Thursday, December 03, 2020

Shark Attack Horror?

Really - have you seen this shit?
Andrew is obviously totally correct, the comments are total rubbish.
He was cornered by an eager "reporter" and like we always do lest there be any misunderstandings, asked that any questions be sent to him by email.
Alas, that obviously never happened.

So there, let me try to put things into context.
  • First and foremost, Mark is apparently going to recover OK.
    He's a real nice kid and we wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

  • He was however not merely free diving, he was spearfishing.
    As shown in literally countless examples, this can frequently lead to shark bites. Like I said many times eg here and here, it is well known that the Sharks in popular spearfishing locations like Frigate Passage can get highly conditioned = aggregate at the mere noise of a speargun being fired, get highly excited by the vibrations of a speared fish, try to nab any catch and retaliate when poked and pushed away. This is most likely what has happened here.
    In brief, do not fight with a Shark over a fish!
    To cite myself (talk about being prescient!)
    And if you spear fish and are not careful, you may well end up having one of those close encounters described by Jonathan - not because of us but because that is what happens everywhere around the world, see here and here among many, many such examples!
  • The Shark was most likely a Grey Reefie.
    But it could also have been a Silky (no that's not a Bronzie - nor is this one!) or a Galapagos - case in point here! Bronze Whalers however are essentially antitropical and not officially recorded from Fiji.
  • The Shark feeding dives have nothing to do with this, zero.
    Once again, we have actually collected the scientific evidence that clearly illustrates that with the exception of our small harmless Whitetip Reefies, our Sharks
    a) were never resident but have instead always spent most of their time roaming throughout Fiji, and most importantly,
    b) have never depended on our handouts but have instead remained wild animals that have always continued to normally hunt their prey away from the Reserve.

    In brief, the fact that we feed less (yes we do still feed) has no incidence whatsoever on the well being and/or the behavior of our Sharks = they are not going hungry nor being more aggressive nor roaming further afield or anything like that - and again, this is not my opinion but evidence = fact!
    Read the links!

    And one more thing.
    Some quarters have suggested that our fed Sharks may have lost their natural fear of humans and may therefore have become so-called beggar Sharks and thus, more dangerous. We do not observe any of that when we dive without bait in the Reserve, and it thus makes no sense whatsoever to assume that it may be happening further afield.

    Again, the people who have conditioned the Sharks to approach spear fishermen are not the Shark diving operators but... the spear fishermen themselves!
  • And no, this is not about testing let alone predation!
    Those smaller Sharks simply don't prey on humans. Instead, the bites are most certainly agonistic = due to competition and/or aggression and/or self defense/retaliation - read this about agonism and this about Shark attacks.
There you have it.
In brief, Fiji's responsible Shark feeding operations have zero effect on the safety of the population at large - re-read this.
Long story short?
Sadly, this is nothing more than shoddy journalism that instead of bothering to engage in even the slightest modicum of objective research and fact finding, is merely repeating some random unqualified and unsubstantiated speculation and hearsay. And by being unnecessarily sensationalistic and misleading, it contributes nothing to the safety of the public and is also bad for the Sharks.
Not impressed, sorry!

Better next time Fiji Sun!
PS: really interesting comments section here = note how there's none of the usual gratuitous drama. And Setareki's reminder of the ubiquitous poaching and illegal selling is obviously spot on. Like I said back then, we know the perpetrators and also the enablers, and there will be a reckoning.

PPS - Bingo: watch this - fundraiser here.
Having actually gone and asked Mark
  • He was indeed spearfishing

  • It was indeed a Grey Reefie

  • The Shark was exhibiting the typical agonistic display of this species and then attacked twice, as they do. This also tells me that it was probably not a tourism Shark as those are used to people approaching them and have never, ever displayed agonistically during any of our feeds.

  • And finally, beware of the charlatans and self professed experts on social media - really, what a sorry bunch of total losers!


jsd said...

I don't know who it was who first said 'Only a fool argues with a fool', but, alas, we live in an Idiocracy and don't appear to have a choice.

Shark Diver said...

I'm surprised that the "stupendifabulously maligned EXPERT sesselfurzer" from "Princeton" hasn't been all over this, offering his incredible "insights"!

How will we ever know what really happened without his stupefyingly important input?

DaShark said...

To be frank, I've kinda stopped bothering - hence the drastic downsizing of this blog.
But this needed addressing, for obvious reasons = remember Florida.

Anyway, great to see you here - be well! :)

jsd said...

Re the 'Princeton' sesselfurzer: Erich Ritter died a few months ago.

Shark Diver said...

I was referring to the other "researcher" at the SRI of "Princeton" who is stupendifabulously knowledgeable on shark attacks. The dude who identified a photo-shopped dolphin as a 15'GWS, eating a seal no less.

jsd said...

Aha - such depth of talent squeezed into Levine's post office box that calls itself the Shark-Research-Institute-founded-at-Princeton.