Friday, May 29, 2009

Study: Shark-cage dive tours safe on Oahu North Shore

Great news coming out of The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and a two year study that refutes many of the "wild hair allegations" swirling around the anti-shark diving debate on Oahu:


HONOLULU — A scientific study has concluded shark-cage dive tours on Oahu's North Shore pose little risk for recreational ocean users in nearshore waters.



The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology conducted the two-year study.It found sharks tagged during tours overwhelmingly stay far out to sea and don't follow tour boats back to shore.



The study also found the tours are frequented by Galapagos and sandbar sharks, which are rarely involved in attacks on humans. Marine scientist Carl Meyer said at an informational briefing at the state Capitol that when it comes to offshore caged shark-diving tours, there is no evidence of any risk to nearshore recreational users.



The tours have been operating since 2001.

The New PT Barnum - Sharks

Where there's a market and demand - people will find sharks:

CHICO — For Holland native Philip Peters, a decision to spend several times a day hugging a shark was the safer career choice.

A self-described daredevil, Peters used to travel with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, performing death-defying stunts. He spent years being thrown out of canons, on the flying trapeze and "wheel of death," and wrestling with lions and tigers.

"I saw too many hospital rooms in that time and I was looking for something safer, so I started sharks and it is safer, believe me," Peters said with a laugh.

Interested in moving the sharks he planned on interacting with, Peters began researching traveling tanks. After much research, Peters developed a complex filtration system enabling him to transport a 7,000-gallon saltwater tank.

That tank is currently at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds this week for Peters' 20-minute show, the only current traveling shark show in the country. For two-to-four shows each day, Peters amazes a delighted crowd by diving into the tank and swimming with four sharks.

Complete Story

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two young girls needed - reenactment filming (South Miami)

We got sent this last week. Wonder if Tourism Miami is curious about this and the potential impacts of the shows topic on 29.1 million viewers.

Going out on a limb here but we think this show is is not going to be "World's Worst Sunburns":

This is for a reenactment for a Discovery Shark Week show!

Filming will take place on Wednesday May 20th at Black Point Marina in South Miami.

Acting experience not necessary! Will only take a couple hours.

We need two young girls with long brown hair - either sisters, or look a bit like sisters, but the hair needs to be the same. Late teens, early twenties at most.

Please contact ASAP by emailing us at sbb05d@fsu.xxx

Include a recent photo and a contact phone number!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

9-ft. Bull Shark Caught St. Petersburg Pier

Another reason for the Shark Free Marinas Initiative:

ST. PETERSBURG — The Pier Aquarium's shark exhibits were open to visitors Wednesday morning, but the real show was right outside.


Two young men were showing off a 9-foot female bull shark they caught hours before at the Pier. The carcass was in the back of a small pickup truck, blood dripping onto the pavement. A small crowd snapped digital photos.



"It was either him or us," 19-year-old Joshua Lipert of St. Petersburg told an onlooker. "Look who lost."



His fishing buddy agreed. "It was a dogfight," said Robert Korkoske, 16, who helped reel in the shark.Using a 100-pound Dacron fishing line and sea rays for bait, the young men fought the animal for two hours from the northeastern end of the pier before landing it about 6:15 a.m., they said.



They dragged it to a small beach on the western end.



A trophy kill, they called it.



"We like to cut the jaws out, hang them on the wall as a souvenir," said Korkoske, who said the pair have caught several sharks before.Though the shark had not been put on ice and was outdoors for hours after the kill, Lipert said he would offer the meat to relatives. Taking it to a taxidermist was too expensive, he said.



Butch Ringelspaugh, curator of exhibits for the Pier Aquarium, estimated the shark weighed 350 to 500 pounds.He wasn't surprised to find a shark that size swimming around the Pier. "This is bull shark territory out here," Ringelspaugh said.



Still, he noted the irony that the museum educates the public about the importance of protecting sharks. While bull sharks are not endangered, state law limits the catch to one a day. They are among the most dangerous sharks in the world, Ringelspaugh said.



The curator would have preferred it if Ringelspaugh had released the shark, which he estimated was 15 to 25 years old. At that age, a healthy female could be pregnant, Ringelspaugh said.



"The thing is, it takes a long time for them to reach sexual maturity, and by the time they do, very few of their young will make it to adulthood," he said. "Sharks as a whole are definitely down in numbers. Over 100 million sharks a year are killed by humans."



Brent Winner, an associate research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife commission, dropped by and took a blood sample to study for mercury. He turned down an offer to take the whole shark, but later offered his opinion on killing it: "It's his right to kill that fish. But you would hope that someone doesn't kill for trophy alone."



Based on weight, age, and the plumpness of its belly, Winner believed the shark was pregnant with six or eight pups.



Help find a solution



SFMI concedes that this particular Bull shark was caught from a pier, yet principle of a Shark-Free Marinas remains the same. The St Petersberg Pier is adjacent to the City of St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.



To help Shark-Free Marinas be heard please print the “Invitation to Register“, found in our Support Tools section, and post it with a personal cover letter to:



Marina Manager
St. Petersburg Municipal Marina
300 2nd Ave. S.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701



Or email to: Marina@stpete.org



Please remember they are a business and we will not condone slander of any kind. Instead let the manager know why your business is important and why they have an obligation to monitor their patrons activities. As this is a municiple marina community concerns will be taken to council for a decision, so be polite and be heard.

Altering tourney to no-kill sure to kill off shark event

This morning an Op Ed appeared in the FT.Myers News-Press about a recent pressured decision to change a local sport kill shark tournament to a catch and release event. Here was the authors final summation:

So chalk this one up to the anti-fishing animal rights activists and fraidycat tourism boosters. It's not a victory for conservation. It's a loss for sport fishing.

We would like to refute this summation, as the author misses some big points. The folks who did the pressuring missed some big points as well, media follow up.

It is one thing to get a tournament to go catch and release but you have to explain your position to your region with the media. Failure to do this allows Op Eds like this one to grab the conversation and misdirect the intent of the change. Fair warning.

This mornings Op Ed misses the point that shark tournaments are now going "shark free" all over the USA and beyond with some creative and regional efforts. For example "catch, tag and release" events are growing in popularity in Montauk while some tournaments will soon feature "golden tags" on sharks worth $10,000 each. Catching the largest shark is always a game of chance. Typically these are the regions breeding aged sharks and more often filled with pups destroying future generations.

