Thursday, October 31, 2019

Idiots and OWTs - Video!


Oh well.
Looks like that attack a while ago has led to zero reflection - and why am I not surprised to find the name of the pagliaccio in that pathetic lineup of Shark molesting morons!

And the comments by Shark Education?
Well yes, maybe. But then again, if this is supposed to be tourism as opposed to some private adventure, then the operators need to approach those dives completely differently and bloody keep the clients in check and suitably protected - and yes it is possible to dive safely and responsibly with OWTs like amply demonstrated by GSD member Epic Diving

And no, no need to elaborate.
Re read this and if you really got too much time, this - it sure ain't rocket science!
And if the industry doesn't bloody self regulate...

And so it goes.
Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

PS - Indeed, the OWT populations are among the most depleted, and these shenanigans can easily lead to further persecution. Bravo Sergio, condivido al 100%! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

GWS Clans at the Neptune Islands - Paper!

Very interesting!

Check this out.
Press release here, stories e.g. here and here.
In brief and assuming I understand this correctly, those GWS don't turn up randomly but appear to favor (and hence possibly travel with) determined buddies and even form distinct groups that appear to persist for years. Nice to see Johann, Charlie and Andrew among the authors, and kudos to GSD member Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions for having enabled yet another stellar paper - and incidentally, congrats for the great new boat

And here in Fiji?

Remember Mike's totally speculative hypothesis?
That was obviously several years ago, and today we know quite a bit more. Specifically, we have learned that although our dive has minor local impacts, effects at the ecosystem level remain negligible as our Bulls continue to roam and do neither get conditioned to coming ever more frequently, let alone residing here or changing their migrations or mating cycles, etc; nor do they in any way become dependent on our handouts - tho I was certainly wrong when speculating about the nutritional value of the Tuna heads! But be it as it may, the restaurant analogy remains fully confirmed.

And the part about the Bulls likely being solitary?
I still believe that in the case of those large reef-dwelling Sharks, and barring any cooperative hunting for which we have zero evidence, evolution would have selected against traveling with, and thus having to compete and/or possibly even share meals with conspecifics.

But then again, who am I to say.
I can't divulge too much - but I can say that 10 years after that post, we are finally about to reveal some conclusive evidence!
Fiji Time anybody? You betcha! :)

So keep watching this space.
To be continued!

Fiji Airways Trailer!

Hunter and Predator at he SRMR - click for amazing detail!


Yup that would be our boats.
More details to follow as this hopefully develops into a finished product.
Or not - as always, we shall see!
Anyway, enjoy!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Gaping GWS - Video!

This Shark is spy hopping - but it sure looks like RAG is not at all rare in SA!


And I cite.
Repetitive Aerial Gaping: A Thwart-Induced Behavior in White Sharks 
WESLEY R. STRONG JR., in Great White Sharks, 1996


Baits pulled away travelled horizontally, just beneath the surface until they came against the hull at which point the sharks generally turned away. In the vertical baiting configuration, however, the bait could be hoisted directly out of the water as a shark tried to seize it, moving it out of reach more quickly than a bait drawn horizontally. This distinction is important, because 11 of 15 (73%) RAG occurrences were elicited while using the vertical baiting technique, but the technique itself was employed less than 5% of the time.

In each case, RAG followed a series of failed attempts to seize a bait and was immediately preceded by an open-mouthed lunge and miss as a bait was withdrawn. Lack of contact with prey after the feeding MAP was initiated appears to play a role in triggering RAG, but does not solely explain its onset. One factor common to each observation of RAG was that a portion of the anterior buccal cavity was exposed to air before (i.e., during the surface lunge) and during its execution. While failure to obtain food while submerged may eventually evoke a similar response, we never observed an underwater bout of RAG during more than 135 hours of underwater observation. Thus, it appears that contact with air is required to initiate the response.
Now you know - also described e.g. herein, and here.
Story here.

You're welcome!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Megamouth in California?


Wow - watch!

For comparison, check here.
And yes, I agree 100% with MCSI that those white tips are a dead giveaway. 

Stories here and here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Terrifying Moment!

Sandbar Sharks - compare with the video. Source.

And here we go again - watch.

And this is the "story", or whatever.
Did you notice that the dude with the rod has something on the line? That's probably why that little Sandbar was there in the first place, and that nip is probably agonistic, i.e. happening in perceived self-defense - and yes I'm of course speculating because we'll never know!

It's same old same old - not the smartest of behaviors, lousy reporting and ultimately, much ado about nothing much at all.
And the Shark gets the bad rap.

Enjoy the Ocean - responsibly!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Cape Cod - Shark Attack Mitigation Alternatives!

And I cite - emphasis is mine.
Personal Shark Deterrents

A growing number of personal shark deterrent devices are commercially available. 
Some are intended to be worn while others are to be attached to surfboards or similar equipment . The deterrents fall into two main categories: electromagnetic (EM) devices and camouflage. 
The EM devices include active (battery powered) and passive (permanent magnet) types that are either worn or are attached to surfboards. Camouflaging patterns are either wearable (wet suits) or applied to surfboards (decals, paint).

