Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shark-Free Marinas Initiative, Bahamas

In the spring of 2008, Shark Diver was alerted to a female Tiger shark that was taken off Freeport, Bahamas.

Shark Diver is a commercial shark diving company which runs shark charters in the Bahamas and worldwide.

The animal was caught by a sport fisherman and displayed at a local marina where it was cut open to reveal several half-dead pups inside, some of which were dropped into the marina and struggled to survive for a few days.

We have decided act with the creation of the Shark Free Marinas Initiative.



The Government of the Bahamas allows sport fishing for sharks and we fully support sustainable catch and release fisheries. However, the taking of gravid female sharks for a one-time photo op and a set of jaws is a senseless waste of a valuable resource.



The Shark Free Marinas Initiative is a way to work with existing resort marinas in the Bahamas and worldwide that cater to sport fishing vessels, seeking their cooperation in asking them not to allow sharks to be taken and displayed at their marinas. This initiative, in turn, encourages the use of catch and release programs and promotes sustainable regional fisheries.



Each marina and resort that supports this initiative will receive both, a metal sign and logo we have created to post in their marina office, and the following information for posting on their marina websites:



(Name of resort and marina) supports the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative in the Bahamas region. The Bahamas is home to many shark species and the healthy reef systems that support these sharks. We feel the one-time harvesting of sharks for photo images or souvenir jaws is not in the best interests of the Bahamian people or Bahamian tourism.



Worldwide, sharks are being decimated for fins and jaws at a completely unsustainable rate. An estimated 60 million sharks per year are taken in this manner. By asking vessels not to arrive at our facilities with sharks, we hope to encourage responsible sport fishing, thereby ensuring a lasting and healthy population of sharks in Bahamian waters for future generations and contributing to the overall health of the Caribbean.



Please practice catch-and-release with all sharks and enjoy our facilities.



Welcome to the Bahamas.



Editors Note: This initiative is not only limited to the Bahamas and the several marinas who have expressed an interest in joining it (press release to follow). As a concept we will allow and help promote any organization or group to use this logo to enact their own regional Shark-Free Marinas. In places like Florida and the East coast this could conceivably help redirect shark kills and weigh ins. It offers the opportunity for marinas to claim the "Green Card" while at the same time redirecting fishermen into sustainable fisheries.



Special thanks to Richard Theiss RTSea Productions for video PSA's.


Shark conservation. One blog, one website, one person at a time.

Zombi Two 1979's Reel Shark Horror

The following video clip has been "sitting in our craw" for a number of months now. The details- where it was filmed and when-have been a mystery, until today when we decided to look in Wikipedia. Now the story can be told:

Memorable Scenes

The film became infamous for two scenes in particular, aided by special effects. One features a zombie (Ramon Bravo) fighting a shark underwater. The actor scheduled to fight the shark was unable to perform the day the sequence was to be shot, so the shark's trainer was used instead.



Editors Note: Sharks trainer?! You mean "Fisherman and killer of Tigers", trainer we think not. Thankfully this was in 1979 so there's a better than 99% chance we'll never see a shark horror film like this one ever again.

Man Bites Shark-Saves Dog

....or something to that effect went down in Florida this week as dog owner Greg LeNoir jumped into "shark infested waters" to save his Rat Terrier from a shark that was happily munching on it:
Greg LeNoir watched in horror as a shark's mouth opened wide Friday, chomping a large set of teeth on his beloved 14-pound dog, Jake.

''Noooooo,'' LeNoir shrieked, fearing the worst.

But the case of the rat terrier versus shark has a happy ending.

Editors Note: The dog featured in this post is none other than our sharky mascot Sierra-a slightly overweight and completely fearless Rottweiler. Knowing that dogs should be able to fend off sharks and other predatory critters we chose a slightly more "robust companion" with Sierra. Hat Tip: Squid Force Media news bite.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shark Diver-Changing perceptions each week

It's the letters and emails like these that makes 365 days of phone calls, emails, and four months of crazed running around all seem worth it in the end:

Pat,

I had to take a moment to write about our Shark Diving Trip to Guadalupe, Mexico last week.The memories are so vivid in my mind. My God, what a trip! As you know I have travelled the world and visited more countries than I can count and never have I experienced such a wonderful, exciting, exhilarating time as I did on this trip.

This Shark Diving Trip was our first family vacation since my husband passed away.I so wanted Josh and Jyn to have a wonderful trip. I remember saying a prayer on the boat on the way out to Isla Guadalupe. "God, please let the kids see at least ONE shark so they can tell everyone they had seen a Great White." Well, God answers prayers but the Crew played a big part. Not only did we see one but we saw more than we could count over the three day period.

On the first day, every time we went down into the cages we saw sharks. And I mean EVERY group EVERY time. Unbelievable! On the second day every group, every time, saw sharks. And I mean BIG ones! Right in front of our cages. In fact, without naming names we had one male adult who opted out of the remaining cage dives for the rest of the trip as he was so shaken by the close encounters of such enormous Great Whites. Poor thing. But the view from the boat was just as exciting. There were sharks everywhere.

I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times.... but flash backs of the 70's movie, JAWS, was ever on my mind! The experience was simply too incredible to describe. We even saw a Great White breach. I don't mean just his head, I mean his entire body! I had heard on Shark Week that this only occurred in South Africa. I'll have to drop them a note to update their fact book! If only I had had my camera at the time.

The children had a blast. They had a smile on their faces the entire trip. I haven't seen them so happy and heard them laugh so much for a very long time. They were blown away by the experience and never stopped talking about the daily events the entire trip. Josh probably had more dives than anyone else on the boat! He jumped in every time anyone chose not to take their turn. And Jyn, she loved every moment. I still can be sure which she enjoyed more. The Crew or the sharks!!!!!!!!!! From the drop dead gorgeous Captain to the captivating Dive Master (and let's not forget the darling crew who she happened to think all looked like models) everything was perfect for her.

While I agree with her assessment of the crew, I was more thrilled with the fact that they were the most professional, kind and knowledge crew I had ever encountered. (My husband was an avid deep sea fisherman and we have been on numerous chartered fishing trips. So I can pretend to be an experts! Ha!) We have as many pictures of the crew as we did sharks! Luke, our Dive Master, kept us on a tight schedule. He insured we all had as many dives as we could possibly make. We were all so exhausted by the end of the day. A great feeling.

