Friday, April 17, 2015

How every diver can help with shark conservation.

I have to share DaSharks latest blog. It is actually a guest blog by Ian Campbell that talks about protecting sharks and how you can help.


Shark research, management & conservation intelligentsia meeting in Townsville, see below
 
Introduction by DaSharks:
 
Are you intrigued? :)

Here goes.
Ian Campbell is currently working for WWF’s Global Shark and Ray Initiative running the sustainable management component. He is also a Shark diver and a member of the SRMR management team.
From NGOs to the public and private sector, Ian has over 20 years’ experience in fisheries policy, ecology and fishery management working extensively within both the UK and internationally. Previous employment has included overseeing the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy for the Pew Charitable Trusts, fisheries observer on blue-fin tuna vessels, inshore fisheries management and as a commercial diver in the offshore sector.
Ian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Marine Biology from Heriot-Watt University and a Master degree in Environmental Science from the University of Strathclyde.

This is an important initiative.
Having just returned from a meeting with major stakeholders, see at top, I've asked him whether he wouldn't mind submitting a guest post presenting it to the wider public.
Here is Ian's post.
Shark divers – An underused resource?

Everyone who is even remotely interested in sharks (and rays, don’t forget these charismatic shark pancakes of wonder) is abundantly aware of the pressures they are facing.
Fishing pressure, habitat loss, unsustainable consumption, or even fanciful claims of being “evolved for extinction” everywhere you look they are under the cosh. The pressure that sharks are under have probably best been summed up by the 2014 paper (and here - notice the part about research and data collection?) led by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group which concludes that almost a quarter of all sharks and rays (over 1,000 species assessed) are faced with the very real threat of extinction. Remember, this is not the claims of an environmental NGO, but an independent assessment of the current state of shark and ray populations by 128 experts from 35 different countries. Here’s a simple chart highlighting the different levels of threat.


As you can see, despite what you may hear from some campaigns, not all sharks are threatened, and some are in worse shape than others, but, for WWF, one of the biggest areas of concern is the shaded grey area on the left side of that chart. From all the 1,042 species assessed, 487 are “data deficient”.

Basically, virtually nothing is known about almost half of all sharks and rays.
Effective management and designing plans to reduce mortality is virtually impossible when faced with this lack of basic understanding. Imagine trying to balance your budget without knowing how much money you have in your account to start with, or the amount of interest you are receiving or paying out.

There are a number of conservation initiatives out there which lay claims to conserving sharks, from finning bans to fin trade bans (there’s a difference), from sanctuaries to species protections and from policies to plans. Some of these are more useful than others, but if any of them are to be truly effectual then one thing is key to them all: DATA!

Without a basic understanding of shark and ray populations both around the coast and in offshore waters, then making decisions for the long-term survival of these species is little more than a best guess. Yet there are a multitude of areas rich in information, but not necessarily being channeled in the right direction.

Divers, fishermen, market traders, even shark and ray researchers produce data every day, yet it is surprising how little of it actually makes its way to ministerial departments or independent bodies to assist with informed decisions for conservation. WWF are seeking to bridge this gap. We are developing a project in collaboration with some of the world’s leading shark researchers to create standard methodologies to maximize the benefits from untapped resources.

In 1999, the Food and Agriculture Organisation produced guidelines for countries to undertake a step-by-step process to developing long-term, sustainable shark management plans (known as National Plans of Action, NPOA).
This process seems relatively simple. Firstly, collect data on sharks and rays in the form of a Shark Assessment Report. Then use this data to develop your NPOA. While this does sound simple, and has been done in places like Australia, the EU and NZ (to varying degrees of vigour), the Pacific Islands have had to get by using the limited resources at their disposal. There are some NPOAs currently in existence in the region, such as the Cook Islands and Samoa. Other countries have draft versions waiting government endorsement, such Fiji and Tonga, while some countries such as Palau want to declare shark sanctuaries. These efforts for conservation & long-term planning are great, although all of these measures have one oversight in common. They are built on a lack of data. None of the countries have produced Shark Assessment Reports, so cannot fully know the issues within their territorial waters. This is not the fault of the Pacific Islands, gathering data can be time consuming for departments with limited resources, and the analysis requires specific technical expertise. Organizations such as the FFA and SPC are providing a great service, although their remit extends way beyond just looking at sharks.

