Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And THIS is why I love you RickMac!

Aaaah Rick...

Talk about having caught me on the wrong foot!
I was actually planning to get back at 'ya for this comment, and had even asked David to rehabilitate me by posting some unedited clip where I said Fuck - but it turns out that I really didn't say it even once! Talk about fucking embarrassing!
And now this, and I cite,
Did the shark seek out Fanning in search of hugs, and then—after a punch from the surf champion—add more salty tears to an already full ocean?
So there buddy - this is why you're one of my heroes.
First, because this is just fucking brilliant - nothing to add, amend or subtract, and way more eloquent and balanced than I could have ever penned myself. Second, for having the chutzpah of posting Panglossian at a time where the kids when speaking to each other, face to face, actually say the word "hashtag" and then top it up by making the sign with their fingers. And thirdly, for continuing to do all that heavy marine conservation lifting without the slightest shred of ego, to the point where you graciously step aside when others then parachute in to reap the plaudits. 
So kudos and chapeau my friend - again!

And this blog?
I've decided to put it on a backburner.
Because of the kids. Because I'm frustrated. 
Both commercial Shark diving and Shark conservation are clearly at a crossroads - but all I get to hear, see and read is the same old tired claptrap. Little knowledge but plenty of bombastic pronouncements; little fact but plenty of new age thruthiness; no relevant content but plenty of dumbing down wrapped in social media wizardry; little integrity but plenty of breathy self promotion by the posers, cheats, charlatans and media whores; ever more awareness but zero tangible achievements. 
It's the fucking dolphinization on steroids - and now with 30% more political correctness! I mean, seriously, how fucking pathetic! 

But above all, there's zero vision - and I can assure you that despite of all that noisy do-goodery, global Shark populations are continuing to decline along with their prey and their habitats!
Have you seen this? And this? And this? Think they're not having an effect?
Did I tell you that I'm frustrated?

Time to rethink the Shark.
There's also plenty to do, and not having to slave away at the computer has certainly helped increasing real world productivity.
BAD is a Shark research and conservation project that is being financed via ecotourism. Luckily for us, so far, there is still enough divers that do not ask for troglodyte Shark diving to keep us thriving. Luckily for us, there  is an increasing number of  conservation-minded researchers, and there are selected individuals and orgs that pursue marine conservation with integrity, are not after fame but want to get the job done - and they are all happy to engage. Luckily for us, the Fijian authorities are highly supportive, and aware and willing to tackle the issues at hand.

But the area is tiny and subject to significant anthropogenic pressure. In essence, it's little more than a proof of concept - and unless the lessons learned and the public-private partnership can be upscaled to national and global levels, its contribution to Shark conservation will always be ephemeral. So there's stuff to do - and we are. 
We're also wrapping up a multi-year research project, still engaged in two more and pondering a new one. And there will be new papers - one in review and several more in progress.
And finally, there is a need to continue reforming the Shark diving industry - via dialogue with our peers, via GSD but also via other initiatives that will be launched shortly.

But of course I'm digressing, and then some.
All I wanted to say is, bravo Rick, I'm proud of 'ya!

Enjoy Rick's post.


Shark Diver said...

I agree with most of Rick's comments. I'm actually one of the "this wasn't an attack" crowd, not because I think sharks never attack people, but because of the slow speed the shark approached Mick Fanning. When GWS attack, it's usually a massive strike. Of course, we'll never know the true intentions the shark had.

I do however disagree completely with your characterization of your success in creating the shark reef marine reserve as being little more than proof of concept. Proof of concept is huge. It shows that all parties can profit by protecting the environment. Of course it has to be scaled up, but for anyone who says it can't be done, it proves them wrong. It is certainly not going to be easy, but don't get discouraged.

I look at the shark reef marine reserve like I look at mystical barriers that exist/existed in sports. The 4 minute mile, 9 second 100m etc. Once broken, the floodgates opened and a lot of others athletes were able to do it.

We need you to keep going and be an inspiration for the rest of us.

DaShark said...

Thanks Martin ! :)

And worry not - when it comes to the actual conservation work, nobody is discouraged and nobody is about to stop anything!