Friday, May 30, 2014

Veni vidi... Victor!

Très joli mon ami! Source.

Remember Victor's Fiji Bull Shark?

Well, they are here - Victor and the Sharks!
Judging from his Facebook entries, the man is having a blast - whilst obviously being inspired for his next big oevre!

And lemme tell 'ya: it's gonna be epic!
To be continued!

Lazy swim in California!!

Interesting! :)
Story here -  background here.


H/T: El Diego!

Whale Shark Pups?


No they aint - hint.
Baby Whale Sharks look like this.


Like the Whale Shark, the Bowmouth Guitarfish is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014




Story here, more videos here!

Piranha Sharks!

Sharknado 2 who?

Awesome storyline, poster, CGI - and acting!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Targeting Sawfish - WTF!

The caption reads BADASS - really? 

And I cite.
The ESA and its implementing regulations set forth a series of general prohibitions that apply to all endangered wildlife.
The prohibitions of section 9 of the ESA, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take (to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct), to import into, or export from, the United States, to ship in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity, or to sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any endangered wildlife. 
Repeated here, with handling recommendations.
So how can this shit be acceptable, and why are the media reporting it as some kind of a "feat".  Although the post release mortality is so far unknown, those prolonged fights exert tremendous stress on the animals, meaning that their fitness is certainly reduced. Plus, this is very much intentional targeting, meaning that considering the definition by ESA, this is most likely illegal.

Action anybody?




Monday, May 26, 2014

World Oceans Day - Citizen Science anybody?

June 8 is World Oceans Day.

So far, we've never really bothered.
At BAD, every day is Oceans Day, and we were never particularly motivated to stage something extra-special on top of our usual advocacy and research.

Until now.
Christine has teamed up with several other citizen science project leaders to create the above eOceans event where citizen scientists will hopefully go out and collect a multitude of data for science, management and conservation. We here will run two days of the Great Fiji Shark Count, and input the observations directly into eShark.

And you?
Anybody can do it, it's loads of fun and even imputing those data could not be simpler - and, it would really be a meaningful contribution to improving our understanding of the marine environment.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Florida - Troglodyte Shark Diving!

"Nice action picture"? Source.

Check this out.

I've now watched it four times, and still want to puke.
A pal writes, and Randy is going to get bit.... and my only thought is, yes please, and let it be bloody painful!

And let's hope the authorities shut him down!

This is everything Shark diving should not be.
Apart from being negligently dangerous (same-same here!) the demented wrangling and molesting of those poor little Tigers is abhorrent. Far from being cool or manly, or whatever, it simply documents an abject lack of the most basic respect for the animals and zero appreciation for the privilege of encountering them.

And let me add that as much as I usually oppose Shark feeding bans - as long as yahoos like that are dominating the local industry, it is probably best if Shark feeding in Florida remains illegal!

What the fuck!

BVI - stellar!

Read this.

And no, nothing to add or comment.

Just this.
I am particularly pleased to discover Rick MacPherson standing tall in the above lineup. Having left CORAL greatly diminished and bereft of any visionary leadership, he is now pursuing Shark conservation in the Caribbean - and knowing the man, this is likely to be merely the first in a succession of upcoming conservation wins in that region.

Attaboy, I'm proud of 'ya!

Hawaii - Crunch Time!

Please read this.

Looks like NOAA are ready to make their move.
Insiders fear that spurned on by WESPAC, they are about to write to Hawaii, Guam and the CNMI telling them that their laws are being overturned. Hopefully the reaction will be, go fuck yourselves, after which it will be up to the courts to make a final decision next time anybody will be busted for possessing Shark fins.

Please sign the petition.
Thank you!

Friday, May 23, 2014

World's best Safety Stop!

Awesome pic - click for detail!


Well what can I say
This is kind of embarrassing - but true never the less! :)

Thank you Martin - much appreciated!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shark Feeding - attack the Unknown!