So here is where WWF are stepping in.
As mentioned, we are collaborating with shark expertise far and wide to develop our shark ‘Rapid Assessment Tool-kit’ (or shark RAT). The main function of this is to design ways to collect and analyze data on coastal and pelagic sharks that can then be used to produce a Shark Assessment Report. The very basic baseline data in this report can in turn used by governments to develop conservation strategies that are then based on some sort of understanding.

Where is this data going to come from?
Well, there are a lot of sources we will be exploring from genetic and socioeconomic surveys at landing sites to extensive underwater video surveys, but one untapped goldmine is the information collected by divers. In Fiji, there is the Great Fiji Shark Count which is starting to produce comparable info. At present, this isn’t incorporated into management plans, so it’s high time it is.

There are also other things dedicated shark divers can be doing.
Ever been on a surface interval that seems to go on for ages? Sat at the bar for the post-dive drinks to talk about what you saw? How about these hours are spent helping screen underwater video footage that shows what happens at your dive site when no-one is in the water? Pretty much every diver would be able to recognise whether a shark or ray was in shot, and a huge number would even be able to say what species it was. Collecting and screening this type of data would take a massive burden off an already overstretched ministry or fisheries/shark specialist.

Obviously, we are well aware of the multitude of challenges that lay ahead for the project to be fully successful, and some methodologies that may look good on the page may fail spectacularly when introduced to the real world. But we have to try. Improved management for sharks and rays is the only thing that is going to directly reduce mortality. Not shark fin soup campaigns, or putting all your eggs into “ending finning” and certainly not cavorting in swimwear near sharks.

Last week WWF held a 3 day workshop where 12 of the best minds in their respective fields (I’m not including myself, I just took notes and provided the tea and coffee) provided input and direction.
As well as academic researchers from the fields of genetics, citizen science and eco-tourism, we had input from FFA, SPC and SPREP. Everyone we have spoken to has been enthusiastic and willing to support us. The people in attendance will now provide advice and recommendations to the project. Professor Colin Simpfendorfer, the co-chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group also gave us a name, although how serious he was is up for debate. WWF now convenes the Pacific Rapid Assessment Tool-kit Scientific Advisory Committee, or PRAT-SAC. Maybe the first thing we need to work on is the name?

The project is embryonic and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but with a little direction, continued enthusiasm and, more importantly, collaboration, then slowly we’ll restore the balance for sharks and rays

DaShark: Here's to that - thanks buddy, appreciate!

Thanks indeed! I hope all of you will join in this effort to conserve our shark populations. And here you were, thinking you're just having fun, when you're diving with sharks.

Let's go shark diving!

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver
 
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bull sharks in Fiji

We are going to Fiji in May, to dive with the bull sharks in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. DaShark has posted this video by Howard Hall, who has just been diving there last week.



The Bulls of BAD from Howard Hall on Vimeo.

Come join us and experience these sharks up close and personal. Call us at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275 email staff@sharkdiver.com


Let's go shark diving.

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Working with Fishermen to Save Sharks

The shark conservation and fishing communities are often at odds over protecting our sharks. Guy Harvey is making an effort to bring these two groups together. During the current Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament, he is teaming up with the participants to help tag oceanic white tip sharks.

source

Cayman 27 writes: "Dozens of fishermen are getting in on the conservation act by helping to tag sharks. Conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey is teaming up with participants of the Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament, embarking on one of the largest shark tagging and research projects ever undertaken in the Caribbean.
Dr. Harvey’s team will learn more about the oceanic white tip shark. “They are very valuable to the eco-system and to science,” he says.
By aligning with local fishing tournaments in 2013, as well as this year he believes fishermen are becoming more aware of the shark’s worth. “We used the fishing fleet to catch sharks for us and we pay them to hold the sharks until the chase boat [gets] there there to take the sharks from them because they’re giving up time for us,” explained Mr. Harvey."

