Saturday, September 28, 2019

Are we ready for more Sharks?

Good question!

Read this.
It pretty much completely summarizes this timely little scientific article, so no need to write synopses etc. In brief, those Shark conservation successes may turn out to be be fleeting - especially in those highly populated and/or highly tourism-dependent areas where Shark-human conflicts may increase as a consequence, see e.g. the situation in Cape Cod where IMO we're already only a few Shark bites away from the next Shark/Seal cull.

The authors write,
While widespread success in recovering elasmobranch populations is some time away, scientists, advocates and managers need to be prepared for societal conflicts that may arise when and where it does occur. In particular, implications for current and future conservation management need to be considered as part of conservation strategies in the context of how humans will interact and potentially compete with recovering species.

This will require, from the outset, increased public education and outreach regarding the potential future implications of conservation success and strategies to reduce conflict in order to avoid negative responses to successful conservation outcomes or the thwarting of future conservation endeavours.
That is certainly correct. 
But education and outreach can only go so far, and methinks that akin to what is happening in the highly intractable and complex issue of terrestrial human-wildlife coexistence and human-wildlife conflict mitigation, all will have to be highly species-, location- and context-specific.
And in some cases = where and when other less invasive approaches fail, we may well have to accept that some individual animals may have to be sacrificed so that their populations can continue to survive - see the paper's example of the Galapagos Sharks vs the Hawaiian Monk Seals that is highly reminiscent of Eric's Shark profiling proposal.

As always we shall see shall we not.
And anyway, I say, wouldn't that be a nice problem to have = so first and foremost, let's please make sure that Shark populations recover!

But back to more pleasant matters. 
Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

PS - Michael Domeier here.
Like him I abhor the illegal out-of-cage diving with GWS and especially, the Shark riding and molesting. But unlike him I really do not believe that any resulting bites would have any implications whatsoever on Shark conservation - rather, nowadays the victim would be rightly berated for having been a fool and the news cycle would quickly move on.

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