit is Climate Change, i.e. "others".

Nothing to do with ever increasing populations and individual ecological footprints, and the unwillingness to tackle the issue.
Nothing to do with overfishing. Nothing to do with the fact that there there is a shift from pure subsistence fishing to small scale commercial fishing whereby individual fishermen are catching many more Fish compared to before. Nothing to do with the fact that starting with those outboard engines and nylon gill nets, small-scale fishing is becoming ever more sophisticated and effective. Nothing to do with the fact that those governments are not in the slightest managing those coastal fisheries, meaning that there are no quotas, no monitoring, no enforcement let alone any prosecution!

  • Address population growth.
    That's the best strategy for both reducing poverty and progressing towards sustainability which is the only long term solution. Contrary to Climate Change where the effects are probably already locked in, those predicted 50% in population growth are by no means inevitable but can be steered with adequate policies, foremost of which national dialogue and education!
  • Manage your coastal fisheries sustainably.
    With populations growing and coral cover receding, the old traditional rules where everybody could just go out and simply catch whatever they could do not apply anymore! Management needs to comprise both MPAs and temporary closures and also management at the species level, the latter especially when it comes to the larger predators that continue to be targeted disproportionately. What it also means is that some stocks must be allowed to recover, meaning maybe slightly less now in favor of much more later!
  • Reduce pollution and protect critical habitat, like the nurseries.
  • Reduce the licenses and quotas of those offshore foreign vessels.
    Those industrial purse seiners should be forbidden altogether, this in favor of smaller and less "efficient" vessels - remember that any Tuna that are not being caught now are gonna be worth much more next year! The idea of forcing those vessels to retain and sell their bycatch is actually not bad - but only provided that the bycatch is legit, meaning that one must implement, enforce and continuously improve bycatch mitigation measures and strictly monitor the fishery - see the shenanigans with the so-called Shark bycatch!
Yeah I know I know.
Not gonna happen anytime soon.
The coastal overfishing is likely to get even worse not better, this because habitats continue to be degraded and because there is a chronic lack of resources for the implementation of any meaningful management measures - and above all, because ultimately, nobody dares to mess with those perceived sacrosanct traditional indigenous rights, see the continued shenanigans by WESPAC!
And when it comes to the offshore fisheries, the dirty business continues unabated. Only glimmer of hope: the PNA - but even there the highly profitable Pacific solidarity is being undermined by the usual liars and cheats.

But then again, who knows.
What is required are good, honest leaders that care about the well being of their people, and have the vision and also the mettle to make decisions that may initially be unpopular but will yield tremendous dividends in the longer term.
Not likely - but not impossible, either!

Anybody come to mind?

Bottom Trawling!

Bottom trawling - devastating (yes that is a link)!

Not an accurate critique?

I beg to differ.
Well done WWF Canada!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PIPA - Smoke and Mirrors!

Phoenix Islands - a mere fraction of Kiribati's EEZ.

Read this.
Make sure you click on the link to the article by Christopher Pala, reviewed here.

Not a single word of contrition for having duped the world for years on end but on the contrary, the usual bullshit and then a whole lotta letters of support by their friends - and I must say that my waning respect for Her Deepness has taken one last and likely fatal blow.

And I cite.
To this end, Kiribati has made a sacrifice.
We established PIPA, which closed much of our territorial waters to fishing. We had to fight our own internal political battles and opinion on this decision, but it is a very large statement on our part.
And this one is even more egregious.
The people of Kiribati have also made such a gift. 
Three years ago, we declared 160,000 square miles of our Phoenix Islands a fully protected marine park, off limits to fishing and to any extractive use. Today these pristine islands and waters are a United Nations World Heritage Site – in fact the largest World Heritage Site (not for long!)

