Tuesday, November 30, 2010
-Patric Douglas CEO Shark Diver 2003
Unless mankind takes a hard look at the real numbers, we're all just stalling the inevitable.
Hat Tip: Da Shark.
Monday, November 29, 2010
A Facebook posting this week revealed Dr. xxx somewhere in xxx working with the production crew from xxx.
If we're being a little obtuse with this post, it's because we don't want to give away season two of xxx or the production crew who made history at xxx and then went on to production controversy at xxx.
Right about now you're saying "why the xxx do I even read this xxx blog anyway?" we might agree with you.
The Tiger pic is pretty cool though, ain't no bones in that shark.
Should be another eye popping shark season when xxx airs sometime in xxx on the xxx channel.
The Op-Ed was directed at industry members vying for this site and these unique and increasingly rare sharks, 99.3% are estimated to have been fished out of the Gulf of Mexico alone.
At least three websites are now inviting divers to come and dive with Oceanic whitetips in the Bahamas, and at least one operator has responded to last weeks post.
The ideas brought up are certainly worthy of further discussion and even action, if you can get past the label, "Trash Talking Blog-Dogs";)
More trash talking here, Hic Rhodus hic salta indeed!
SDM BLOG FOR...
There has been a lot of blogging going on from the trash talking blog-dogs out there lately. Mostly on how to interact with sharks and how to conduct an eco-business. Here is the deal when it comes to Eco-tourism from my perspective - shark diving tourism, and catch and release shark fishing are the sharks only hope. I am not going to go into catch and release fishing in this blog, but regardless of my opinion, or your opinion, it is a necessary evil. Not everyone is going to dive with sharks, and sport fishing is the largest spenders of trickle down economics in the marine world. So more on them later.
Here is the deal - As I said, Eco-tourism is the sharks only salvation. The reality is, whether you like it or not - Governments do NOT care about sharks, or saving sharks - or the environment - THEY NEVER HAVE, AND THE NEVER WILL! What they care about are two things...money and votes. So if you have a lot of money you can convince the government to protect sharks, by throwing them large sums - then sharks will get some protection. But, if you do not have a shit load of money, then you better have the votes behind you to keep their butts in office. Other than that, they don't care about the cause, they care about their own agendas, and keeping and sustaining their power.
For a government official to care about creating marine protected parks, or shark sanctuaries, they need to have a good reason, and that reason is money - and money now. A goverenment officials term is short so they need to make and steal as much as they can before their term is up, or they get booted out. A shark diving tax is a great incentive that puts money into a government officials pocket today and is a great way to ensure that sharks get protected in the long term. Right now the fishermen are the ones putting this kind of money into the officials pockets, so who do you think they are going to support when it is time to vote?
Anyone who believes that a government official is going to do the right thing is gravely mistaken and by the time they admit it or figure it out, it is going to be the death of the species. So the thing that is going to lead the charge for protecting sharks is creating shark parks, or shark sanctuaries, or marine reserves, or whatever you want to call it. Then bringing in eco-tourism to create a trickle down economy that will benefit and stimulate the local economy, as well as tacking on a shark tax that could go into the appropriate hands to ensure that sharks will remain protected indefinitely.
I think that continuing to protect individual species of sharks globally is a noble effort, but is it enough? Truthfully - I believe that protecting individual species is a bandaid to a much bigger problem. Honestly - Do you really think that an Indian fisherman, or an Asian fishermen in a little panga in a third world country is gonna throw back a full grown oceanic whitetip, or a scalloped hammerhead because CITES has ruled that these species are uncatchable and must be thrown back. Hell no! If they can't sell it, (which they always will be able to, regardless of any CITES ruling), they will just eat it. They are just surviving, trying to feed their families, making money anyway they can. So govenrment meetings and agendas, and conservationists hopes mean shit to them.
I wrote about this back in April but its worthy of a reminder...
-A true conservationists job and efforts needs to go into creating marine reserves, or shark parks, or shark santuaries. Of course these sanctuaries will fly better with officials if there is already eco-toruism in place. (they will see money much faster that way.)
-Another devision of the conservation/eco-operators (joint effort is a must) job is to help create a policing effort to protect the parks. Funding must be created and raised for this very important job. Parks are pointless without protection.
-MORE Eco-operators need to be invited in to help stimulate the economy and creat trickle down economics. This is always the hard part, as shark operators are often greedy and hate to see competion come in. Trust me on this one, I am very well versed in this subject.
-At this point science could be invited in to find out where these sharks are going to breed? Or where these sharks are migrating to when they leave the area. That information could then be used to help create more shark sanctuaries, and the cycle begins again.
The problem right now within the shark diving world, is there are too much politics. No one is communicating with each other, lots of back stabbing, and crying, and I'm right-they are wrong, BS. None of it works. We all don't have to like each other, we don't all have to get along, but if there really is any love for these animals, then we all need to set aside our egos, agree to disagree, and get the fucking job done.
Thus was the series of meetings in Paris last week, ICCAT, and a decision not to address Bluefin tuna catch reductions while at the same time adding some protections for sharks.
The shark protections, while hailed by many as a conservation win, mean for the most part sharks caught at sea will be dumped at sea, out of sight and out of mind to both consumers and conservation groups. The sharks are still being taken by very technically savvy fishing fleets, but fins will no longer arrive in Hong Kong to be added to bowls of soup.
