Monday, July 4, 2011

Patently Perfidious Panderings on Penny Palfrey

Like a pack of wild dogs slavering for a quick kill members of the shark conservation community descended on long distance swimmer Penny Palfrey last week over a report that members of her team had killed sharks during her latest record settings swim.

As it turned out this report was patently false.

The attacks were public, ruthless, and set at such a fever pitch that almost everyone in the long distance swimming community was left asking "who are these people?"

Who indeed.

Folks, these attacks were poorly organized, misinformed, and did a great disservice to the word "conservation." In fact what happened last week was not conservation at all but old fashioned group hysteria - circa 1848.

Frankly, the shark conservation world is peppered with a few very vocal, highly visible, hysterical doom screamers who litter the conservation mailbox on a daily basis with inane conservation clips from the shark world. All of which start with a breathless supposition "have you seen this!?"

A small dead shark washed up on a beach in Florida?

It is the end of the world and fishermen are to blame!

Dead sharks in bottles?

Let's hang the bastards!

Sustainable shark for sale in the local supermarket?


Has anyone thought for a moment where all this nonsense is getting us as a community? After alienating the long distance swim community last week it is a question the hysterical "theater of the absurd/actors for shark conservation" should be asking themselves this week.

The Good News

Without a doubt the march for sharks has, over the past three years, made some great strides and there are some truly dedicated and smart folks working on long term solutions for sharks.

Kudos to them.

There are also some complete and utter conservation idiots who are raising revolutionary flags for sharks on issues that have little to no import on the long game for conservation such as Penny Palfrey when all the facts were not in.

Let's reign in the dog of war for sharks and start working on each and every project as a long term effort, not a quick and rusty knife to the back. It may look good on a Facebook page but at the end of the day it diminishes the entire effort in ways we have yet to understand.

Folks like Penny deserve much better and many apologies are in order.

You know who you are - so get busy. You can start with the same public zeal displayed in taking her down last week.

Sightings - The Shark Diver Sticker

There are as many as 10,000 of these Shark Diver stickers gracing bumpers across America.

Since 2002 we have been giving away stickers to divers, adventure seekers, new and soon to be new Shark Divers.

This one was spotted in California on the back of the CEO of car.

Rumor has it that divers from Google, Facebook, and a host of high tech firms in Silicone Valley are also sporting these classic stickers celebrating a decade in the shark diving industry in 2011.

With the 2011 white shark season just a few months away and the return of the fall tiger shark season in the Bahamas we're excited to be getting back in the water with your toothy friends.

Let's go shark diving!

Oil Disaster on the Yellowstone - Flyfishing Armageddon?

As many of you know I am an avid fly fisherman. My adventures with the fly have taken me over the years to 12,000 feet on the side of Mt Whitney, to the rivers and tributaries of New Zealand and back again in search of pristine water conditions and hungry wild trout.

That's what makes the oil spill news coming out of Montana this week so disturbing.

Apparently, and who knew, Exxon had an underground oil pipeline running through one of the planets finest trout waters on the Yellowstone River.

This week that pipeline ruptured spilling 42,000 gallons of oil into the river system.

Now we all know how oil spill estimates turn out, so double or triple that figure and you have a virtual ecological wipe out on your hands for this rivers trout and supporting eco system, at least in the short term (5-10 years).

"The timing couldn't be worse," said Steve Knecht, chief of operations for Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, who added that the plume was measured at 25 miles near Pompeys Pillar National Monument. "With the Yellowstone running at flood stage and all the debris, it makes it dang tough to get out there to do anything."

Of course Exxon says they will "return this river back to it's natural state." Which is to say Exxon will rush an 80-20 mix into the region as BP did in the Gulf. 80% media and legal teams who will scour the area placing strategic media bytes and tying up the legal niceties, and 20% boots on the ground. A few sad sacks who need a job bused in for the mainstream media and bused back out when the media is gone.

While you celebrate the 4th of July today, take a moment to mourn the loss of at least 300-500 miles of the Yellowstone river, thanks Exxon.

Patric Douglas CEO