The desire to switch to catch and release is not a "shark hugger" phenomenon it's an evolution. From the first days of the Marlin Movement to today's no sport take was a journey that at first, a few brave fishermen and like minded conservationists brought about to save fish stocks.

Marlin Tournaments are big money draws and regional boosters. Sharks can be too.

Moving away from one tourism and fishing paradigm to another does not mean a loss...as we have seen with the Marlin folks in fact, it means a win.

Goblin girl on... something that made her sick!

I work for the government, at the Swedish Board of Fisheries. That means that I usually have to defend the fishermen and the fishing industry, but I also have certain freedom to work for the better of the environment - which sometimes means going against the fishing interest. I know that many of my "shark hugging" friends have problems with even seeing a dead shark, but I still believe that a sustainable fishery is ok. The problem is that very few - if any - fisheries on sharks are sustainable.

When I did my masters thesis on spiny dogfish at the university I even had to kill the sharks myself! It was a tough journey to make from when I was six, nearly crying my eyes out when my guppies died, not daring to even touch them if they jumped out of the aquarium, to bludgeoning my beloved sharks to death and then gut them. But you learned to do it and it was a comfort for me that the bodies went to consumption. And they had gone the same way even if I hadn't done my study.

So what makes me sick? Well, you saw earlier this week that the fate of the mantas made me really sad. Is it something that really makes me sick, it's pure waste! If you have the stomach for it, watch the video below. Then remember that this happens to a 100 million sharks every year. And still many of those sharks are taken care of in different ways. Sometimes only the fins - which is a great waste! -, sometimes the whole body. This basking shark got caught in a trawl off Iceland and the fishermen just wants to get rid of it. They mutilate it, but doesn't kill it. Such a big animal can take a month to die, lying on the sea floor, starving to death. That makes me SICK!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shark

Brian Darvell - Sounding The Alarm

We have come to respect and appreciate Brian Darvells "on the ground" reports of continuing Asian demand for sharks. This week he added a comment to Goblin Girls post that was shocking in it's detail.

Mantas are in trouble. Here's his first person report:

The Chinese slaughter mantas in their thousands for their gill rakers for use in traditional 'medicine'.

The largest Chinese medicine market in China, in Guangzhou - a whole block of shops on three floors of the most amazing things. These included literally tonnes of dried seahorses - shops-full at a time, and similarly manta gills, 10s of thousands that I saw - boxes piled high.

This is NOT a small, subsistence market, by any means. It is a massive, commercial operation that somehow has evaded notice. It can be added to the foul practices of using bear bile, tiger bone, seahorses etc etc for the magical, culturally-sanctioned, devastation of wildlife of all kinds. If it moves - eat it.

It is about time that the centrality of Chinese activity in these matters was addressed properly, instead of pussyfooting around trying not to offend. Culture or long tradition is no longer an acceptable defence for anything, anywhere, now where commercial exploitation is involved. True subsistence use is hard to find, and altogether negligible in impact.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Shark Free Marinas - Empowering Change

Shark conservation has been described as a million ants taking down an Elephant. Regular folks taking on the responsibility to lift their phones and make a call for change, or send an email for change to enact shark conservation policy.

It works.

In so many cases from Alibaba.com to the recent House Bill in the US Senate thousands of shark lovers reached out to effect those changes - the million ants taking down an Elephant.

At it's heart that is the power behind the Shark Free Marinas Initiative, you.

The Initiative gives you the tools you need to make lasting and immediate shark conservation change in your region. Not a petition, but actual online tools to send to your local marinas, local news outlets and local government agencies.

Change begins when you see something you feel compelled to act on - a dead shark strung up at a local marina is what got this initiative started in the Bahamas and two locals took up the banner - Duncan Brake and Jillian Morris. Through them and their remarkable efforts the Bimini Sands Marina became the first in the region to go "shark free" and this was while the SFMI website was still in development.

Join us. Shark Conservation starts locally, you make those changes to save sharks - the initiative will give you the tools you need to be successful and actually start saving sharks this week.

Change begins with you. Now and forever. Welcome to the Shark Free Marinas Initiative.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Goblin girl... on eating manta rays!


Of all the shark related news I get in my inbox, this article made me gasp: Manta rays next on restaurant menus as shark populations plummet . Then I started to wonder why I had such a strong reaction and the simple answer is "they are so beautiful!". How utterly banal, coming from me... One of my highest dreams is to dive with mantas. So far I've only seen them in the aquarium in Lisbon, Portugal, but ever since I first saw them in books at the age of 4, I've been devoted to them.

I once went to Norway to upgrade some electronic tracking equipment. The Norwegians have a different view, of for example whales, from many other countries. They still hunt whales and eat whale steak. My Norwegian colleagues tried to provoke me by saying "we now have so many dolphins, we should hunt them and eat them as well!". To their utter frustration I just answered "go ahead, but stay off the sharks", and then the discussion died out.
Many people will probably not share my ideas, but I have struggled so many years now for sharks, that I'm fed up with all "rescue operations" of "cute"animals. (Ok, I have a soft spot for manatees, I'll admit as much.) Tigers kill more people every year than shark does - still people fight for tigers right to existence. And the friendly dolphins who helps people back to shore... what about all the people that they might take further out from shore - who will be missed as "drowned" and never lives to tell that story?! I even know a guy who nearly got raped by a dolphin! And I've seen terrible footage of a group of dolphins killing an other dolphin from an other specie by taking turns blocking it's blow hole!

I'm not against any animals as such. I only think that it's better to work really hard for something that you believe in. Me, I'm into sharks. Sooo many others are doing their best to help other animals that are their favorites. I will certainly not go out with a harpoon myself, but I stay away from dolphin friendly tuna, since I know that it is much more dangerous to sharks and other sea creatures. The problem is to find dolphin unfriendly tuna these days, so I tend to eat tuna only once in a while.

But as you can see... even I can be banal, wanting to save something just because it's beautiful!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mark The Shark - CBS 4 Miami

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative Director, Luke Tipple, was recently interviewed by CBS 4 Miami concerning "Mark The Shark".

"Mark the Shark" operates from the Sea Isle Marina in Miami, and one look at their site you can see how they would be a nice fit for the new initiative.

Sea Isle Marina has a history of adopting green initiatives. They were one of the first in the region to adopt the Florida based Clean Marina program and it is hoped they might see the wisdom and positive media in being the very first large marina in the region to adopt the Shark Free Marinas Initiative.

