Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - Victory!

I was wrong - thankfully!

Check out the pic - click for detail.
This has been adopted in the final regulation = at the very last minute, they have mandated that the line must be cut, see below.
So again, bravo to the indefatigable Kim who has continued to pester everybody asking for that change - and contrary to what all those self-promoting back-slappers out there would have you believe, this has been 100% her doing.
Kudos, excellent job!

Now to the enforcement...
To be continued no doubt!

Monday, February 18, 2019

South Africa: This and That!

Great pic, and so very Allen - click for detail.
Well well.

The really bad news first.
Irrespective of whether I respect, let alone like Craig O'Connell (spoiler: ever since I've discovered him palling with ABC4$: not much), or his fake kelp, or whatever (spoiler: even less so):
This is just simply egregious.
So there, re-posted in its entirety - and no, not at all surprised!
Very happy to see my invention, the SharkSafe barrier, being deployed in Reunion Island; however, I am a bit shocked because as the principle investigator I was unaware of this deployment. 

Although many of you already know, the original SharkSafe barrier was invented by myself while in Bimini, Bahamas during my internship at the Bimini Biological Field Station and then I brought it to South Africa and formed a collaboration to test it on large sharks during my Ph.D.-related research expeditions. In fact, I started developing the barrier in 2006 after receiving a prestigious internship for my shark deterrent barrier proposal, which I sent to the station in 2005. 

I find it quite interesting that the team from University of Stellenbosch is deploying my invention without my permission or knowledge and it is quite sad to learn about it from the Press! 
To read multiple misquotes in recent SharkSafe barrier-related media and now to read in this article that the barrier was "Developed in South Africa", it worries me that additional quotes may mislead the public about the utility and safety of the barrier - especially being that the people who have deployed this in Reunion do not have the experience or the Behavioral Science background to truly understand the barrier's functionality. I mean sharks are complex animals so to also be misquoting the barrier to be “100% effective” is not sensible and is an indication of their lack of familiarity of various SharkSafe barrier results and studies. I am the inventor and I began inventing the SharkSafe Barrier in Bimini, Bahamas in 2006.

There isn't too much more to say about this other than this is disheartening and a poor example of how collaborative conservation and Science is done. Feel free to share this post so others don't make the same mistakes I did!
And now to the great news.
Our friend Allen has just won the shark photography category of the prestigious World ShootOut - story here.
Bravo buddy, we're proud of 'ya!

PS - see here.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Seven Days of Blunt!


It's always such a pleasure, and relief to see them coming back!
The even better news being that if you play it back in 1080 and look really carefully, you can just about discern some faint and well healed mating scars, meaning that she will hopefully get pregnant and give birth to yet another batch of chubby babies in early December!

This would be my very favorite Shark.
I've known Blunt for now 10 years and must say that apart from being incredibly impressive, she's just simply the most cuddly and adorable Bull Shark of them all - and yes I know, considering that she's a huge badass apex predator this is highly inappropriate language, but still!
And anyway, I know that everybody who knows her will agree!

Anyway, to celebrate, Tashi Blue is running a special!
For obvious reasons, we really only have ever been able to attribute a handful of teeth to an individual Shark, so this is really a totally unique opportunity - plus much like her, that tooth is just simply huge, and pretty much unblemished, too!  

So what are you waiting for.
Adopt Blunt Now - and don't forget to Upgrade!

Vinaka Vakalevu!

PS - Congratulations mon ami!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

White Sharks vs Sevengills - Paper!

First image of Sevengills on this blog = as always, great pic by Peter! Source.

Just in case you've missed it.

I must say that I really like it.
Obviously, correlation is not causation so we'll never know 100% - but as somebody who has been equally documenting long-term changes in abundance that are likely partially due to competitive exclusion, I can only applaud the authors for advancing an astute and I believe highly plausible hypothesis.

But go see for yourselves.
Paper here, synopses here and e.g. here.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Florida Land-Based Shark Fishing - New Rules!

Source - simply disgusting, and nope, NOAA does not condone any of that shit! Click for detail.

Oh well.

Behold: here are the proposed rules, presentation here.
I did ask, are they gonna be good enough and the short answer is, not really, but at least there is progress.

My principal grievance?
Anglers will continue to be allowed to kill those Great Hammers by fighting them to exhaustion - reminder here. And then in the draft rules I also find this (emphasis in cursive is mine)
(d) A person who catches a prohibited species while fishing from shore must release such prohibited species immediately at the site of capture, without unnecessary harm. Delaying the release of a prohibited species for any period of time longer than necessary to remove the hook or other fishing tackle is prohibited. The permissible temporary possession provisions provided for by 68B-2.002(2), F.A.C., do not apply to prohibited species.

(e) A person may not remove a prohibited species from Florida Waters. The gills of a prohibited species must remain submerged and the entire length of the organism must remain in the water. This subparagraph shall not be construed to prohibit temporarily lifting the head of a prohibited species from the water in order to speed removal of a hook or other fishing tackle or to require unsafe practices while fishing from shore.
That stupid exemption is a huge loophole.
The anglers are already exulting as it effectively cements the status quo by leaving the determination on whether a practice is safe to them, meaning that as long as they cite safety aspects, they will be able to continue dragging the Sharks ashore in total impunity "in order to remove the hook or other fishing tackle".
Case in point, these pronouncements by Jorgensen - and thank you David for stating the obvious, i.e. that the much better solution is to leave the bloody hook in = bloody cut the fucking line, and this ideally immediately upon positive identification!

