Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NIWA - White Sharks Deep Water Critters

As it turns out white sharks set even deeper diving records than first recorded with this weeks stunning news from NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in NZ.

“A big shark called ‘Shack’, the biggest shark we have tagged, at 4.8 metres, has set the world’s deepest great white shark dive record,” says NIWA Principal Scientist, Malcolm Francis. “And he made several other very deep dive records between 1000 and 1200 metres while crossing the ocean. Prior to this, we had recorded several at around 1000 metres, so it’s quite a substantial extension.”

NIWA's recent press release is a template for data sharing and once again reveals that New Zealand's white sharks are unique.

Complete article here.

Image: White shark from Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Goblin girl on... a new goblin shark held in aquarium!

Now is the season for goblin sharks! Before I continue to tell you about the exciting adventures of Goblin girl and Goblin boy, I just want to update you on the news that Tokyo Sea Life Park again has a young male goblin shark on display. He was caught on the 28th of March on ca 140 m of depth. The shark measures ca 1 m.

The news can be found, in Japanese, here:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Smart Shark Conservation - Great Media

One of the smarter ideas for shark conservation can be found with the folks behind Shark Truth.

Claudia Li and Vivian Kwong decided to tackle the cultural and gastronomic issue of shark fin soup "one bowl at a time" with an informative website targeting wedding couples who decline shark fin soup at celebrations.

This is change from within a culture, and this duo should be congratulated for what inevitably is a tough uphill battle.

That battle recently got a boost with some very good media last week.

Congratulations to both for the website and the initiative!

Atlantis Resorts Shark Care in Dispute

When alcohol, breeding, and sharks come together generally the result is a toxic stew of gobsmackingly stupid behavior with sharks. Thanks to Jenny our web eyes for these videos purported to be from Atlantis Resorts in the Bahamas March 25th, 2010.

The question on everyone's mind, where was security?

Video One - The Discovery

I'm pettin' it, I'm pettin' it yo"

Video Two - Stupidity with Sharks

"I'm gunna pull your leg, I'm gunna punch you in the face"

Editors Note: Felix over at Oceanic Dreams suggested you contact the PR folks at Atlantis to inquire as to the ongoing safety of these animals and guests. Could be worth the phone call:

You can send an email or call Megan Marchesini - public relations contact for possible answers:

Megan Marchesini
Phone: 212-659-5203

Friday, March 26, 2010

Farallones Tagging Disaster - Follow Up?

In 2009 a film/research team badly mauled a white shark at the Farallone Islands.

What is not in dispute is the fact that a circle hook, very similar to the one seen here, was embedded deeply in the throat of a white shark.

The team went on to try and remove this hook by pushing bolt cutters through the gills of the animal and only succeeded in getting a fraction back leaving the animal with a hook still embedded in it's throat.

The resulting media storm over this event sent shock waves through both the research community and the commercial shark world. Only a few of the commercial shark diving operators on the West coast of the USA got in front of this issue, we were one of them. Others who are far more commercially invested in the Farallones said and did little in the public forum for reasons that remain their own.

Our long standing commercial and conservation efforts with sharks have been predicated by one mandate "do no harm to sharks." We support all research and commercial endeavors until they break that simple tenant.

The badly mauled shark at the Farallones was tagged with a real time GPS monitor and we were told the animal was "in great health." Unfortunately since December 8. 2009, all our efforts to get this real time data monitored by an independent source seemed to have hit a wall.

To date we have sent six emails to NOAA's and GFNMS regional managers and have been told the following:

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will work with an independent, qualified reviewer with expertise in white shark behavior, husbandry, and/or health to assess the status of the sharks tagged last Fall around the Farallon Islands.

b) The independent reviewer will assess the status of the sharks by reviewing footage of the tagging operations and comparing the tracking data from Dr. Domeier's tags with the tracking data from TOPP's research project at the Farallones over a year's timeframe. The GFNMS has already contacted Dr. Domeier for his data to begin the assessment.

c) The GFNMS will notify you as soon as that person has been identified and the work has begun.

d) The GFNMS will notify you of the results and post the results of the assessment on the Gulf of Farallones website (

It has been five months since this tagging disaster and we have not heard anything from NOAA or the GFNMS staff in regards to this pressing matter and it is time that we did.

Editors Note: Fiji's Da Shark has weighed in on this issue (again) and we have to agree with his take, makes for great additional reading.