The initiative would stop large, breeding aged animals, like a recent 12 foot, 1000lb shark brought back this week by "Mark The Shark" from entering the marina.

An adoption of this program would be a win for the sharks as these animals typically end up in a local dumpster after film crews and locals have left. A win also for the regional marinas whose dedication to green initiatives would be proudly on display for both the public and the mainstream media.

Editors Note: The reporter Natalia Zea did a great job with this piece - but as happens with news articles some of the "facts" were attributed to the Shark free Marinas Initiative incorrectly.

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative did not stop a recent Ft.Myers shark tournament from going "catch and release". That entire effort must be attributed to the Shark Safe folks in Ft.Myers whose diligent efforts resulted in precedent setting change. Kudos.

Creature From The Black Lagoon!?

This summer Universal Studios is pinning hopes, dreams, and ticket sales on their all new interactive show:

Creature From The Black Lagoon - The Musical!

We could not have made this up if we tried. No this is not an Underwater Onion and yes, that is the actual show poster.

The show features lead actors wearing 120lb Black Lagoon monster suits "gargling" through plaintive songs of...love?

On behalf of Universal Studios Hollywood, I am very excited to share with you that “Creature From The Black Lagoon – A Raging Rockin’ Show” will debut on July 1, 2009!

The hip, musical stage adaptation of the Universal horror classic movie boasts an all-original score, acrobatic choreography and dazzling Broadway-level production values thanks to an award-winning theatrical production team.


You're tempted to see this in person but the idea of actually spending money for a "Raging Rockin" remake of this film classic seems a bit off putting.

Kind of like paying money to see a train wreck, at night, in the rain.

Any ideas for next seasons line up?

Shark Divers - New Wetsuit Fashion

Oh, the horror. It took a Dutch fashion designer to do away with wetsuit design as we know it and create this (click image):

The wetsuit - created by Dutch designer Diddo Velema - makes it look like the wearer has been savaged by a shark thanks to a unique printing process.

Custom inks are used to add the gory textures which appear like a torn wetsuit, ripped skin and wounds going down to the bone.

Diddo, who has a design studio in Amsterdam, said: "Wetsuits are both functional and protective, but why must they all look the same?"

Note: They all look the same to keep you warm, not make a fashion statement.

Ft.Myers Beach - Positive Change

The shark conservation movement has often been described as a "thousand ants taking down an elephant".

In the past two years some long lasting and precedent setting victories from Alibaba.com to the recent decision by the Maldives to ban all shark fishing has been attributed to this army of shark conservationists.

It all starts with "One". One idea, one blog, one website, one initiative.

"One".

Recently this army trained their sights on the "Are You Man Enough?" shark tournament in Ft Myers Beach, Fl. The resulting media, websites, blog posts, and phone calls stirred local politicians to effect rapid and precedent setting change.

The tournament will no longer feature dead trophy sharks which is a win. Instead catch and release will allow sharks to be fished sustainably.

Tracking this shark conservation army back here are some of the posts that made for this change alerting media and others to pick up phones and start making calls.

Kudos to all who made this change. Here's a short list and by no means complete:

Shark Safe Rally - The "One"

Oceanic Dreams

Neil Hammerschlag

Chum Slick

Loves Sharks

Underwater Times

Care2 Networks


Southern Fried Science

Dive Photo Guide

Scuba Board

Charity News

Beqa Adventure Divers


Florida Blog


The list of news outlets who followed this story lent a lot credibility to this effort. The final summation came from Gary and Brenda Adkison who wrapped up this change nicely.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Mark The Shark" - Buffalo Hunter

Bison were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century. They were hunted for their skins, with the rest of the animal left behind to decay in the hot sun of the American plains.

At one point from 1870-84 long kill trains packed with drunken "day hunters" wound through seemingly unlimited plains herds shooting as many animals as over heated gun barrels would allow.

The Bison were quickly reduced to a few hundred animals from millions in just a few years.

Who were these men? What was the early 19th century mindset that allowed for millions of dead and dying animals to litter the American plains?

You need look no further than Miami and a fellow by the name of "Mark The Shark" - he is by definition a modern day Buffalo Hunter - killing breeding aged animals for the sport while leaving the carcass to rot after the film crews and onlookers have gone home.

While latter day Buffalo Hunters thought their resource would never end "Mark The Shark" knows all too well the state of today's oceans. His motivations for killing sharks, one might argue, is a bit more sinister.

Marketing.

By killing a displaying a 12 foot 1000lb Tiger shark in Miami recently "Mark The Shark" leverages free advertising and books more fishermen. Modern day Shark Hunters who pay to repeat an act from the past.

Buffalo hunting ended when we ran out of animals to shoot. Today the thought of killing a 12 foot Tiger shark expressly for snapping a few images or to promote ones business is completely out of step with where people and the evolution of wild care are going. The world has changed.

At one point in history someone must have seen the last Buffalo kill train leaving the station to the great American plains and thought "enough is enough".

To "Mark The Shark" we say enough is enough - unlike the Buffalo Hunters of times past who shot to kill, Marks business can practice "catch, tag and release". The choice is his to make, as opposition to dead, breeding aged animals left rotting in the hot Florida sun grows.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shark Free Marinas - Official Website


For Immediate Release

Tuesday 19th May, 2009

Shark-Free Marina Initiative to reduce worldwide shark mortality

www.sharkfreemarinas.com

Shark- Free Marinas has a singular purpose, to reduce worldwide shark mortality. Today the not-for-profit company launches its strategy which intends to prevent the deaths of millions of vulnerable and endangered species of shark. The initiative aims to win over the fishing community by working with game fishing societies, tackle manufacturers, competition sponsors and marinas to form community conscious policy.

In the last five years over a half million sharks on average were harvested annually by the recreational and sport-fishing community in the United States alone. Many of these were breeding age animals and belong to vulnerable or endangered species. Research has shown that removal of adult sharks from the population is occurring at such an extreme rate that many species stand no chance of survival, severely damaging the delicate ecological balance of the oceans ecosystem.

“There’s a lot of talk about the atrocity of shark fining and fishing worldwide” says the SFMI’s Board Director, Marine Biologist Luke Tipple “but not a lot of measurable action towards reversing the damage. The time has come to stop simply ‘raising awareness’ and start implementing sensible management techniques to protect vulnerable species of sharks from inevitable destruction.”

