Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stewart Island - troubled Waters!

Looks like matters have come to a boil.
Since writing this post, I've talked to several people in the know and it appears that there has been an abject lack of outreach and education by both the scientific and diving community. Apparently, research reveals that Stewart Island is a major seasonal aggregation spot for New Zealand's GWS that are believed to be mating there, meaning that the cage divers have followed the Sharks and not vice versa, and that any perceived increased risk is not attributable to them.

But that needs to be communicated - any takers?
After the season, the GWS disperse and many travel far north to Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia (and here) meaning that during that time, the Pāua divers should be safe - and if so, wouldn't that be a starting point for an equitable compromise, as in agreeing on spatial (!) and seasonal, mutually exclusive closures for both activities?

Very much as anticipated, the imbeciles that got turned away from Guadalupe have relocated to NZ and are attempting to illegally exit the cages and flip a GWS there. Fingers crossed that the (other) naive operator that took the booking (undoubtedly, for the Sharks) will exert common sense and immediately stop the shenanigans - or you may as well kiss the industry goodbye once the footage airs.
As always, we shall see - and no, I'm not very hopeful!

To be continued no doubt!


Informed opinion said...

The issue at SI is complicated, with off islanders arriving to play with big and very feisty white sharks while thumbing their noses at local concerns.

You know you have a problem when shark boat owners stay at dock each night for fear of being soundly beaten by enraged mobs at the local pub.

Many residents are direct descendants of the whalers and early Rakiura Māori, with combined family histories reaching back almost 200 years.

Stewart Islanders are a self sustained community that rely on tourism as a lifeline. That tourism base is wide featuring everything from guided hikes to bird watching, sharks are a relatively new thing.

You do not waltz into a tight clan setting like that with cages and hot sharks without a sustained and lasting community outreach.

A meeting or two does nothing to assuage doubts, and frankly this is their island they should get to call the shots as ultimately they have the most to lose should an off island operation go "pear shaped."

You also do not enable shit like this and expect same locals not to lose their collective minds over it:


A two year moratorium on all cage diving in the area while a proper research study by DOC is conducted. Paid for exclusively by anyone who wants to cage dive at this site.

The study will look into baiting techniques, bait load, types of baits, numbers of animals, site fidelity, seal populations, outreach, film and tv protocols.

The recent mess there(dead shark) just highlights the simple fact that NO ONE in this debate is mature enough to handle the consequences of commercial shark diving.

We are well past the day of fly by night shark operations. Either mount up and aspire to industry standards, or do not conduct operations.

The news that Red Rock Films and ABC$$$ with his tiny sidekick, "The Great Truckers Cap" have arrived on site to accomplish a stunt banned from every other WS commercial site on the planet is one more indication that anything goes at SI.

In the annals of stupidity with sharks, this particular production will go down in the Pinnacle of Greatness.

On a side note, has any WS site in the world enjoyed a "confirmed kill" based on a toxic combination of operator and local tensions?

If you can answer that you:

1. Understand the sheer gravity of this situation

2. Understand what needs to be done to save the sharks at SI

The fact that a film crew came into this tragic situation looking to exploit the sharks that are left by trying to "hand flip one upside down" is one more indication that no one down there really gives a shit.

For The Sharks?

I will call BS on that one.

DaShark said...

Your opinion is indeed informed!

Actually, the research is already in place and could address many of the grievances - but what is sorely lacking is the proper outreach to the locals.

But it may already be too late, and ABC4's freak show for Shark Week is simply the icing on the toxic cake.
Shame on Discovery for continuing to push that idiotic production despite of the fact that they have been told multiple times that what is being attempted is clearly illegal.

Informed opinion said...

When it comes to the well being of wildlife, sadly ABC$$$ and his miniature sidekick "The Great Truckers Cap" enjoy the same dial settings...somewhere between, "give a shit" and "two flying fucks."

Makes you wonder if their current relationship with Shark Week isn't a complete match made in heaven.

In terms of SI you'll know there's been some kind of breakthrough if and when you see shark operators having beers at the South Sea Pub.

According to locals, that will be an even a colder day in Hell than the day ABC$$$ quits his shark porn empire to do something worthwhile for wildlife.

Professor Proboscis said...

'...sadly ABC$$$ and his miniature sidekick "The Great Truckers Cap"...'
My own considered position is that, if the rumours are true, these 2 must be allowed/encouraged to attempt their stunts. My life in my lab -- classifying nematode worms under grey skies -- needs a boost. Homo nematodensis is a fascinating example of successful cross pollination between the highest of worms and the lowliest of humans (no offence to worms).

Let's be honest here. We could have a new candidate for World's Funniest Piece of Wildlife Filming ever since Professor Hopalot announced to an enthralled world that the sharks
'couldn't care less'

DaShark said...

A fitting comparison.
Ritter's idiocy and sheer hubris still leaves me speechless whenever I watch it.

But no, not there.
The place is already a fucking tinderbox and we definitely need no more killing of GWS just because of the illegal antics of those idiots.

Shark Sherlock said...

Timing is, as they say, everything.

Let's unpack this caper.

1. We know that ABC$$$ and his social media obsessed and hat challenged sidekick were at Stewart Island.

2. We know they were being guided by the ABC$$$ NZ clone from Liquid Action Films.

3. We KNOW they went with Mike Haines, because the other Daft Bugger declined the use of his operation. Something about getting a shark to attack a diver in a see through cage last year for Shark Week. Did anyone hear about that?

4. We know it was Mike Haines who deliberately put his vessel and chum operations on top of a local net fishing operation.

5. We know it was that action which cased the death of a protected shark.

The timing is the trick. Was Mike Haines forced to conduct operations because of a high paying film crew, or was he being a complete Daft Bugger and just hoping that sharks would not migrate the 400 feet over to the net and become trapped?

Should be easy enough to confirm or deny both the time frame of this and who was out there.

For morbid curiosity sake only you know.

DaShark said...

Would you please stop slighting the man.

It's ABC$$$$ = with four $!

DaShark said...


Extremely well informed sources tell me that Mike Haines is being set up.

Long story, and I got no way to verify this - but I do trust my sources.

Informed opinion said...

Rumors of set ups would be indicative of the level of discord by islander towards the operators.

The only loser was one protected shark.

There are no winnowers here.

Also, NZ Law allows for "accidental catch" in nets, this game can play out for years.