I know, a lot of conservationists don't like fishing tournaments and even oppose actions like these by Guy Harvey. They think this is glorifying the killing of sharks and argue that there is post release mortality. I have to admit,  I'm not a big fan of catch and release shark fishing myself, but think about it this way. What is better? Going to a shark fishing tournament and protesting, maybe even hurling some insults at the fishermen, questioning their morals and character, like many people like to do, or do what Guy Harvey is doing? 

video

Just like the Shark Free Marina initiative that was created by Shark Diver, Harvey is working together with the fishermen in these tournaments. He raises their awareness of the conservation concerns and gets them interested and involved in protecting the sharks

"Cayman 27's" article states:  “For every shark that you get and call in; that we successfully tag and release [fishermen] will receive CI$500 in cash,” said CIB Marketing Manager, Matthew Leslie. 

And the partnership is working says Dr. Harvey, by the fishermen getting to see the animals in their offshore habitat, he says anglers are practicing preservation.

We always have to ask ourselves this question. Do we care more about the principle that we should not catch or kill any sharks, or do we want to save sharks. By protesting and vilifying the fishermen, we will not save one shark! By working with them, promoting catch and release, (even with all the problems associated with that), getting them to help with tagging and making em aware, we actually save sharks.

Every journey starts with a first step. We are never going to accomplish our goal of saving the sharks, the oceans, if we are not willing to work together.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shark sighting in Portugal

Congratulations to the algarvedailynews! You managed to cover a shark sighting near shore without sensationalism, with a simple "Mystery shark spotted near Tavira" headline.

In the article you go on to explaine exactly what happened.

As the build up to the swimming season starts with beaches being prepared and concession soon to open, a reminder that 'we are not alone' when bathing was evident in the waters near Tavira.
A shark at least two metres long was spotted by fishermen on the jetty close to the beaches at the entrance of the river Gilão.

Photo Michael Correia - Correio da Manhã

The shark clearly was in distress and was disorientated, swimming around in the shallow waters.
After an hour the shark headed back out to sea with its identity a mystery as, despite being observed by many fishermen, nobody could identify the species.
The Tavira shark was not a Hammerhead, a species which can come close to the shore but normally feeds at least a mile out mainly on sardines, tuna and mackerel and only when the water is warmer at 20 degrees or more.
In 2013 a three metre shark was spotted close in to the shore near the fortress at Sagres, again the species could not be acertained.
Along Portugal’s coast there are dozens of shark species, the majority of which stay offshore and deep down, venturing closer to the surface only when hunting for fish or looking for a mate.
There is an abundance of sharks in Portuguese waters, a sign of a healthy marine environment, but no recorded incident of anyone being attacked as sharks prefer eating fish of which there are plentiful supplies.

Kudos for reporting a shark sighting without sensationalism and resorting to the use of monster, beast or killer. You informed your readers, without scaring them. Your action shows that covering a shark sighting can be done in an informative manner and no scary headlines. I hope that other media outlets will take note. 

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver 

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jaws, lemon shark



About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Shark Attacks And The Media

"Shark Attacks Are So Unlikely, But So Fascinating" is the title of an article in Popular Science.

Wow, a non sensationalistic headline dealing with shark attacks. Good job! 

George Burgess, a shark researcher and curator of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) writes a good article on how and why the media covers shark attacks. I don't always agree with him, but think this article gives some good insights into the psychology of shark attacks and how they get covered.

"Sharks are incredibly unlikely to bite you. They’re even less likely to kill you. However, we remain fascinated with their ability--and occasional proclivity--to do just that. With so many things more likely to harm us, why do we pay such rapt attention when sharks make headlines?


People need to understand more fully that when we enter the sea, it’s a wilderness experience. We’re eco-tourists and are not owed the right to be 100% safe. That’s what fascinates us about sharks: There’s an innate concern in our psyches about not wanting to get eaten. Almost every other animal on earth has to worry about getting eaten night and day. As humans, we rarely have that concern. People hold sharks in awe as one of the rare species that reminds us we’re still potentially part of a food chain.

You’re much more likely to be injured or die during your evening run than in a shark attack, but don’t expect to turn on the Discovery Channel and see Sneaker Week. For better or worse, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to creatures that can eat us--even if they rarely do."