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative works by prohibiting the landing of any caught shark at a participating marina. By promoting catch-and-release fishing the sport of shark fishing can actively participate in ongoing research studies and collect valuable data. The initiative is based on the Atlantic billfish model which banned the mortal take of billfish in response to population crashes in the 80’s.

“Although the number of sharks killed by recreational fishermen each year is dwarfed by commercial catches, the current crisis facing shark stocks requires action wherever possible.” says marine scientist and SFMI Advisor Edd Brooks “We are not asking fishermen to stop fishing, only asking them to start releasing their catch.”

Collaborating with the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas and the Fisheries Conservation Foundation in the USA the SFMI has had an early impact with interest from marinas and non-profits nation-wide. Currently Shark-Free Marinas is able to subsidize the cost of signs and literature but hope that future investment will help make a nationwide impact.

“Shark-Free Marinas is a necessary response to the culture of mature shark harvest” says Tipple “Our effect will be immediate, measurable and, together with saving millions of sharks, will establish a new global standard for responsible ocean management.”

Visit the Shark-Free Marina website at www.sharkfreemarinas.com or contact the Director at staff@sharkfreemarinas.com

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bucky Dennis - Shark Killer Media

This is all that is left of a record shattering, 1,060lb pregnant hammerhead - deliberately stalked and killed by Floridian fishing guide, Bucky Dennis.

Last week we suggested that this targeted kill went by without much noise. As it turns out we were wrong.

Regionally, fishermen, guides, and shark advocates came forth to say "no more". This is a good thing as the "times-are-a-changing" and dead record sharks are less than well received these days. Kudos to all who raised a voice and to Mote Marine labs for refusing to take the carcass.

In the end where ever you have records you'll have those who want to break those records. Be it fishing for pregnant hammerheads (these animals have a predictable pupping season and weigh more) or pogo'ing around the planet...backwards.

Articles like this weeks St.Petes Times set the tone for further discussion and greater awareness to "targeted kills" such as this. Record agencies like the IGFA who, in essence cause and sanction these kills year after year, should consider taking pregnant animals off the list. In fact an interesting clause to take away previous records if animals are found to be pregnant would stop this practice all together.

Bucky Dennis is only a symptom of a larger problem and one that ultimately has a solution within the IGFA.

Food for thought. Here's Bucky in action:

Stuart Cove - Pro Shark Media 101

Hard not to be impressed with commercial shark operator Stuart Cove, Bahamas. As a template for "How to do Shark Media 101" today's ABC News GMA piece was a cornucopia of pro shark images, data, and industry quotes.

As a commercial shark diving operator you can do pro shark, pro industry media. As Stuarts Cove has aptly demonstrated you need to pick your partners well.

Running with the three tenets of shark media, host country, sharks, and divers this weekend Stuart Cove rolled out a great piece that carefully balanced all three and delivered an industry home run:

The divers feed the sharks small amounts of food to better observe them, but they're careful not to disrupt the ecosystem. A scientist from a Vancouver university who studies these Caribbean reef sharks estimates the food from the divers has about as much impact on the sharks' diets as eating one grape a day would have on a human's diet.

Complete Story

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sharks - Market Demand

Back in 2001 the state of Florida banned chumming for sharks and ended a nascent statewide commercial shark diving industry. Tourists and shark divers then flooded the Bahamas which enjoys a robust commercial shark diving footprint and enhanced revenue stream for local hotels and restaurants.

Back in Florida demand for safe shark encounters did not go away. Enter land based shark tourism, the future of shark encounters worldwide, as more aquariums and theme parks open their enclosures to the public:

Sharks and Idiots - A Dark Nexus

You have to read the news of a recent bull shark attack in the Bahamas this week twice. At first this is your standard story of a speereo who had unwittingly brought on a 7 foot bull shark with a freshly speared grouper (ambrosia for sharks). This is a typical shark/human story that usually resolves its self without anyone getting hurt.

Then Mr. Luis Hernandez went on to recount what happened to him, telling a local reporter the circumstances that lead up to his unfortunate mauling:

Luis Hernandez, who was in the mood for fish, had just speared a grouper at a local reef when he spotted the shark.

"The first thing I thought was, 'Wow, nice shark!" he said. "So I swam a little closer and thought about spearing it, but decided to let it go. I just poked it so it would get out of my way."

But the shark wouldn't leave. It eventually lunged at him, sinking its teeth into his arm.

Clearly his shark tale puts this encounter back on Mr.Hernandez who, after spearing a grouper, decided to engage a 7 foot bull shark. In the realm of good ideas, with wetting your finger and applying it to a light socket being say, a "one" - Mr. Hernandez executed a perfect "negative 20" with his shark stunt and paid the ultimate price.

Sharks are not playthings. They are predators. Your first reaction to a wild, baited bull shark, should never be "Wow, nice shark!". Sadly this is not the first time someone has made a miscalculation with a baited bull as this video from You Tube reminds us:

Tammy Jo Anderson - Op Ed Guam

Tammy Jo Anderson is the education coordinator for UnderWater World Guam and an advocate for sharks. This week she offered a well thought out Op Ed on the reasons for keeping wild shark populations. Here is an excerpt:

Sharks are a different story.

These fish have been swimming our oceans for millions of years before even dinosaurs were walking around on the planet. Sharks have survived massive changes in climate and numerous other hazards to make it to today.

Now, the main thing that is threatening their existence is us.

Complete Story

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dr.Steve Turnbull - We Know Him!

Funny - you play around in the shark world long enough and you start seeing names of people you have met, or worked with, or both.

In this case shark diver/shark researcher Dr. Steve Turnbull is in a news article this week about a basker that washed up near his hometown of St.John's, Canada.

We met Steve at Isla Guadalupe a few years ago.The article makes great reading and as it turns out Steve's genuinely nice fellow:

Steve Turnbull, a shark researcher at UNBSJ, said little is known about the basking shark, which is a vulnerable species. Because 25 per cent of its weight is liver, the prehistoric beast was almost hunted to extinction for its oil.

"He's an early arriver," Turnbull said. "Usually they come in with the food source," in the summer.Warmer waters bring plankton and the gaping mouths of the basking sharks.



While it's a hulking beast and has a row of tiny teeth, the basking shark is a harmless filter feeder. "They open their mouths and everything goes through," Turnbull said as he inspected the shark.