For the bowls of soup conservation crowd - this is good news.
Like we said Conservation Triage is never pretty.
There are a few good news points to this years ICCAT, protections for Oceanic whitetips and Hammerheads.
Depending on who you speak with, or what blogs you read, the results of ICCAT, when viewed through the lens of Doha are substantial. Or when viewed through the lens of rapid species depletion at the hands of multi-national fishing fleets with no set international quota systems that can be verified, mixed.
For a fine 15 minutes of eye opening thought we have rounded up some of the after action Blue Blogs and press releases for your review, as always, great analysis:
Da Shark Fiji - Paris Realpolitik!
RTSea Blog - ICCAT & Sharks: a mixed bag of results from meeting
Sonja Fordham - Unprecedented Shark Conservation Action Taken
Ya Like Dags? - Highs and Lows from the ICCAT
Sea Notes - Black Friday for Bluefin
Southern Fried Science - Sharks get new protections at ICCAT
Saturday, November 27, 2010
This is good and bad news and a test bed for what could be ground breaking shark site development - or the same old multi-user experience with some terrifically bad industry video, a few close calls, and the inevitable shark catch drama/round of "save the" petitions.
You would have to be living under a moss colored rock to not know that Carcharhinus longimanus is rare for one reason only, it has been finned and caught almost to extinction, with an estimated 99.3% drop in the Gulf of Mexico alone.
99.3%, that's a pretty compelling figure.
So now, thanks to a well know shark operator, the Magellan of our industry (and I say that with complete respect) we now have a new site, with a premier shark species, and at least two perhaps three operators vying for the shark season.
The Good News
There's a perfect tie-in to Carcharhinus longimanus and a recent push by the Bahamas National Trust and PEW to make the Bahamas a shark sanctuary. Every good shark conservation effort needs it's charismatic megafuana. Ladies and gentlemen, you don't get much better than a critter that has been pushed to 99.3% of it's once robust population to garner public support for conservation.
In fact Cat Island could be the rally point for the entire effort and the species that makes the Bahamas a true shark sanctuary...but the operators servicing this site will have to do the conservation leg work.
Not doing so will inevitably lead to a sport fishing conflict. As bees are to honey, the chances of a sport fishing boat out of the Bahamas or Florida deciding to cater to the "rarest shark species" is almost too good to pass up. Even if the site comes under the banner of a shark sanctuary, as we discovered last week off the coast of California, there's a sport fishing outfit with five boats offering white sharks at $1800 a day. White sharks have been protected off our coasts since the mid 90's.
I am going to suggest the following:
1. A Bahamas Carcharhinus longimanus educational website. This site will feature the animals, the site, the conservation status of these animals, and tie-in directly to ongoing efforts of PEW and the BNT. The site would also feature several pro-shark conservation PSA's, just the sharks, not the divers and the sharks. We're not looking to redefine these animals, or even make a simple point about how safe they may or may not be with divers, that conservation/industry message can be left for another time and place. Under conservation also add research and a non profit donations page.
Additionally this should tie into PEW Trusts, and here's why. Conservation efforts need to be funded, real shark conservation sometimes requires a "step back moment" where you have to realize who has the conservation horse power to get something done or not. After all we're in this for the sharks, if someone can run the ball into the end zone let's get it done. Hanging any conservation effort on the mantle of friends and industry buddies who lack the horsepower does nothing for sharks...but that's another post for another time.
2. A Bahamas Carcharhinus longimanus research effort with immediate tagging and tracking of these animals. This effort should be a "Bahamas thing" and there's plenty of folks who can get the job done, they just need funding. In addition operators could charge an extra $100 per diver for the project. Divers will pay for this, gladly, if they believe this benefits the sharks, and it will.
Some of you will start screaming right about now as you wipe off your Epoque D170 Dome Ports, tags on Carcharhinus longimanus? Yes, tags, and here's why. If you want to hedge against sport fishing interests, declaring this site an active shark research site will get the job done. It lends instant credibility to the counter charge that shark divers are just making money from these sharks, and with real data, Bahamian conservation laws put on the books have teeth.
3. Cross operator conservation promotion. Every operator servicing divers and Carcharhinus longimanus at Cat Island should have the new conservation website and research efforts on their own sites home pages with a set industry dive protocol agreement. Again a tall order, but we're talking about a brand new shark site with just two or three guys. This is not Isla Guadalupe, or even South Africa. As industry members we can look back and see with 100% clarity where non action will lead us at Cat Island. Is it too much to ask for a round of phone calls, two websites and a conservation tagging program?
I think not, and done right this could be the shining beacon on the hill for future sites worldwide.
So that's the good and bad. I am sure there will be 20 or so more ideas that could come forward to make Cat Island all that it could be, or not. We don't have any designs to operate here so we don't have a dog in this fight, but oh, the possibilities for something unique, something great, and something lasting are...endless.
More from RTSea Blog.
More from Da Shark Fiji.
More from Oceanic Dreams Blog.
Patric Douglas CEO
Friday, November 26, 2010
Word rapidly spread and conservation action began in the form of the Blue Heart Society.
Last week another voice has surfaced, Steven Spencer, who, in rather pointed open letter is suggesting that local dive shops are partially to blame for the actions taken by fishermen.
