Saturday, November 29, 2008

White Shark Mystery-Carolinas

Off all the white sharks we covered this year washed up on remote shores nothing compares with the one that washed up in the Bahamas this summer.

Except, perhaps, this 13 foot female in the Carolinas this week:

The body of a great white shark, one of the ocean's rarest and most powerful apex predators, was discovered last week washed ashore on Morris Island.

What killed the 13-foot, 2-inch female shark remains a mystery, though biologists are hoping that examination of tissue samples might shed some light on how the animal wound up dead on the beach, said Bryan Frazier, biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

The shark did not appear to have suffered any fishing-related wounds, nor had it suffered any obvious forms of trauma, Frazier said. And though enormous by most standards, the fish actually was still quite young, at an estimated 10 to 13 years old, Frazier said.

Mis-Quoted...They Got The Sentiment Right

Occasionally we get asked for "on the fly quotes" from deadline crunched reporters. I am always happy to quote a good article about sharks, shark conservation, and the state of the industry.

So when I got a call from the NY Times a week ago they got my quote. The "devil" as they say, "is in the in the details".

For the record I am not and have never been a "commercial diver", nor do I consider myself a "shark expert" as I have often blogged about. Being an expert in the wildlife game suggests you have little else to learn-and sharks always have something to teach us on a commercial level. Many of the self ascribed "shark experts" I have met over the years turned out to be stark raving loons.

Back to the article. The main point of what I had to say was correct. The future of shark diving and of commercial aquariums seems to be leaning towards land based mega projects where divers can stay at hotels and dive different environments from an Amazon Rain Forest to the Arctic and beyond...all in one week.

Sounds crazy? We're already offering this across America from the Whale Shark encounters in Georgia to Sand Tigers in Florida. Ironically ocean based commercial shark diving has been banned in Florida-seems aquarium shark dives are safer. Of course that's up for debate, but I digress.

Mega projects will definitely happen in the next 5-10 years. As local dive sites continue to diminish worldwide, lost to algae, coral bleaching and runoff-the need for "ease of access" dive sites with charismatic megafauna will continue to grow.

There will, thankfully, always be a base for live aboard dive expeditions. The article we quoted this week is one look into the future, albeit a bit underfunded, it's just another proof of concept.

Patric Douglas CEO