Sunday, June 26, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

360 on Facebook!


Now you can view it on Facebook.
Check this out and share share share!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Resident Oceanic Mantas - Paper!

Notice the distinctive chevron pattern on the back - source.

Who would have thought!

I for one believed them to be highly migratory.
Instead, it appears that the Giant Oceanic Mantas Manta birostris are much more resident = there are several distinct populations whose ranges do not overlap = it probably makes more sense to protect them locally and regionally rather than globally.
Paper here, synopsis here.

And here's a short video.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Poaching in a Shark Sanctuary!

And talking of different Shark Sanctuaries.

Read this.
Whereas yours truly has always supported them as stop-gap measures, my pal Patric has always been a staunch, and vocal skeptic of the effectiveness of Shark Sanctuaries; and I must congratulate him for having made the personal effort and come up with clear evidence for poaching in the Marshalls and beyond.

But is the system broken like he asserts?
Dunno - and neither does he!

As always, it's a matter of nuance.
Shark poaching does not automatically invalidate a Sanctuary.
The way I see it, the aim of the Sanctuary legislation is not Shark preservation but Shark conservation - and where I'm coming from, conservation does not consist in preserving every last individual but instead, aims at preserving populations, or species.
And this I believe is being achieved by keeping mortality below sustainable levels.

Granted, others may differ - but that's how I see it.
And when it comes to the Marshalls and for the matter, to most if not all of those Sanctuaries, we simply do not have the hard data to make a final judgement about their effectiveness as conservation tools. 

But of course we can make educated guesses.
Looking at the list by Pew, I suspect that French Polynesia and New Caledonia "work" because of strong French monitoring and enforcement; and the Bahamas and some other Caribbean ones may benefit from the economic importance of Shark tourism and the fact that there was never a noticeable commercial Shark fishery there in the first place. The others are certainly a mixed bag, from likely suspect in Honduras, the Cooks, Western Samoa and definitely the Maldives, to "difficult" in Micronesia where the Marshals and Palau are probably the "best" and the FSM with its shredded Mantas the worst.
But again, this is merely guesswork - and one would really hope that Pew will one day step up and provide some scientific evidence for what has been successful, and what has not, as they should!

Long story short?
Despite of the preferences of the professional Shark people, this is the real world where in many developing countries, western-style science-based fisheries management will remain wishful thinking for a very long time indeed; and there, Shark Sanctuaries may be one viable quick-fix solution, this very much in line with the precautionary principle. Yes there are certainly other strategic approaches - but from what I can discern, they will once again take a lot of time to fully implement.

I ask, do we really have that time?
And if the answer is, probably not, should we maybe consider abandoning the current entrenched ideological positions in favor of practical solutions = short term prohibition that can later be eased in favor of management?

C'mon people.
Aren't we ultimately all working towards the same goal = shouldn't the tribalism, money and recognition only be of secondary importance?

Just asking!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Safina vs Hilborn - must read!

Awesome - and I cite.
Ray often makes tautological arguments about how well-managed fisheries can work. 
Of course “well-managed” fisheries work. But only a handful of countries have the capacity to have well-managed fisheries. Most are too poor for the monitoring, science, and enforcement required by the modern Western-style fisheries management that is Hilborn’s stock in trade. And in the tropics, such data-intensive management does not transfer well to fisheries targeting coral reef fishes, in which poor people from thousands of small villages (Indonesia alone has around 17,000 islands) exert heavy cumulative pressures to feed millions of people.

That’s part of why we have overfishing and depletion. 
And that is why we need new approaches, approaches that Ray Hilborn seems to think are unnecessary.
Totally true.
And the same also applies to the relentless underhanded clamoring of those professional Shark conservation folks that continue to snipe against the Shark sanctuaries!
Like I stated a million times, e.g. here, good management is the preferred solution as it allows for sustainable fishing = food security and income - but as long as those developing countries don't have the means, or the political will to implement good fisheries management, those Sanctuaries are an excellent stop-gap solution.

Talking of which, congrats for this new crop of Sanctuaries.
Like always, all will hinge on proper implementation, monitoring, enforcement and prosecution where the track record shows huge differences between the different existing Sanctuaries, from excellent in French Polynesia to probably rather lousy in, say, Honduras. But having the legislation on the books is a huge step in the right direction, so fingers crossed!