I think he hit the nail on the head. In addition to what he mentions, I also believe that for humans to go into the ocean is innately uncomfortable. We are not in our natural environment. There are so many perceived dangers, real or not. We are fascinated by what we may encounter, but also weary of the unknown.



Most people are probably overestimating the chances of getting killed by a shark and who can blame them, with the way we are bombarded with sensationalistic coverage of anything shark related. In 2014, there were zero fatal shark attacks in the entire US!

"There wasn’t a single fatality in the entire country last year and only three worldwide." source

We always talk about what kills more people than sharks, but have you ever thought about what kills fewer? What kills humans, but at a rate of fewer than  10-12, or as last year, fewer than 3 annually in the entire world? There may be something, but I haven't come up with an answer yet.


A lot of people will argue, that there are more fatalities on land, because the number of  people who go  into the ocean is far lower than the number of people who stay on land and even the people who are going into the water, spend much more time on land as well. 

OK, so let's look at the risks of going into the ocean and what you have to be aware of. 

According to the CDC "From 2005-2009, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 347 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.2"

Gerry Burgess puts this in perspective. To put that into perspective, more people die from drowning every day in this country than were killed by sharks in ten years.

I hope the government of Western Australia is paying attention to this. Their budget for shark mitigation is $22 million. source  If they would spend that much money on additional lifeguards and life saving equipment instead, they could probably save a lot more lives than with that ill advised shark cull program.


Burgess goes on to explain why the number of annual fatalities has gone up slightly, but the actual rate has gone down.

When you think of how much time we spend in the water, it’s amazing how innocuous shark and human interaction is. When the ISAF began in the 1950s, scientists were concerned primarily with shark attacks after ships and aircraft went down at sea.

A lot has changed since then. There are a lot more of us on earth today than there were back then and there will be even more tomorrow. Aquatic recreation has never been more popular. More people are kayaking, surfing, diving and paddleboarding.

More time in the water means more time to interface with sharks.

It’s partly a generational change. When my parents took a young me to the beach, my mother would lie on the sand and work on her suntan, never going in the water. My dad might have gone in once a day to cool off. Nowadays, if I’m at the beach, I might be boogie boarding or skin diving. Most of us are spending a lot more hours in the water than did our parents and our activities are inadvertently provocative. That creates ample opportunities for sharks and humans to get together.

This article in Popular Science should be mandatory reading for any journalist covering shark related stories. But of course, like Burgess points out, who would watch "Sneaker week". Unfortunately the news is a business and headlines are designed to catch our attention. Like it or not, we are all guilty of it. Like we wrote about here. What headline are you going to pay attention to. "Shark trying to bite through steel cage!" or "Shark bumps into cage"?

Enjoy your time in the ocean this summer and remember to watch out for rip currents and swim near a lifeguard. If you happen to see a shark, consider yourself lucky.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shark trying to bite through steel cage?

"Watch terrifying footage of great white shark trying to bite through steel bars of diving cage"  screams the headline of the "Daily Mirror" "Open-mouthed great white shark charges unlucky cameraman" shouts the "New York Post". 

So what the heck happened? 



First off, the shark is not trying to bite through steel bars to get at the photographer. It was going after a fish head that was pulled straight over the cage (not a safe practice for a shark diving boat) and ran into the cage while doing so.  Since they don't have a reverse gear and can only swim forward, it looks like it's trying to get into the cage, when in fact it is just trying to get away.


Of course this doesn't stop tabloids like the New York Post from making statements like this "In a scene straight out of “Jaws,” the open-mouthed great white clamps down on the cage with its razor sharp teeth just inches away from Bray’s camera."

The "Daily Mirror" tries to put a conservation spin on the story  by saying "The great white shark and many other shark species are under threat, so research into their breeding habits can help come up with scientific solutions to the problems surrounding their possible extinction. 

The main problem is education, most people have grown up thinking sharks are dangerous and scary, and we have Stephen Spielberg's 'Jaws' to thank for that. Yes that, and your stupid headline "Watch terrifying footage of great white shark trying to bite through steel bars of diving cage"  

We at Shark Diver specialize in "Safe and Sane" conservation shark diving. We respect the sharks and try to show them for what they really are. Awesome predators that don't need to be feared, but respected.