Anyway, I could go on for days. Did I mention that the chef on board was incredible? Do you know that he bakes fresh bread everyday? You failed to mention this! The kids were in heaven. He became their best friend and Skippy Rick fed them well. He was half the fun! Jyn and I had thought we might drop a few pounds on the trip in that it was going to be "boat food". Well, we both gained weight! Ha! . And I can't forget to mention the Federales! (MX Navy) It was so exciting to have them board our ship. We have many pictures of this event too. Just another wonderful action filled day that made the trip even more exciting!!!!

Please thank the crew again for us. And let them know it was the trip of a lifetime for our family. And lastly, thank you for all the calls, information and updates you provided prior to the trip. Clearly we made the right decision in going with SharkDiver.com and the Islander!

Have anyone who wants to hear first hand about the trip contact me. I'll be happy to share with them.

Kindest Regards from Atlanta,
Jeannie
PS By the way, the island and view was spectacular. The nights were so clear and beautiful that we saw the Milky Way and every star in the sky. Jyn even saw her first shooting start!
PPS We have over 500 pictures. I'll try and post them to my website and send you a link soon.

We loves our Cephalopods

To never pass up a good Cephalopod story, image, video, or bathroom joke is the "other madate" of Underwater Thrills:Swimming With Sharks. Today we complete that mission and with the Dow Jones currently sitting at 777% below normal take a brief moment to loves your Cephalopods with us:



Hat Tip: The guys over at Deep Sea News

Isla Guadalupe-Ya heard it here first

By now pretty much everyone in the industry has heard about or seen "The Photos". We're talking about an event at Isla Guadalupe with Great White sharks this September that will probably turn the shark diving industry upside down-and raise (or lower) the bar for human/white shark interactions for years to come.

The images were shot by famed photog Amos Nachoum with ample help from Jeb Corliss We also hear tell there's a video in the offing. Aside from that you'll have to wait until the images are released officially...we'll keep you posted.

Editors Note:What some people said could not be done, has been done, and now the rest of the dive world waits to see what new direction this takes an entire shark diving industry.

Isla Guadalupe Shark Predation-Royal Star

We had heard "rumors" about this years white shark predation in September from the crews of the Royal Star at Guadalupe. If you'll remember we caught last years shark predation on video. Without a video many of the shark stories we get never see the light of day.

Now if we could only get a cameraman without apparent hypothermia to shoot the next predation event:

Indonesia from Tiger to shark fins

Sharks, if you want to know how 80 million are being slaughtered for fins each year look no further than local fisheries in places like Indonesia:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ensenada Fish Market, Mexico Y.O.Y

We blogged about this a few months ago apparent white shark young of the year being sold at the Ensenada Fish Market as "swordfish and marlin".

This month we ventured back down to the Ensenada Fish Market looking for evidence of more pups on sale. While we did not find any pups for the first time in three years, we did discover a series of shark carcass without skins being sold as "swordfish and marlin".

Perhaps we made a difference, but we think not.

Our contact in Ensenda who works with the local shark fishing co-op tells us he's still catching many Y.O.Y and they are still being sold up and down the coast.

The irony here is within 15 minutes of this market are agencies tasked with protecting Mexico's Bio-Spheres and local universities that do serious work with oceans and marine life in and around Mexico.

As a first step we would like to see DNA sampling of all shark species at this market and a solid program of education with the local fishermen and sellers about sharks especially white shark pups.

The path to change is through education and we have enough preliminary data out there to show white shark pups migrating past Ensenada on their way to the Sea of Cortez. With such a vulnerable population at stake the timing could not be better.

Mother of Montauk-BREAKING NEWS

Our in-depth and dare we say "exhaustive" coverage of this summers strangest beach story the Montauk Monster is not over...just yet.

From our Tip Line this morning an email and series of images from Ocean Beach, California being dubbed as "The Mother of Montauk":

Hey Shark Divers,

We love your blog. You're going to like this one. This morning we were walking our dog along Ocean Beach just past Sloat Ave and came across this "thing" on the sand. It was about 5 feet long and weighed about 60 pounds. It had rows of triangular teeth like a sharks and webbed claw hands with no tail. The back end was crushed and rotting and it was steaming and smelled like sulfur. Our dog would not go near the thing.

We have no idea what this thing is, Mother of Montauk? What do you think?

Editors Note: We have no idea what this is but thanks for using our tip line to bring it to the world. Personally we *think* that some sort of alien ship filled with off world critters from across the galaxy crashed into the ocean this summer. These things have been washing up all over the place.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Isla Guadalupe 2008-Luke Tipple's Trip Report

Islander's Dive Operations Manager Luke Tipple had just enough time to tap out a first person report from last weeks adventures-as he was headed back to the island with another boatload of excited divers from Shark Diver . Here's the report:

This year’s season opener was a great success with some of the most exceptional sharking I’ve yet to see in four years of diving Guadalupe.

This year the Islander has continued to run out of Mexico, a decision that complies with the desires of Mexican authorities currently in charge of regulating activities in the Guadalupe bio-sphere reserve. The political situation down here is a tricky one at the moment as the fundamentals of how to and who is ensuring that operating standards are maintained is worked out. Basically Guadalupe is in a teething process while it moves from the cowboy days (a few years ago) of pouring cow blood into the water as chum to more ecologically sound practices.

While this process occurs operators such as the Islander feel it is important to comply with as many regulations as possible as we become part of the political solution rather than adhering to the bare minimum in order to sustain a business. To be fair I believe all operators down here have the same goal, to protect the sharks and the site.

Full report

Hat Tip Image: Christie "my head was in it's mouth" Fisher, one of the better shooters we have met over the years.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Frank Mundus-Shark Killer-Boat?

Frank Mundus world famous shark killer passed away this month. What made Frank unique was his absolutely ego driven world view towards sharks that did not change-even when the worlds view and perception of sharks was rapidly changing around him.

His notorious shark fishing vessel the Cricket 2's future is now uncertain as it was hauled from the waters this week for winter storage.

We have a proposal to old Franks heirs, assigns, and others:

1. Donate the vessel to shark research

2. Donate the vessel to commercial shark diving

3. Donate the vessel to a hybrid org that does both off the East Coast or in the Bahamas.

The commercial vision for the Cricket 2 is only limited by desire. The fact this vessel would make money in the charter business is a given. Making that money count for the many hundreds of adult, breeding aged whites and Tigers Frank put away over the years would do a lot to help Frank "settle in" to wherever his final resting place may or may not be.

Sharks of another kind-Action Alert

Let's take a minute here to discuss one of the biggest decisions facing the US in it's entire 200+ year history. That is the impending $700 Billion dollar bail out of Wall Street and the Auto Industry...with more to come.