And attack she did, and know she did little!
And I cite.
Evidence indicates sharks have the capacity to become conditioned. 
As a result, shark ecotourism has the potential to create an association of humans with food, ending in increased attacks.
Have you seen this crap?
Sarah the student from Wellington has perused a random selection of irrelevant papers (and none of those that are relevant, see the links below!) - and now she thinks she knows something about something and has posted her opines on the university weblog site.

So there, for the umpteenth bloody time.
  • There's no geographical correlation between Shark feeding and Shark strikes.
    Re-read this. In brief and with maybe the exception of SA, the vast majority of Shark strikes occurs in locations where there are no Shark feeding operations (like specifically Western Australia!)  - which is even more surprising if one considers that most of those dives have been established in locations that are known for their healthy Shark populations!
    And even if there were some correlation, it certainly does not equate causation!

  • Shark feeding appears unproblematic at the ecosystem level
    All present research into those baited Shark dives appears to concur that those dives have little to no effect at large spatial and temporal scales. It appears pretty clear that far from becoming dependent on the handouts, those provisioned Sharks continue to fulfill their ecological roles and also continue to follow their normal life cycles as in e.g. mating, pupping and migrating.
But of course there are some big caveats.
  • There are certainly effects at small spatial and temporal scales.
    Shark feeding often aggregates the animals, and this can have local consequences. As an example, take the increased aggression of those Lemons in Moorea; or the observed competitive exclusion (and here!) of other Sharks in Fiji and possibly SA and TB; or those postulated local behavioral changes and marginally increased residency in Southern Australia.
  • Conditioning via positive reinforcement does likely happen.
    E.g., Sharks are certainly smart and it is absolutely plausible to assume that provisioned Sharks may have learned to associate the boat noise with a subsequent feeding opportunity, a fact that is being exploited by several operators - and if the food is being presented at the surface like in the case of GWS cage diving, it as equally plausible to assume that they could be popping up next to other boats in the area!
    But "turning up" does not equate "attacking"!
  • Location matters.
    Many Shark dives have been being established where there are already Sharks, meaning that objectively speaking, the risk profile is unlikely to change - but perceptions matter and like in the case of population centers like, say, Cape Town or Playa, the diving activity and associated increased publicity of Sharks can lead to conflicts with the other local ocean users. Consequently, as a rule, the feeding locations need to be as remote as possible and should definitely not be established e.g. right in the middle of population centers or right in front of popular beaches etc.
  • Feeding protocols.
    Like I often state, it is often not about the what but about the how.
    Shark provisioning creates its own risks, and those risks need to be managed - meaning that all protocols should be chosen in function of minimizing the impact on both the animals and the habitat, and on maximizing the safety for the participants but also the public. E.g., everybody will hopefully agree that creating humongous chum trails or dumping indiscriminate amounts of bait to create feeding frenzies is probably a bad idea. Or as another example, we here go to great lengths to condition the Bulls never to come to the surface, lest we get accused of endangering other aquatic recreationists.
    In brief, we need to be in a position to demonstrate that we are always striving to conduct our dives in the most responsible way possible - but provided that (!) we we act responsibly, yours truly and every single Shark diving operator I've ever talked to have made the observation that the Sharks become positively tame, meaning that the risk of a bite is lower not higher!
And then, there's this.
These stupid allegations are likely to hound us til the end of time - but it's disheartening to see them parroted by a young academic that is obviously a Shark-lover!

To be continued no doubt!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Large Bull Shark?


Not large, not a Bull.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shark Conservation in Fiji - this Time with 50% more Shark!

Roughing it in paradise - source.

Life as a volunteer is hard!

Wolfgang - really?



Read this.
Looks like the alte Haudegen is ready to hang up his hat.