His letter serves as a wake up call to dive shops and new shark diving operations including those who would guide these nascent operations to best practices.
Without a strong conservation program in place on the opening day of shark operations, regional shark populations run the risk of "commercial promotion without representation".
More from Da Shark in Fiji.
Steven Spencer on Playa Killings
My name is Steven and i am writing in relation to some horrific Shark killings that have been happening close to the shores of Playa Del Carmen Mexico. You may have already heard something of this news but i am writing because all of the news that i am hearing and reading is very biased and largely untrue so i wish to write a true account to the best of my knowledge about these incidents and what has led to them.
I do not know if there is something that your organisation, or any organisation that you know can do about these occurrences, but i feel the need to write in true detail of what is happening as i am sure that if anything can be done then you will know better than i the people that could do something.
Playa Del Carmen is a tourist area that has grown considerably in the past decade. I have been diving there for 7 years, i have done many dives there as i have spent 5 months there every year for the past 7 years.
Bull Sharks visit these shores during the months between November and March. In my first 5 years of diving there i frequently saw groups of 2 to a maximum of 5 BullSharks in various dive sites, mainly Tortugas, Pared Verde and Barracuda. BullShark sightings were frequent during these months if diving regularly but could not be guaranteed.
Eventually one dive store called ‘Phantom divers’ began to feed an area regularly close to shore near a dive site called ‘Jardines’ and eventually the sightings of these BullSharks were very rare in other locations.
Phantom diveshop then began taking divers to the fed area close to Jardines and feeding these BullSharks whilst wearing a chainmail suit. BullSharks would gather there everyday during these months every year and eventually every other divestore in town hypocritically began running ‘BullShark dives’. I state hypocritically because every other diveshop spoke of their disliking of the Shark feeding but continued to make very good money from these dives.
I dived with these magnificent creatures many times, when they were in behaving naturally and when the feeding programmes began. Once the feeding programmes began they behaved very differently to before, if a boat passed overhead they would go into a frenzy as they expected food coming to them.
Anyway, the BullShark is not a protected species in Mexico and local fisherman have always killed 2 or 3 a year but now everything has all come to a very sad situation. I am aware of one true report where 9 were killed by a fisherman in one day and other reports have suggested that 25 were killed in 3 days. During my 5 months every year in Playa i would dive most days and i would estimate that there wouldn’t be much more than 50 BullSharks that visit these shores each year as i was frequently seeing the same ones, i only counted approximately 20 different ones. If this is the case then it is a large percentage of decline of this species there.
I am therefore 100% sure that because of this feeding programme it has herded them into one area making it very easy for them to be fished and slaughtered by local fisherman who now have the knowledge of their whereabouts. 2 or 3 killed a year before, and 9 killed in one day proves this is no coincidence and they would therefore have a better chance of survival if they were spread around as before.
Phantom divers is currently fighting for the rights for the BullSharks not to be fished for at this certain feeding point during the months that they visit the area, stating that the BullSharks congregate there to give birth, this information i know to be incorrect. They congregate there for the food that is fed to them and for no other reason.
It is obvious that the only interest in Phantom divers minds is the proffit that can be made from the BullSharks.
My interest is for the survival of these magnificent creatures and i hope by voicing my opinions, whether loved or hated might help towards this.
I thank you for your time in reading this and thank you for passing this information on to anyone who might be able to assist with this sad situation and if there is anything else i can do i would be happy to.
This 32" specimen was discovered in West Main Canal in Yuma near First Street and 14th Avenue on Nov. 20.
Department staff members suspect this shark was first live caught and then transported from San Diego, California.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
As always Richard distills this complex issue down to the major players and what's truly at stake for the oceans.
As reported earlier today, the ICCAT (International Convention for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) is meeting this week in Paris as a part of the organization's annual review of bluefin tuna catch limits. But ICCAT's charter is not limited to the management of only tuna fisheries. It also considers the management of "tuna-like" fisheries, which is a catch-all phrase that can include other pelagic migratory predators including swordfish, sailfish, and sharks.
While outcomes from past ICCAT meetings have served more to support the commercial fishing industry than the support of ocean species conservation, recognized conservation groups, like Oceana, continue to bring information to the attention of the ICCAT regarding the rapidly declining numbers of apex ocean predators. This year, Oceana is focusing on sharks and the need for the ICCAT to seriously consider addressing the number of sharks being taken - whether legally or otherwise - and the potential for further abuse through under-reporting.
Oceana has released a new report that estimates that as many as 1.3 million sharks were taken in the Atlantic in 2008. Averaging the weight of the various 21 species listed in the report as being caught within ICCAT-monitored waters, that number equates to 65,000 tons of shark. To put that into perspective, the ICCAT currently limits tuna harvests to under 14,000 tons of tuna - and that is a figure that many scientists believe will doom the Atlantic bluefin tuna to extinction. Just what can we expect with 65,000 tons of shark disappearing each year?
On top of that, Oceana believes 1.3 million sharks could be a gross underestimation due to under-reporting. According to Oceana, based on scientific estimates from Hong Kong shark fin trade data, the true number could be three times higher - although, you can expect that figure to be dismissed by fishing industry advocates as speculative and unreliable.
