Tuesday, September 10, 2019

GWS vs Spearo!


This is scary shit.
Then again, the dude appears to be hanging on to some Fish, see 00:32 in the video here?

Anyway, glad he got away unscathed!

Monday, September 02, 2019

Bloody Pumice!

Oh for crying out loud!

They've discovered a bloody pumice raft.
This is how it looks up close and apparently, it's quite huge.

No, it ain't gonna be saving bloody anything, sorry.
Instead, it may well bloody drift over here like last time - and if so, we're in for weeks upon weeks of bloody nuisance as the bloody pumice pebbles fall to bloody buoyant sand and then dust, and keep on clogging the bloody water intakes of our engines in the process.

Oh, and read this.
Now you know!

Let's go Shark diving - hopefully, sans pumice!

PS - and here it bloody comes... :(
PPS - Bingo... 

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Friday, August 30, 2019

High Seas: Sharks vs Fishing - Epic Paper!

Posted with kind permission - thank you! Click for detail!

Story here, here and here!

This is really beyond phenomenal - especially the tracks!
Just look at the GIF at the top - I mean, seriously, how bloody awesome is that!
Philopatry anybody? 

And the overlap with the fishing fleets?
Having spent countless hours looking for birds when trolling offshore, I know all too well that the prey is not distributed evenly but instead comes in patches, and that consequently, predators converge - and it only stands to reason that as we are supplanting the Sharks as the top predators on the high seas, their footprints will increasingly overlap with that of our commercial fleets, leading to high mortality rates both due to targeted Shark fishing but very much also due to (more or less) unvoluntary bycatch - see this rather recent report about the status of pelagic Elasmobranchs in the SoPac.
Earlier papers e.g. here and here - and here is also an important paper describing the grotesque irony of those fisheries being increasingly unprofitable, story here.
Anyway, huge kudos to Nuno and David - this has truly been a titatic endeavor!

Possibly the postulated well-placed (and well-enforced!) pelagic MPAs but that sure ain't gonna be easy (and here!) - and read this about the need to better identify, and then include those few remaining marine predator refuges! And what about the continued Climate Change-induced poleward shifts (and here!): shift accordingly?
Detail detail! :)

Yeah I know I know.
That's a lot of links - but they are simply a must as things are complicated!

Enjoy the paper and the links!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

CITES - so far so good!



Now everything will need to get formally ratified in the plenary session, and I got little doubt that it will. So well done everybody - and well done El Diego and Debbie for continuing to shed a light on the trade!

And what about Fiji?
As always, we are working on something - and should it eventuate, it will be good news.

Keep watching this space! 

PS - all have been adopted, and some endangered Sea Cucumbers, too!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Shark Reef - it's working!

Forget Tumbee and the Bull: we got Fishes, too - click for detail! Great pic by Jayne!

Great News!

The SRMR is continuing to be a success story.
We had heard rumors about poaching in the Reserve, and did embark in a series of aggressive, and also successful patrols together with the good people of the new Department of Inshore Fisheries - and although we are still missing some of the once ubiquitous larger Groupers and Sweetlips, and although some total asshole has poached our biggest Giant Clams, the effects on the reef are nevertheless quite encouraging.

Here is the evidence.
The indefatigable Helen of Marine Ecology Consulting has been tasked to do a survey of several reefs in Serua and Beqa, see the below map - click for detail.

The results are pretty much unequivocal.
The following are unpublished excerpts of her report, reprinted with kind permission.

General reef condition in the area 

Overall, from the perspective of coral cover and diversity, most of the reefs in the Beqa and Serua area are in good condition, and have both a history, and the future prospect, of having some of the highest coral cover in Fiji, showing resilience to, and swift recovery from, crisis events such as elevated water temperatures and cyclones. 

However, the numbers of fish and macro-invertebrates targeted by the subsistence and small-scale commercial fishing industries are much lower than seen in many other comparable areas of the country, and, particularly on the west side of Beqa, near Yanuca Island, were quite starkly low, some of the lowest populations this surveyor has seen in over 20 years of carrying out reef surveys in Fiji.

Algal cover on the reef floors of the west Beqa reefs also correlates with the extremely low number of herbivorous animals such as sea cucumbers, surgeonfish and parrotfish. Such algal films can retard new coral settlement, and suggests that the extreme levels of overfishing in Beqa may very soon be at the point where the overall health of the reefs may become impacted in an irreversible way. 