While this blog normally covers sharks (and a few squids we loves our cephalopods) this post is about "sharks of another kind".

Personally I feel this issue should not be decided by the same miscreants who brought you and me the Iraq War and our current $582 Billion dollar bad investment in that god forsaken stretch of sand.

What really gets us is the folks we are about to bail out, the CEO's, CFO's and COO's at banks like Goldman Sachs (for example) who will walk away with $322 million dollars as compensation for leading our country into financial ruin.

Are you pissed off yet? You do have a voice, send an email today, make a phone call, make some damn noise people otherwise we'll be seeing you in three years at our new headquarters based in Panama. This deal should not go through without accountability from those who got us here, and this deal should certainly not go through with some CEO's walking out the front door with $322 million dollars in "Geeze it's-nice-to-be-me-pay".

These people on Wall Street are gamblers and not financial geniuses. The curtain has been pulled aside from the Mighty Oz and what we have are a bunch of "sharks" scurrying off into the sunset with bags of cash and more than a few chuckles left behind.

How about this for starters:

1. All bank officials making more than $400,000 in compensation that are bailed out by you and me turn over all their money to a lottery fund to help homeowners who are going under. Those numbers nationwide are about 10,000 a day and growing.

Make some noise-start here:

Contact Congress

Contact the White House


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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Northern River Shark-New Species

The fine folks over at National Geographic Digital Media initiatives asked us to cover the following eco news that has been making sharkies excited planet wide. We were just about to cover it with the following post:

Finally
some good news...no scratch that...great news about sharks. As you probably already know over 100 new shark and ray species have been newly classified in Australia-leading to a virtual land rush of photographers seeking to collect them all.

Here's one recently re-classified critter the Northern River Shark. Once thought to be another species it is only one of two freshwater sharks in the region, and a very handsome looking beastie at that!

Isla Guadalupe-Shark Diver Jeff Cannada Review

With two of our vessels completing their final day in the North Bay today it would seem for now the turmoil of the last few weeks has settled down to quick and thorough vessel inspections by the MX Navy and happy divers. Here's another diver review from last weeks adventures with Shark Diver aboard the MV Islander:

Hi Patric,

I just wanted to tell you that my recent shark diving adventure really exceeded my expectations. To be honest, I was a little concerned about safety -- not only of the great white sharks, but also the commute to the Isle of Guadalupe. However, those concerns quickly evaporated upon arriving at the boat and meeting your crew. This boat meets the strictest of US Coast Guard standards and the crew was very thorough in explaining the safety of the boat and procedures necessary to ensure everyone's safety.

Throughout the trip, the crew remained focused and continued to educate us on the "do's and don'ts"...again, focusing on safety first. I was also impressed that the crew doesn't consume any alcoholic beverages during the trip, even though all the guests are free to drink (except while shark diving). Also, the food was very good....really a pleasant surprise.

As far as the shark diving, it was incredible. We saw multiple sharks on every dive and, although you don't guarantee that result, your crew obviously knew the best area for viewing and we benefited from that knowledge. We saw a lot of activity and the size of the sharks were incredible -- 14-15 feet long, in many cases. They were close enough to touch, if you so desired. I will never forget this experience and many thanks to the shark diving team for making this trip so enjoyable. I highly recommend this trip to anyone!

Regards,
Jeff Cannada

Editors Note: Thanks for the kind words Jeff. A note about drinking, yes it's tough on a young crew who work hard all day and would like nothing more than to kick back with a few cold ones at dinner. It also says a lot about their dedication to the job. You would be amazed at the local bar tabs in Ensenada and San Diego though, I hear tell they are in the "4 figure range".

Hawaii Shark Diving-Got Sharks?

They say that "marketing is everything" in the world of commercial shark diving. Along with safety, education, and activism...whoever "they" are anyway.

Regardless, if you're debating about flying to Oahu this week and cage diving with sharks, may we suggest Hawaii Shark Encounters.

As far as the marketing goes who can beat a boatload of bikini clad sharkies? As far as safety, education, and activism. Yeah they got that too.

Editors Note: Do the "sharkies" come with the package?

Sharks-Super 8 Fun from 1978

We decided to share with you a Super 8 Shark Film from the 70's. That is when we were finished spitting up coffee all over the place (again). You gotta check out the braces, cars, telephones with cords and rotary faces, and the very old archival white shark footage (Ron and Val Taylor?). This film is a classic:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Shark Tourism Fails

From the Diveshoppe Blog a sad but true first hand, on the ground, account of when shark tourism fails to act as a bridge solution to sustainable shark management:

Two days ago, I received a forwarded email message about Sharks Fin Soup & Squalene. Read on and find out what the fishermen in Donsol, Sorsogon do to earn a living when the whale shark sighting is off-season.



Hey Guys

Sorry to depress you with these photos.. they were taken in Donsol, Sorsogon (whale shark habitat), just two weeks ago by my friend Omar. The finned sharks are thresher, hunted by the hundreds..The pink stuff in the bucket are little pieces of shark liver (from dog sharks) for squalene. Pictured here are the liver from some 1,000 + dog sharks that were caught..they live at least 2 fathoms deep..This is the way the fishermen earn in the off season..they sell it to middle men who bring it to Taiwan and Hong Kong. Ive seen firsthand the hunting of dog shark and finning in Sorsogon and even Siargao but I am certain in happens everywhere.

What we can DO is raise awareness..Thought you might like to shock some of your friends into ABSTAINING from Shark Fin Soup and Squalene products and better yet..to boycott establishments that sell them.Please forward if you wish"

Thanks,Denise (Celdran)

After reading her message I immediately emailed Denise Celdran to find out more. She said that she knows the community personally because she is a volunteer of the Bantay Kalikasan in Donsol. She added that the fishermen and the boatmen conserve the “butanding” or whale shark. But during the off season, their livelihood is “shark finning” which is just another form of fishing for them. The fishermen don’t even earn much and it is the middle men and the retailer who makes the”killing”.

She is appealing to whoever reads this not to blame the fishermen. She said that laws must be made to make shark finning as well as manta ray hunting illegal. Manta ray hunting is being actively practiced in Pilar - a town next to Donsol.

Denise is working with the Donsol community to find alternative livelihood for the fishermen. They are currently understaffed and have lots of issues in Donsol to contend with. She is also encouraging all our dear readers to help them find an intelligent solution to the problem.

I am relaying this story in order to bring more awareness to the issue. Hopefully, you know someone in the government preferably in the Congress and Senate who can help pass a law making shark finning and manta ray hunting illegal in our country.