I think these gifts lie close to the heart of resilience: A decision to say “This is where we stop taking from the earth, and start giving back.” 
We need many such gifts to the world. Kiribati is a poor country that relies heavily on its marine resources for its income, but we did not hesitate to make our gift.
The truth?
The PIPA comprises a mere 11% of Kiribati's EEZ and only 3% of it are currently protected. Now CI calls it a 408,250 square kilometer multiple-use marine protected area (MPA) which is technically correct but highly misleading (and here!) and deeply dishonest - to use their example, it's exactly like claiming that California is a 163,695 square mile multiple-use wildlife refuge!

And those 5 million?
They will be squandered for "management" and if you read carefully, you will notice that there is zero mention of even one single inch of incremental territory being protected in exchange  - the question being, was this correctly represented to the donors?


Monday, September 23, 2013

Cousteau et la Dynamite!

Eh oui.
This, too, is Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

This is Le Monde du Silence, 1956.
Bizarre and sometimes shocking - different times indeed.

H/T: Mr. P!

Florida Lemons - last Day for Comments!

Please post you comment here.

Background and great template here.
Whatever you other statements, it is important that you state that you oppose the opening date of January 1 and ask that it be returned back to July like before.
Do not copy/paste this crap.

Thank you!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Adopt a Bull Shark - Competition!

Nearly over!
We are entering the last week of the Adopt a Bull Shark project!

Thank you so much for your donations so far!
Like I've said, it's actually way more than I would have ever expected  - but over time, the going has obviously slowed down considerably, and we are also learning that 500 dollars is the limit and that the fabulous new or improved perks are just too expensive to generate any new momentum.

So how about this.
The last donor to contribute USD 100.00 or more wins a full week of diving with BAD.
The winner is the person with the correct contribution whose name appears highest up on this list once the funding drive has closed - and so that nobody feels disadvantaged, Shark Savers will draw one further name from all other contributors, and that person will receive the same prize. The names will then be published here and on the social media of Shark Savers, and the winners will then need to get in contact with our office to finalize the details of their diving with us.

Wishing you the very best of luck!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Florida Lemons - epic Comment!

Wow wow wow!

You really must read this
Rarely if ever have I read such an passionate, intelligent, informed and balanced statement in favor of the sustainable and smart management of a Shark fishery.
And great name, too! :)

Huge congratulations Mike!

Operation Requiem - NOTHING huh!

Well well.

Talk about having ears on fire!
The pageviews of the Operation Requiem post have literally exploded, meaning that heaps upon heaps of people have chosen to click on the post instead of reading it on the blog, most likely in order to check out the comments.
Betcha that many of them are associated with those orgs, and betcha that this scribe has been the object of a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth?

And yet, there have been ZERO comments in support!
Not a single voice defending the oh-so-noble intentions and stellar achievements of those people, not a single attempt at justifying the project, let alone the stupendous expenditures, not a single answer in response to the following simple questions?
  • Is the babemobile under its vociferous captain honoring the given assurances and patrolling the waters of Tonga, Kiribati and Vanuatu that gave such warm welcomes?

  • Are the SSCS and/or the Shark Angels working collaboratively with those several South Pacific governments and NGOs as announced - and if so, where, and what are the results?

  • And what of those LMMAs - what is the progress there?
Is that really it?
Is there really gonna be zero accountability for this monumental fiasco?

And if not - lemme cite myself.
It's all so fucking pathetic.

Under the executive direction of Andersen who would give an arm and a leg, or for the matter, any body part for being featured on national media, the Shark Angels have become the repository of all those hypocritical Shark media whores, starting from the great pornographer all the way down to all those desperate self promoting wannabees. No wonder they endorse Shark Week - they all desperately want to be in it and will certainly never bite the hand that could once propel them to perceived fame and riches!

And the others?
I'm frankly totally baffled.
Not the shameless self promoters. Not the Sea Shepherd drones. Not the media whores. Not the Shark pageant kids. Not the chicks with the moldy duck wings.
Those who really want to make a difference, who invest hours upon hours of their free time trying to educate the public or running campaigns, those who want to get the job done and don't appreciate and are frankly embarrassed by those relentless pathetic shenanigans by the narcissistic leadership and its cronies.

WTF are you still doing there - you are being tainted by association!

You know who you are.!

Adopt a Bull Shark - great Writeup!