Effects of Marine Protected Areas  

There were four MPAs within the surveyed reefs, of which two are regularly patrolled and enforced (Shark Reef Marine Reserve SRMR, and the Kauvala Tabu at Lawaki Beach House). The other two are larger, and more distant from the managing communities, so the level of observation and enforcement is uncertain. 

Coral cover and diversity did not seem to be affected by marine protection over fished reefs. Fish and invertebrate levels were low at all sites except the SRMR and, to a lesser extent the Lawaki MPA and one of the two survey sites within the Cavity MPA behind Yanuca Island. The other three MPA survey sites were no better, or in one, case worse, than fished sites, indicating the importance of proper management and enforcement on the success of marine protection.
Please click on the below for detail. 
Of interest, the results for the SRMR are merely from the shallow back of the reef where we actually expect to encounter less Fishes compared to the highly productive frontal reef slope to the deep Beqa Channel where we dive - and yet the Reserve is still a clear standout!

Bingo - remember what I said here?
Convincing some village to declare a tabu is the easy part - but that it is only a start, and after that comes the real heavy lifting. One needs to train fish wardens (we have sponsored 5 courses and trained dozens of people so far), and then one has to engage in regular long-term monitoring and enforcement which is both expensive and bloody frustrating as it consists of tedious night-long patrols where little to nothing ever happens, and this often on the weekends where poaching is traditionally worst. And when you catch someone, the evidence collection and the prosecution are equally time consuming and laborious.
But it simply must be done - especially where one aggregates Fish and Sharks for tourism and has the moral obligation to assume their stewardship as a consequence!

So again, stop lying talking and start doing!
And to you out there: please do your due diligence - especially you clueless and frankly, terminally irritating  foreign chicks who fancy yourselves some sort of thought leaders and commentators of the local shark feeding scene!

Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

CITES Cop 18 - it's Complicatedl!

So here we go.

The postponed CITES Cop is upon us.
"Our" people are advocating the listing of the two Makos, plus the Wedge- and Giant Guitarfishes - great guide here. For what it is worth, I've said what I wanted to say about the Makos here, and I fully support the listing of those poor highly targeted and now critically endangered Rays.

But that's not why I'm posting this.
Whilst searching for background info, I've stumbled about this post but above all, this in-depth position paper by the WWF. It's great stuff and should you be interested in the topic, I warmly recommend that you read it.

It is also bloody complicated.
Like always, achieving lasting wildlife conservation = halting extinction and limiting long-term mortality to below sustainable levels -which if we're honest is really the only thing that ultimately counts- is way more complex, detailed and comprehensive, and also way more challenging than commonly thought, see e.g. the reflections about hunting quotas, or the ongoing nightmare of trying to get a handle on the ivory trade (also read this!), or those dreadful tiger farms, or the often difficult coexistence between rural communities and wildlife to cite but a few, some of which requiring compromises that may greatly challenge one's ethical sensibilities.

When I read about representatives of  183 countries, 56 new proposals and about 550 species being affected, it promises to get interesting to say the least!

So best of luck everybody.
And to you all out there, beware of pied pipers and simple solutions!

Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

Friday, August 16, 2019

More Shenanigans with Tiger Sharks!

Shark conservation at its very best!

Here we go again.

Have you seen this?
Yeah that would be the absolute genius I referenced here.
And like all those other self promoting media whores in Ramsey's pathetic Ohana, or whatever, he is obviously a Shark whisperer. And he is obviously not molesting those perplexed Tigers for personal vanity and for camera = $$$. Instead he is, reluctantly, literally putting his life on the line for conservation, in order to dispel the myth! And to calm them down because that's obviously necessary! For the Sharks!
And incidentally, all this invaluable whispering, Shark conserving and myth-dispelling is happening smack in the middle of one of the few well enforced Shark sanctuaries where all Sharks are already fully protected!

And incidentally, where Shark feeding is currently banned.
And yes once again this umpteenth Shark stupidity would really be nothing new - or do you believe that those Tigers would approach the dude sans bait in the water?