Not gonna happen alas.
The commission will be meeting on February 20 and barring a miracle, those will be the new rules - and if so, the wanton and completely unnecessary killing of endangered and protected species will continue basically unabated.

So, yes, congrats to everyone involved.
This is certainly a remarkable victory - but methinks that you have merely won a battle and not the war = when it comes to those poor GHH, the obnoxious saga is most likely not over.
But I've been wrong before, so here's to that!

Oh, and  incidentally.
Bravo Jimmy et al for the victory in the fight about the Blue Heron Bridge where the prohibition will be sanctioned at the same commission meeting!
Well done, I'm really impressed!

And finally Bravo Kim.
Without you none of this would have happened.
You know who you are!

To be continued no doubt!

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Depressions, and More!

Click for detail!

Well well.

Looks like we're in for something.
The way I read the various pages, the convergence zone will shortly become active and spawn several tropical depressions and quite possibly a cyclone that would be intensifying whilst moving towards port Vila in Vanuatu. 

Forecasts here and here.
And you may obviously want to keep an eye on the warning and alerts by the FMS!

You know what to do!
Wishing you the best of luck!

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Shark Central!

Behold - page 12ff!

Very nice indeed!
Always nice when a local comes diving and appreciates what Fiji has got to offer.
Vinaka Alisi.
And Adopt Your Shark Now - timing is simply ideal!
Thank You!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Reef Shark Science - the Compendium!

One of our protected Blacktip Reefies. Great pic by Allen!


This is just simply brilliant.
Quite the erudite tour de force, and penned by some of the very best minds in the field, it recapitulates the current scientific insights about Reef Sharks, and  charts the way for future research.

No need for synopses as it is thankfully open source.
Just this: among a plethora of valuable information, it also addresses the topic of Reef Shark - mediated trophic cascades along with those infamous postulated inverted pyramids where I also discover this equally unequivocal statement in the cited literature. 
Long story short: both are nothing but breathy myths that need to be binned once-and-for-all! And yes, it's all very much q.e.d (!!!) - and no, I'm not going to repeat myself; instead, please do re-read the part about using spurious garbage when advocating conservation right here!

But I'm obviously digressing as always.
What I really wanted to say is that this is a great paper- and big kudos to the authors!

Required reading - enjoy!

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Tiger Shark vs Manta Ray!

Yes some Sharks will attack Manta Rays - source.

Wow - source here.

It obviously begs the question, did the Tiger kill the Manta.
I'm also amazed at those many Reef Sharks as I've never seen them scavenge like they are doing here
And I must add that all those unprotected punters are a scary, scary sight, the more as Tiger Sharks are known to vigorously defend their meals, and perceived interlopers have already been grievously injured.

Be it as it may - what an awesome encounter!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Martin about Shark Feeding!

Ring a bell? Click for detail - source.

Read this.

Very nice, and thanks!
The part about Shark feeding mostly echoes what we've been asserting for now many years, to wit this rather random collection of posts. And check this out, too - or if you really got too much time on your hands, feel free to peruse this about Shark feeding in particular and this about our industry in general!
Yes it is complicated - but then again, maybe not so much!

And the conservation aspect?
Yes some of us very much including Martin's Shark Diver are deeply embedded into conservation, and there is even a global alliance of Shark diving operators whose members must have a track record of being active in both conservation and research.

But I would argue that we are the exception.
Yes nowadays everybody is "Eco", and everybody is raising awareness and dispelling the myth, and all of that nonsense.
But the Shark diving industry is obviously a business where one needs to make a profit - and whereas those breathy pronouncements that one is doing it For the Sharks are cheap, pun intended, actually devoting resources to conservation (and research) is costly and time consuming - even if in the long term, protecting one's principal business asset would obviously be a great business strategy!

And all those awareness-raising media?
I will even concede that even when prima facie it's all about personal vanity and $$$, the heart is often in the right place. But as per the comment of JoySeaGal, I can categorically assure you that when advocating Shark conservation with the Authorities, those narcissistic media count for less than nothing! 
Oh and incidentally, this is how you do it correctly = this is strategic, intelligent, focused, targeted and with zero personal ego involved!

Ultimately, one has to look at real track records.
Ultimately, the only thing that counts are tangible benefits for Shark populations - and there, the overall impact of Shark diving operators is rather dismal, especially when compared to the awesome potential.

But I'm digressing as always.
Thank you Martin - and yes I will gladly confess that we are mighty proud of our achievements.
Shark tourism is certainly not the be-all and end-all solution to Shark overfishing, and much remains to be done, also in Fiji - but we're certainly working on it, and we're even collecting funds for implementing some forward-looking local remedies.

In diesem Sinne - let's go Shark diving!
And please, Adopt Your Shark Now, the more as Valentine's Day is beckoning!
Hint hint!

Vinaka Vakalevu.