I am impressed!
Step by step, the donations have now topped 10,000 bucks - much more than I personally expected and a testimony to the generosity of the donors but also, to the hard work of the project team, namely the indefatigable Samantha, Jennah and intern Natalie.

Talking of which, check out this really nice post.
Great to read that Natalie has enjoyed the experience and learned a lot in the process, and this whilst making a meaningful contribution to Shark research and Shark conservation that will directly benefit from the funds raised.

Well done and thank you!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Trophic Cascades in Coral Reefs - Paper!

Mean density of trophic groups (±95% confidence intervals) for fished (red) and non-fished (green) reefs.
The density of trophic groups across fished, non-fished, disturbed (stippled bars) and non-disturbed (solid bars) reefs are shown. Figure 4. Mean density of trophic groups (±95% confidence intervals) for fished (red) and non-fished (green) reefs. The density of trophic groups across fished, non-fished, disturbed (stippled bars) and non-disturbed (solid bars) reefs are shown.

This is what I've been waiting for!

This paper is simply epic - read it!
So far, the most cited example of Sharks and trophic cascades has been the controversial 2007 paper by Meyer about those exploding Cownose Rays (synopsis here). There are also Ferretti et al that I personally prefer, Sandin et al where the snapshot approach is highly questionable, and then there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that however still requires rigorous testing. All-in-all, it's a lot of interesting stuff - but so far, the findings appear far from being unequivocal, this also owing to the complexity of the investigated food webs.

This however is different.
First, it is not based on meta-analysis but instead, on original and comprehensive long term monitoring over a period of ten years which in itself is rather epic. Secondly and contrary to what happens in most other locations where people are fishing down the food chain and thus inhibiting any postulated mesopredator release, those Indonesian fishermen were selectively targeting Sharks and leaving the other Fishes more or less alone, meaning that any of the detected effects were singularly isolated.

You can read two excellent synopses here and here.
My take-away message is that contrary to more simplistic statements that the removal of Sharks will ripple down through the food chain and eventually lead to the demise of coral reefs, this paper comes to the conclusion that it is instead the presence of Sharks that may play a critical role in the recovery of coral reefs that have been previously damaged by other factors. The paper also once again confirms that due to the high level of residency of Reef Sharks, even comparatively small MPAs may be highly beneficial.

Long story short?
As it becomes all but inevitable that climate change will further damage our coral reefs, those Reef Sharks may indeed turn out to be one of our best allies in trying to mitigate those effects.

If we stop wiping them out that is.
And that is far from being a certainty!

Bimini Hammers - more great Stuff!

Click for detail!


Once again, this is as good as it gets.
Like suggested, this will provide for great diving, it will support reputable local businesses and the SharkLab - and as an added bonus, you will get to meet some of the nicest folks in the industry, foremost of which the simply unmatched Howard and Michele
And, you can win yourselves some prizes!

Highly recommended!
And coming right on the heels of the SharkLab program, it could even be an extension of that experience!
Do it!

Florida Lemons - great Instructions by Shark Savers!


Excellent stuff!

Read this.
It once again describes the problem and it also provides for a great template for any comments you may want to post to the relevant NOAA page.
The all-important statement is
I oppose the proposed rule that the 2014 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season open on January 1 based on its negative effect on the regional lemon shark aggregation off the coast of Jupiter, Florida. To relieve fishing pressure on a highly vulnerable, breeding population of lemon sharks, I request the fishing season revert to the original opening date of July 1st, after the completion of the annual birth cycle and when the seasonal distribution of lemon sharks is less concentrated geographically.
After which you can add whatever you wish.
Without the reference to changing the season back to July, your comment is basically worthless - and having checked, too many of the comments are still not much more than generic sharkitarian fluff.

That is step one.
Step two should consist in advocating a seasonal fishing closure and/or gear ban around the Jupiter aggregation site, much like what is being done for the Fish spawning aggregations. Like there, the rationale would be that targeting the breeding stock of a particular population is generally bad for the fishery depending on it.