To date, there’s still no International law banning shark finning and manta ray hunting. There are a few places where shark finning is illegal like the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico where shark finning is banned since 1993 and state of Hawaii in 2000. Costa Rica has recently passed a law but it just bans removal of shark fins while at sea.

Lets help conserve the sharks by spreading the word.

Oceanica.org Report-Last fish taken from the Med on Monday

Athens, Greece (CNM) In a stunning report Monday issued by the NGO Oceanica the very "last fish" was taken out of the Mediterranean this week leaving an entire body of water completely devoid of any fish life for the first time in recorded history. "It is a major environmental disaster".

Surprisingly the taking of the "last fish" was caught on film. Policy makers from 5 countries that rely on fish from the Med are debating what to do next. As fish populations have plummeted over the years, governmental infighting and agency abuses have left the Med open to illegal and suspect commercial factory ships and long liners.

"What we have on tape is none of those" said Una Karapledies from Oceanica's Athens office. "The last fish taken in the Med was taken by Kostoglou Stelios a well known Speed Spiro who harvested 3000 fish in one hour, unfortunately cleaning out the last of the entire Mediterranean fish population in the process":



The following Underwater Onion was brought to you by Shark Diver. Seriously the Med might just see a total collapse of fish stocks by 2020-if no one steps in with cohesive planning. Hat Tip: Squid Force video.

Chum Slick-Homerun-Stephan Baldwin Makes a Bad Movie Worse

You gotta love the Chum Slick Blog. The mysterious writer (said to be an "actual shark") has a deep and abiding sense of the strange and bizarre and often travels into the dark lost underground cities of the shark world to bring back Internet shark treasures. Like some sort of Sharky Indiana Jones. We like that. He/she also hates Stephan Baldwin as much as we do.

Yes, "hates da Balwin" live with it:

Shark in Venice

Extreme Shark Diving-Bad Idea or Industry Trend?

Editors Note:The following Internet post opens the table for discussion about Extreme Shark Diving. To us the industry is divided into two camps on this.

1. Those that see extreme close encounters with macro predators as a way of proving sharks are simply misunderstood and not "wanton killers".

2. Those that understand that sharks are first and foremost "predators" and that extreme commercial grade encounters with these animals might be a recipe for disaster.

We generally fall into camp two. The main point here is differentiating between solo extreme encounters or extreme encounters done by filmmakers and professional photographers vs extreme commercial shark diving applications, where divers of various levels and experience are completely exposed to macro predators-i.e "riding" great whites.

It's a distinction that has been glossed over recently. It's also a point that needs to be addressed industry wide. For those operations in camp one the death of a diver by a shark sets the perception of sharks back to the stone age. At what cost are these extreme shark encounters to the very animals we are all trying to dispel the "wanton killers" mythos?

Our main point is this-few up and coming shark diving outfits are content to sit by and not attempt their own brand of extreme encounters using previous and existing businesses as models. Have we reached the pinnacle of these encounters? Is there an industry wide protocol for these encounters?

Here's the post:

The frontier of marine sports has just stretched with extreme diving. Extreme diving is the break from the “monotonous” scuba diving experience to push yourself to new limits and experiences that can bring you new-found rush. While many people consider scuba diving an extreme sport in its own right, advanced divers may end up being bored from their usual diving routine. Extreme diving adds a double serving of risk to challenge the depths of the sea.

Extreme divers could be your normal scuba diving session with an added twist. It may start with diving in deeper water, diving at night, passing through ship wrecks or exploring an underwater cave. These experiences are much more interesting than the usual scuba dive in sunlight depth, watch your helping of corals, then returning to the safety of the diving boat.

One popular definition of extreme diving is attacking the deeper parts of the sea. Extreme divers dare to reach more than 2000 meters using highly specialised suits. For divers who have reached this depth, the lack of light gives an aural void that many describe as literally out of this world. It seems that the deeper you go, the higher the thrill one can experience.

Another form of extreme diving is cave diving. Taking this field of scuba diving will need a series of intensive training. For starters, cave divers use a different suit than normal scuba divers. The other dimension of these equipments is using them to your advantage to build your own cave diving experience. Cave divers find the thrill in exploring where underwater holes end up.

Diving with great white sharks could be at the far edge of extreme diving. There are cage diving site in Mexico and South Africa. While that is dangerous enough, there are shark divers who dare to ride their fins in open water. For these divers, they are trying to point out that great whites are not such killers.

Extreme diving is an exercise of the diver’s imagination to try out something new. It may be a fresh thing that you might immediately try or you may need to sit-down for lecture and training. Either way, extreme diving is about your experience and what you add into it. So if scuba diving is not extreme enough for you, then you can consult different online communities or your local diving club to learn about extreme diving.

Sharks-Oceanexpert.org

If you are like us-you have a list of shark science guys and labs on tap to call upon if you need clarification or updates on cool stories like the dead Great White shark in the Bahamas this spring.

Fortunately there's one site that is trying to get you all these sharky resources in one place. Ocean Expert. Now before you go running to the site because you have been diving with sharks for a few years and think you're an expert have a look at the real experts they actually allow on this site.

For those of you real experts who need a place to call home. Here it is. Keep doing your expert thing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ralph Collier-You want to know what's going on?

A few years ago we hosted shark expert Ralph Collier aboard our vessel at Isla Guadalupe. He then came back the next year and did a quick field test on some promising non invasive shark repellent devices.

Ralph also has one of the most indepth websites that keeps track of shark sightings and shark attacks along the California coast. Here's the latest:

Malibu — On September 21, 2008 Gina S. and her husband were walking along the beach below the RV Park located between Pepperdine University and Paradise Cove near Malibu. It was about 5 PM with a sunny sky and a slight breeze. Gina reported:

“While walking along the beach my husband and I observed 3 sea lions 30 – 40 yards from shore with a small pod of dolphins about 20 yards to the East of the sea lions. The dolphins seemed to be remaining in the same location possibly feeding. There was one lone sea lion at the surface about 30 yards South of the others. While looking at the lone sea lion suddenly the huge head of a Great White Shark surfaced next to the seal and took a large bite out of the animal. The shark was dark grey and at least 10 – 12 feet in length with a dorsal fin 12 – 16 inches high. The attack occurred just beyond the forming waves and lasted only a minute or less. Following the initial bite, there was a lot of splashing and then all went quite. Sea gulls began diving on the attack site as if they were feeding. The shark submerged and neither the shark nor the bitten sea lion were observed again.”

Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

Sharks-Whoa-How Did This Slip By?!

According to credible sources on the Internet a small Blacktip shark was found washed up in Lake Michigan.

Before all you Global Warming loons scream "Seeee, it's because of da warming" (don't get us wrong G.W is happening, but not right here) let us dissect this "tail" a bit further for you (we love doing this).

1. Blacktips (Carcharhinus limbatus) are saltwater critters

2. Lake Michigan is a filthy polluted fresh water body

3. There's no frickin' way this critter lived in these waters

Summation: Someone probably had a Blacktip in a home aquarium that died and decided to add a #3 Halibut hook as "bling" and then hucked it into the lake under cover of darkness and under the influence of a 3/4 case of Coors Light.

You will discover, as we have, that most shark killing miscreants drink Coors Light. We're not sure why that is the case, but take it from us-a credible Internet Source, that is the case.

The red nose on this guy and a fake look of concern is a dead giveaway and more than suspicious.

Shark Conservation? Anyone? Anyone?

Got an email from Dan who's a regular contributor. Dan runs a private yacht charter business in Miami and for obvious reasons would like to remain-"just Dan":

Hey Shark Divers,

This was sent to me today maybe you can use it to help save sharks or something.

Tight lines,
Captain Dan

Editors Note: Mother of god man, it took us all of 5 minutes to even realise she was standing next to something and another 5 minutes to realise it was a big seal...or something (click image). Not sure how this works into shark conservation, but heck we'll run with it.

Save the sharks from humiliations like these!

Sand Tigers Part Two-Hit Men

We got the following video from Chris over at our new favourite underwater site Squidforce who posted another incident with a Sand Tiger. It's sad really, we always knew these toothy critters were hiding a dark secret. Without a doubt if you happen to be another shark in the same aquarium and you don't want to go all "Tupoc" keep your back to the wall and don't let your eye off that Tiger for a second:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Betting on sharks-Barbarians at the gate

We're not sure what is more repugnant a pastime. Shark finning or illegal betting on dead shark "weigh ins" like a recent expose at the Martha's Vinyard Monster Shark Tournament.

One thing we are sure about. Media is a powerful tool. With the advent of You Tube you can get your message across to millions. As far as shark conservation goes the next time you see an online save-the-sharks petition...shut down your computer and go pick up a camcorder:



Kudo's the the Humane Society for this kind of direct action.

Ecotoursim:Making a personal connection with Nature

From RTSea's Blog today. One of the reasons we work with Richard and have come to admire him as a friend and shark colleague is his ability to cut through hype and deliver thoughtful ideas, expressions, industry analysis and news:

Shark diving, whale watching, safari tours, mountain gorilla expeditions - all fall under a single heading: Ecotourism. It's a complex activity that brings together conservation, education, and economic development - all for good or for evil depending on the motivations of the operators.

Many conservation organizations or NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are turning to ecotourism as a new strategic direction. In many parts of the world, conservation legislation and regulations which have been put in place - but unsupported logistically or economically - have proven less than effective. Ecotourism has the potential for both enlightening the public and providing economic incentive to governments or local economies. But it must be structured in a way that insures safety to the animals, safety for the participants, and minimizes it's ecological footprint while at the same time remaining economically viable.

There will always be an element of adventure associated with ecotourism - the thrill of seeing an elusive, endangered, or even potentially dangerous animal in the wild, and that will remain a major component as to its allure. Consider this online video promo I produced on shark diving for SharkDiver.com, emphasizing the mystique of these incredible animals (as opposed to promoting some macho, life-threatening experience).



Once participants are attracted to this unique opportunity, then it is imperative that the operators stress the concepts of education, conservation and protection. If not, then they are just profiteering and that greed can lead to lax policies that endanger people and animals. Shark Divers.com, for which I am an on-call consultant, provides professional services to help advance the future of responsible shark eco-tourism by assessing potential sites and recommending detailed safety and environmental procedures that require strict compliance on the part of the operators.

Ecotourism is no "silver bullet" solution or panacea. It can be abused by unscrupulous operators just like any other commercial venture. But many in the conservation and ecology movement are finding that a greater level of awareness - a more personal connection - is in order and ecotourism may be one way to help reach that goal.

White Shark at Ocean Beach-San Francisco

The boys over the The Fear Beneath blog posted the following shark report. For some states the heralding of late summer and fall comes with the turning of leaves. For us here in Nor Cal...it is the arrival of the Great White sharks:

On September 19, 2008 Evan Kinkel was surfing at Ocean Beach near Sloat Blvd., San Francisco. Kinkel reported; “I had been in the water about 45 minutes prior to a large fishing boat passing North of my location just outside the breakers. Seagulls circled and dove behind the boat and you could certainly see the chum that they were after. The thought did occur to me that seagulls wouldn’t be the only marine life these fishermen were attracting.

Not five minutes later a 10 – 12 foot White Shark was thrashing just outside the line up and I wasn’t the only one to notice. Myself and some others paddled in while others chose to remain in the water, the waves were good so I suppose they where willing to risk it. I also alerted my sighting to surfers on the beach about to head out.”

Isla Guadalupe Catches Fire Last Week

We keep track of several blogs in Mexico who keep track of Isla Guadalupe. Recently a fire on the island was contained but not after burning 520 hectares of grassland and trees on the top of the island. Here is the translated review of the situation and the agencies involved:

September 2008
The fire in Guadeloupe

In order to combat forest fires in Guadeloupe, and save the radiata pine variety endemic to the region as well as the flora and fauna, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (Sefo), as part of their duties, participates in specialized elements leadership in fire prevention and control by providing a light aircraft for the movement of personnel and provision of food and fuel, reported the Director of Forestry and Wildlife, Jose Angel Valdez Martinez.

The damage from the first impact, are 520 hectares (ha), of which 400 ha. are of grassland and 120 ha. correspond to the wooded area, where the predominant variety of cypress Guadalupe, located north of the island, which has been consumed by fire.

The radiata pine variety, is at risk because the wind direction, enemy number one in the control of radical different fronts of fire, which also limited the opening of gaps short fire because the area is declared by the Commission National Protected Areas (Conanp), as a protected zone.

He noted that the main strength for the control of fire in its entirety, is due to the coordination of 79 elements that comprise the brigade of the different units, such as Sefo, the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR), the Conanp, the Army and the Navy.

The equipment and tools involved are 4 planes under the stewardship of the state and Conanp, which have provided the necessary tools to control the fire in question.