“Sharks are virtually unmanaged at the international level,” said Oceana's Elizabeth Griffin. "ICCAT has a responsibility to protect sharks. It is time to protect our ocean's top predators."
Sunday, November 21, 2010
We posted our thoughts on the ensuing fallout here and were happy to discover well known journalist, writer and photographer, Glenn Ashton wading into this issue with an open letter to S.A dive operators.
Glenns letter is not only great industry thought, it is real leadership. Kudos to Glenn for not only taking the time to review this industry issue from all sides, but to distill it down to the fundamentals.
Are we as an industry ready to embrace standardized practices, both baiting and film and television, that benefit our primary clients, the sharks, first and foremost?
Open letter to the SA shark dive industry re: best practices
As a journalist and observer to the debate about best practices concerning shark attraction methods and the shortcomings of some methods, it is clear that the issues that have been raised are extremely important to deal with in order to ensure that our South African shark diving industry has a reputation that we can indeed be proud of.
This cannot only come from a shark diving industry perspective but from a conservation perspective, a tourism perspective, a best practice perspective and most of all for promoting an open and transparent dialogue about the matter - shark diving, either in cages or without - for profit.
There is nothing wrong with generating profit from shark diving. The dive industry is a powerful tool to assist in protecting sharks, in getting the public to understand them and in taking their plight to a wider audience.
Public oversight has assisted in improving practices in all aspects of the shark dive industry and indeed in all related aspects of human/ shark interaction. This mirrors the experiences of other conservation practices in other nature conservation fields which have often learned and advanced themselves through outside pressure.
However it serves nobody when baseless allegations are thrown around, when issues become personalised for reasons that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand and when discussions that are aimed at improving industry practices are marginalised because of illogical and ill informed inputs.
It cannot be denied that public oversight and pressure to change from shark enthusiasts have improved the cage dive industry hugely. The cage dive industry would like to take most of the credit for themselves but that is just human nature.
The same goes for shark diving on the Aliwal shoals and other offshore shark diving spots. The methods used to attract sharks have been shown to be damaging to sharks and yet those who rely on these flawed methods have denied any cause for concern and have instead attempted to sidetrack and personalise the discussion and debate. Others have worked hard to clean up their acts and have listened to outside inputs.
Denial of any problems in how sharks are chummed and attracted obviously serves nobody except the denier and it does not move the debate forward. As a journalist and someone involved in covering environmental management in South Africa I am quite prepared to go out and expose any dangerous or damaging practices to the widest possible audience so that things do change, through either the force of public opinion or the force of law. Both are equally relevant in this case.
It would however be far more beneficial for all of the role players in this debate, especially the shark dive charterers who have been criticised for poor baiting practices, to play a far more mature and responsible role in this discussion. There clearly are operators who have tried different methods of baiting which appear to be non damaging to sharks - through encasing cables and chains in polypropylene pipe - which is rigid and extremely tough and non damaging to shark mouths, compared to exposed cables and chains. Why can this and other useful discoveries not be made best practice?
An industry standard should be agreed upon and any parties who continue to practice dangerous methods of attracting sharks, just as those who do not properly care for, or endanger their divers and customers, or who follow other dangerous practice, must be sanctioned and isolated, if shown to be intransigent in the face of changing toward best practice behaviour.
If we wish to have an industry that is good for tourism and for our image as a leading nature and eco-tourism destination then we must pursue best practice in all aspects of environmental tourism in South Africa. If we wish to be the world leaders in this field, that we claim to be, then we must behave like world leaders. Accordingly the industry must support a move toward transparency and best practice and engage with each other in a constructive way that promotes mutual interests
The alternative is to identify and deal with those who refuse to play the game according to mutually agreed rules and isolate them utterly. The choices are simple. So lets rather consider moving on toward finalising what is essentially a straightforward procedure.
A useful first step would be to invite all shark tourism operators to sit down around a table, at a shark tourism conference, of SA operators, and start to hack out the issues, formalise them and put these steps into practice. SA tourism and other regional tourism boards would be supportive - we all know that the industry brings in significant money. Any other relevant parties must also come aboard, including government (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Dept of Environment and Water, and possibly Tourism and also the Shark Board but there may be ambivalence about this).
It would just take a few champions of the cause, from within the industry, to drive this. They could reap huge benefits by being shown to lead the way toward the most progressive and ecologically sound practices, and could accordingly advertise along these lines.
This should ideally happen from within the industry - self regulation is always preferable to having regulations imposed on you. But if nothing happens then imposition of tighter regulations may just follow.
Over to you, the people who want to do the right thing, the people who make money out of sharks and those who want to conserve the resource for the benefit of all. Lets see the changes roll on!
Freelance writer, researcher, author and editor.
Cape Town South Africa
Le Méridien Al Aqah Joins Sharkwatch Arabia targeting the first wild whale shark tagging in the region
The sophisticated tag is sponsored by Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort who are supporting the Sharkwatch Arabia research project lead by Chief Scientist, David Robinson. Successful tagging will provide essential data on how these animals utilize the region's waters and beyond.
Sharkwatch Arabia www.sharkwatcharabia.com is a post-graduate study in association with Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and part of The Shark Project Oman based at Sultan Qaboos University. Sharkwatch Arabia also runs in collaboration with the Sharkquest Arabia Initiative and Emirates Diving Association. Dive schools have been notified to be on the lookout for sharks in the coming week.