Hawaii - Shark Conservation Moving Ahead

After the disasters of Doha, where the world's top NGO's were left stymied by big commercial fishing interests and sharks were not protected, it is refreshing to see local conservation efforts working in places like Hawaii.

We have long been advocates, along with a few other forward thinking industry members, of regional shark conservation as a way of getting sharks protected by invested parties.

Stefanie Brindle owner of Hawaii Shark Encounters is leading a remarkable charge in Oahu to change a loop hole that allows tons of sharks fin to be landed and dried in the state for transshipment all over the world. Her effort is a classic regional effort with a hand from thousands of shark people all over the globe jumping in with letters and phone calls when needed to keep politico's on target.

This is the same
Stefanie Brindle whose company is also under assault by anti-shark diving forces on the island seeking to shut a decades long commercial enterprise down for reasons that belong in the 1970's and the movie JAWS.

Her ups and downs have been instructive to watch, and her non profit Shark Allies looks to be a new breed of shark conservation org leveraging media and conservation in a nice little package.

Congratulations to all who are working to get the job done in Hawaii and thanks to the many who responded to
Stefanie's latest call for letters and phone calls. Thanks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Excellent Conservation Messaging

The shark conservation world needs more directed PSA's. Specifically Asian language PSA's to bring home the point about sustainable shark fisheries, and declining shark populations.

Here's is one example of fine work with Asian language PSA's. Nicely done to all who were involved in this effort. Now, who's next?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Urgent - Hawaii Shark Fin Bill Needs a Push

If you have some time in your busy schedule over the next two days please add your voice to excellent efforts in Hawaii to help conserve sharks with a new bill SB2169:

Hello everyone,

For some reason the Representative that is the chair of our LAST
committee, Riki Karamatsu, is unresponsive and hasn't scheduled a hearing for our shark finning bill.

If you have the time today or tomorrow, please take a minute and send a message/call to to urge him to hear SB2169.

We have come so far with this bill and I can't believe it is stuck now! Very frustrating.

Tell him how important this is for Hawaii, but also the rest of the US/world.

Tell him that the desire for people to eat shark fin soup should not
override the decision to pass this bill. A delicacy should not cause
the destruction of the ocean... etc

Express yourself as strongly as you can and if you are from Hawaii
make sure you let him know that too.

We have been sending messages and have been stopping by his office. We
have given him photos, letters and videos.

Apparently he needs more pressure to be convinced. I think there are a couple of member in the House that really like to eat their shark fin soup that may have asked him to not hear the bill.

I will go to the capitol this afternoon to park myself outside his
office until he speaks to me.

Here is his info:

Jon Riki Karamatsu
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
phone 808-586-8490; fax 808-586-8494

thank you

Goblin girl in a goblin shark accident!

Today blood was flowing in my office today. MY blood!

(If you look carefully, you will see blood stains on my dress!)

Three years ago I sent out the - for me - earth rocking news about a live goblin shark kept in captivity in Japan, to my fellow shark friends. I immediately got the reply from my friend Guzman in the Basque country "funny you write to me now about this, because only yesterday I got a specimen from a fisherman". The shark was a caught in the Bay of Biscay on the 9th of February 2007. It's an immature male, ca 115 cm long. I replied to Guzman and told him that the shark was mine! The shark was then put in a freezer and forgotten until last summer when Guzman found it again. He put it in formalin and we started to check for transportation. Yesterday he asked me to confirm the delivery address to my office and today I got an e-mail that I should confirm to him when it arrived. Only half an hour later I was called to the reception of my office, where a tube was waiting for me!

I was of course very eager to see it. Also, it is now wrapped in formalin drenched paper and plastic so I will soon have to find a suitable container and put it in alcohol. Because of the stench, I went out on a balcony and started to unwrap it. Suddenly I felt a sting in my finger and blood was flowing. My finger had got snugged on one of the needle sharp teeth. They are just like a fishing hook. I had to stop the bleeding before I was ruining the shark so I went to the bathroom to put my finger under cold water. When I pulled off the tight rubber glove I was wearing, blood and water sprayed over the whole room, over my nice dress, me... Everywhere! I felt like Carrie from the movie with the same name. I'm lucky my colleagues are used to me, but I've never looked like this in my office before. And it's usually fish blood.

Since it wouldn't stop bleeding my colleague put on a big bandage. I wonder if I will get a scar... Maybe a first inflicted from a goblin shark? Although dead...

Ok, you are allowed to laugh now!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brilliant Fakery? Or Real Deal?