If you want to encounter them in their natural environment, come joins us at Guadalupe Island this fall. We still have a few spaces open. Call us at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275 email staff@sharkdiver.com

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver
 
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How do you get taken seriously as a conservation activist?

When writing a blog or a comment on social media, it is easy to get a little rigid in one's stand on an issue or one's view on a group or person. Once our mind is made up, it tends to be difficult for us to change it, or admit that someone we don't like actually did something good.

People who don't agree with you won't change their mind, unless you have an open mind, are able to see where they are coming from and are able to specifically explain, why you disagree with them. While I can certainly see the passion behind someone opposing, for example OCEARCH, I question whether you can convince someone to see things your way, by just wholesale condemning everything they do. The only people you convince that way, are the ones already agreeing with you.

If you speak out against specific things instead, like (OCEARCH) lifting sharks out of the water, the fin damage their tags cause (pictured below) etc. If you explain how those things could be done better,  I think you'll have a much better chance to get them to change. Even if they themselves won't change, maybe you'll convince some of their supporters or sponsors and they can make them change.

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/68347000/jpg/_68347075_findamagephotojyoung.jpg
source

A great example for doing it right is DaShark. He is certainly a guy with an opinion on things. His view on groups like Sea Shepherd tend to be mixed to say the least. In his own words " I harbor, to state it mildly, mixed feelings" What makes him different is the fact that he is not rigid in his thinking, he gives credit, when he thinks someone deserves credit, just like he does here and here

Admittedly, it is not easy to have and open mind, and sometimes it hurts to acknowledge that someone is doing something good. DaShark acknowledges that this way "Mark this day in your calender! I'm gonna say something positive about the SSCS! (And before you ask - yes it did hurt. But what is fair is fair.)"

So what does keeping and open mind and working with people instead of against them get you? Well in DaSharks case, a national park! He is none other than the guy who was instrumental in creating the Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji, a project that saw the number of fish species present go from around 260 to over 460 in a 10 year span!
 
DaShark with his "girls" in the "SRMR"

Of course it was not just his open mind that got this project accomplished. There was a lot of hard work instead of "slacktivism" involved. In other words, if you really want to change something, you have to do more than just have an opinion and open mind. You have to get off your butt and actually do something.   

You can follow DaShark's blog here.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver 

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Do sharks really mistake humans for seals?

Do sharks really mistake humans for seals? that is the headline of a report in "The Sydney Morning Herald"

The article says that Researchers test 'mistaken identity' theory  by conducting some studies on sharks in a pool.

Photo: Taronga Zoo  

"You can see quite easily how that mistaken identity might come about," Dr Nathan Hart explains. 

Look at these images and it's easy to imagine how a shark might mistake a swimmer or surfer for a seal.

At least that's the premise behind the "mistaken identity" theory that tries to explain why sharks sometimes attack people.

While the idea seems reasonable, even logical, it has never been tested until now.

What? Never been tested? Ever heard of Dr. Peter Klimley, Scott Anderson and many others.

Photo: Taronga Zoo

At Taronga Zoo, researchers have this month run a series of experiments to understand what drives a shark to attack by mimicking what they see and hear underwater.

With this information, they hope to develop specific shark repellents, such as making surfboards less attractive with lights; a feature they'll test on South Africa's white pointer population later this year.

"We know their visual system isn't as good as ours," said lead researcher Nathan Hart, a neuroscientist at the University of Western Australia. 

Sharks are colour blind but they have very sensitive eyes, making them good at detecting objects in low contrast. However, they also have poor spatial acuity, which essentially means their vision is more blurred than humans.

Wait, their visual system isn't as good as ours? They are color blind? Their vision is more blurred? I guess Dr. Hart has never heard of Dr. Gruber's research published way back in 1985! 