Patrick Antaki, General Manager, Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, said, "The personal gratification I get from being a part of Sharkwatch Arabia is as important as the CSR involvement of the resort in this continued quest for environmental understanding and protection. Additionally, the conscious support of our team members who are avid divers that support the cause and voluntarily contribute to similar activities is commendable. We wish the dive teams all success in the tagging programme."
Undertaking the initiative to tag a wild and free swimming whale shark is a hard process that requires the fulfilment of several parameters and possibilities of many attempts to attach a satellite transmitter. The Sharkwatch Arabia teams will live up to the challenge and work towards making the tagging of a whale shark successful and play an important role in adding value to the overall programme.
One of the aims of the Sharkwatch Arabia project is to tag five whale sharks each year over the next five years to provide data on the movements of the animals in the region and help understand why they visit these waters and where they migrate to.
The whale shark is the largest known fish in the oceans, they are listed as vulnerable to extinction partly due to the increased demand for shark products in the Asian markets. The Sharkwatch Arabia project will make a valuable contribution to provide key insights into the ecology of the species and assist in providing necessary steps for their conservation.
Tagging a whale shark with a satellite transmitter helps to track their movements and behaviour in the wild with little interference. The tag that trails behind the animal gathers important information over a 120 day period and subsequently detaches itself from the whale shark. The data involves information of water temperatures, duration of dive, depths, etc. On detachment and touching the surface of the water, the tag begins to transmit the collected data to orbiting satellites that will later be interpreted by ARGOS, the French satellite uplink company who sends the data to research teams for evaluation and further study.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Owen, a Tasmanian author who has also demystified that island’s famous devil, takes a fascinating look at the biology of sharks, from the smallest (the 19-centimeter-long dwarf lanternshark) to the whale shark, the world’s largest fish. He also explores the complex relationship between man and shark. Sure, we eat each other, but the body count is horribly lopsided. While sharks attack only a few dozen people each year, the annual shark catch routinely tips the scale in the hundreds of thousands of tons.
In large part due to the violent nature of their attacks — which often come literally out of the blue — sharks have long inspired fear and fascination. The 1975 blockbuster Jaws tapped into that primal fear but also demonized great white sharks and, via guilt by association, many other species. Yet, Owen notes, much good came from the film. It inspired scientific interest in sharks and their relatives and spawned shark conservation efforts worldwide. Shark is a captivating portrait of creatures that have too long been unfairly maligned as malevolent, mindless eating machines.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The apparent understanding is that these animals are on the menu for five fleet vessels operating from Oxnard to Marina del Ray at $1,800 a day.
Fortunately since the mid 90's white sharks off the California coast are protected by law.
Or are they?
Our post caught the attention of a shark conservationist who contacted the apparent owner of sharks.us only to receive the following threatening email, in which Captain Mike Schmidt tracked Jennifer XXX down (we redacted her business information) and seems to threaten her in person.
He also made a statement in a previous email where he threatens to "kill a shark" for every "tree hugger" email she or any of her friends sends him. He doubles down on that threat in this follow up email.
Very classy guy.
Here's the email:
From:Capt. Mike Schmidt [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 12:33 PM
Did you think I could not find you?
Do you think I will not call administration and report you?
Try me, and we will add another shark to the list and make a few phone calls as well!
You are not far now are you?
(business contact information for Jennifer xxx redacted)
At the time very few commercial shark diving operations considered active shark conservation as part of their operational ethos.
We understood that active regional campaigns by vested user groups like the commercial shark diving industry and it's members, could have a substantial impact on regional shark conservation. We demonstrated that with the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative, initially launched in the Bahamas in response to Tiger shark takes there in 2007 and again in 2008.
Which makes the story coming out of Play del Carmen this week very exciting. Responding to the commercial take of eight bull sharks in the region, a group of dive instructors, underwater videographers and biologists banded together to create the Blue Heart Society with the goal to protect sharks in the region for sustainable use.
This is “Noblesse Oblige" in action.
As we have seen with far too many efforts that involve government agencies, shark conservation begin with front line experiences, and those who dive with sharks know the resource and the region better than policy makers in Mexico city.
Kudos to the Blue Heart Society members and outside conservation helpers who have made this happen.
This is how you do commercial shark diving.
This is how you do shark conservation.
Patric Douglas CEO
The only problem is the California Department of Fish and Game banned fishing for white sharks in 1994. The effort to get white shark fishing banned in the state of California took several years with many use groups including the sport fishing industry pushing for change.
Ongoing legislation to protect white sharks in California waters remains important and internationally trend setting legislation.
So why are the fleet boats of Sharks.us, all five of them, patrolling the waters from Oxnard to Marina del Ray offering white sharks as part of their monster shark experience?
Types of sharks caught:
- Mako Sharks
- Leopard Sharks
- Oceanic White Tips
- Thresher Sharks
- Tope (Soupfin) Sharks
- White Sharks
- Blue Sharks
- Nurse Sharks
- Lemon Sharks
- Bigeye Thresher
- Horn Sharks
Your Adventure starts before you step on the dock. Sleepless nights and day dreaming of catching your monster shark, walking down the gang way with anticipation of pulling on a record breaker. The diesel engines firing up to announce to everyone we are starting out on an adventure of a lifetime. Is your heart racing now? Just wait till you see the fin set of a Mako in the chum slick, and then tell us if you can contain yourself. Have this filmed so you can try and share exactly how you felt with your family and friends. Remember, all you have to worry about is showing up on time and we provide everything else: profession crew, expertise, lunch, snacks, drinks, fishing license, tackle, rods and reels, bait, chum, fuel and oil.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The new species of deep red, glowing squid was living near undersea mountains in the southern Indian Ocean, scientists announced Monday.