I mean, seriously!
But worry not, it is merely a continuation of the same old tired and disrespectful shenanigans, and there really is no need to elaborate - just follow the link at the very top  and for the record, for once I agree with David 1000%!

And how about the following.
It looks like shortly after my recent post on the subject, the victim of that Tiger Shark bite has posted a third and much more graphic video of the incident.
Before the usual couch farting apologists start boring everybody with their interpretations and excuses: this is bad bad bad, and the dude is incredibly lucky that the tank took the brunt of the abuse and that he got away with only minor lacerations.
And because people don't stop asking - no it was most definitely not us, nor was it the guys down the road!

Really - what a fucking disaster.
And to think that for years, everyone there has been personally Schooled in ADORE-SANE!
Then again... :)

But I'm digressing as always.
Behold the video.

Let's go Shark diving - responsibly!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

El Monstruo - new Videos!

 Absolutely click for amazing detail!

Awesome stuff!

The saga continues.
This remains one of my very favorite Sharks, and I was really happy to stumble across the following videos of big, beat-up and possibly pregnant females from their possible parturition and/or mating site in El Hierro  - and how about the above, among many other stellar pictures by Claude Lespagne!


Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Freshwater Megafauna, too!

Giant salamander vs Northern Water Snake - click for detail. Source.

Read this and this.

It really sucks doesn't it.
As a reminder and despite of our very best efforts, most marine species are still faring better - at least for now, tho for some cetaceans with limited geographical distribution, the writing is clearly on the wall.

Papers here and here, great slide show here.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Cannibal Seals - Video!


So there.

This is for our long-term readers.
Blog aficionados will remember that way back then, after having made a big hoopla about a dead Racoon, Patric made another big hoopla about a string of then unexplained grisly Grey Seal fatalities in the Northern Atlantic.

I had already put the matter ad acta, but now I find this.
Looks like Grey Seal cannibalism is more common than thought, with new evidence coming from e.g. Ireland and Germany. And I've even found a paper, and video evidence from Scotland, to wit.

*WARNING - Very Graphic Content!*
           You have been warned!

So this is it - once and for all, promise
Let's go Shark diving!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Mako Sharks - CITES Listing?



Great job by Shawn and Riley.
I'm not really sure that from a conservation POV, Makos deserve global protection via the proposed CITES listing as I would argue that contrary to what is happening in the Atlantic, e.g. SoPac stocks are faring rather well - but I certainly advocate acting in a precautionary and proactive manner and in that sense, the NDFs mandated by CITES will certainly be helpful.
So, well done guys.

But I'm digressing as always.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

GWS and Kelp - Video!

Click for detail.

Bingo - watch.

A while back, yours truly raised concerns about what I saw as questionable research supporting the asserted effectiveness of the infamous, kelp-bio-mimicking Shark Safe Barrier.

Well, so much for that - paper here.
I'm probably just just being my usual unscientific, badmouthing and party pooping ignoramus self - but if the original premise of the whole exercise in mimicking is essentially being shown to be a load of BS, then...?
But then again, when I read about wanting to deploy 5 rows, maybe that's irrelevant as the whole thing may ultimately just act as nothing more (but also nothing less!) than an effective physical barrier that contrary to the Shark nets and drumlines would however not be killing any sea life - and if so, it would be a good thing.

Considering the breathy (and liability-attracting!) claims of having a 100% success rate of keeping highly motivated sharks out, this is most definitely going to be continued.

Keep watching this space!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Friday, July 26, 2019

TGIF: Cousteau - Sharks!


This is 1968.
Epic stuff, even featuring early tagging, and behavioral experiments with the unforgotten Shark Lady, Genie Clark.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ocean Championship - Anybody Anybody?

So there.

We're pulling the Ocean Championship.
So far we've received a grand total of zero submissions, and this after posting the announcement to various social media totaling over 100,000 regular followers.

Oh well.
So much for Martin's question - and I can certainly leave it at that.

And no, I'm not in the slightest surprised.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Fiji: Shark Fin Ban!

Click for detail!

Well well.

Read this.
Obviously it's a good thing - albeit with caveats, i.e.
  • My gut tells me that this is less about conservation and more about CITES as from a practical point of view, a blanket ban eliminates the need for cumbersome species identifications and NDFs.

