Thursday, December 4, 2008

Island of the Great White Shark Screening

For those of you in the Southern California area, two terrific aquarium organizations are holding screening/lecture events for Island of the Great White Shark. After the screening of the documentary, filmmaker Richard Theiss will be on hand to field questions about the film, and discuss the current state of affairs at Isla Guadalupe and shark conservation in general. This film draws a crowd so call early and coax a friend along who might be convinced that all sharks are really demons-your opinion will change.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography
La Jolla, CA
When: Tues., Jan. 6, 2009, 6:00-8:00pm
For RSVP/tickets, call: 858-534-4109

Heal the Bay (Santa Monica Pier Aquarium)
Santa Monica, CA
When: Wed., Jan. 21, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm
For information, call: 310-393-6149

While we're here how about a shameless plug for those of you shopping for the holidays: The Island of the Great White Shark DVD is available online through Amazon, currently at a reduced price for holiday season. This award-winning documentary is a great stocking stuffer for shark lovers and those who could benefit from seeing the magnificent great white shark in a different light.

Giant Squid vs ROV 0-1

Huzzah! More Giant Squid news this week. Well, unless the ROV in this video is 60 feet across, perhaps not a Giant Squid but squiddy video news none the less...and we'll take it.

A huge squid was caught on underwater camera attacking a ROV at around 1650 ft water depth in the Gulf of Mexico. The ROV hydraulic arm made an attempt to nudge the squid away but it held on firmly to its target until it gave up and left:

The Case For Operational Shark Conservation #23

Over the last year we have detailed, time and again, the need for local shark operations to lead the way into shark conservation. Either by on site educational programs, or funded research efforts. Our job as commercial shark operators does not end at the bank.

Which leads me to this years DEMA show in Vegas. On the spur of the moment I hopped a flight for a one day walk about of the show and bumped into "Da Shark" owner of Beqa Adventure Divers. I had been hoping to meet him in person as online we seemed to be of the same mind on a lot of issues facing our industry. The conversation turned to conservation efforts and I came to discover the depth of BAD's commintment to on site shark research and conservation. I also came to quickly realize "Da Shark" was not your ordinary shark diving operator. The pleasure of his company on that day was all mine. His operation in Fiji is a case of leading by example, enabling great people, and fostering conservation efforts which to date have been impressive. But I digress.

The real reason for any conservation program is to educate and enable others to effect change. This "idea", for lack of a better word, was aptly demonstrated this week in an email I got from Kathryn Howe. She wanted to know about booking a shark expedition with us. She said she wanted to become a marine biologist with a focus on sharks. I was curious as to what got her started and here was her response. Once again-proof positive-that on site efforts not only work, they are essential to each and every operation:

I went with a company that has two components. One is just learning to scuba dive, sail and other fun adventures and it's called Broadreach. The other component is educational and students are able to receive college credit and that's called Academic Treks. There are language immersion, marine biology, and other biology adventures. We went diving at Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Pacific Harbor with Beqa Adventure Divers and helped them collect data and then did our own small research projects.

Ever since my Fijian adventure, I have realized that sharks are so misunderstood so I try to spread my knowledge to my friends, family, and anyone who makes a comment about shark attacks. But they don't see the majesty of sharks underwater. They only see the horror movies and hear the stories of attacks but don't understand how rare they are.

-Katie Howe

Patric Douglas CEO

Iconic Shark Image 2009-Amanda Cotton

Recently Wolfgang Leander introduced us to Amanda Cotton. We have been big fans of Wolfgang's honesty and pure love of sharks. Wolf has quietly been the voice of conscience within the shark community for a number of years now. He's got a rare and unique talent with these animals in water that is "organic".

Amanda shot what we believe is the "Iconic Shark Image" of 2009 featuring Wolfgang and a female Tiger with a hook in her mouth. As a stand alone image the story telling is terrific and as an ambassador image to the plight of sharks worldwide there are few that compare.

We have always been partial to black and white underwater images of sharks. It is much harder to shoot in black and white because you are "compelled to tell a story" with the image-and that takes talent. As talented as Old Wolf is with his shark interactions so is Amanda with her seemingly organic ability to "be there for the image".

Shark Fin Du Jour-Sponsored by Yahoo! Inc

Our weekly feature at Underwater Thrills:Swimming With Sharks is the "Shark Fin Du Jour".

It's a look at the NYSE of shark fin products on the Internet-Sponsored by Yahoo! Inc.

We will take you into the individual sellers listed on that site and introduce the top companies, what species they sell, and how many thousands of pounds of shark fins they have for sale on the global market.

Today our Shark Fin Du Jour is Stavcorp Australia Pty Ltd who can source a stunning 10 tons of sharks fins a month and who have a minimum order of shark fin via of 3000 kilograms or 6500 pounds-per order.

To put this into perspective 10 tons of sharks fin equals roughly 11,000 dead sharks-per order.