At about 28 inches (70 centimeters) long, the as yet "unnamed species" is relatively big.
We would like to toss a few completely unauthorized and non scientific names into the hat for the researchers tasked with naming this new critter:
1. Glowanchus Big Reddicus
2. Hot Tamlus Glowanchus
2. X-Mas Light Squid
Sala y Gómez is an uninhabited island that’s part of a biodiverse chain of seamounts that are vulnerable to fishing activity. Dr. Enric Sala, marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow, called Sala y Gómez “one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean.”
Last March, Oceana, National Geographic and the Waitt Foundation conducted a preliminary scientific expedition to the island and found abundant populations of vulnerable species such as sharks and lobsters, much larger than in the depleted ecosystem in nearby Easter Island, which is not protected from fishing. In addition, the scientists found unexpectedly high biodiversity in deeper waters.
After the expedition, Oceana and National Geographic presented a proposal to President Piñera advocating the protection of the entire exclusive economic zone, a total of 411,717 square kilometers around the island. The Fisheries Committee of Chile’s Senate supported the recommendation unanimously.
The new park expands Chile’s total marine protected area more than 100 times, from 0.03% to 4.41%. Currently less than 2% of the global ocean is protected, although the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – including Chile – agreed to protect 10% of their exclusive economic zones by 2012.
The new sanctuary is in a region known as one of the world's richest sources of marine biodiversity.
The new sanctuary covers 46,000 square kilometres of waters around the Raja Ampat Islands in Eastern Indonesia, part of the so-called Coral Triangle region of Southeast Asia.
Sharks, manta rays, mobulas, dugongs and turtles are fully protected within the sanctuary, and destructive practices including reef bombing and the aquarium fish trade are banned, local officials said.
Kudos to WildAid and the number of shark conservation groups, dive operations, underwater photographers and tourism officials who worked to make this happen.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Andrew Fox from Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions is one of those members and this week was featured in Australian Geographic for his work in freeing a white shark trapped in a potentially lethal packing strap.
Andrew not only saved the animal but used the experience in the media to highlight the need for less plastics in the oceans. He has also created a sponsor page to channel donations back into ongoing sponsored research with sharks on his regions.
This is how you do commercial shark diving. Kudos to the original commercial shark diving clan for once again making the entire industry look good in the process.
Monday, November 15, 2010
To celebrate his adventures Dirk produced the following video, a week in the life of two newly minted Shark Divers. Once again Isla Guadalupe did not disappoint with Dirk being on site for a rare display of seals and sharks in the same frame.
Congratulations Dirk and Angela!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Admittedly a bit gruff for a catch and release media quote but what do you expect from the ever crusty Mike Westhoff aka NY Jets Special Teams Coordinator?
This week writer Kevin Armstrong of the NY Daily News covered Westhoff on one of his recent shark fishing trips.
As an unlikely ambassador for catch and release shark fishing Westhoffs final quote sealed the deal, not all shark fishermen have an adversarial relationship with sharks, and some even care about the resource and the future of these magnificent critters:
It was a remarkable experience.
Up until that recent expedition I had assumed the population we have been working with at Isla Guadalupe since 2002 was, in fact, a healthy population.
It clearly is not.
After seeing a vertically integrated population in New Zealand that featured juveniles, sub-adults and adults all mixed in together at the same site, I have come to the conclusion that what we have at Isla Guadalupe is a barely sustaining population of sharks, if not a declining one.
There's no science behind this observation, but I find it hard to believe that we see so few juvenile sharks at Isla Guadalupe (4-7 foot sharks) each season.
Time will tell is my observations are correct, meanwhile some scientists are raising the red flag this week suggesting that the global population of white sharks are indeed in serious decline.
Patric Douglas CEO
Saturday, November 13, 2010
$600 billion dollars worth on this latest round.
This video explains the rest and how Goldman Sachs is skimming a hefty percent off the top on account someone decided to run the whole deal through them.
Be afraid America, be very afraid.
Friday, November 12, 2010
The Shark Free Marina Initiative works with marinas, fishermen and non-profit groups to formulate community conscious policies and to increase awareness of the need to protect sharks. Currently 60 to 100 million sharks are slaughtered worldwide each year, which in turn poses a serious threat to the health of the earth’s oceans. Over the last five years, the United States recreational fishery has harvested an average of 500,000 sharks per year.
Bimini Bay’s participation in the Shark-Free Marina Initiative takes the Bimini
Islands unanimously one step closer to this marina initiative; a boon to the shark populations of the area and to the Bimini Biological Station. Bimini is home to healthy shark populations and to the Bimini Biological Field Station. Informally known as the Shark lab, the Bimini Biological Field Station on South Bimini is a world-renowned research facility whose subjects of study are the many species of sharks in the unique habitat of the Bimini’s North Sound and Bimini’s surrounding waters.