  • The way I see it, this should merely be considered a stop-gap measure pending the establishment of sustainable management much like in the case of those Shark Sanctuaries

  • Where I come from, the saying is that The Good is the Enemy of the Better = is this for Shark fins only, or have they also included the Rays, or at least the increasingly endangered Wedge- and Guitarfishes, see at top?

  • What about whole, or even partial Sharks, see this?
    Detail detail!

  • With Fiji being a pioneer in Coral planting - here's to there being an exemption for certified sustainable mariculture!
And this self congratulatory piece of horse manure?
No, Fiji did not join, and this got nothing whatsoever to do with those folks, zero = for the record and lest anybody forgets, THIS is their legacy in Fiji! 
Seriously, what a fucking disgrace!

Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

PS - q.e.d. = Giant Guitarfishes and Wedgefishes, collectively called Rhino Rays, are now the world’s most threatened marine fish!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Le Monde du Silence!

Yup those would be Tortoises - click for detail.

Remember these posts about Cousteau?

The videos have since been taken down.
Here is the whole movie in original version - til it gets taken down, too!
But before you watch, heed this *WARNING* that by the standards of back then in 1956, the ocean was there for the taking and consequently, those were epic, adventurous and intrepid feats = sensibilities were completely different, meaning that you will likely be shocked by what you see.
*You have been warned!*

Still, methinks that it is worth watching as a historic document.
Should you want to avoid watching the most controversial among many other controversial scenes: dynamite at 22:10ff, baby Sperm Whale at 47:20ff , subsequent OWT massacre at 56:20ff: really despicable stuff - the good news being that we sure have come a long long way since those days!

Anyway - here it is.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday Blues?

Click for detail!

Yup that would be one of our boats.
So what are you waiting for!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Manhandling Tiger Sharks in Fiji - not Sustainable!

This is a difficult one.
I'm pretty sure that it's going to harm us commercially - but it must be done.

So there: this shit really needs to stop.
Big Tiger Sharks are not harmless pets, and the stupid global fad of wanting to push them around is just fucking disrespectful, and a recipe for disaster to boot. And anyway, even the most rudimentary knowledge of basic physics should amply expose the foolishness of trying to physically manhandle and dominate an animal that is several times one's weight - or not?
And how about utilizing some basic protective gear starting with black gloves for the clients so that their pasty white hands sticking out of dark wetsuits don't look like bait; to have your staff wear chainmail; to using poles in order to create separation with the Sharks - and when you have one, don't throw it down but fucking use it, see below!

To wit.
And no, no need to mention names: do your own research.

And how about these beauties.
Close calls anybody?

And how about this eye gouging and slamming into coral.
See what I meant about basic physics = the hopelessness of wanting to successfully steer such a large Shark - especially whilst one is swimming where one has no leverage like when one is standing firmly on the ground?

And finally, over to that much-publicized shark bite.
Again, no need for names the more as the whole fiasco has been amply negotiated in the public domain from newspaper articles to scathing reviews to social media to the following two videos. FYI the victim was successfully evacuated and patched up which is hopefully a testimony to there at least being a good evacuation protocol.

First the bite, then how it came to it.
Once again, check out the basic physics - etc. etc. etc.!

No, no need to elaborate.
And before you start wasting your time by speculating about the Sharks' intentions: who knows and ultimately, who cares!

Where I come from, the saying is that A Fish rots from the Head down, meaning that this is essentially a management issue. Guys, formulate sustainable protocols and then train, protect and above all, fucking supervise your staff - and STAHP stoking them by calling them warriors and gladiators! 

And since we're at it.
Protect you clients, and fucking always control your dive - this is commercial Shark diving, not some adventure where you try to wing it and hope for the best!

If you publicly claim that you've created an MPA, and that you are giving money and are providing jobs for the village: bloody train fish wardens and then invest time and money into anti-poaching patrols, preferably at night when the poachers go poaching; and bloody pay the village and employ their youth like you've promised - and if not, stop lying!

And just to be clear.
This is not about making others look bad, let alone about trying to suggest that we are "better" or the like.
We too have had our fair share of cock-ups, scares and bites like everybody else - but contrary to what appears to be happening elsewhere, we try hard to learn from those experiences whereby we continuously adapt and tighten our Shark diving protocols, continuously improve the protection of our clients (see here) and of our staff, and also continuously repeat our emergency response training and continuously optimize our emergency protocols and gear.

