Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chumming for Sharks - Adapting Behavior

Thanks to Shark Diver Franki Flowers for this very old image.

What you are looking at is the "Chum Gator" (click image for full effect).

Invented by the crews of Shark Diver to add a constant stream of beef blood over the side of our vessels at Isla Guadalupe back in 2003.

If you look just past the "Chum Gator," you'll also note a "Mark V Chumerator", an electric tree shredder we changed over to shred fish at the rate of 300 pounds an hour.

While raw beef blood worked very well for attracting white sharks we're happy to say that today we do not use beef blood or beef blood powder (think bloody TANG for sharks) in our operations any more.

Back in the beginning, prior to CICIMAR's research efforts at Isla Guadalupe, little was known about commercial shark diving with white sharks at these islands. The three original operations on site learned as they went along.

In our case it was a steep learning curve. After the first season we stopped putting out chum slicks you could see from space, by the second we had dropped all beef products, and by the beginning of the fourth shark diving season we had dropped chum production by 90% coming to understand that with white sharks "less is more."

A lot people might read this post and assume the behavior adaptation was with the sharks. As I have come to learn, it is the sharks who teach us.

Images like the one featured in this post serve as a reminder of just how far we have "evolved" with our operations for the better.

Still, there are days I miss the Chum Gator, strictly for the visual horror of it all.

Patric Douglas CEO

Sea Stewards - Pro Conservation Shark Media

Sea Stewards asks you to join them and help build a shark sanctuary in the San Francisco Bay Area and have produced a new PSA to go along with this unique campaign.

Sign the petition.

Ask our San Francisco leadership to speak out for sharks and stop the sale of shark fins and fin products until fins are obtained through a sustainable and certified source that does not kill sharks for fins alone. Help us educate the consumers and let the community know that sharks are important for a healthy San Francisco Bay and World Ocean.

More from RTSea Productions blog about the need to personalize shark conservation.

SharkDiver.com - Rangefinder Magazine

Last month Rangefinder Magazine featured Shark Diver at Isla Guadalupe in a conservation themed article by Jim Cornfield.

Article here.

About Rangefinder

Rangefinder is the premier monthly magazine for the professional photographer. Each month Rangefinder typically includes:

- product and new equipment reviews
- lighting and technical pieces
- how-to's
- promotion and marketing stories
- portraiture tips
- accessories and system round-ups
- computer technology
- black-and-white shooting
- lens reviews
- processing techniques

Rangefindermag.com provides online multimedia resources for the photographic professional. In addition to archives of Rangefinder's print articles, Rangefindermag.com provides original online content, news, and events.

About Jim Cornfield

Jim Cornfield is a commercial photographer and travel writer based in Malibu Canyon, CA. He’s a veteran certified scuba diver and a passionate campaigner for great white shark conservation and coral reef preservation.