The Guadeloupe is the more territory away from the country, is the last frontier of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean and is located in the far northwest of the country at coordinates 29 degrees north latitude and 118 degrees west longitude.

The value of the territory of the island, is projected onto its territorial waters and the adjacent 200-mile exclusive economic zone, from which she draws and in strategic terms of sovereignty, natural resources and biodiversity, its value is incalculable, because there is a permanent detachment of the Ministry of the Navy - Mexican Navy, also sits there for decades, a fishing cooperative state-federal share of the SCPPE, Abuloneros and Langosteros, SCL.

Above: Southeast coast of Isla Guadalupe

As ecosystem, along with the rest of the islands in the Pacific northwest Mexico is unique in its kind in the country, it is safe and siege of reproduction of species of marine mammals such as sea lion of Guadalupe (arcotephalus townsedi), elephant Marine (Mirounga angustirostris), the California sea lion (zalophus californianus), numerous species of birds and species unique in the world, such as the Guadalupe pine (Pinus radiata), the cypress Guadalupe (cipressus guadalupensis) and the palm of Guadalupe (Brahea edulis ).

In the middle of the eighteenth century, were deliberately introduced to the island, domestic goats, with the goal of having fresh meat for boats that arrived on the scene. By 1870, the number of domestic goats increased significantly. It was estimated that the load capacity of the island could reach up to 100,000 animals. The multiplication of goats caused a dramatic collapse of the forest, because they ate all the young trees and prevented recruitment of new seedlings of any kind in over a century.

Hat Tip: Christie Fisher image 2007

The flip Side of the Coin-Da Sharks Take


One of the reasons we love the Blog from Fiji. They make sense of things and cause you to scratch your head at least once or twice a week. That's a good thing people:

Under the title "Saving Sharks at the expense of Fishermen", here comes a real interesting article exploring the flip side of Shark Conservation, i.e. the fate of Shark fishermen who are being pushed out of business by new rules from the National Fisheries Management Services, a division of the US' NOAA.

The Atlantic Ocean Shark population overall has dropped 89 percent, with Tigers dropping by 97%, and Hammerheads, Duskies and Bulls 98%. That has prompted the Authorities to step in with some draconian fishing quotas.

Once they are fully implemented, the new rules could lead to the likely recovery of the population of Sandbar Sharks by 2070, of Porbeagles (like the one pictured above caught for "Science"; the water tube sticking out of his mouth is meant to ventilate it whilst it's being "worked on") ), within the next 100 years and of Dusky Sharks, within the next 100 to 400 years.

Yes you have read it correctly: up to 400 years! This is an indication of the present damage to stocks, but it is also due to the fact that Sharks are extremely slow breeders.

Obviously, the Shark fishing community cannot afford the luxury of waiting for so long and is now faced with immediate disaster, as the new quotas are too low to operate a vessel.

"But hey, wait a minute", I hear you say, "aren't these the very same people that have exterminated the stocks in the first place?"

Yes, they are, and if left to themselves, they would undoubtedly continue to reap and pillage until the very last stocks would be wiped out, along with the industry living off them. That's what fishermen seem to do time after time after time again.From that point of view, they should be left to go under, with nobody to blame but themselves for what appears to be their stupid and reckless greed.

But having said this, what about the guys who supposedly have the "brains"?
What was NOAA doing whilst the stocks were falling by 30, and then 40 and then 50 and then 60 and then 70 and then 80 and then 90 percent?

You guessed it: likely nada de nada! Or better: as the stocks were falling, they may have started to collect data in order to properly document the threat in view of some future decision.
That's what Fisheries Biology has become all too often: collecting data in order to diligently document the decline, and all to often, the demise of a species. Caught between the interests of environmentalists who say they're not doing enough and the fishing lobby who fear for their livelihood, the Agencies all to often keep procrastinating until the situation has progressed well beyond its tipping point and everyone is faced with a catastrophe.

As an example, the new rules have taken years to document and one and a half years to "equitably" draft by consulting with all of the stakeholders - way too long for the stocks and the fishing industry alike.

Was that smart?

Will anybody learn from this unholy and repetitive pattern? Maybe issue some pre-emptive injunction and only then go out and document it with the required data?

I wish!

But hope, as they say, springs eternal.

Stinkin' Dead Shark Award September 2008

At the end of this month we would like to present the SDS Award to those within the global community whose abjectly abhorrent behavior towards sharks and sustainable fisheries or shark conservation warrants a big black eye.

Translation-your treatment of sharks sucks!

This months award winner is:

Damien Hirsts art sale this week.

But wait there's more... turns out the Tiger shark Hirst acquired came from none other than notorious Australian shark killer Vic Hislop.

Total cost for a once live magnificent Tiger shark? $200

Total sale cost of the unholy object d'art? $21 million

Editors Note: To give you some perspective $21 million dollars would fully staff park enforcement officers for sharks in protected areas like Galapagos for 5 full years.

Dubai Aquarium Tiger Sharks Turn Aggressive, Kill 40 Smaller Sharks

We blogged about Sand Tigers a few months ago and then double checked with a buddy who's in charge of sharks at the Long Beach Aquarium.

The final verdict? Sand Tigers are the "Hit Men" of the AQ world totally unpredictable. So it was no surprise when we read about this mornings aquarium equivalent of a "drive by massacre" at the Dubai Aquarium.

The final tally:

40 dead reef sharks

DUBAI - Sand Tiger sharks have killed at least 40 smaller reef sharks and been aggressive towards divers at The Dubai Mall Aquarium, Khaleej Times has learnt. Divers carrying out tasks in the tank, without a cage, have had their equipment substantially damaged and experienced minor injuries due to the behaviour of the sharks, according to sources.

Editors Note:The video we posted in January pretty much sums it up for these critters. A quick reminder to all AQ divers, always eat lunch with your back to a wall.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sharkprotect.com-Jupp Kerckerinck

Jupp Kerckerinck-you probably do not know the name but you should get to know the website www.sharkprotect.com

Outside a few well funded NGO's and commercial shark diving operations few people have the time, energy and finances, to put into web projects that raise awareness and push for shark conservation. This is what makes Shark Protect so extraordinary. We'll let Jupp explain how he came to create a world class shark conservation site and how he is now rapidly becoming a recognized name in the shark conservation field (click links for video)

All it takes is a little time, dedication and a serious love of sharks:

My fascination with sharks began in November 2003, when my daughter Philipa and I went on a shark dive at Isla Guadalupe in the Pacific, with Sharkdiver.com. We were cage diving with Great White Sharks and it was so amazing to see those majestic animals swim very close by. We were together with the Mexican Scientist Dr. Felipe Galvan Magana, who wanted to take DNA samples of Great Whites. Philipa and I offered to help, and together we got 4 samples of the 9 Great Whites we saw. It was awesome and exciting. The sharks were not aggressive, even though we had to scrape off some skin samples for the DNA. When I came home, I tried to read as many books about sharks as I could find and I even started to write one myself, which you can find under Shark Dictionary.