Complete story

Vanishing Salmon - A California Thing

As avid fly fishermen we have seen the effects of vanishing salmon in Northern California first hand - it's not a pretty sight. There are some first rate habitat and wildcare orgs out there tackling this serious and growing problem head on. One of them is SPAWN who have our complete support. Regional efforts for wildlife are sometimes where your best efforts make the most sense - even if these are not sharks:


QUEST on KQED Public Media.

Cause and Effect - Shark Mortality

Going out on a limb here with this absolutely unscientific theory about "sport caught shark mortality". It's an observation, nothing more, but it has historical precedent. Here goes:

The Storming of the Bastille, Paris occurred on the 14 July, 1789. While the prison contained only seven prisoners and therefor was of no value to anyone, its fall was the flash point of the French Revolution, and it subsequently became an icon of Democracy. Heady stuff.

The attack on the Bastille was lead, apparently, by a topless woman who was followed by some 500o screaming men waving small arms. She became known as the "Mother of the Revolution" and this opens the discussion to the power of women's, ah, breasts, to cause men to do seemingly irrational things.

Moving ahead.

Sport caught sharks have little value aside from the actual shark image and if current statistic hold true 98% of sport caught sharks are in fact caught by men. So why do they do it?

Back in 1980 the first "telling image" from Florida of a sport caught shark was transmitted to the world. This image caught the imagination and interest of millions as it made the front page of newspapers.

As you can see this was one impressive shark.

For sport caught sharks in Florida this was the dawn of the shark fishing era. Men from all over the state poured into the oceans like Drover Ants catching and killing as many sharks as they could all for that elusive dockside photo opportunity.

Like the unknown and unnamed "Mother of the French Revolution" this woman and this image became known as the "Mother of the Shark Fishing Revolution", a legacy that lives on to this day.

Today sport caught sharks are a regular feature in many marinas, public piers, and at fishing events worldwide.The reason for this mostly male activity remains as elusive as the the first day it was conceived, but I have a suspicion that it may have something to do with what I am terming "The Bastille Effect".

Oh, you laugh now, and perhaps even throw a few snide comments about mental astuteness for conservation ideas and childish responses to images found on the Internet - but.

As you can see this "Bastille Effect" is all pervasive and it is fast becoming a hard fact of the sport caught shark world. These are the images we typically see of sharks brought back to marinas for photo opportunities.

Like I said this is a totally unscientific theory and merely an observation at this point.

Clearly more observation is needed.

Apologies in advance to offended feminists worldwide.

No this is not a serious post.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hawaii - Tours Pose Little Risk

Three cheers for reporter Christie Wilson with Honolulu Advertiser who, bucking recent media trends in Hawaii, has introduced a story about what is not happening with commercial shark diving operations in Hawaii.

As we have been covering, politicians and anti-shark diving groups reacting to a tragically poor operator roll out in Hawaii Kai have called for a complete ban on all operators in the region.

To close existing commercial shark diving loopholes, this growing anti-shark diving group is demanding legislators to:

"(1) prohibit use of public facilities such as parks, piers, ramps, and harbors by shark tour operations;
(2) prohibit advertising of commercial shark tours in any print and electronic media; and, (3) prohibit commercial use of shark cages or other devices designed to place humans in close proximity to sharks or within shark habitats."

Citing a recent research study today regional commercial shark diving operators came back (finially) with the one thing they had at their disposal - research data:

"When it comes to offshore caged shark diving tours, there is no evidence of any risk to nearshore recreational users," said marine scientist Carl Meyer. "People need to understand there are already sharks in these initial shark-feeding areas and if these shark tours were a real problem, we would have seen it manifested by now by an increase in attacks.

"The study reports other factors that make the tours a minimal public safety risk include the fact shark-diving tours mimic the activities of crab-fishing vessels operating in the same area for more than 40 years, and that inshore recreational stimuli, such as a surfer paddling on a surfboard, "are substantially different from the conditioning stimuli associated with tour operations ... and, hence, unlikely to stimulate a conditioned feeding response."

Editors Note: THIS is one reason why operators work in tandem with shark researchers. To exclude shark research within operations is to blind yourself to important data about the animals you make a living with.

Additionally, ongoing data sets provide impartial answers to questions and accusations leveled by the anti-shark diving lobby at our industry members. These accusations are typically taken from a well worn "play book" of "raw meat hysteria".

The operators in Hawaii have a long way to go - but today, they just began the road back to credibility in the public eye. Kudos to all involved in both this study, and to reporter Christie Wilson.

Update: Reporter Leila Fujimori from Hawaii's Star Bulletin also ran with this story this morning. Kudos.

Richard Theiss - Balancing Industry Thoughts

I have blogged about this man in the past and am compelled to do it yet again. When I first met Richard Theiss many years ago he came to me with a proposal, a shark documentary of Isla Guadalupe with the resident Great Whites.

That proposal seemed like a decade ago now and in many ways for our industry - it was.

Over the years I have come to respect Richard for his innate ability to synthesize many facets of an "issue" and distill them down to a comprehensive solution. He's unique and he has a gift. Whereas I have found myself recently "skating the line" in my response to recent industry media shenanigans, Richard has once again, distilled this months talking points into a comprehensive look at our industry.

It's compelling reading so I have posted it in it's entirety. To call Richard friend has been my great honor over the past years. It's a friendship based on respect for ideas and a deep understanding that we're all connected to one another - in one manner or another:

Let's face it - shark conservation is a tough sell. They don't have the mammalian intelligence connection like whales and dolphins. They don't have the warm and fuzzy factor that makes us feel for polar bear cubs and penguins. No, unfortunately to most people, sharks are lurking just beneath the waves waiting for us to venture out just far enough . . .

And that's such a shame. Because - despite the critical role these animals play as scavengers and hunters that help to maintain balance in the marine ecosystem - as long as people fear them, they will listen politely to the arguments about the shark's importance, they will be put off by the gruesome images of shark finning, they will rationalize the very remote possibility of shark-human interactions . . . and they will do nothing.

And today there is much going on to reinforce that fear. And some of it is coming from the very people who wish to protect these animals. I have said before, I am a big supporter of safe and responsible shark ecotourism - shark diving, if you will. But my concept of "safe and responsible" that promotes conservation, works with scientific research, and provides a safe environment for both divers and sharks, is not the same concept as some others in the industry. Over the past several months, there have been a series of media publicity and community public relations gaffes the net result of which has been to show shark diving to be a haven for wreckless thrill-seekers and it is fueling government and community forces to clamp down or place an ouright ban on shark ecotourism at some key sites.