Thanks to decades of careful, dedicated work by Samuel Gruber and his co-workers, we now know that many sharks see in color, too

In a revealing 1985 paper, shark biologist Samuel Gruber and anatomist Joel Cohen studied the retina of the White Shark. Gruber and Cohen demonstrated that the Great White retina has both rods and cones, but at a significantly different ratio from most sharks. The small, moderately deep-dwelling Spiny Dogfish has a rod-to-cone ratio of about 50:1, while in the larger, more shallow-water Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) the rod-to-cone ratio is about 13:1. But in the White Shark, the rod-to-cone ratio is about 4:1 - roughly the same as in human beings. From these results, Gruber and Cohen concluded that the White Shark has the retinal mechanisms necessary for acute, bright-light, color vision. source

I would expect a researcher to 1. not make a general statement about shark's vision, when different species have very different eyesight and 2. know about the fact that white sharks can see color, which has been known for 30 years now.
I can see you! In color :-)


Maybe, if Dr. Hart had done a little research on what is already known about sharks, he would not make statements like these 

"If you now imagine blurring those images, you can see how there'd be even more similarity between them because the details of the arms and the legs get hidden," Dr Hart said. "You can see quite easily how that mistaken identity might come about," he said.

The article states that  The study forms part of a broader project funded by the Western Australian government to assess shark attack deterrents.


Well, knowing what kind of "science" the Western Australian Government used to justify their drum line program, I'm not really surprised that they are funding these kinds of researchers.

Link to the article here

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Awesome volunteer opportunity for 16-19 year olds!

We just wrote that our friends at Projects Abroad looking for a Volunteer Coordinator. Since they need a volunteer coordinator, they obviously also need volunteers and are looking for 16-19 year old adventurers, who would like to live and work in Cambodia for a couple of weeks. The volunteers will be able to get SCUBA certified and help out with local conservation and community projects. What an awesome opportunity!


Here is all the info you from their website.

2 Week Summer Program


  • Sunday June 21st 2015 - Saturday July 4th 2015
  • Sunday July 12th 2015 - Saturday July 25th 2015
  • Sunday August 2nd 2015 - Saturday August 15th 2015

2 Week Winter Program
  • Sunday December 6th 2015 - Saturday December 19th 2015
  • Placement location: Koh Sdach
  • Types of placement: Diving and Conservation
  • Accommodation: Shared Dorms
  • Age Requirements: 16-19 years old

Volunteers joining our Conservation & Community project in Cambodia will travel to the tropical island of Koh Sdach where you will live in a house over the water, in the local village. The facilities are basic, but you will become part of this tiny island community, learn to dive and take part in conservation and community projects.

Conservation & Community in Cambodia

During your stay you will complete an internationally recognised PADI Open Water course to qualify you to dive. In the initial stages when you're in shallow water, you will learn how to breathe, clear your mask and equalise pressure. You will also become familiar with the buddy system and underwater sign language.
Once you have qualified, you will take part in clean-up salvage dives and seahorse search dives. You will also take part in a jungle trek and help with a beach clean-up. You will also join a practical community project, which may be clearing land and building a children's playground, helping to build an incinerator or an aquaculture pond.
During the two weeks you may also have chance to join a village fun day - playing games and running fun water-based activities with the village children.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

For more information, click here, to apply, click here

Projects Abroad is an awesome organization that is helping people and the environment around the world. I have had the pleasure of working alongside them in Fiji and can attest to the fact, that the work feels more like an adventure than working. Here is your opportunity to have an adventure and the knowledge that you made a difference.

I hope you'll get to help them out and have an awesome time!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Looking for a summer job, but would prefer an adventure?

Summer is approaching fast and if you are looking for a job, but would prefer an adventure, have we found an opportunity for you!


Our friends at Projects Abroad are looking for a Volunteer Coordinator. Projects Abroad is an awesome organization that is helping people and the environment around the world. I have had the pleasure of working alongside them in Fiji and can attest to the fact, that the work is more of an adventure than a job. Here is your opportunity to have a summer job that offers you adventure and the knowledge that you made a difference.







This is from their website.