But we equally firmly believe that the inherent risks of baited Shark dives can very much be managed. And we also believe that it also actually *IS* being managed, to wit the fact that there are orders of magnitude more pro-rata fatalities in ordinary diving compared to Shark diving - and yes I'm very much repeating myself.
Anyway, think "aviation" and you can see where I'm coming from.

So here's to improvement!

And here endeth the weekend sermon!
Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

PS: Comments policy: please comment here and not on FB. Also, please be aware that comments are being monitored and that I reserve to delete anything I don't like at my full discretion = my blog my rules!

Friday, July 12, 2019

GWS Tussle - Video!

Likely a bite by another GWS - source. And yes, Bulls are WAY more peaceful - click for detail!

Very cool!
Story here - enjoy!

Professional Fishermen?

Professional my ass!

Just great - holding the tiger by its eyes!
Looks like I was too optimistic and that the infamous saga continues - and no I'm not really surprised.

Oh well.
To be continued no doubt!
H/T Kim, for keeping a watchful eye on things as always!

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Fiji Shark Dive with B.A.D!

Amazing weather - click for detail!

Well well.

No we are definitely not on Beqa (?) nor in the Lagoon.
But this is typical for what our clients can experience - and this very much inclusive of the friendliness and outright exuberance of our unequaled staff!


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Saving Our Sharks - Video!

Obviously don't fully agree but still, quite good - click for detail. Source.

This is great and important work.
Huge kudos to Chino and Luis, and also to all the other people, dive shops and sponsors of Saving Our Sharks who have contributed to this success.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - here come the new Rules!

Behold = the new rules start on July 1st!
FWC Bulletin here, FWC Shark page here, rules here, compulsory course here, Florida Shark ID guide here, Florida Program for Shark Research including ISAF here.
Now you know!

May this be the end of the infamous saga?
As always we shall see shall we not!

To be continued!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Im Würgegriff von Plastik!

Für unsere Freunde aus der Schweiz!

Viel Spass beim Lesen.
And for you other folks out there - yup she's still up for adoption!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Two Years of Strap - Field Note!

2016-2018 - click for detail!

Remember that poor Shark back then in 2016?

We named her Strap and have kept tabs ever since.
And here comes the according Field Note documenting the initial worsening and then, thankfully, improvement in her situation all the way to the point where the strap did eventually burst and has since mostly fallen off .

My personal take-away?
First and foremost, this once again proves the value of our continuous long term monitoring where our humongous data base is documenting over 15 years of Shark diving and the life history of a whopping 250 individual Sharks!

And boy talk about being tough!
During the course of the whole ordeal, she never appeared to be particularly inconvenienced and  instead maintained her agility and continued to compete successfully during the aerial feeds. In fact I fully expect her to completely heal to the point where she will shortly look similar to Gillette who only upon very close inspection appears to have survived a very similar incident.

Strap is up for adoption, so there - and don't forget to upgrade in order to receive your quarterly updates!

And because I can.
Here is the entire Field Note for your perusal - as always, great job by Juerg and for the first but certainly not last time, by Tashi Blue!
Please click for detail and, Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Essential Waters - Paper!

Intrepid and indefatigable - co-authors Kerstin and Gauthier, and Tom! Source.

All I can say is, at long last!
This has taken three interminable years of braving the weather very much including the historic TC Winston and navigating a myriad of  imponderabilia very much including plenty of the usual indigenous shenanigans and squillions of always famished namus, both of the flying and bipedal kind - not to mention the desperate advances of the infamous desperate expate housewives, let alone the even desperater expat singles!
So first and foremost, a big BRAVO, I'm mighty impressed for having stayed the course in the face of all those never-ending adversities - and I can most certainly leave it at that, the more as I trust that anybody with even the slightest knowledge of life in the SoPac will most definitely understand! :)

So there you have it.
This is the result of three years of mostly incredibly tedious fishing for juvenile Bull Sharks in the Rewa, Navua and Sigatoka. Taken in isolation, it once again confirms that Fiji's rivers harbor juvenile Bull Sharks, and that the likely parturition season coincides with when we observe that our big pregnant Bull Shark mommas leave the SRMR. 
Talking of which: so far the most likely candidates for 2019 are Shark Icon Tip and our usual Shark Superstar Brenda who will never forego the chance of some hanky panky with Whitenose - so what are you waiting for!