EM shark deterrent devices are all based on the same general principal, but they are not equally effective. “Sort of works” versus “doesn’t work at all” are both real possibilities and independent evaluations and comparisons of EM devices that are superficially similar are important...

The evidence for the efficacy of camouflage, whether worn or applied to a surfboard, is limited and inconclusive. We note that claims for camouflage tend towards statements that the swimmer or surfer is less likely to be noticed by a curious shark that just happens to be swimming in the area. This as opposed to statements that the camouflage will prevent the attack of a shark that is actively hunting for a meal.

The existing research suggests that some of these devices may be somewhat effective some of the time....We would always keep in mind that none of these devices provide anywhere near 100% protection under any realistic circumstances.
Finally, from a large shark already on an attack trajectory, arguably none of these devices will provide any meaningful protection at all. 
In brief and with the exception of the Shark Shield some of the time, those Shark repellent gizmos and those ludicrous wetsuits etc are all bullshit, cold-hearted scams and profiteering by unscrupulous con artists - re-read this and this!

And did I just hear, Clever Buoy?
Of the shark detections reported by CB, only ~40% appeared to actually be sharks, while ~60% were other objects, most commonly the baited video stations, which were stationary, or schools of smaller fish, which were moving. Of particular note, when, according to the video record, sharks were present, CB accurately detected them only ~40% of the time and failed to detect them ~60% of the time.... 
Additionally, lifeguard divers swimming in the CB array to clean biofouling off the sonar transducers were continuously tracked and continuously identified throughout the dive as large sharks. Such misidentification might apply to swimmers or seals, clearing the water unnecessarily....

Unfortunately, the documented performance does not remotely approach the promise of the system.

This creates a danger that swimmers and surfers in the vicinity of a system will relax their vigilance and fail to consistently follow safe practices, assuming that this system is protecting them to a far greater extent than it does. It should also be recognized that, even if the system does provide an accurate warning, the shark is already very close to the beach...
Yeah totally not surprised!
And the list goes on and on and on - with the fake kelp being one of the better, albeit prohibitively expensive notable exceptions!
Maybe, sometimes, somewhere! :)

But look for yourselves.
This compendium by Woods Hole is the latest and greatest synopsis of possible Shark Attack mitigation measures, notabene with special emphasis on trying to minimize bites by the resurgent GWS' population on the US east Coast in general and Cape Cod in particular. I must say that I'm seriously impressed - with some notable omissions: where are the wooden spoon and the red broom?
Synopses e.g. here and here, great app here.

As Tashi Blue astutely observes, considering that there are next to no attacks there, it all seems much ado about very little indeed - especially when compared to say, Hawaii, where people get munched  orders of magnitude more frequently but where nobody seems to be unduly hyperventilating much.
That said, what please is  Swimming with sharks in Oʻahu, Haleʻiwa, approx 3 miles from shore?!?

Anyway, it was quite different in the past.
But of course the new attitude makes total sense.
Assuming one observes a modicum of common-sense precautions (and here - plus, don't jump on top of a hunting GWS! :) ), chances of becoming the victim of a Shark attack are really extremely small - and, if more water users get trained and carry some first aid gear, one's chances of survival are very high indeed. In fact, among the known causes of human mortality, I would not be able mention a single one that kills LESS people than Shark attacks!
But on the other side, life in general is certainly most deadly, and people entering the water must be willing to assume a modicum of risk, to wit.
No single alternative or suite of alternatives that can 100% guarantee the safety of individuals who choose to enter the water.
  • Since no mitigation alternative can provide 100% safety, reducing the chances of unprovoked attacks on humans requires a strong commitment to education and outreach, which can result in the adoption of behaviors that may reduce the risk of an unprovoked shark-human interaction.

  • If water activities are avoided, the risk of attack is effectively eliminated.

  • If water activities are not avoided and best management practices and Shark Smart Behaviors are widely adopted, the risk of attack may be reduced, but not eliminated.

  • All individuals choosing to engage in water activities should think carefully about the level of risk associated with their preferred activity, and be comfortable with that level of risk before choosing to enter the water.

  • The decision to enter the water and assume the risk of shark-human interaction is made at the sole discretion of the individual. 
In diesem Sinne.
Enjoy the Ocean - responsibly!

PS - nice - and so true, too!
PPS - good reading!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Octopus Dreaming!

Source.- do click for detail!

Ya know, I'm just gonna post it here without further comments.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Galoa Village: Plastic Repurposing Workshops!


Well, what can I say.
Officially, this is being presented as a spinoff of our stellar My Fiji Shark initiative - but in reality, all the spinning has led way, way off course - to the point that this really got nothing to anymore do with Sharks and marine conservation, let alone Shark adoptions like originally envisioned. 
And yes, it is what it is - and I can certainly leave it at that!
This is now strictly a standalone project by the UNDP, SPTO and local artiste and serial waste-to-art workshop supremo Warwick Marlow where BAD and MFS play no role and also get zero benefit - but as long as this is not just an exercise in BS, and the women from our partner village Galoa are happy and get to earn an extra buck, that's perfectly fine with us!