No doubt about it, at one time shark diving was a major thrill-seeking adventure sport, something only for the bravest of hearts. But it has evolved as an educational experience in the hands of responsible operators, in tandem with their understanding and concern regarding the future of sharks. Still there are some who cling to the images of the past and that short-sighted approach simply puts the media into its own feeding frenzy.

Now I must admit, as a filmmaker, I can appreciate their dilemma to some extent. Nature filmmakers have to wear three hats: the advocate, the storyteller, and the businessperson. In an ideal world, or an ideal film project, all three of these roles would work in harmony. But often one or two of them are in conflict.

The advocate wants to promote conservation; so the facts are important so that viewers will accurately understand and appreciate the subject animal. The storyteller wants to tell a good yarn; a dash of excitement, a little drama or pathos, and maybe a happy ending. And the businessperson understands the realities of what the broadcasters are buying, what the advertisers or the viewer ratings are demanding in terms of programming. Getting all three of these to work together for the benefit of the shark is a challenge.

Case in point: here's a short clip taken from my YouTube channel, RTSeaTV, that was done as a lark while I was filming a piece on Isla Guadalupe shark diving for a major online magazine. A colleague of mine, marine biologist Luke Tipple, and I were testing a two-man cage and at the last minute thought about making something out of whatever I shot on this one dive. It involved being in open water with great white sharks - something that is a highly calculated and thought-out risk taken only by professionals - and the cage proved to be an excellent platform to work from with plenty of easy exit/entry points (and by the way, totally unsuitable for regular shark diving customers!).



So, a little excitement and awe mixed with some important facts and a call for conservation. But does it help or hurt the cause? In a short clip, one can get a measure of balance; however filmmakers seeking to do long-form projects are always challenged by the pressure to pander to the gentleman in Kansas kicking back with a Bud and ready to change the channel to NASCAR or flip to YouTube if he doesn't see a shark attack in the next five minutes. Sigh . . .

So what does this all say? That we just keep on trying, whether it's sharks, global warming, or whatever your cause du jour. We try to do what's right, we suffer and carry on from the mistakes of others, and we never lose faith that, perhaps little by little, people will see that truth is the best antidote to fear and the key to understanding and respect.

Law, Ethics, and Trophy Fishing

When not dropping incendiary F-Bombs at all manner of environmental offences and those few individuals who actually deserve a few F-Bombs thrown at them, the Chum Slick Blog (written by an actual shark) does have some great thoughts.

This week was no exception. We feature the Chum Slick at this blog for two reasons:

1. His ability to throw a mean "F-Bomb for a cause"
2. On target bomb throwing

The subject of a recent shark kill for a record book notice has galvanized many within the industry to seek change. That change is brought about by voices in the wilderness who stand up and say "enough is enough".

High as a Kite - Climate Change

Where would we be without U.K's award winning daily newspaper - The Sun?

The only news outlet on the planet daring enough, maverick enough, to expose the true face of global warming.

Staring journalistic excellence in the face and not blinking today's Sun exposed the horrors of Sarpa salpa, a small non native fish that will get you higher than a mouthful of Australian Cane Toads in June.

Yes, this native of South Africa has invaded the U.K and now residents are fearful of techno-clubbers with fish hanging out of their mouths, staggering about like Zombies in the dead of night. It could happen.

Fine journalistic excellence known no bounds, you have to go where the story is...thank god for folks over at The Sun for breaking this story. Makes you want to go out and purchase an electric car...but leave your sarcasm at the door.

Hawaii Shark Diving - Rep Gene Ward

Like a tuna's ability to attract sharks in waters seemingly devoid of them, a politician will also be attracted to "an issue" just as quickly. Rep Gene Ward of Hawaii has chosen his next big platform to be commercial shark diving and has opened his candidacy as the lead spokesman against the entire industry with an Op-Ed this week. His folksy approach to the industry is peppered with themes and sentiments taken from 1976.

Posing a series of innocent questions couched in a framework of "raw meat and fear" Mr.Ward has masterfully pushed the agenda forward and set the table for existing shark diving closures in Hawaii.

Rep Gene Ward is not the problem but a symptom of how our industry fails itself. Mr.Wards newly discovered public anti-shark diving persona was spawned at the sight of 300 angry residents, protesting a simply ludicrous commercial shark diving roll out in Hawaii Kai. The arrogance and outright stupidity of that single effort is the reason Mr.Ward has chosen to make the banning of all shark diving operations his "new cause".

As we have said before and to whoever will listen - commercial shark diving is under siege. As an industry in the western hemisphere there is not one well known commercial site that is currently not under new rules or under review by politicians and agencies.

This is the face of the anti-shark diving lobby - they are well spoken, well networked, and agenda driven. When will our industry get it's collective head out of it's ass and start working on solutions?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

White Shark Projects - FTTSA Certified

Kudos are in order for the recent good news.Two industry members located in S.A have recently been awarded the S.A Fair Trade in Tourism. These are the only two operators who have been awarded this certification based on a long history of regional research efforts and operational leadership within the community.

A blog post about this award and certification was an interesting read both in terms of it's candor and reservations for the industry as a whole, and the negative industry perceptions we battle every day.

Quote:

I've been loathe to give publicity to the booming white shark cage diving industry in South Africa. While I also haven't gone out of my way to criticise it either, I just feel conflicted about the practice and so have avoided the subject entirely. However, Fair Trade in Tourism SA (FTTSA) has recently certified their second shark cage diving tour operator and I just had to look a bit deeper.

Helen Turnbull (of Serendipity Africa and FTTSA) was commissioned to do extensive research into the industry and its practitioners as FTTSA wrestled with this issue for the first cage diving applicant, and I cornered her at Indaba 2009 to ask a few questions. She's promised to forward some of the findings from her research, but she did share that she also had reservations about the industry overall when she began the project. After the research, she advises me that she has no reservations about either the first operator, Marine Dynamics Tours, or the second, White Shark Projects, receiving Fair Trade in Tourism certification.

Complete blog post

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus - Must See

Got an email from a guy who's deeply embedded in the fight to save sharks from finning last night, and what does he keep track of in his spare time?