But that's just part of the story.
Our Bull Shark research is definitely coming full circle, and as time goes by and more data are being acquired and analyzed, you can expect more revelations about the nurseries but also likely population size, kinship, paternity and eventually, even philopatry - so keep watching this space! 

Great blog post by Kerstin here.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

World Oceans Day - Ocean Championship!

And I cite.
Today is World Oceans Day

At Shark Diver, we receive a lot of inquiries from individuals looking for opportunities to help in the area of shark or ocean conservation. There are so many ways to apply the diverse amount of talents out there that people possess. So this year, we decided to show our support for those who are making a difference toward protecting the oceans we love and their inhabitants, by awarding them with the experience of a lifetime!

Today, on World Oceans Day, we officially begin the Ocean Championship, a competition for conservationists of all ages who are working to preserve anything and everything ocean related.
Your focus could be saving sharks, saving dolphins, protecting coral reefs, cleaning the beaches, or bettering the ocean in general. What is your passion? Social media awareness is nice, but it doesn’t always get the job done. We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated, and driven individuals who are working hard to make a direct impact. Are you working with legislators to enact protection laws? Are you working with businesses to reduce or eliminate plastic usage? Are you planting mangroves? Have you started a major ocean/beach cleanup effort? The sky is the limit. We want to know how you are making a difference. Do you know what you’d like to do, but just haven’t put your idea to work yet? What are you waiting for? Get going! We want to hear from you.

Here’s one example of conservation efforts at work: Beqa Adventure Divers created a national marine park called the Shark Reef Marine Reserve through their bull shark diving operation in Fiji. Regular surveys and fish counts are conducted in an effort to help in the long-term survival of endangered species. Their findings led to the expansion of a vitally protected area now called the Fiji Shark Corridor which runs approximately 30 nautical miles along the southern coastline of Fiji’s beautiful main island of Viti Levu.

Yes, some efforts take a lot of time. 
And yes, some efforts take a lot of money. But many major efforts begin with just one thing. Love. If you love the ocean and its incredible inhabitants, let’s see what you can do or are doing, so that generations to follow will be able to love it too.

This competition will yield two big winners!

Winner number 1, picked by Shark Diver, will receive a 5-day inclusive Great White Shark Diving Adventure at Guadalupe Island, Mexico where you will cage-dive with great white sharks! No SCUBA certification is necessary. Spend 5 days with Shark Diver’s owner learning about the magnificent great white shark, which finds the volcanic island of Guadalupe a mating ground and plentiful food location.

Winner number 2, selected by our sponsor Beqa Adventure Divers, will win a shark adoption through their My Fiji Shark shark adoption initiative, plus a full week of diving at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji to ‘meet’ their shark. (SCUBA certification required)

Both are unique and unforgettable experiences!

Get inspired! Do something! Stop talking about it and take action… be an Ocean Champion!

Shark Diver hopes to make this an annual event. Good luck!


Ocean Championship is open to any individual to enter.
All submissions must be sent to oceanchampionship@gmail.com.
Entries are subject to being published on SharkDiver.com and FijiSharkDive.com and/or all participating sponsor’s social media pages or websites. Finalists will be asked for verification of all documents submitted and may be asked for references for contact. Airfare to and from San Diego/Fiji is not included.

Enter by May 1st, 2020.
Winner will be announced on World Oceans Day, June 8th, 2020.
So there.
When Martin contacted us with his stellar initiative, we were more than happy to contribute. As detailed above, the winner of our prize will be selected by us and receive
  • A free adoption of one of our Shark Stars through our My Fiji Shark initiative, and

  • One week of diving with us.
    This usually comprises 5 days of two-tank diving in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve and two days of two-tank coral and/or wreck dives. Diving is FOC but exclusive of the daily Marine Park Levy of FJD 25.00 and the cost of any rental gear or other extras like Nitrox fills, etc.
Having said that, there is a high probability that as time progresses, we will announce further perks and prizes - so keep watching this space!
As to what we like and want to reward
  • Obviously, Shark conservation!
    But please, something tangible on the ground and not merely the dreaded raising awareness by posing for selfies and posting dreadful home videos, or misguided petitions for finning bans and the like! And no, contrary to what some quarters would have you believe, petting, riding and otherwise molesting Sharks is not Shark conservation - especially not in bikini!
    What we are looking for are initiatives that actually reduce Shark mortality to below sustainable levels - e.g. read this!