~ Bimini Bay Resort and Marina~
The island of Bimini offers jet-setters and boaters an unparalleled vacation experience at the island’s first four-star luxury vacation resort, located just 48 miles off the shore of South Florida. The ideal setting for a destination wedding, honeymoon or corporate retreat, anyone seeking a unique getaway can appreciate exceptional suite accommodations designed to provide families with ultimate comfort and space. All suites feature kitchens with granite countertops and contemporary designs with beach-chic décor and breathtaking views of the Atlantic or Bimini Bay. The resort’s marketplace at Fisherman’s Village offers a complimentary children’s activity center with year-round activities and camps. Other amenities include water sports, an infinity
pool, gourmet cuisine, two marinas--one accommodating mega yachts--and beach and poolside massage services. For more information or for reservations, please visit www.biminibayresort.com or call (242) 347-2900.
~About the Island of Bimini~
Proud Island of the Bahamas: The island of Bimini is located 48 miles east of South Florida, where the Gulf Stream meets the Great Bahama Bank. Bimini is heralded for its infamous flats fishing, offshore fishing and diving. Discovered in the 1500’s by Ponce de Leon in his quest for the Fountain of Youth, this colorful island’s abundance of unspoiled island views and emerald waters continues to attract yachting and water-sport enthusiasts searching for a relaxing haven that offers something for the entire
Of course there's also an in depth article on shark diving featuring stunning images by Jim Cornfield with your friendly neighbourhood shark diving company Sharkdiver.com.
Christmas came early this year with the artful blending of premium cigars with shark diving!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Fortunately there's a movement to protect Bahamian sharks with the help of Pew Trusts, the Bahamas National Trust, smaller support NGO's, and interested commercial shark diving operations.
This is why we need to protect the sharks of the Bahamas.
These images were taken in late 2007 and feature a pregnant sport caught Tiger shark with near term pups ripped from her body. This magnificent animal, the pinnacle of a healthy eco system and part of a thriving $70 million dollar Bahamian shark tourism industry, was reduced to a set of jaws - and a series of ghoulish family vacation photos:
TIGER SHARK MARCH 2008
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
His recent project could not be more timely with the recent push to make the whole of The Bahamas into a shark preserve.
The initial success of the deep water pilot project previously reported before has continued. So far 32 individual surveys, resulting in eighty animals from nine different species: Cuban dogfish (Squalus cubensis), Roughskin dogfish (Centroscymnus owstoni), Smoothound (Mustelus canis insularis), Gulper shark (Centrophorus granulousus), Taiwan gulper (Centrophorus niaukang), Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformes), Bluntnose sixgill (Hexanchus griseus), Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai) and the Sawtail catshark (Galeus springeri).
However, the catches have been dominated by the cuban dogfish and the gulper shark.
Perhaps the most exciting news is the deployment of pop-up satellite archival transmitters (PSATs) on gulper sharks (Centrophorous granulosus) and the Taiwan gulper shark (Centrophorous niaukang), which will provide the first movement and habitat use data for these animals. Seventeen individual gulper sharks, comprising both male and female ranging in size from 52 – 105 cm and four Taiwan gulper sharks ranging in size from 130 – 156 cm have been captured. With one X-Tag deployed on each of the two species of gulper sharks, the team anxiously awaits the pop off periods of 30 days and 5 months.
Until the recent development of the X-Tag by Microwave Telemetry, Inc. there was not a PSAT small enough to deploy on a smaller species like the gulper sharks. The X-Tag weighing only 40g and pressure rated to 2500m is roughly half the size of the original archival pop-up tag which opens new possibilities for research on a variety of deep ocean sharks, many of which are under 1m in total length. Twelve more X-Tags are planned for deployment on the gulper sharks throughout the duration of the pilot project.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Since we're usually dumbfounded by fancy equations and by science folks in general we'll call this one done.
Too bad, a North Korea nuke boat with an errant missile off California's coast would have been a lot more fun.
Back to sharks after this:
This diagram is not to scale, but the math is the same regardless. The solid curved line is the surface of the earth. The dot at the top is San Clemente. The little triangle is Catalina. “d” is the distance to Catalina (d=35 miles). “c” the amount of Catalina that is visible above the horizon (c=0.05 miles, really a bit more, but let’s be conservative). “a” is the altitude of the plane, (a = 6 miles). “r” is the radius of the earth (r=3963 miles).
The green wavy line is the contrail. Notice it’s at a fixed height above the surface of the earth, and is going directly towards the OC.
The point labeled (0,0) is the center of the earth. (0,0) means X=0, Y=0, where X is horizontal and Y is vertical. What we want to know is how far away the plane is, the value x. We do this with cartesian geometry, noting that the lowest visible point of the trail is at the intersection of the dotted line, which is a circle of radius (r+a), hence the equation x^2 + y^2 = (r+a)^2 and the line labeled “sight line”, which is has the equation y=x*c/d. Combining these equations to solve for x yields a quadratic equation, which we can solve with Wolfram Alpha:
and with the real numbers:
Thanks to Ethan Stock for the hat tip!
Are we certain this video is in fact a jet and if so would there not be an airline track of a plane over the ocean at the precise launch site and time yesterday?
See live airplane track site LAX.