If so, we shall all be poorer for it - and so will be the Sharks!
We've been at odds about his particular brand of Shark interaction since day one - but very much contrary to what is so common in today's social media, our public sparring has not led to yet another one of those pathetic feuds but to friendship instead. Yes of course the man is cantankerous and a total Shark hugging nutter - but that's precisely why I like him! :)

So here's to DaWof.
And to him changing his mind once he has spent some quality time with his beasties!

WESPAC - at it again!

Read this.

Me, not so much - this is who they are, a shadowy cabal of rogue bureaucrats that have established their evil fiefdoms in the Pacific from where they are brazenly milking the system in the certitude that the big  honchos in DC will always be too politically correct and spineless to ever ask for any accountability, let alone finally terminate the ring leaders.

Once again, kudos to Patricia Tummons.
Will somebody finally step up and do what needs doing, foremost of which a thorough financial audit and determining any conflicts of interest?

Don't hold your breath.
To be continued no doubt!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Projects Abroad - Actions speak louder than Words!


This is yesterday's news bulletin.
Watch the two segments at 14:00 ff.

See what I mean?
You can continue wasting even more time and resources on more experts, more committees, more reports and more conferences - or you can go out into the field and actually DO something!

Bravo - I'm proud of 'ya!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

FINconceivable - A minus!



The minus?
No she did not utter the dreaded O-word - but Shark fishing got nothing to do with red tides! And anybody concerned about the poor quality of our air needs to stop faffing around about Sharks and trophic cascades, and work on limiting the anthropogenic emissions that cause it!
And yes I'm very much repeating myself!

A big fat A for idea, execution and cuteness!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shark Conservation in Fiji!



So this is what they do.

GWS Cage Diving - Procedures Procedures!

Read this.

Not good.
Redneck Shark diving operators that amp up the Sharks and injure them by having them slam into the cages, and worse, are so yesterday.
Learning curve anybody?

Nuff said.

Socorro - epic!


Watch this.

Simply amazing!
Better go there as fast as you can because like everywhere else, things are far from being good (click on See More)!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Chuuk - brilliant!

Huge congratulations.
Now the Micronesian mega-sanctuary is factually, albeit not yet legally complete - that is, unless those bastards at WESPAC succeed in repealing those Shark protection measures in the American territories.
Have you acted?

If not: here's some motivation!

Recognize the Sharks? :)

Pew: bravo, well done!

PIPA - finally enacted?

Read this.

If true, it's great news.
But the lack of any official announcement, and the reported silence by the perpetrators of the PIPA scam are perplexing to say the least.

To be continued no doubt!

Porbeagles in Canada - still at Risk!


And I cite.
“You know, that’s a lower number than we would like — let’s make no mistake. Even though I’ve got some optimism for the population, it should still be, probably, twice as high,”
For years, Canada has strenuously defended its Porbeagle fishery and resisted calls to list them under CITES - and now that they are, they have opted out, albeit possibly only temporarily.
Not good.

And the lamenting Steve Campana, cited above?
Far from being the enlightened Shark researcher, he used to very much be part of the problem, prompting irate posts by both Mark Harding and yours truly.
May this be an indication for a belated change of mind?

Let's hope so - and if so, kudos.
Sed scripta manent!

Pioneering DNA Shark Research Methodology?


Have you seen the above - impressed?

Me, not so much.
I don't know what planet those dudes are living on - but both we and all Shark researchers I've ever talked to take DNA samples with a simple biopsy probe that can be deployed underwater via Hawaiian sling or spear gun (or even a ROV!), or from the boat via a lance, etc. As tested multiple times, e.g. here, the methodology is highly innocuous and leads to zero post-impact mortality.
Those probes have been around for decades, and contrary to what is being suggested, nobody has been hauling any Sharks out of the water and exposed them to potential injury that could result in serious health consequences and even death of the animal merely in order to obtain a tissue sample.
This is simple, proven research that needs no fixing let alone revolutionizing.

But maybe I'm missing something here.
If so, may I suggest to remove the highly misleading wording and replace it with some pertinent information.