And bravo Rick as this is undoubtedly the result of his tireless efforts over the past several years!

PS - and no it's not at least 100m Sharks that are being killed!
It's at least 63 but probably around 100 - before making pronouncements, you got to at least bloody read the paper you have commissioned! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Great Fiji Shark Count - Funds for Christine!

Please have a look at this page.

Christine has been with the GSFC since day one.
Like announced back then, she has so far worked completely pro bono whereas the little donor funding has been completely invested into print materials and necessary admin. Now in it's fifth year, this ground-breaking project has generated an enormous mountain of data from tens of thousands of dives all across Fiji and is rapidly nearing the stage where there is enough information to start discerning long-term population trends.

But for citizen science to be good science, there needs to be verification.
This means that in order to start her analytical work, Christine needs to (finally!) come to Fiji to personally witness and fact check the current, exceptionally tedious data collection process from recreational divers to dive operators all the way to Helen's painstaking verification and then, transcription into Excel spreadsheets.

Alas there are no GFSC funds left.
Nowadays, donors appear to expect instant gratification and with the GFSC being long-term monitoring generating only very sporadic and rather unspectacular interim results, donor contributions have slowly fizzled out. In fact, BAD have financed the last three counts out of cash flow as along with Kerstin's continued research into local Shark fishing, we believe this to be invaluable information for better managing Fiji's coastal Shark populations.

So there you have it - this is the back story.
Please, if you can, do make a contribution towards Christine's research.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Il Pagliaccio


Have a look at this clown - above and in this stupidity!

Just fucking pathetic isn't it.
Nothing surprising mind you: that's just how Pirla Sturla is, a pathetic self-promoting megalomaniac who has long been the laughing stock of his compatrioti back in Italy, and I cite
Entra in scena Riccardo Sturla Avogadri, pilota di linea e appassionato di squali (vivi e morti, che colleziona e rinchiude in un acquario o di cui vende denti e mandibole!!!) che, dopo aver rilasciato esilaranti dichiarazioni (peraltro non richieste) sulla causa degli attacchi come ad esempio la pipì dei bagnanti (quindi davanti a Rimini e Riccione, ad Agosto, ci saranno milioni di squali pronti al banchetto?) nonchè l'odore proveniente dai ristoranti sul mare (peccato che a Sharm non ce ne sia uno, in riva al mare!) si offre per la soluzione risolutiva, tramite fantomatiche barriere ad onde elettromagnetiche...

Bene! Migliaia di bagnanti, sub e (ultimi ma non meno importanti) pesci ad altri animali marini, sono felicissimi di fare da cavia all'esperimento del buon Riccardo, che se non ha le luci della ribalta su di se, pare non essere contento (ricordiamo ad esempio il pessimo gusto di vendere denti, mascelle di squalo ed altri macabri reperti di specie in via di estinzione in varie occasioni, tra cui la fiera subacquea EUDI, scatenando come ovvio una ridda di polemiche)!!! 

Di seguito ecco il delirante comunicato diramato ai media e agli operatori del settore subacqueo, buon divertimento: 
And then follows Sturla's moronic press release.
This was at the time of the Red Sea attacks back then in 2010.
Upon hearing that the authorities had invited a group of US Shark sharxperts and after warning about imminent Shark attacks in Italy, the self-professed esperto in squali and creator of the più grande centro ricerca squali al mondo rushed down to Sharm where he instantly, and expertly lectured that the attacks could IN NO WAY have been perpetrated by a Mako! Remember?
Maybe he should have followed his own advice, to wit,
Non abbiamo ancora imparato che prima di dire cazzate è meglio chiedere a degli esperti del settore anzichè inventare e mettere paura alle persone per niente.
And upon meeting with the local governor (he of the Mossad Sharks), the studioso then proudly announced that he had been tasked to protect the local beaches and would deploy entro un mese a 99% effective barriera elettromagnetica - inclusive of cameras that would stream real-time pictures to his website, no less!
Wow - seen any such barriers there lately?

Get the gist?
And I'm sparing you the underwater taser (!), the pathetic website and his other serial cretinate!