Any takers?
Comments close on Monday September 23.

Go diving with Sharks!

Thanks Samantha!

Please check out this article.
Of course we all know that Sharks and Manta Rays are worth more alive than dead, especially where they support tourism ventures but also when considering the ecosystem services they provide - but still, it's always nice to see it printed in b/w!

Well done.
And for once, I will refrain from rehashing the caveats! :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thank you HuffPost!

MEN DIE! WOMEN SIGH! Beneath that Batcape - he's all man! Source.

Howly Sardine!

Best Shark compilation, ever!

Only one Shark - but Heaps of Bikini Bimbettes!

Machete AND ski pole - that's how you do it! Click for detail!


This could not have come soon enough!
With the epic Sharknado being a tad light on the BB's, we can now all look forward to a, wait for it..... Bikini Snow Day no less! Talk about a veritable feast - for the eyes and most likely, for the Shark!
The question being, will it beat this bikini count?

AKA Sharkalance - epic!
Awesome storyline here!

Bimini Hammers - the Best of the Best!

Source - click for detail!

And the next season?
From what I hear, the barbarians may be in for a surprise - but worry not, you can still go and witness those fantastic Great Hammerheads! Reputable resorts like the Sands and the Club host local operations that will be happy to take you diving with them - but above all, there is the awesome program by the Sharklab, see at the top! And, go and check out the Sardines!
Way to go!

And since we're at it!
I sure hope you know whom to stay away from - and if not, educate yourself here!

Lemons - Action Alert!

Source - click for detail.

This is urgent.

Please read this post.
Those Lemons are the very same individuals one experiences at Tiger Beach and throughout the Bahamas but also along the whole eastern coast of the US from Florida all the way up to the Carolinas. They are particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation when they aggregate in spring off Jupiter, and although they are protected in Florida, the aggregation straddles the boundary between state and federal waters and is thus subjected to federal regulations.
The numbers have already been declining substantially since 2007 as regulatory measures implemented in 2006 to protect Sandbar Sharks have increased the fishing pressure on other large Sharks including those Lemons - and last year's change of the opening date for commercial fishing to January 1st appears to have had a devastating effect.

Please post your comment here.
In doing so, please follow the suggestions in the post linked above - comments must be pertinent to this specific issue and basically recommend that the opening of the 2014 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season be moved back from January to July.
With that in mind, please refrain from posting statements like Please help support anything and everything that will help keep shark populations healthy. We love our sharks. as they are of no use whatsoever. This on the other hand is an excellent comment.
Should you not know what to write, e-mail Hannah and she will be happy to assist you.
Comments close on September 23.

Thank you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Absolutely amazing Shark Picture!

Click for detail!

Story here.

One Million - and counting!


And, we got ourselves not one but two screen shots!
One is the real deal by a Swiss dude who wins himself one week of diving; the other one was sent by a pal who wanted to make the point that they actually can be faked - and with that in mind, I must say that I'm rather impressed that we haven't received more!

Next stop one billion!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

One Million - nearly there!

Twelve hours, tops!

Details here.
If it's you, make sure to send us that e-mail!

Spot the Octopus!

Source - click for detail!


Story here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shark Fishing - remarkable Article!

This is not finning - source.

I must say that I'm impressed!

This article is really as good as it gets.
It touches on basically all the aspects dominating the current debate about Shark fishing and Shark conservation, and I find myself agreeing with most of the opinions expressed by the various interlocutors.

Obviously there are some mistakes.
The principal one is the usual confusion between finning and fishing. Kessennuma was zero about finning as the Sharks were being landed whole and every last part of them was being utilized. Back then, the obvious problem was that those Sharks were being overfished - but the town has since been devastated by the tsunami so the overfishing may have subsided, albeit very likely only temporarily.

I was also intrigued by some of the factoids.
If those fins are indeed the third most lucrative illicit good on the world market, behind only drugs and guns (really - ahead of say, human trafficking, illegal timber and blood diamonds?), what's the chance of the value of all Shark fishing, legal and illegal, being only 630m as stated in this stupidity?
And when Alex teaches us that the fins are increasing in value because they’re becoming increasingly harder to come by…When oil prices surged, fishermen couldn’t afford gas needed to go out. This made them even more of a hot commodity - does that not directly confirm my critique in that post?

