Monday, April 30, 2018

Rolex Scholarship - good bye Melinda hello Olivia!

From L2R, with medals: Melinda, Jayne and Olivia, with big Fiji Bull in the background - click for detail!


This is the parting vlog of our pal Melinda.
The new OWUSS Australasia Rolex Scholar is Olivia Johnson, and we all very much look forward to hosting her very soon indeed, together with her indefatigable mer-mom and dear friend Jayne!

And there is this.
The changing of the guard was recently celebrated in New York, and we are particularly proud that one of Melinda's pictures from Shark Reef was chosen to adorn the venue, see at top.
Vinaka vakalevu!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - Progress!

From a presentation to the FWC - those Hammers are obviously moribund, or they could not be handled that way. Click for detail.


Finally at their last meeting, the FWC has taken note.
So far, the staff have continued to derelict their duties and failed to adequately protect their vulnerable prohibited Sharks by cozying up to the shore-based fishermen, by never enforcing their very own rules and by never following up on the numerous complaints (and evidence!) of illegal activities, and have instead continued to belittle the concerns of the public; but in view of the overwhelming evidence presented, the commissioners have now decided that it was high time to draw up unequivocal regulations to stop the shenanigans. 
Yes they will take some time to draft and implement - but here's to the staff taking note that the status quo has become unacceptable and starting to finally fucking do their bloody job; and to the shore-based anglers to fucking clean up their act in order to avoid a total ban of their activity!

Kudos to everybody involved.
But whereas some of the usual shameless self-promoters are already taking public victory laps (shame on you Angela - you know who you are!), the real heroes prefer to keep anonymous - especially one incredibly impressive gal who has been busting her ass setting up a citizen initiative and coordinating much of the concerted effort.
She writes,
You know why this campaign has been different and successful?

I didn’t just start screaming at FWC.
We respectfully communicated and I learned lots along the way.
I figured out how they were trying to handle the issue “education rather that regulation” and then spent 9 months on a daily basis illustrating to them why their approach wouldn’t work. I do know many people have submitted crap to the FWC over the years, that doesn’t do anything. We recognized this issue and immediately spent time and money to address the Commissioners at their meeting of July of 2017 =
within one month of starting our group, and at that time we asked the FWC Commissioners to put land based shark fishing on a future agenda.

Here is where the hard work starts though.
We still have so much work to do.
Yes indeed you do.
There are several topics requiring detailed attention i.e. a) blood baiting and public beach safety, b) gear restrictions, c) handling of prohibited species, d) prohibition of shark fishing from man made structures and finally, e) potential licensing and permitting, and there are already efforts underway to properly address each of them.

Want to help make a difference?
Should you live in Florida, have the required knowledge and skills and want to lend a helping hand, you will have plenty of opportunities - and with most good people wanting to remain anonymous: if you don't know whom to contact, best address yourself to the ASC who will undoubtedly point you in the right direction.

Wishing you the best of luck.
And remember: less talking more doing!

Oh and more good news: there will be no harvest of Goliath Groupers!

PS - Hannah Medd here: yes it has been a dedicated FEW, see her reply to Austin's comment!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Love love love this!
And the FOOTAGE IS 100% REAL! :)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fiji Shark Diving 2018!


Very nice!
And here is Tom's latest blog post, with plenty of stellar pictures as always - and yes, as long as it doesn't become a gimmicky fad, the new fisheye lens is certainly very impressive!
So far so great!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Valerie's Books!


I love her - always have always will.
Mind you, merely in a strictly platonic way - but she will always be my closest friend and my hero and my inspiration in so many ways. 

Anyway, this is about her other side.
She has always been an outstanding artist, and I've seen her produce exquisite animal art on several of our numerous expeditions, and am in fact the proud owner of a few of the paintings she drew on those occasions. These books are an expression of her more whimsical side, and equally superb.

Required purchasing - enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2018

«Einstein» unter Haien - Teil 1!


Bravo - I must really say that I like it!
Kudos to producer François Loriol and presenter Tobias Müller for a job very well done!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Einstein - Blut und BRAT!

And talking about Einstein.
Today is the day - enjoy the teasers!

Bull Shark on Steroids!


Never seen such a fast Bull Shark!
Apparently somebody was bottling, and apparently this is from the far South of the Maldives where there is zero evacuation in case of an accident.
H/T Daniel!

Anyway, enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Für unsere Freunde in der Schweiz: Einstein!

Sofern Ihr wirklich nix Besseres zu tun habt. :)
Die zwei Sendungen sind hauptsächlich über die SRMR und die Forschung von Jürg und Kerstin - und obwohl ich noch nichts gesehen habe meinte ich, dass das Fernsehteam da wie üblich super Arbeit geleistet hat.

Viel Spass beim schauen!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - FWC Meeting!

Remember those last posts?

But now there is an, albeit tiny, chance for improvement as the FWC is slated to discuss the matter at its next meeting in Ft. Lauderdale on April 25 and 26.

So you Shark loving folks, here's your chance.
First, inform yourselves because just attending to make the usual breathy noise will most certainly not cut it; and then go there and have your voices heard!
FWC summary memo here, presentation here.