And now the dude is in the Bahamas.
Ever the self promoting parasite, the whispering cafone megalomane now claims that it was HE who did first develop tonic, has taken residence somewhere in the neighborhood of Cristina and is now mooching on her dive where he brutally manhandles her Sharks.

And he takes people to Tiger Beach, to wit the following video.

See what I mean?
One can differ (!) about all that manhandling at TB - but at least those other Shark wranglers got some real  skills, some of which are quite impressive!

But this buffonata?
Talk about zero skills and above all, zero safety!

Which brings me right back to the story at the top.
Having seen this last video, do you really believe that the ciancione incompetente is demonstrating to a group of students how to act in a emergency situation with a sharks by being intentionally bitten by a male shark who is protecting and showing off on the front of the bunch of female lemon sharks like asserted by the photographer, he himself another certified Shark expert and all-round genius - or is simply being nailed by a Lemon like he always does? 

Questions questions - and guess what, who cares !
Just stay away from that jerk: for your own safety but above all, for the sake of those poor animals!

PS - Martin here!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Kiwi Invasion - Encore!

Yes Mike is back!
This time, he is filming and producing the award-winning Fish of the Day featuring Clarke Gayford - and as much as we did like meeting Riley, getting to spend some time with the indefatigable Jo and co-producer Ellesha has been a definite upgrade!
And yes, they were some Sharks, too! :)

Here's a short teaser - enjoy!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Shark Bycatch - Papers!

Source - click for detail.

Bless the Hawaiian Tuna fishermen!

Apparently, they really, really don't want to by-catch Sharks.
The fishery is operated by three ethnic cliques, European-, Vietnamese- and Korean-Americans, with the former by-catching significantly less Sharks than the Asian-Americans. I would have thought this to be hardly surprising - but apparently, honi qui mal y pense!
Apparently, this got nothing to do with the Asian appetite for Shark fins but rather, with the lack of communication between cliques.
Really! :)

Paper here and synopsis here!

Not so for the Fijian Tuna long liners.
Fiji operates under a 5% fin-to body ratio = finning is illegal - and with that in mind a 35% finning rate, notabene on vessels with observers (!) can only be called totally brazen; and the finning coupled with carcass retention is a strong indicator for mixing-and-matching of valuable fins from one species with valuable carcasses from another which would again be illegal. Only positive development: the near-elimination in Shark lines after the national ban in 2012.
Finned species include one GWS along with many OWTs, Hammerheads and even Oceanic Mantas - and this, I repeat, on vessels with observers = we can only assume that compliance is even worse on the great majority of vessels with no observers aboard!
And those Blacktip and Whitetip Reefies and Grays and Silvertips: caught whilst targeting Albacore and Swordfish in deep waters far offshore?
Yeah, right.

Click for detail.

And so it goes!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Fin Focus Research!

Behold - and here!

This is really good stuff.
The Ningaloo/Exmouth area is obviously the epicenter of Australia's Whale Shark tourism and research, but the other Shark populations of that area are much more poorly documented. With that in mind, this project will help filling the data gap between Mike's stellar Shark research in Shark Bay further up North and the government's GWS research (and you must read this!) further in the South.

Obviously this is still in its infancy.
But knowing Rebecca, I am very optimistic indeed - especially if she gets the required support by both donors and the local community.
So please, do consider lending a helping hand!

To be continued no doubt!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The not so silent World!

This is just simply brilliant.

Friday, June 03, 2016

¿Quién es Diego Cardeñosa?

Good question!

And the answers are right here.
Well done El Diego, Amigo de los Tiburones and, obviously, piscatorial pride of Colombia!


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Is the Rewa a Scalloped Hammerhead Nursery?

And talking about Fijian Shark nurseries.

Remember Kelly and the Nukulau saga?
Here's a rather nice little piece about Kelly's research - which was incidentally already concluded and published in 2014 but that's Fiji Time for you!

But that's obviously old news indeed.
Since then, there has been plenty more research, much of which in cooperation with Projects Abroad, and the then preliminary case for the Rewa as a nursery is now pretty much a certainty, with those findings about to be published rather soon; and several people and orgs are now advocating a seasonal closure of selected parts of the Rewa estuary in order to at least protect the youngest most fragile juveniles.
And there's also other stuff going on there - but more of that later! :)

Keep watching this space!

PS: paper here!