Or not.
And if so... :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Florida - nosy GWS!



Is that diver carrying Fish?
And that other critter at 0:18 - small Shark or Cobia?

PS - full story here - apparently, that shark was much more than simply nosy!

Friday, May 09, 2014

GWS vs Eagle Ray!



Orca vs Thresher!


Awesome awesome awesome pic!
Now THAT's what I call an Apex Predator!

Fiji Shark Dive!

Fiji Bull Shark - great pic by Martin.


Phil Karp has clearly done his homework.
Extremely well researched, this is one of the most insightful posts ever written by one of our customers.

Well done - and thank you!
And thank you Martin!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Stand with Guam - Instructions!


Thank you Shark Defenders!

Here's a useful list of stuff you can do to help.
But above all, please sign the petition!

Thank you.

WA Shark Cull - this Time it's gonna be done by the Book!


Watch this.

No oxygen in their lungs huh.
Whatever - as long as it's for the Sharks - right?

This time there will be a full Public Environmental Review by the State's EPA, and this article explains that the Federal Government is insisting on equally conducting their own full assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

This is good news indeed.
Fingers crossed!

Bait Ball in Fiji - Video!

Blacktips in bait ball - great pic by Sasha. Source.

Cool stuff!
The way I see it, that would be C. limbatus - JSD?


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Guam's Great Marine Preserves - Video by Timbo!

Manta in Guam's Tumon Preserve - source.

Bravo Timbo!

Not too shabby for an old fart!
Incidentally, this is what Manny Duenas and WESPAC want do destroy.

Anyway, enjoy!

And, there is a book, too!

Monday, May 05, 2014

The Big Five-Oh - simply phenomenal!

Epic - this is Blunt, one of our biggest females.

Doug's Water Column has just turned 50.

Well what can I say.
The man is one of the most respected, accomplished, most diligent (and never being happy with the results, most obstinate) underwater photographers out there, and quite possibly the best Shark photographer - and his unequaled articles are the result of countless hours of meticulous research and preparation coupled with more hours spent chasing those elusive images. We've only met relatively recently and the beginning has been challenging - but he has persevered, we're now older and maybe a fraction of a tad more tolerant, and I now count him among the people I trust and respect the most, and call him a close friend.
Here's the laudatio by DIVE Magazine - click for detail.

Totally agree!
You can read his brilliant essay about Shark feeding here, and here is his article about Shark conservation - both some of the best ever published on the respective subjects!

But above all, check out Water Column # 50!
Subscribing to DIVE is free and once you've done that, you can download, or simply check out the interview and Doug's incomparable portfolio of sea life, from the biggest to the tiniest.

Enjoy - I'm sure you will be amazed!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Bimini's Hammerheads - doomed?


Big money or the environment?

You be the judge of that - read this.
The sinister saga of how the Bimini Bay Resort, now renamed into Resorts World Bimini is progressively destroying the island goes on and on and on, with no end in sight.

And the title of this post - too alarmist?
Dunno about the Hammers - but 14 years of research reveal that Doc's Lemons there are now at severe risk, and that the effects extend throughout the whole lagoon and impact critically endangered species like the Smalltooth Sawfish. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to hypothesize that if it hasn't already, this fiasco will surely end up affecting those Hammerheads in particular and Bimini's tourism in general. 

Can this be turned around?
I'm frankly not very hopeful - but the Bimini Blue Coalition and a group of renown researchers are fighting back both in court but also, by exploring viable alternatives, and I invite you to follow their FB page in case they decide to enlist your help. 

But above all, stop giving RWB your business! 
During the next Hammerhead season, stay well clear of that wretched resort: no visits, no berthing, certainly no residing - and if your intruding dive operator is not so squeamish and tries to befuddle you with the usual bullshit, choose a different operator!

Yes I'm talking to you!
You know who you are!