My take-away message?
  • In most of the oceans, several Sharks species are still being overfished

  • There are however a few places where Shark fisheries are being relatively well managed

  • Sustainable fishing for Sharks is theoretically possible - but it is only commercially viable for some smaller and faster growing species with better reproductive capacity.

  • Although the Shark fin trade remains the principal driver of most Shark fishing, there is an increasing volume of Sharks that are being primarily fished for food and where the whole animal gets utilized. If so, the fins should be utilized as well.

  • With that in mind and despite of the recent successes in reducing demand in Asia, Shark fishing will remain a reality - which is OK provided that it is sustainable

  • Any solutions will need to be species- and location specific, meaning that there are no absolutes. Depending on specific local circumstances, one should advocate better management measures - but in other locations, outright bans may well be the most efficient and effective strategy, at least in the shorter term.
Anyway, great article - read it!

Hong Kong - no more Shark Fins!


Hong Kong is banning serving Shark Fins at official functions.
Good to see that the advocacy of those many NGOs after China's similar decision last year has been finally successful. This ban goes even further by encompassing other unsustainable food like Bluefin Tuna and Black Moss - and further food items being deemed unsustainable may follow in the future. This is meaningful as a substantial part of the demand for those items was driven by government's infamous lavish liquor-drenched receptions that are now being targeted by the nation-wide crackdown on corruption.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Are You Number One Million?

Quite possibly!
And if so, you would be a winner!

This is how it works.
Check out the Total Pageviews by scrolling down on the side bar at the right. As I'm writing this, it reads 996,568 and considering that depending on the intensity of my rants and the stupidity of my postings, this blog attracts between 32,000 and 40,000 readers per month, the number will climb to 1,000,000 within the next 3-4 days - or faster if I should choose to post something absolutely atrocious! :)

So here's what you need to do.
Keep an eye on that number - and if it shows exactly 1,000,000, take a screen shot and send it to adventuredivers (at) connect (dot) com (dot) fj to win yourself one full week ( = seven days) of diving with BAD. Normally, that comprises five days of Shark diving but can change based on scheduling during the week you choose.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adopt a Bull Shark - Announcement!

Hey Everybody!

Thanks again for your donations!
We have 20 days left in the campaign, and we're trying to get more people to visit our Indiegogo page. We've decided to start a little competition and see who can refer the most people to our page. Every time you post a link to our page using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and one of your friends clicks on it, it is recorded for us.

The person who refers the most people to our Indiegogo page in this way will receive the shark belt bag at the top! The person with the second highest number of referrals will receive this hammerhead shark puppet!

So please share this link.
Thank you again, and share, share, share! 

Good luck,

Adopt A Bull Shark Team, Shark Savers
Natalie, Samantha, and Jennah

Best Job in Shark Conservation - encore!

Here it is - again!

Now to be perfectly clear.
From everything I've seen, it is not one of those all-too-frequent posh position for CEO salaried twats in air conditioned offices. Deliverables, timelines and accountability are merciless, and that person's private life will clearly have to play a subordinate role, especially considering the frantic travel schedule I see those folks engaging in.

But of course, if you care for Sharks, this is epic.
I trust that I need not enumerate the now countless successes of this team both nationally, regionally and globally - and if you got the mettle for leadership and selling it to the powers that be, you will be the one formulating the next strategies and initiatives.
Which reminds me that I still very much miss Matt!

So - do you have what it takes?
Wishing you the best of luck!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Forgot My Phone!

Never did, never will own one.

Adopt a Bull Shark - epic T-Shirt!


This is the real deal.
As donations have slowed down considerably, Sam has unearthed this one-of-a-kind rarity. It's an original crew t-shirt from the 1975 production of JAWS that has been signed by Ron and Valerie who have donated it to Shark Savers. It was later signed by author Peter Benchley's wife Wendy, and by Stan Waterman who acted as the associate producer and underwater photographer for the iconic film Blue Water, White Death.