Better than "Snakes on a Plane" more thrills than "Killer sharks in Venice":

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Protesting a Fisheries Minister NSW

Effective protests begin with an effective target. This week was a good week for protesting for sharks:

A NSW Conservation Council protest against shark fin exports at the office of Peter Garrett culminated with a giant shark fin is erected outside the office of Environment Minister this week.

Conservationists are calling on the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to stop shark fin exports from New South Wales.

The minister is currently considering whether to renew the state's shark export license.

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales says shark numbers are declining from over-fishing due to increased demand from Asia, where shark fin soup is a delicacy.

It delivered a giant shark fin to Mr Garrett's Sydney office this morning in protest against exports. The Council's director Cate Faehrmann says there has been a large increase in the numbers of sharks targeted simply for their fins.

"We've seen a decline worldwide of about 90 percent in shark numbers since the beginning of the industrial age," she said.

"This is very unsustainable. We have sharks being targeted in New South Wales waters that are listed as internationally threatened."

Complete Story

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shark Diving Industry - Crossroads Convo

Felix Leander and Wolf Leander are two of the most passionate shark divers our industry have right now. There are few shark conservation efforts they do not push or support. They also free dive with tiger sharks.

Yesterday Felix asked the industry question - How do you segregate sharks from divers without cages?

Here's our response:

Felix,

You bring up a good point. I think there's a place for cageless encounters with tigers, it has precedent all over the world and it works - when hard and fast protocols are in place.

The problems I see are three fold:

1. What happens at one site cannot be taken ad hoc to another. Each site is specific and should be developed with set protocols as stand alone sites. You can take elements from other dives and apply them - but build your own site.

2. Host countries. You have to pay attention to their desires and perceptions of "cageless dives". At the end of the day these are their sharks not ours. Build a program that works with the host country and asks for input.

3. Cageless free diving protocols and mixed use sites. I am all for development of a set aside free diving site in the Bahamas if points 1 and 2 are worked with.

In fact that is the only way it can be done, otherwise it's just an "on the fly experiment" with sharks that gets copied by folks who do not have the talent you and your dad have in the water with these critters.

The passion you two have for tigers is undisputed. The images also. Unfortunately there are also images and videos of a few 20 year old girls in bikini's floating around out there hand feeding and riding tigers - for no apparent reason.

Those images negatively charge the debate, as we have seen recently in Hawaii, and cause the great majority of people who are not as pro shark to once again look at our sport with less than admiration.

Don't forget, as far as the general public, lawmakers and media is concerned we're a bunch of shark yahoos, and that's starting with cages. You add some bikini gal with a tiger and now the conversation ends and the anti-shark diving folks start screaming.

Oh, I know the argument all to well for these encounters, "I do this to prove they are misunderstood".

Yeah. That argument coupled with a very young woman in a string bikini just serves to cement you into the "shark crazies" category. We as an industry have to pay heed to the total perception of the industry.

For too long all we see and hear as industry members are the minority who love shark diving. Being an ambassador for sharks is a good thing.

Let's start being ambassadors for an entire industry. We start losing our ability to interact with sharks at sites shut down via the perception we put forth, we also lose the ability to speak for the animals as well.

Florida is a prime example. After the ban on shark diving we now have guys targeting pregnant hammerheads for world records. Imagine if there had been 8 years of commercial shark diving in Florida with the thousands of divers run through safe programs that we might have leveraged to stop this slaughter?

The silence of that recent kill is deafening. We as an industry failed the sharks in Florida back in 2000 by losing our ability to dive with these animals and speak on their behalf. Are we going to fail them again at Isla Guadalupe, Bahamas, and Hawaii as well?

Convo starts here

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rebel Shark Diving - Burgers Zoo

Still unsure of the identities and motives of intruders, zoo officials at Amsterdams Burgers Zoo discovered two men trying to go shark diving in their tropics tanks last week:

AMSTERDAM—Two men broke into Amsterdam's Arnhem Burgers Zoo on Wednesday night and attempted to dive into a pool with three sharks. The men, who had donned some diving equipment that was lying beside the pool, were just about to plunge in when they were intercepted by the director of the zoo, accompanied by two police officers.

“These two were acting completely insanely. They have endangered the animals. The sharks are sensitive to stress and could have died of a heart attack,” zoo director Alex van Hooff was reported as saying in news reports. Blacktip sharks can be dangerous to humans under certain circumstances. They get their name from the black tips on their pelvic and pectoral fins. The sharks can attain a maximum length of nine feet.

The two were arrested, taken into custody and charged with breaking and entering. Dutch media reported that the men were under the influence of drugs.“They broke into the zoo to dive and not to steal. I am really pissed off about this,” Telegraaf quoted Van Hooff as saying.

Editors Note: Died of a heart attack?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Shark Diving Industry - Another Voice

In regards to our industry post today.

Thankfully there's some reasoned support from the guys over at BAD, in Fiji. All controversy aside someone has to stand up and start talking. If the conversation starts with "Patric is an SOB, but he has a point" then so be it. Industry leadership starts with someone taking a stand for what is ultimately right.

You say you love sharks? Start showing the leadership:

I've got to hand it to Patric, he's a brave man!

He just wrote a post that will put him in no end of trouble with many of his peers and probably, with a good part of the principal Shark media as well.

Contrary to us here, he's completely immersed in the Shark Diving Industry and I'm sure that he must have spent quite a few anxious moments pondering what effect this would have on the businesses he operates, Shark Diver and Shark Divers.

I first noticed his Blog when the Groh accident exploded in the media and although my call on the matter was somewhat different, he earned my respect and my admiration for always trying to look beyond the mere daily occurrences, for putting things into perspective and for saying it as it is, without regard for anything and anybody but the plain truth as he sees it.

Once again, he does not disappoint.

Regular readers of this Blog have noticed that we often reference each other and mostly agree about our call on the Industry.

Yes much of what we say may be controversial and we also don't shy away from pointing the finger at what we perceive to be developments, and people that are detrimental to the Industry as a whole and to us as a consequence.

The way I see it, it's part of a robust dialogue in an Industry that will hopefully self-regulate in the same way the Diving Industry has already managed to do. The alternative to that would be having the Authorities slap on a set of regulations - and unfortunately, there are already plenty of examples of how that would look like: the closure of sites and the demise of the operators.

Especially in the USA!

