Sunday, March 30, 2014

I especially don't condone or encourage physical Contacts with Sharks?

Who, exactly, is being intrusive? Source
BTW that would be the female Tzitzimitl. First identified in 2002 and most recently sighted in 2012 and named by Lawrence Groth after an Aztec god .


Whereas we've received nothing of the kind, he got hit by the following missive.
Hello Martin, I am the owner of those images and I was very surprised to see them on the blog article you posted. I would like to ask you to immediatly remove them from the web as well as the comments that concerns them- which dont correspond to the reality in that specific situation. The person who is facing the shark had to push the shark away as it was a very intrusive personality and he touched it as little as he could and the dive was aborted immediatly. I don't want the images to be used in a provocative way when they don't reflect the reality of what happened. And I especially don't condone or encourage physical contacts with sharks, but in this specific instance, it could not be avoided by the diver- as I said, he got out of the water right away after the occurence. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon, Thank you, Jean-Marie Ghislain.
Being his law-abiding Swiss self, he did immediately remove them.

And now he is pissed off.
Turns out that the pictures are but a few excerpts from this portfolio on Flickr, quite possibly the world's largest video and image hosting website. That's where I got them from, after having been directed there by this post by Jean-Marie.

I actually like the dude.
According to this portrait, he got into diving to overcome his fear of the ocean and upon encountering the first Sharks, his fear turned into fascination and he decided to devote his energy to protecting them. To that end, he has founded Shark Revolution, and I cite, a communication project of an International non profit organization. The objective of this project is to re-establish the reality of our species and to propose a truce to regulate the relationship between our two communities.
Ever since, Jean-Marie has been traveling the globe diving with Sharks and posting his adventures and pictures to the web. He came here several years ago and I found him highly intelligent and driven albeit a tad self important and naive, see the above citation - but that was then and I'm sure he has learned a lot in the meantime.

Self important and naive or not, his love of Sharks is undisputed.
His advocacy of Shark conservation has been relentless and more recently, he is walking his talk by pursuing a more hands-on approach and has invested into the very Aquatek Technologies I posted about yesterday. In fact the company's logo features a picture from that very same infamous Flickr gallery!

Talking of which.
Was it really like JM asserts, i.e. an inevitable unsolicited unfortunate one-off accident?
You be the judge of that.

But first things first.
Owing to the hard work of several researchers, dive operators, NGOs and the Mexican authorities, Guadalupe has been declared a biosphere reserve and as such, any access and activities there are governed by regulations. 

Barring special permits, leaving the cages is currently prohibited.
Jean-Marie obviously knows that - or why else does he not disclose the location and not reveal the Shark wrangler in his post. He has not only chosen to engage in illegal activities, he has obviously chosen to very much (!) share his experience with the public and I must say that I am disappointed - by the act itself but especially, by his reaction to Martin's post.

And this is what happened on that trip.
Filmed by Jean-Marie Ghislain and uncritically broadcast by Nat Geo France - and yes shame on both for promoting this reckless, illegal and disrespectful behavior to the public and the inevitable copycats!


Shark Diver said...

Great blog Mike. I'm not sure if I would call myself "pissed off" but JM's response definitely got me a bit riled up.

I appreciate your info on JM and his work with the shark deterrent you have blogged about. Since a lot of people have read my blog and seem to also be pissed off at JM, based on my statements, I think I will write another one, pointing out the good he's doing.

Nobody is perfect and while I think it's important to keep people honest, I also think that we have to give credit, where credit is due.

As for being my "law abiding Swiss self", maybe you can corrupt me, when I come out in May!

DaShark said...

Having corrupted many a law abiding Swiss, I'll certainly give it my best shot! :)

Yes JM is essentially OK - tho what happened there in Lupe is absolutely unconscionable, and shame on the operator (likely the usual Sea Escape...) for having enabled it!

The Saffron Pimpernel said...

I thought "law abiding Swiss" and "corrupt" are the same thing or do I misunderstand the history of banking in your small landlocked nation? :)

DaShark said...

Damn - busted! :(

Reverend Horton Heat said...

"Self important and naive or not, his love of Sharks is undisputed."

Ahhhh, no. His love for industry recognition is undisputed and now well documented. The man is a card carrying "problem" not a "solution."

Like Amos Nouchum, Noo-hoom, Macho-ouwm (how the hell is that pronounced?)

Amos and his kind like JM have become VERY slick in redirection.

Shark riding becomes conservation, shark attacks become mere shark investigations and so on.

That Nat Geo hit piece was an advertisement to every Speedo wearing Mook this side of Estonia to flood the oceans looking for a wild animal to ride.

Thank you Mr Shark Conservationist and your merry band of Euro Trash.

It's high time we stop giving ground to this. You cannot molest children and then open a child care center and call yourself good and worldly.

You cannot molest sharks and do the same thing and yet, it's done ALL THE TIME.

Do people learn? Yes they do, but once you have dipped your wick into the pot of immorality I say you get cast out of paradise - forever.

But then again this is the dive industry, never a place for rational thought, sensibility, or even a modicum of self restraint when the heady combination of big animals, cameras, and social media cloud the waters like some kind of Cyclone of Stupidity.

For the sharks?

God help the sharks!

Thus Endeth Sunday's Sermon

DaShark said...

You cannot molest sharks and do the same thing and yet, it's done ALL THE TIME.

This is the reality on the ground - but customers are customers, and they will always ask for "more".

The onus to manage this lies squarely with the operators
Like I've said a thousand times, it's up to us in the industry to self regulate and stop enabling that shit - and failing that, the regulators need to step in, like they've done elsewhere.

When it comes to Lupe, it wouldn't be that difficult.
Essentially, there's only one vessel, the Sea Escape, regularly promoting out-of-cage experiences for punters. Everybody knows that and the obvious question is, are they being awarded special treatment because they are Mexican-owned.

Then there are the occasional intrusions by the Sea Watch, and other operators will facilitate the shenanigans by their "special pals" like ABC4 who is notorious for always leaving the cage.

Methinks that given the necessary determination, the authorities could easily put a stop to that nonsense, the more as the evidence is overwhelming.

As always, we shall see shall we not.

Shark Diver said...

to the Saffron Pimpernel, I had to leave Switzerland, before they had a chance to turn me into a corrupt banker. Not all were so lucky ;-)