You can now purchase it on the AABS Indiegogo page.
Not cheap-cheap - but there are more perks attached, and if you care for Sharks, this is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! And, you can be assured that every last penny Shark Savers get will go directly to Shark conservation, with zero deductions for bureaucracy.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Tiger Shark Migrations - it's complicated!

This is Adi.

Very interesting!

Check out this latest paper by Yannis Papastamatiou!
It's quite complex and you can find excellent synopses here, here and here. Quite understandably, those articles focus on the immediate practical implications, i.e. the possible correlation between some of those migrations and the higher risk of Shark strikes in the principal Hawaiian islands during the same period.

But that's not all.
Having read the whole paper, my take-away message is that the reality is far more differentiated as there appears to be great individual behavioral plasticity. Like our Bulls, some of those Tigers are more resident and some, more transient; and the purpose of those inter-island migrations appears to be twofold, i.e. seasonal pupping but also foraging, with the latter highly dependent on external factors like water temperature and chlorophyll concentration = likely availability of prey.
This is a great follow-up on the research by Meyer et al about those Tiger Shark movements and the subsequent papers about cognitive maps by both Meyer and Papastamatiou, explained here.
Fascinating stuff, and kudos to the authors for having collected this impressive body of evidence!

But is this the whole story?
For Hawaii, the answer is quite possibly yes.
But in other locations, those movements may be identical in principle (= due to foraging and reproduction) but different in practice, and I cite.
Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are large (maximum size 5.5 m) generalist foragers, which may function as keystone predators in some areas (Lowe et al. 1996, Heithaus et al. 2009). 

In high latitude locations such as Australia, tiger sharks demonstrate seasonal utilization of bays within larger home ranges, with water temperature being a likely driver of seasonal habitat use (Heithaus et al. 2007, Wirsing et al. 2007). 

However, within tropical areas with milder seasonal changes in environmental characteristics, tiger shark movements appear more ambiguous (e.g. Meyer et al. 2009a). 
Within the Hawaiian archipelago individual tiger sharks will frequently swim between islands of the chain using straight directed walks, although their movements lack any clear overall pattern, seasonal or otherwise (Meyer et al. 2009a, 2010, Papastamatiou et al. 2011). The exception appears to be remote French Frigate Shoals atoll (FFS) where some individual tiger sharks seasonally aggregate to take advantage of fledgling albatross chicks, although other individuals appear to remain at FFS year round (Lowe et al. 2006, Meyer et al. 2010).
Hence, tiger sharks have somewhat unique spatial ecology in that they demonstrate home ranging behavior over large spatial and temporal scales and perform both seasonal/directed and more aseasonal/ambiguous movements within this home range.
In brief, geographical location may have a huge influence.
In fact in places with large temperature swings like Florida and the Bahamas, Guy's and Neil's research shows that those Tigers engage in huge seasonal migrations smack into the middle of the Atlantic (possibly following equally migratory prey?) whereas in tropical Australia where the temperature swings are not so big, the migration activity is indeed much more ambiguous

And in Fiji? 
Dunno - but my hunch is that due to the big difference in our seasons, they would be behaving more like the Atlantic ones, however possibly with large yearly variations due to the ENSO!

Anyway, great stuff!
And with Domeier and Meyer having started a new Tiger Shark research cycle in Hawaii where they will deploy modern SPOT tags that will deliver multi-year tracks, we may be in for further surprises!

To be continued no doubt!

Operation Requiem - Anniversary!

Where's the  babemobile now? Source.

So there.

This brief exchange reminds me of unfinished business.
It is now one year since Julie Andersen and Co got their hands on Sea Shepherd's pointy babemobile and embarked on a junket across the South Pacific - and it is now high time for one last look at that shit.

But first.
Remember the bombastic announcement?