Job title Volunteer Coordinator – Short-term Specials
LocationTo be confirmed, however should include: Cambodia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
ContractWe are recruiting Volunteer Coordinators for our Short-term Specials in several destinations. You will usually be employed on a 2 or 3 month contract starting in June 2015. An offer of employment is dependent upon receipt of satisfactory references, a criminal record check and personal interview.
Job descriptionAs a Volunteer Coordinator for our Short-term Specials you will support our overseas teams of staff headed by the Country Director. We recruit Short-term Special volunteers from June to August each summer. Job role:
  • Working alongside our team of local staff, you will be responsible for making each new arrival feel welcome and secure in their new environment.
  • You will complete inductions with the new volunteers, introducing them to their host family and work project and explaining cultural differences and expectations of their project.
  • You will help maintain effective communication between the destination office, the volunteers and the UK office.
  • • You will support the Short-term Special volunteers throughout their time with Projects Abroad. This will include supervising them at their placement and during cultural activities.
  • The job is busy; it will involve some out-of-office hours work and can be physically demanding. You should be prepared to be on call on any day during your time overseas.
Requirements; you should be:
  • A graduate
  • Fluent in English, both spoken and written
  • Physically fit
  • Computer literate, (Microsoft Office, databases)
  • Mature in attitude and outlook
  • Able to remain calm and efficient under pressure
  • Flexible and able to take direction and accept feedback
  • Friendly and personable with customer service skills, you must respond well to others
  • Enthusiastic to work in a different culture and relish the opportunity to work in a challenging environment
  • Experience in volunteering
  • Experience in living overseas.
  • Additional languages, especially French, Spanish, German or Japanese will be an advantage.

Salary & benefitsProjects Abroad pays a good local salary, international flights, comprehensive travel and health insurance, board and lodging as well as agreed day-to-day work-related expenses.
To applyEmail your CV and a covering letter to: workforus@projects-abroad.net. Please state on your application that you are applying for a Short-term Special Coordinator position.
Unsuccessful applicants will not be contacted.

Good luck with your application and have an awesome summer!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How do you make a viral video?

This is a fun little video I took at Tiger beach, diving with Shark Diver. Little did I know that it would be a hit on Facebook. Within an hour of posting it, people watched it over 2000 times. Come join us and take your own pictures and videos and maybe yours will goes viral as well!


Lemon Sharks at Tiger Beach. Diving with Great White Shark Diving
Posted by Martin Graf on Wednesday, March 25, 2015



Of course, we don't just encounter Lemon Sharks, we see plenty of Tiger Sharks as well.  This is truly a trip of a lifetime! Since we only take 6 divers at a time, you'll be sure to get up close and personal with these amazing animals.





This is our schedule for Tiger Beach trips in 2015.
April 12-18, 19-25
May 3-9, 10-16, 24-30 and 31-June 6
September 14-20
October 4-10, 11-17
November 15-21

For more info on the trips and a complete itinerary, check here, or you can call us at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275 We are always happy to talk "sharks"!

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Here is your chance to make your own shark diving movie!

Have you ever dreamed of diving with great white sharks? Did you ever want to know, how they film those amazing underwater scenes you see in the movie theaters and on television?

This is your chance to do both! Join Shark Diver and Emmy award winning underwater cinematographer Peter Kragh at the peak of Guadalupe Island's shark season, to dive with great white sharks and learn about the many facets of underwater documentary film making. Whether you are just an amateur or an emerging filmmaker, this is an opportunity to get some expert advise on how to make your videos and, of course, come eye to eye with some of the greatest sharks in the world.

Peter Kragh
Peter is intimately familiar with sharks. He has filmed everything from little horn sharks to whale sharks and great whites and worked on many Shark Week episodes. He will be there to help you improve your photography skills and experience. There will also be screenings of some of Peters work. With all the dives he's done around the world, Peter can also help you find that "secret" location for your next diving adventure.

Here is a short video, showcasing Peter's work.




Demo Reel 2014 from Peter Kragh on Vimeo.

As a professional cameraman for over 10 years, Peter has worked on well known BBC and National Geographic projects like Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life and Secret Life of Predators. In 2013 he won an Emmy award for outstanding cinematography on the Nat Geo series "Untamed Americas". He has also worked on multiple Imax films: Deep Sea 3D, Hubble 3D, Under The Sea 3D, and Journey to the South Pacific 3D.