Editors Note: The rest is history. We have a saying here at U.T "One blog, one website, one person at a time".

Celebrating Underwater Images-Tom Spiegle

Going back to our post this week about "Thrill seeking" and changing peoples perception of sharks. No where is this more aptly demonstrated then with underwater photographers who mission it is to "capture the moment".

Today we would like to introduce you to another photographer who's life was changed after joining us at Isla Guadalupe-Tom Speigle:

"In my 18 years of diving, to be face to face with the Great White Sharks of Isla Guadalupe, was an adventure of a lifetime. The White Shark is one of the most misunderstood animals on Earth. To witness first hand how graceful and majestic these animals are will be a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life."

Toms work can be seen at TFSPhotography.com

Shark Finning-Wild Aid December

WildAids sharks campaign has been one of unrelenting messaging and direct action. To say they have been "on this issue" is an understatement.

We got the following email this morning about an upcoming finning expose by CNN in conjunction with WildAid. You can set your calendar now this should be informative and eye opening:

Hello All,

We have just finished filming with CNN’s Planet in Peril. Here are the promotional pieces from that. The main story will air in December.

Lisa Ling’s story on Shark Finning is posted on the Planet in Peril site:

Planet in Peril-Sharks


Jason McArthur
WildAid

Hat Tip: Image from Shark Alliance another first rate NGO who's direct action and messaging is changing peoples perception of sharks one person at a time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Snubbing "Shredder" the shark

This morning a "tongue and cheek" article looking at shark diving appeared in the op-ed section of the Calgary Sun.The article featured a particularly stunning shark we named in 2004-"Shredder".

Back to the article. It misses the point.

As commercial shark diving operators who cater to divers and non divers, the labeling of our clients as mere "thrill seekers" is a misnomer. Let me explain.

I was speaking with a reporter last week on this same subject. What is commercial shark diving? For me it is a way to introduce "thrill seekers" to our planets past, a time when things were truly wild and life was not completely dominated and forever changed at the whim humans.

These rare sites, like Isla Guadalupe, are becoming extinct. Looking back a mere 200 years you read first hand accounts from Meriwether Lewis of millions of Buffalo on the plains of America. Today they have been replaced by millions of Starbucks, and we have lost the very real sense of our place in this world-and the interconnected life that the generation of Lewis once lead.

Charismatic Megafauna, like the Great White shark, serve as front line reminders of our place on this planet and also act as gateway species for direct action by those that have had the rare chance to experience them. What sometimes is billed as a "thrill seeking encounter" with sharks quickly becomes so much more. You just have to hear the voices of the divers and see their faces to truly understand this.

We need sites like Island Guadalupe on this planet, pristine and accessible. We need eco tourism with Charismatic Megafauna.

What "Thrill Seekers" often discover once the "thrill" is gone are rare moment with wildlife, similar to what Mr.Lewis discovered almost 200 years ago on the great plains of America. It takes your breath away, causes reflection, and sustains us in ways a double half decaf and our daily dose of bad news from the Middle East can never do.

The reporter finishes his "tongue and cheek" article with this:

That's why I've decided to launch a travel company dedicated to cautious, comfort-seeking vacationers. I'm still working out details, but I plan to offer a number of packages, including the "easy-chair napping and nibbling extravaganza."

For only $175, I'll pick you up and let you spend six memorable hours in my favourite padded chair, while I offer you a variety of salty snacks and thirst-quenching beverages.

No sharks. No terror. No insurance waivers. Just good, old-fashioned safety and contentment. (Priceless.)

Sadly the "price" we are paying for just this kind of thinking is a planet and people divorced from our place in it, and our impact upon it. You want to change your perception of the world? Become a "thrill seeker" and go shark diving!

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

Friday, September 19, 2008

"I'm a P.C"-Commercials in murkey waters.

Mac vs...this!?

Microsoft Corp, the big, ugly, ungainly Three Headed Hydra of the computer world has come out with a series of P.C ads designed to entice users to drop Mac's and migrate over to P.C's.

Too bad apparently no one told them there were clearer dive sites to shoot Great Whites in. But then again we are talking about P.C's and we are talking Microsoft. They have never been ones for serious innovation.

Here's a what a Mac white shark site would look like. See the difference? Oh, and by the way we're still P.C users but after our discovery of the iPhone-those Mac's sure are looking good:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SharkDiver.com-Top Underwater Onions of 2008

O.K so we're flying into San Diego tomorrow for the day and will not be at the office, nor will we be blogging. We will have the trusty mobile office so feel free to email and call.

For our many daily blog fans don't despair, we thought you would be amused-along us-with few of the Underwater Onions we created in 2008.

These were sharky and underwater stories that might be believable but for the fact we made them up:

Sperm Whale Hunt Closed-Japans Fleet Turns Back


China Olympics: Speed Whale Shark Champions


Japan: Whale Hunt Causes Fashion Crisis


Competitive Eating Champion Sets New Record-36 Pounds


White Shark Discovered in Hotel Pool


DNA Disaster-Scientists Add Seal DNA to Asian Caterpillar


Editors Note: Eh, it's a work in progress.

£9.5million Tiger Shark Underglass Anyone?

A Tiger shark in formaldehyde sold for £9.5million today.

What is wrong with the planet?

According to the one who bought this item it's called "Modern Art". We call it a travesty. O.K maybe that's a strong word, but you get the point...extreme displeasure.

The artist formally known as "The Undertaker", actually Damien Hirst, is known for putting all manner of wildlife in containers filled with strange liquids so you can view them in whatever dank and dark cellar you call home.

Kinda like a sick and twisted Limey version of Noah, except Noah let all his critters go from his O'ject D'Art-and they went on to propagate...that's if you follow the bible-this blog is exclusively non denominational.

So that's about it. A dead Tiger is now worth £9.5million in the U.K which in U.S dollars today is about 30 Billion or so.

Island of the Great White Shark Documentary-Timely

When it comes to Great White sharks, there are few ambivalent opinions. Whether its the diver next to you or the guy from Oklahoma who has never seen the ocean, we are either repulsed or drawn magnetically towards these enigmatic predators. Since a minor percentage of people, even divers, ever encounter a shark in the wild; the media plays a pivotal role in our perception of the ocean’s apex predators.