It still makes me puke whenever I watch it.
Like I said from the outset, the whole BS about kicking ass, stopping at nothing, putting one's life on the line and being willing to DIE had nothing to do with conservation but was instead Andersen's attempt at starring on some sharky Whale Wars clone on Animal Planet. But worry not, I'm not about to bore you with yer another repetitive rant. Should you really have missed the whole kerfuffle when it happened, you can check out what I've posted here when I awarded it the Shark Conservation Con of the Year.

Instead, I want to talk about this.
Sounds great doesn't it - were it not for the fact that like the whole campaign, it's just simply a big heap of BS! To wit, protected one of the world’s largest marine reserves, stopped illegal fishing = boarded legal purse seiners in the PIPA! Talk about a double con: the specific activity but also the fake protected area

Even if one overlooks the details, the general gist of that page is that Andersen's junket has been a great Shark conservation success and that it has paved the way for greater and better things to come, see the reference to several partnerships with local governments and NGO’s and the laying of the groundwork for the establishment of locally protected marine areas in 3 countries.

And the reality one year later?
  • Is the babemobile under its vociferous captain honoring the given assurances and patrolling the waters of Tonga, Kiribati and Vanuatu that gave such warm welcomes? 
  • Are the SSCS and/or the Shark Angels working collaboratively with those several South Pacific governments and NGOs as announced - and if so, where, and what are the results? 
  • And what of those LMMAs - what is the progress there?
Or may Operation Requiem STILL be nothing but a scam?
I'm asking because I am hearing and reading NOTHING - and I betcha it's because NOTHING is happening! From what I can discern, Andersen has been terminated, see below;  Fisk, meh; and the sly Ms Basset is back to being her radical shepherdette self in Hawaii. Initiatives from those quarters, let alone successes in protecting the Sharks in the South Pacific: a big fat zero.
On the contrary: Tonga under its Shepherd of the Sea has since opened its doors to unlimited Shark fishing and finning - and the PIPA has since been fittingly outed as a scam
Or not? Surprise me!

The Pacific Voyagers?
Having employed some of the voyagers, my impression was that this was nothing but yet another junket on other people's money, namely some wealthy and IMO hopelessly romantic and credulous German dude who came up with and financed the whole exercise - and observing the local leaders parade around in their big SUVs whilst preaching sustainability to others has certainly done nothing to dispel my reservations.
I believe that this pseudo-cultural retro movement does nothing in addressing the aspirations of the young generation of Pacific Islanders that are desperately looking for a vision of the future, foremost of which decent jobs and decent lives. For that, like anybody else, they will need to have a good education and then be willing to work hard - and I'm concerned to see zero reference to that in the Voyagers' messaging. But as always the proof is in the pudding, and it remains to be seen whether now that the voyage and with it, the indiscriminate funding have ended, there will be any lasting and tangible legacy.
But I'm obviously digressing - progress for Sharks, zero!

Sea Shepherd?
If my suspicion is accurate and NOTHING has happened in the past twelve months and that consequently, the overarching campaign is nothing but hot air - why, exactly, is this stuff still on their website? 
Whereas I will always remain opposed to the personality cult and its brand of radical activism, Sea Shepherd's largely overlooked Shark conservation activities in the Galapagos have been nothing short of stellar. And I must also say that as of late, I've been rather impressed with Gary Stokes' work at CITES and more recently, on the airline and shipping lines campaigns - the more since trusted friends think very highly of him. Plus, would that be a vintage BAD t-shirt? :)
So why tarnish the Shark conservation effort with this shit - the more as the Pacific is already so well served by the literally countless NGOs and especially, Pew?
Or again: surprise me!

And the breathy Director of Shark Campaigns?
According to this posting on SSCS France, she has been terminated because when questioned about her association with Scubapro that stands accused of supporting marine Mammal captivity, she has by no means put her life on the line, or whatever, but has instead chosen to continue taking Scubapro's money - and no I'm not at all surprised!
But fear not, she's obviously completely unfazed, still desperately kissing Discovery's arse and already working on her next Shark con - and talk about a revealing choice of name if ever there was one!

To be continued no doubt - alas!