With all this experience, Peter will sure be able to help you make your own amazing video, to document your trip of a lifetime. This is a unique opportunity to both improve your filming skills, while having the time of your life, coming face to face with the Great White Sharks at Guadalupe Island!


The video below is from last season, shot without Peter's assistance. I can't wait to see, how much better it will be with his help this year!


video

Come join us and Peter on either September 4-9 2015 or September 9-14 2015 for a trip of a lifetime.
Cost is $3,300 for a 5 day live aboard trip, leaving from and returning to San Diego.

For more information visit www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/great-white-shark-diving-film-expedition/ or call us at 619.887.4275 toll free 855.987.4275 email staff@sharkdiver.com

You can also contact us via our website http://www.sharkdiver.com//bookings/

I hope to see you this in September.

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, March 20, 2015

New shark research method?

"Are you sure he only eats plankton? Daring marine biologist hitches a ride on the world's largest shark" is the headline of the "Mail Online".

Combining the term "marine biologist" and riding sharks peaked my curiosity. Has someone found out that riding sharks is beneficial to them? Have I been wrong all these years, condemning that practice?  

The article started out with "Marine biologist Forrest Galante has swam with some of the most fearsome creatures in the sea, including the terrifying hammerhead." So immediately I realized, this is a highly scientific article and thankfully they're not going to use sensationalistic language. (sharkasm intended!) "Terrifying Hammerhead" indeed.

In this picture you see the "heroic" Forrest Galante in his death defying act of riding a 45 ft. whale shark!


The caption for the picture below reads"Galante and his team were measuring the giant "whales" who were returning to the secret Mexican location." 


I have to admit that I'm not a scientist. Apparently I know even less than I previously assumed. Who know what whale sharks are "whales"? And the secret location? Is it Isla Mujeres? We wouldn't want them to start a whale shark watching industry there. Or maybe it's Baja California? Same thing, I hope nobody starts whale shark watching there.

So what was this research that the local marine biologists needed his expert help with anyway? "I was helping out a team of marine biologists conduct a survey on whale shark population estimates, to identify returning sharks year on year and to see growth rates of individuals." No wonder he needed to ride those sharks! I mean, how else could you measure a shark than by riding it. The watch you see on his wrist must be a super secret measuring device!

Anyway, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find any other references to anything remotely research related in the article here.

I did however find the real reason for Galante's antics. On his facebook page he writes  

"Hey I'm back in the ‪#‎news‬!
Thanks Caters News Agency and Daily Mail for another fun interview and thank you to the team of hard working ‪#‎biologists‬ who are helping save these magnificent creatures! so proud to have been a part of it!


Just as I thought, it's all about him. Not the sharks or anything "Hey I'm back in the ‪#‎news‬!" is what it's all about. 
Hey Forrest, you got your wish, you are back in the news! "DaShark" writes "Forrest Galante, disrespectful moron!" Well put "DaShark"!
Even the "fans" on your facebook page agree
  • Luke Penks As a whale shark researcher, I find it such a shame that you are promoting incredibly bad practices like this. Interaction with any wild animal should be as non-invasive as possible, but you are spreading the opposite idea, which is disgraceful for a marine biologist.

    Here's a paper showing that touching sharks is hugely associated with stress: http://www.butandingnetwork.net/.../2014/05/2007-Quiros.pdf
  • Marissa Fox Agree with Luke Penks. Promoting behavior like this counteracts the scientific conservation work so many of us are working so hard for.
Yep Forrest, you are sooooo cool! Riding a whale shark is really something everyone should do! You call yourself a researcher?! Are you one of those guys who says "do as I say, not as I do?" Is this somehow furthering your "research?" Do you have a new paper coming out "Riding whale sharks is beneficial to sharks!" Your headline on your Facebook page says it all  "Hey I'm back in the ‪#‎news‬!" because that's what it is, all about you! 

We at Shark Diver are all for respectful interaction with these magnificent animals. You can have an awesome experience, like we did last December at Socorro Islands with the Nautilus Explorer. The video below shows that you don't have to touch the sharks to accomplish that. When you look at the guy next to the it, you'll get a great idea of the size of this whale shark. No touching or riding required!


video


Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

 About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.