Monday, July 6, 2009

Cyber Diver News - The Anti Industry

For many years the shadowy figure(s) behind the Cyber Diver News Network has been the face of the anti-shark diving lobby with toxic website quotes like following:

"Sharks are beautiful animals that deserve to be fully protected from all human exploitation including shark finning and shark feeding. While legitimate marine conservation groups and respected scientists do the hard, tedious work to protect endangered shark species, dive industry insiders lobby to prevent full protection of sharks, green-wash the lurative shark feeding industry as "conservation" and "education" and argue that people have the right to die or get hurt while participating in shark feeding dives. "

If our industry in the western hemisphere is to continue, that industry will have to clean house, get a gameplan, and come back from the brink.

Here's the latest rundown of lost dive sites, and shark sites currently on the brink:

1. Farallones, California - 140' rule instituted, divers, vessels, cages must be at this minimum distance at all times from sharks

2. Florida - complete ban on commercial chumming and shark diving 2001

3. Isla Guadalupe, Mexico - complete ban on chumming 2008 (in talks for 2009)

4. Hawaii - strong, organized and government lead banning procedures in process

5. Bahamas - review of Tiger Beach in process

This is no coincidence. What happens at one dive site does transfer to other sites. The litany of operator related mishaps, deaths, cage breaches, and mismanagement has lead to this current "state of the union" - broadcast to the world by an unbalanced CDNN.

But all is not lost...not yet.

Do we let Cyber Diver carry the day? Surely with an industry as motivated enough to make and send petitions, to organise websites devoted to camera gear with thousands of members, to hold industry shows like DEMA and the California Dive Show, surely we can organize and get our industry back to where it once was?

Or is that just a pipe dream?

I don't know about you, but when I read quotes like the one I read today from the CDNN I look around and want to get Shakespearean on someone. We can do better. For the sake of the many sharks we have enjoyed making a living with over the past decade...we have to do better.

Editors Note: Apologies to the folks over at BAD, as far as we're concerned Fiji is not in the western hemisphere thus this Post is not directed at you. Congrats on making the CDNN list by the way. Heady days to be recognised in your own time;)

Patric Douglas CEO

Death of a Titan - Puerto Nuevo, Mexico

At one of the longest running shark lists on the planet, the Shark-l, one poster Helmut Nickel comes up with unique shark media finds. This week his discovery of a dead white shark at a fishing camp in Mexico highlights the needs for stronger protections for these magnificent animals.

We blogged about sport take sharks last month in "One Shark".

New White Shark Dive Site - Official


SAN ANSELMO, Calif., July 4, 2009 – Shark Divers CEO Patric Douglas unveiled the world’s newest white shark aggregation site exclusively for film and television productions today with the release of the first ever video of these animals.

“We have code-named the site ‘Oceania,’” says Douglas. “Its exact location will be kept a closely guarded secret until the first productions have captured the complete story here”.

A limited number of production companies will be introduced to the site in 2010 (January through April), in order to maintain the location's pristine, untamed nature, as well as for the benefit of the white sharks. Typically, divers are encountering up to 10 animals a day in 100-foot visibility. The site enjoys a potential for strong conservation and research storylines. "This site offers the finest traditions of exploration, research, and adventure,” explains Douglas. “The fact that it is almost 2010 and sites like these are being discovered is a testament to how little we know of the oceans and the unlimited possibilities still open to us."

“You only discover new sites like this once every 10 years," says Douglas. "Expect to be blown away.”

“As a production company looking for the next great shark show concept, you need a professional, shark-centric company to assist with the development of your ideas," says Douglas. “This is what we do: pro-shark productions with an emphasis on shark research." For the past 8 years, Shark Divers’ parent company, Shark Diver, has been innovating and supporting ground-breaking Mexican shark research at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico with U.C Davis and CICIMAR, one of Mexico’s leading marine institutions.