With that in mind, I welcome the upcoming controversy. Patric is of course spot on and 99.99% of the operators know that. But of course there's history, there are likes and dislikes, there's ego and all of that is not conducive to having a dispassionate and constructive dialogue. Yet I know that everybody will silently go over their books and ponder what is being said. Little as that may seem, it's the first step towards reforming the Industry that urgently needs to regroup and re-think the direction in which many have embarked.

This is now the watershed.

On one side, we can progress towards protocols aimed at operating sustainably, profitably and for many many years to come, for the enjoyment of our customers and for the benefit of the animals we love. The other path will lead to our perdition.

It's really that simple.

Please read Patric's post.

Halting The US Commercial Media Disaster

Alright folks it's time for "The Chat."

I know that all of the US based commercial shark diving operators read this blog. We know it, you know it - so this post is directed to you and you only.

You're killing the industry and your dive sites with media based Hara-Kiri. We have talked about this for the past year, operational video and images coming from 90% of our industry featuring stark "stupidity with sharks."

Video example.

There's been absolutely no industry leadership here in the US by any of you, in fact the US now represents the worst and the best of the worldwide commercial shark diving industry - serving up a constant stream of questionable media lapped up by major news sources. If right about now you're saying "this is not me", it probably is not, apologies.

We have at our disposal three of the most sought after dive sites on the planet. The Bahamas, Mexico and Hawaii.

Two of these sites are outside US territorial waters and unfortunately we have shown our host countries via a series of You Tube videos and shockingly poor media appearances that our operations are little more than ongoing liabilities to those host countries.

Politicians and lawmakers decide our fate with a sweep of a pen, often guided by the images and media we put forth. In the hands of a skilled anti-shark diving advocate videos of sharks ripping apart cages and divers riding tigers at sites under cease and desist orders is all it takes.

Can't you see that?


The litany of negative video and images has made 2008-9 the worst years on record for our industry and it continues. Like an alcoholic staggering away from a bar - our industry is not content to just go home and call it a night, no, we're actually rooting around in the back alleyway for beer cans with cigarette butts in them looking for that "last shark media high."

Enough.

All of you profess to "love sharks." I read it all the time, on your websites, in interviews and I believe that. How does that "love of sharks" translate into sharks tearing apart cages that are then featured all over the planet on the major media - causing Mexico to institute a ban on chumming?

At what point do you discover Bahamas Tourism ministers and staff discussing the possibility of banning interactions with tigers and decide that a mainstream yahoo media push is a good idea?

Knowing that Hawaii has a long cultural history with sharks, why would anyone attempt to open operations in areas guaranteed to cause a negative media firestorm resulting in calls for a complete ban on all operations in Hawaii?

Oh, and the idea that the media is bad and that you all have been made to look foolish on accident? How old are you? Media is our lifeblood, it is what we do. If you as an operator have not figured that out yet after the years you have been in business...get out of the business.

Playing "the media victim" has a shelf life, it's a one trick pony. Eventually you and you alone have to man up and own your mess.

In case it had been lost on you, or this has never been explained to you, our clients are, in order of sustainable and lasting importance:

1. The host country
2. The sharks
3. Our divers

So, that's the "Come to Commercial Shark Jesus" spiel guys. Do with it as you see fit. Hopefully take some of it and change because unless you do, those with the big pen will force change upon you.

What happens in Hawaii, impacts Mexico and Bahamas and vice-versa.

The Florida decision in 2000 to ban shark diving is a prime example of how that change happens, and we, as the US shark diving industry are hanging by the next piece of negative video on the rest.

You can take that to the bank.


Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.islandofthegreatwhiteshark.com
415.235.9410

Sonja Fordham Wants Your Signature

Sonja Fordham is Ocean Conservancy's Shark Conservation Program Director. We have talked about her in the past and the simply fantastic NGO she represents.

These guys do shark conservation and have our full support.

So, when Sonja puts out a call for a few electronic signatures we're more than happy to help because we know at the end of the day it will. Please join Sonja and her team in making a difference:

I'm Sonja Fordham, Ocean Conservancy's Shark Conservation Program Director, and I'm talking about "finning" the practice of slicing off a shark’s valuable fins for soup and tossing the body back to sea.

If you're like me, the thought of it makes you outraged and eager to end it. Me, I've dedicated almost two decades to conserving sharks. You, I just need you to urge your senators to pass the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 right now.

The bill, which already passed in the House of Representatives last March, is needed to end the practice of shark finning in US waters and to step up shark conservation efforts in other countries. The US passed a national finning ban in 2000, but the practice continues and is still legal in many other nations. The demand for the fins, which can sell for up to hundreds of dollars per pound, remains high for shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy.

The Shark Conservation Act of 2009 closes loopholes in the US finning ban and can revitalize shark conservation efforts on a global scale. It must be passed without further delay.Please join me, and the thousands of other Ocean Conservancy supporters, by sending a powerful message to your senators.

A growing number of shark populations are in peril from overfishing and unsustainable finning — we must do better. Prohibiting the removal of shark fins at sea takes the guesswork out of determining if sharks were finned and greatly improves the ability of experts to accurately record the shark species taken. This bill can end the waste of these vulnerable animals and will contribute to our knowledge of shark population health and conservation needs.

When the passionate support of people like you combines with our policy expertise, we can end harmful fishing practices and turn the tide for sharks. We can end the wasteful practice of shark finning. Working together, we can save our sharks.

Thank you for all that you do to fight for a healthy and diverse ocean,

Sonja Fordham
Shark Conservation Program Director
Ocean Conservancy

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kicking the Shark Diving Industry 2.0

You do not get close to 18,000 blog readers a month without having some sort of pull...or not.

Our mysterious You Tube "shark diving industry hater" at one point discreetly removed his video entitled Shark Divers from the line up.

Note: That was two hours ago our hater has come back with the same video, the same schtick, and the same damaging images.But not before some industry folks weighed in on the topic, opening a can of worms on the matter, in some ways necessary.

Do we at this blog really care? Yes and no. As industry advocates this video is a self serving media bomb and everyone knows it. For the two operations featured and made to look like fools, singling them out for local lawmaker wrath both in the Bahamas and a near cage breach at Isla Guadalupe seems like the ultimate insult. They know who shot this and the final disposition of this videos longevity on the net is ultimately up to them.

Suffice to say our commercial company is happy not to have "friends" like this!

To the producer of "Shark Divers", may we suggest you burn that reel, lest you never gain access to another dive boat, pier or bathtub in our industry - ever again.