And My Fiji Shark?
Going strong as ever, and then some! 
And as chance would have it, we're about to celebrate our one-year anniversary - and Tashi Blue has decided that this momentous occasion warrants some special celebratory offers!
So keep your eyes peeled on the MFS website and above all, on the MFS Facebook page where some announcements are forthcoming!

And most importantly.
Please, Adopt Your Shark Now!
Thank you!

Bubble-Net Feeding - Video!


Story here - enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2019

NZ Cage Diving - the Saga continues!


Well well.

Read this.
Looks like the NZ GWS tourism industry has been granted a new lease on life. My sources tell me that  of the two operators, Shark Experience are by far the better - so good on them for having persevered and ultimately prevailed!

And Peter Scott's Shark Dive NZ? 
Thankfully they appear to have thrown in the towel for good. So here's to this being the start of smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive Shark tourism, and to the end of the horrible Shark porn those people have enabled - and worry not, they read this blog and the distaste is 100% mutual! :)

Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Pyjama Shark vs Octopus!


Yeah I know it's a tad old.
But many have not yet seen it, so there.
Story here - enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Terrifying Moment?



It is about this encounter (and incidentally, it is 100% a GWS), and the Shark could not have been more peaceful, much as per Nina's original description here.

Shame on you Daily Mail!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Mystery Sharks from Myanmar?

Check out the above - click for detail.

So, what Sharks are those?
I took the pic at Black Rock way back then in 1998. Back then there was no digital = this would be a so-called "professional scan" of the 35mm Kodachrome 64 slide - and yes those would be fucking hairs!
Anyway, there was a massive El Niño that was cooking the reefs in the Indian Ocean and beyond - but the hot water there was somehow causing a freezing cold upwelling in the Andaman Sea, and we were seeing plenty of deeper water Fishes like e.g. this rather rare Pterois mombasae we found at Richelieu Rock.
Check it out, it's an awesome Fish!

In brief, we were freezing our asses but having a blast.
Richelieu Rock was pumping with the usual Whale Sharks and a whole array of unusual critters among which mating Guitarfish, Kho Bon had dozens of Zebra Sharks and the Burma Banks, the usual assemblage of Tawnies and large territorial Silvertips;  and Black Rock was overrun with Manta Rays, to the point that we decided to turn off the engine of the dinghy and use the oars for fear of hitting one. 
We put down a few fish heads and had a few Grey Reefies come nosy about, only to be scared away by these two much larger Sharks. Both females and both likely shredded by mating, they came in hot and put up a short but awesome display of strength and assertiveness, only to quickly abscond with the bait.

There was quite some debate about the species.
Ron who was obviously way more experienced thought they may have been Graceful Sharks; I was more inclined towards them being unusually large Blacktips, and actually still think they are - and if so, they would most certainly be the largest such Sharks I've ever seen as they were clearly above 2 meters long. Or could they have been large Spinners - tho if so, where are the pinnae brevis?


PS - Will confirms that they're most likely Blacktips. They look identical to Australian Blacktips (C. tilstoni) who are however strictly endemic to Australia - but thank you Julia! :)

GWS vs Kayak!

Watch - story here.
Scary as hell for sure - but getting those teeth in exchange is simply awesome!

Friday, October 04, 2019

Catching GWS in California!


Oh for crying out loud - watch.

Yup that would be a juvenile GWS.
White Sharks are protected in the USA in general and specifically, in California where this is happening, and one would think that this is unlawful and would warrant prosecution.
Regulations here.

Well, think again. 
Very much like what has been happening until recently in Florida, the authorities are apparently choosing to not intervene, or to drop the charges or levy ludicrous fines when they do - and the fishermen know that and continue to target and reel in the Sharks in quasi total impunity. 
Kudos to the indefatigable Mr. Bland for having meticulously researched the topic and published this excellent essay.

I say, it's time for some kicking of lazy bureaucrat asses - like in Florida!


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Stegostoma tigrinum?

The sandy morph of S. tigrinum: transitional (A–D) and adult (E–H). Close up of the skin pattern on the right lateral flank of a transitional specimen (B–C) and of remnants of the transitional pattern on flank and caudal-fin tip of adults (F–G). Click for detail.

Oh well

After the demotion of the Manta Rays, now this.
Looks like they've changed the species name of the mimic Zebra Shark. I first thought it was just a bad joke - but having asked my Zebra Shark guru, she replies,
Yes. I reviewed it as did Will White. 
They did a pretty thorough job with the taxonomy, though whether it’s worth changing the species name is open to debate me thinks.
Methinks, too.
But then again, they really did do a thorough job so this may indeed be it.

Le fasciatum est mort - vive le tigrinum!