About Shark Divers

As a film, television and tourism subsidiary of the commercial shark diving company Shark Diver, Shark Divers provides access to unique shark sites worldwide in a cost-effective environment with an eye towards shark production values that go light years beyond "the man on the sand with the bait crate." Shark Divers' experienced crews not only know sharks, but also have extensive experience in film, television, current research and current trends in shark productions. Shark Divers' crews are a unique group of shark researchers and underwater-film experts who can show your production company shark sites and storylines that capture the public’s imagination.

About Shark Divers’ Staff

Shark Divers CEO Patric Douglas began his 18-year career in adventure tourism escorting 21-day tours through China, Bali, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America – both on and off the water. With his experience in eco-tourism, branding, shark research, film and television, Patric Douglas brings to the company a strong vision and years of on the ground experience.

Marine Biologist Luke Tipple is Shark Divers’ Dive Safety Officer and Offshore Manager. With extensive experience diving with and filming predatory sharks including great white sharks, his knowledge of animal behavior, dive safety procedures, and film production has greatly enhanced productions for the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, Spike Network, and others.

As Shark Divers’ primary cinematographer, Richard Theiss, who has spent the past five years filming the great white sharks of Isla Guadalupe, has supplied dramatic footage ranging from sharks to spiders to the Arctic Circle for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Google Earth, the History Channel, and others. He also produced the award-winning documentary, “Island of the Great White Shark.”

For more information, visit the Shark Divers website at or contact Patric Douglas at

Shark Divers | “Changing the way the public sees white sharks…forever”

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Movement to shut down shark tours in Hawaii grows

What began as a terribly executed commercial cage diving roll out in Hawaii just a few months ago has devolved into a government sanctioned witch hunt...with no end in sight.

We have been tracking ongoing developments in Hawaii as they happen.

Hawaii shark diving operators now find themselves with an active opposition, on the wrong side of an obscure fisheries law, and facing an anti-shark diving champion in government.

What brought this negative tide was a skillful use of media by the anti-shark diving folks and a puzzling and very damaging media silence from the operators.

There's still time for the operators to roll out a sustained media campaign based on Shark Diving=Tourism=Economy. As each day goes by articles like this recent AP report just add fuel to the anti-shark diving lobby and seal the fate for the existing operators to the will of local and regional governments. Action taken early in an unfolding disaster can and will mitigate problems down the line.

The media tends to follow the story, that story can be shaped by either side of an issue but someone has to lead it. As each anti-shark diving lobby piece comes in two pro shark diving articles must go out. This issue, as far as politicians are concerned, revolves around who has the most votes.

The loss of Hawaii would be a blow to the industry in the western hemisphere. Already new rules and regulations for the Farallones now require divers, cages and vessels to be 140' away from white sharks at all times. Florida remains shut down to commercial shark diving after a 2001 decision there.

HALEIWA, Hawaii (AP) — Three women donned scuba masks and jumped into the waters off Oahu's North Shore, floating inside a submerged cage as about a dozen sharks glided toward bloody fish scraps tossed into the water by a tour company.

Tourist Kim Duniec said the experience of coming eye-to-eye with sharks was exhilarating. "Their eyes were scary, but they were still graceful, absolutely beautiful," the Beaver Dam, Wis., woman said.

Shark tours like this have become a popular visitor attraction in Hawaii, but a movement is gaining momentum to shut them down.

Some Native Hawaiians consider sharks to be ancestral gods and view feeding them for entertainment to be disrespectful of their culture. Surfers and environmentalists fear the tours will teach sharks to associate people with food — leading to an increase in attacks — while disrupting the ocean's ecological balance. Federal fisheries regulators, meanwhile, are investigating the tours on the grounds that they are illegally feeding sharks.

The anti-shark tour movement ignited when residents noticed a large metal cage mounted on a boat at a marina in front of a popular Hawaii Kai restaurant in March. They remembered Oahu's two shark tours used similar contraptions on the North Shore. The location of the tours helped fuel the opposition — Hawaii Kai is an affluent bedroom community on the other side of Oahu.

Full Story