  • And because the Sharks cannot survive if we fish away their prey and obliterate their habitat, we'd also like to see more holistic projects like implementing effective sustainable fisheries management or the establishment of well-enforced MPAs, etc - but please, spare us the fashionable but misguided fads!

  • And please, show us the track record even if what you do is still work in progress and there is only partial success - but mere breathy announcements do not count!
There you have it.
Wishing you the very best of success - and hopefully, see you next year in Fiji's first National Marine Park!

To be continued!

Saturday, June 01, 2019

White Shark Nutrition and Cage Diving - Paper!

Well well.

Remember Kátya's stellar paper?
As a reminder, it showed that despite of being fed one ton of  highly nutritious Tuna heads every week, our Sharks showed only negligible nutritional impacts, i.e. a) no evidence of bait incorporation by our non-resident Bull Sharks, whereas b) for some of our much more resident Whitetip Reefies, the Tuna incorporation was a mere 8–22%.
Consequently, we surmised that both species are not being harmed but instead continue to fulfill their ecological role practically unchanged.

I'm obviously totally not surprised.
All global cage diving regulations stipulate that the Sharks can only be teased but not fed, which far from being "good" let alone "eco", actually appears to harm them as they incur a metabolic loss as a consequence - and if our highly fed Bulls show no bait incorporation, there was never any way that the tiny amount of Tuna pilfered by those GWS would have any effect at all!

And then there is this, and I cite,
The provisioning attracts a number of animals, including birds, teleosts and other chondrichthyans, some of which are potential white shark prey items (e.g. yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi, bronze whalers Carcharhinus brachyurus, and rays). However, the shark's unaltered diet negates concerns that large groups of teleosts, encouraged by the presence of bait and chum, create additional feeding opportunities around the cage-diving operators....

Additionally, dive operators and scientists have yet to witness attempted predation on any of the species attracted by the bait and chum, despite close proximity and apparent ease of capture (pers. com. A. Fox and A. Wright). This combination of observation and dietary biomarkers negates the hypotheses that provisioning creates additional or unnatural foraging opportunities for white sharks around cage-diving operations.
Bingo - this is totally our observation, too! 
Those prey items obviously know that the Sharks are there and remain highly vigilant - and having lost the element of surprise, those Sharks don't even bother trying.

And there you have it.
Well done Lauren and Charlie for having added another piece to the puzzle - and I may add, for once again exposing all those irritating unsubstantiated reservations by our detractors as being just that, and pretty much rubbish to boot! 

Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Shark Bites - Dark Little Secret!

And talking of shit happening.

Michael has unearthed a great post by Eli.
Yes indeed, Shark feeders get bitten all the time - not because those Sharks want to eat them but principally due to errors by feeders and Sharks alike; and much more rarely, because the Sharks do it intentionally, this mainly due to agonism = when they are frightened and/or frustrated and/or cranky and/or aggressive - to wit.

I've heard about this first hand.
This is the old Shark feed in Avatoru, Rangiroa, and the dude had it certainly coming for his inane habit of provoking the Silvertips by literally sitting on the bait and poking them with a metal pointer whenever they would approach - until one day, one of the Sharks decided to show him who is boss!

But I'm digressing as usual.
The fact is that in the vast majority of times, the feeders get away completely unscathed, this mainly because the smart ones are suitably protected - and if not, or should the protection fail, some good hemostatic dressing, a good emergency tourniquet, well-trained emergency responders (!) and a good emergency and evacuation protocol (!) will most likely avert the worst.
And if not, not - so let's not be stupid!

Let's go Shark diving - responsibly!

Enjoy Eli's post!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Haitourismus und Wissenschaft!

Für undere deutschsprachigen Freunde!

Danke Tom!
Dieses ist mal wieder saubere Arbeit: interessant, informativ, schön bebildert und vor allem wissenschaflich korrekt! 

Viel Spass beim lesen!