And since we're at it.
There will be a discussion about opening the protected and generally Critically Endangered Goliath Groupers to limited harvest.
This is obviously highly controversial and you should inform yourselves and participate in the discussion. FYI, personally and despite being an avid angler I would vote against it as from a recreational fishing perspective, catch & release is legal and perfectly sufficient - but that's just me. And if there really are too many in Florida, how about catching some and releasing them where there are not enough which is everywhere else!
FWC summary memo here, presentation here.

There you have it.
Long story short, stop talking and start doing - and no, the usual tired raising awareness counts for less than nothing!

Wishing you the best of success!

PS - open letter with plenty of good info about land-based Shark fishing in Florida right here!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Shark feeding in Bora Bora - Paper!

Oh well.

Eric keeps cranking therm out, and I am irritated.
This time it's about those Lemon Shark feeds in Bora Bora, and several Shark bites that ensued, which is incidentally much like what happened with those Lemons in Moorea. 
The description of the events is probably correct and like I said back here, much if not all is a direct consequence of those being multi-user sites with poor and/or not commonly observed feeding protocols, and with competitive pressure and bravado leading to unsustainable practices.
Once again it's same old same old and as such, really quite boring - the more as barring a miracle, those French Polynesian dives are very likely a thing of the past anyway!

But I remain irritated.
This is because Table 1 appears to want to expand those species-, location- and context-specific observations to Shark diving in general, and appears to suggest that especially hand feeding will inevitably lead to bites as per the annoying depiction at the top - click for detail.

No don't worry I'm not going to unleash.
In their generalization, those assertions are simply not correct - and I will gladly leave it at that as we Shark divers know better, and as the naysayers cannot been swayed anyway.

Just this.
Despite of all the breathy punditry, ranging from frankly idiotic to simply frustrating, Shark diving remains orders of magnitude safer than SCUBA - and from a human safety perspective, that is really all one has to know. Choose a responsible operator with good safety protocols both in the water and especially also when it comes to managing potential accidents (= first aid gear and training? Evacuation procedure? Ask!!!), and you should be just fine.
And when it comes to the other real and perceived potential effects of Shark diving, you may want to re-read e.g. this or any other post I've written on the topic.

And anyway.
Let's go Shark diving!

One of the Greatest Experiences You Could have!

Great stuff.

Looks like those dives have left an indelible memory, and we are proud, and also thankful for this small endorsement. And before you get all riled up etc etc: the movie is a fictional story about an extinct Shark and has as much bearing on conservation as, say, Jurassic Park - and no we certainly don't want to discuss it!

Thank you Jason!

PS - And how about this - awesome! :)

Keni - incoming!

Wish us luck.
Fiji: you know what to do!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Tiger Sharks in Hawaii - Paper!

Click for detail!

And I cite.
Although tiger sharks clearly utilize open-ocean habitats in both Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the majority (78.7%) of satellite location estimates for tiger sharks captured around Maui and Oahu during the present study were in coastal waters over insular shelf habitat.

Tiger shark affinity for coastal waters and shelf habitats has been documented in previous studies in Hawaii, Australia, the Galapagos, the Bahamas and Florida, although movements are generally much wider-ranging over the extensive continental shelf areas off Australia and Florida, than over the smaller insular shelf habitats surrounding the oceanic islands of Hawaii or the Galapagos.

Conversely, most tiger sharks tagged at Challenger Bank (Bermuda, Atlantic Ocean) predominantly used open-ocean habitat.

These apparently conflicting patterns of open-ocean versus coastal habitat use by tiger sharks may partly stem from the demographic characteristics of sharks tagged in these different studies.
For example, eighteen (95%) of 19 highly-migratory tiger sharks tagged at Challenger Bank were mature males, whereas tiger sharks tagged during the current and previous Hawaii studies were mainly (59–80%) mature females which predominantly utilized coastal habitats, and tiger sharks exhibiting high coastal residency in the Galapagos were predominantly (85%) sub-adult females and males.

These differences in habitat use are consistent with habitat segregation among different life history stages, with sub-adults of both sexes and mature females occupying coastal areas, and mature males occupying offshore habitats, but likely also reflect the species ability to adapt the scale and pattern of movements to local resource distribution.
Very interesting!
Once again, Hawaii's Shark Research Team has produced a stellar paper focusing on the residency pattern of Tiger Sharks between Kauai and Maui.

Dunno about you - but I just love love love this stuff.
Step by step, all that initially rather baffling local, regional and global  sneaking around is being deciphered, and I'm just totally fascinated by the insights.

Enjoy the new paper - required reading!


Juvenile Lemon Shark: super cute - source.

I just love this clip of that little juvenile Lemon.
Source - Enjoy!

Mrs. Jaws - Cameo!

I was wrong - thankfully!

Check this out.
Contrary to my dire prediction, Mrs. Jaws is alive and kicking - and judging from her girth and body shape, she is very capable of feeding herself which is real good news indeed!

To be continued - keep watching this space!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

What What What?


Looks like  we may be in for another one!
We're presently reeling under TC Josie that has been dumping tons of rain and flooding much of the Western Division - and the forecasts are now showing a bigger and badder one for the next weekend!

Anyway - Happy Easter.
And you know what to do!

Caribbean Reefies are not Apex Predators - Paper!


Check this out.
It confirms previous findings, e.g. here and here that those Reef Sharks are not (!) apex predators but rather, upper-level mesopredators and that as a consequence, it is highly unlikely that their removal would precipitate any trophic cascades.

Just as a reminder mind you.
Back to bloody TC Josie!