Shark films beginning with the infamous Jaws have made dramatic ripples across the public psyche, generally to the detriment of the sharks themselves. However, even documentaries on the much celebrated Shark Week frequently prey upon our instinctual, but predominantly illogical fear of these perfect predators.

As a documentarian who loves to swim with sharks, I have to admit my bias towards Carcharodon carcharias, and after watching the premiere of RTSEA Productions’ film Island of the Great White Sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach CA, I am also guilty of another emotion: absolute envy.

As a northern Californian diver, the seemingly limitless visibility and glorious sunshine of the Mexican Isle Guadalupe are of obvious appeal, but the ultra tight and highly detailed shots of the Great whites clinches the deal: either you climb in the cage or watch this film to experience, and hopefully appreciate Great White Sharks. Shot entirely in high definition video by writer, producer and cinematographer Richard Theiss, the Island of the Great White Shark (IGWS) brings out the dramatic behavior of GWS themselves and the sheer thrill of the divers viewing the “King of the Seas,” up close and personal.

Perhaps more importantly, the film features shark research and conservation at work, and bravely faces the tremendous teeth of threats facing sharks worldwide. Excellent graphics throughout the film help highlight the usefulness of tagging to understand the habits of the sharks, threats to their survival as a species, and occasional subtitling underscores the points for those of us too intrigued by the animals to be paying attention to the fact that it is sharks that are threatened, and we are the top predator of the ocean.

The clear water and close proximity of sharks reveals a remarkable amount of detail assisting in identification of individuals, distinguishing physical characteristics, including an incredible range of scarring from unknown sources. Indeed, one notable shark aptly titled Scarboard is tagged with an internal transmitter to collect depth and temperature and, several others are tracked using acoustic tags. Featuring notable shark scientist- UC Davis Professor Peter Klimley PhD, and young Mexican biologist Mauricio Hoyo Padilla, we see shark science at work. The scientists explore the mysterious world of these animals from movements to dinner habits, and the graphics help translate the arcane into the exalted, and at times the dismal future sharks face. Admirably, the filmmaker does not shy away from taking on the greatest threat to pelagic shark populations worldwide, the rising popularity of shark fin soup, creating a demand for shark fins, and supporting the practice of shark finning; the killing of sharks for just their fins.

Kudos to the filmmaker and the Aquarium of the Pacific for not soft peddling this very serious issue that not only affects sharks, but the entire oceanic ecosystem of which they play an integral role. Sharks desperately need more films in this light.

Educational yes, but excitement and information pepper this independently produced film and if it weren’t for the subtle melodies scoring the film, one might subconsciously hear that familar tum tum, tum tum we associate with circling sharks. Those of us intrigued by the Man in the White Suit with the cold black eyes and perpetual grin will not be disappointed by a lack of teeth and predatory attack. Tight shots, in focus details and ghostly long shots abound, and the haunting music accompanying the encounters paint a primal scene of intrigue and unearthly beauty. This film shows sharks in their most glorious light, lazily swimming by, ignoring tasty tuna and then surprising shots of striking bait so fast and close the camera can barely follow. But it does, IGWS has one fantastic scene- so fast it requires a replay in slow mo - of the intrepid Hoyo Padilla gathering a tissue plug for DNA analysis as a shark snagged on an unhooked bait collides with the cage.

This is the rub: the footage and the film are collected (prudently) in a cage diving operation. Attracted by chum, and encouraged by fresh fish, divers inside submarine cages connected to the dive boat pay good money to safely experience shark diving. But is it safe for the sharks? Cage operators are under tight scrutiny these days, and for some operators, with good reason.

Not without controversy, certain cage operators have been charged with irresponsible attraction of sharks to areas and even harming the sharks themselves through over-stimulation. Some in the shark community dispute the rising popularity of “shark tourism”, e.g. cage diving in South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, California, and Mexico, claiming that the operations have deleterious effects on the ocean’s most noble predators. Lets face it, we all know that you pour blood in the water and the sharks will come, but it is how you handle the rest of the encounter that seems to make the difference.

This film features the company Shark Diver which conducts the cage operations at Isla Guadalupe, and interviews Shark Diver CEO Patric Douglas. An articulate advocate of sharks, and shark tourism, Douglas seems to take the business of shark conservation very seriously. Without the actual experience of diving in a cage first hand (but with the experience of diving with these sharks) the writer cannot speak directly, but on film, and by anecdote, this operation does appear to be as safe and well managed as can possibly occur while attracting predators within touching and photographic range. To their credit, Shark Diver and the owner/ operators of the vessels leading the tours; the MV Nautilus Explorer, MV Islander, MV Horizon and MV Ocean Odyssey along with DivingWithSharks.com are directly supporting the Mexican research program and working together to support the Guadalupe Island Conservation Fund.

The argument runs parallel to that of maintaining wild animals in zoos, or in this case aquariums: that people will love and want to protect what they are familiar with. If the enthusiasm expressed by the divers in the film (and the amazing footage obtained) is any judge, one hopes that the thrill of viewing these wild animals first-hand, or enjoying this compelling film will override any negative impacts of the operations. We clearly take home the message that the conservation efforts of the Mexican Government, the Shark Diver, and the researchers highlighted in this film are making serious efforts to protect and conserve Great White Sharks.

In this film we don’t just watch sharks, we learn about sharks.

Shark lovers who eagerly anticipate the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week are often disappointed by beautifully shot films lacking substance, or even capitalizing on the “man eating, killer” images as portrayed in the successful Jaws vein. Not so, Island of the Great White Shark, and Shark Week is where this film squarely belongs, on broadcast television where millions of viewers can learn to appreciate these amazing predators in a positive light, and how shark conservation needs public support.

The famous conservation biologist E.O. Wilson has offered the following explanation to our love/hate attraction to large predators: “We don’t just fear our predators, we are transfixed by them, prone to weave stories and fables and chatter endlessly about them, because fascination breeds preparedness and preparedness, survival. In a deeply tribal sense, we love our monsters.”

Films like this help us understand sharks, and with hope, reverse the perceptions of fear or hate, and help demystify the monster. Listed as threatened with extinction, lets hope we will learn to love the Great Whites Sharks before it is too late. The Island of the Great White Shark is a fin in the right direction.

For more information on Islands of the Great White Sharks and how to see the film go to www.rtsea.com.

-David McGuire
SharkStewards.com