For the money we think it's one of two of the following options:
A. The MythBusters Adam and Jamie foolin' around with season #1020 "Even Bigger"
B. The Balloon Boy Redux
As we said earlier today, the mystery will be solved. Only if we can get past the geeks on the tech sites calling this one done.
Hey Gizmondo, did you even watch the damn CBS video?
"It's spectacular it takes people's breath away," said former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Robert Ellsworth, calling the projectile, "a big missile".
So, who launched it?
For the money we're wondering where Adam and Jamie - The MythBusters - were last night.
Both gents like things that go boom, and as far as we're concerned they're about the only guys in California with the expertise to pull off a "sizable missile launch".
Time will tell as this very strange story come to light.
Update: There's a rumor floating around Catalina Island right now of a fisherman who saw the launch at sea last night.
Location: South Africa
Hours: Full Time
Position type: Volunteer
Closing date: Tue 07 December 10
Contact name: Ryan Daly
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join a team of marine scientists in the field to gain valuable fieldwork experience.
Although a background in marine science is not required, being comfortable in the water and in rough conditions at sea, the ability to look after yourself and a passion for the sea are essential. With 3 Fathoms, you will learn a lot, see a lot and do a lot. A concerted effort and enthusiasm are expected in order to help achieve the goals of the research project underway. As an intern your primary purpose will be to assist in the research program although there is time to pursue side trips to game reserves, local attractions and of course beach and surf time.
• Underwater observation of sharks using SCUBA or free diving
• SCUBA training though divemaster
• Practical field experience using innovative methodology
• Involvement in marine conservation issues and promotion
• Usage of innovative scientific equipment
• Collecting and recording data
• Field sample preservation and organization
• Shopping and cooking
Monday, November 8, 2010
From sweeping Arctic vistas to pensive human interaction to the power of the great white shark, Richard Theiss/RTSea adheres to the principle of "Making the Message Matter."
This week Richard posted an in depth three part series on Science and Media Communications. Creating a the bridge between science and the public.
Science and Media Communications: turning data into enlightenment - Part 1 of 3
Science and Media Communications: turning data into enlightment - Part 2 of 3
Science and Media Communications: turning data into enlightenment, Part 3 of 3
Imagine the Thrill
Dare to overcome three fears all at once: swimming in deep water... while submerged in an enclosed cage... in shark-infested waters. While some might consider the scenario more of a nightmare than an adventure, shark diving often jolts participants' adrenaline in ways few other thrills can. Facing some of Mother Nature's fiercest predators up close in their raw habitat obliterates your sense of comfort at the top of the food chain.
Make the Adventure
Two of America's most popular destinations for shark diving are off the coasts of Oahu's North Shore, with a few expeditions leaving from Haleiwa (pronounced ha-lay-AY-vuh), Hawaii, and northern Baja California, with companies like Shark Diver disembarking from San Diego (and also offering expeditions to see the "red demon" giant squids of Mexico). You can go shark-cage diving with little or no scuba experience, depending on the type of cage (whether sunken, floating or affixed), but newbies usually just need to attend a cage-diving orientation. Special certification might be required to go diving near great white sharks.
This week was a fine example.
Da Shark on Human-Shark Interaction:
One of the most frequent questions our customers ask is whether our Sharks are aggressive.
Our standard answer is to tell them that in our experience, they are not aggressive as in wanting to bite us but rather, that they may sometimes be assertive, meaning that some will try and barge in to get some food and that in doing so, they may display a degree of posturing.
Granted our definition may be threading a very fine line – but words are powerful and we want to steer the conservation away from the usual stereotypes and towards a more neutral mindset.
Image by Christy Fisher
Thursday, November 4, 2010
He's off on the next season shooting sharks, but prior to packing his bags was featured in this month's Men's Journal.
Along the way Chris mentioned Shark Diver as the shark diving company to go with - should you choose to spend a week in the company of sharks.
Thanks Chris, and safe travels...we mean that!
Mision Tiburon was officially established in 2009 by young conservationists, who are concerned about the drastic decline of shark populations around the world. The promoters of this group are marine biologists whose have worked in the last years in educational projects and marine researches with sharks, rays and turtles. During these years, they have acquired the experience and the knowledge to lead new marine conservation projects.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
None richer than old Dr. James Douglas circa 1856.
As it turns out the late 1800's had an unusual fad for the times. Travelers coming back from Egypt and the far east often came back with actual mummies for display in home drawing rooms.
Gruesome though it sounds it was as popular an entertainment as today's flat screen televisions. Our clans own Dr.James Douglas, not one for passing on any fad, spent several years in Egypt collecting mummies.
Unknown to him or anyone until the late 90's one of his mummies turned out to be a celebrity.
It's a strange story that has spawned several documentaries and a NOVA special. Our family knew of the mummy fetish, but didn't know of the mummy pedigree until investigators called us looking for answers.
The Mummy Who Would Be King follows the long voyage of the Pharaoh Ramesses I, ancestor of Egypt's most illustrious rulers, who was buried in a richly painted tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Ramesses entered his tomb expecting to undertake an arduous journey through the underworld. The king could hardly have imagined that his journey would take over three thousand years, through the drawing rooms of Victorian Canada, only to end up in Niagara Falls as a nickle amusement.
He now resides back in Egypt, where his amazing voyage began.
Patric Douglas CEO