The jury is out on this video. We were going to call it a big fake and then the tail fin appeared for a brief instant at 0:55, hard to fake a tail fin if you're towing a decoy behind your sail boat.

So we leave it to you, is this the real deal of a monster shark stalking a sailboat, or a complete fake?

Taking into account over the past 20 years of video at sea no one has come up with anything like this one and the kid in the video seems less than realistic:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deep-Sea News Scoop "Chimaera Country"

Deep-Sea News usually get's the goods on all things cool underwater. This week was no exception.

Sea Shepherd - Culinary Imperialism with a dark side of Racist Propaganda?

We have been less than fans of the continuing media antics of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

From patently faked media events such as Paul Watson being shot in the chest by Japanese whalers, to ongoing SSCS anti-Japanese propaganda that harkens back to the ugliest moments of WW2.

Governments, such as Australia and New Zealand, lack the will to confront this radical and somewhat disingenuous eco group who invent eco news ad hoc whenever it suits their cause. A cause which, after 20 years of effort, has shown no real conservation changes to international whaling, seal harvests or shark finning, an effort that has devolved into an odd brand of cultural imperialism against Japan and Asia.

Sea Shepherd is an eco group attempting to dictate the cultural and culinary norms of another culture with the use of rotten butter, faked news clips, and a skillful use of Internet.

Wagging the Conservation Dog at every opportunity SSCS has skillfully made a mockery of every domestic and international law on the high seas.

Only Canada has taken any kind of stance against SSCS radicalism, impounding and then selling off the SSCS vessel Farley Mowat, leading to SSCS complete withdrawal from Canadian shores.

We're not alone in our online distaste with Sea Shepherd as an organization that has failed to effect any real and lasting eco change for the past 20 years. Since 2004 the legion of non radicalized eco folks who are becoming anti-Sea Shepherd is growing steadily.

One only has to look at online postings, and even popular culture commentator South Park to begin to understand the level and depth of this movement.

Recently blogger Nae Hauf-Way Hoos posted their observations of Paul Watson at a recent rally in New Zealand attended by "small crowd." Their observations of this event and the radical and racist tone being spewed forth by Paul Watson is concerning if not outright frightening.

"There is a worrying undercurrent of anti-Asian racism that permeates Sea Shepherd’s publicity and arguments. Most people, rightly, oppose whaling: the Sea Shepherd campaign connects this genuine environmental concern to much older, and dangerous, currents in Australian and New Zealand politics: nationalism, especially ‘left’ nationalism, and the racism that accompanies it. Facing an environmental challenge like the slaughter of endangered whales, we start to see a choice between an internationalist approach, stressing the potential for a politics which can unite, and a nationalism which turns genuine concerns into props for reactionary and toxic ideas. Greens Senator Bob Brown – with his talk of “our” whales, as if New Zealand and Australia ‘owned’ these creatures – and his anti-immigrant comments, re-enforces a long tradition of anti-Asian racism in this part of the world."

Complete Post.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daniel Botelho - Capturing Underwater Grace

So they're not sharks, but they are beautiful, and they were recently shot by shark diver Daniel Botelho who joined us at Isla Guadalupe a few years ago.

Daniel Botelho is well known as a first class underwater photographer in Brazil and Europe.

We have come to know him as a first class guy as well.

Enjoy his series on Salifish Run off Isla Mujeres,México.

Nicely done Daniel!

Tigers, Dead Whales, and Aussies, Oh My!

One thing is for certain, wherever you have sharks you'll always have those who want to interact with them.

Recently folks in Australia decided to get into the interaction game and shot some amazing video. You cannot miss the sequence starting at 1.20 - it is pretty stuff.

Unfortunately the broader world does not seem to share the joys of these interactions (see You Tube comments). Perhaps when framed by the media as this clip was recently, the natural comment blow back is to be expected.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shark conservation proposal defeated at UN meeting - No surprise

China, Japan and Russia helped defeat a U.S. endorsed proposal at a U.N. wildlife trade meeting Tuesday that would have boosted conservation efforts for sharks - is anyone surprised?

We have long been advocates of regional and commercial efforts to conserve sharks.

Some of the most effective recent campaigns have been targeted at the commercial sector like who, under sustained media pressure, targeting partners in the USA eventually banned B to B sharks fins sales on their massive trade portal.

This is shark conservation for the new decade.

It is unfortunate that the latest meetings in Doha netted little for sharks but if the shark conservation world is serious about conserving these animals we'll have to do it with regional efforts. A prime example of how to do it can be found with Beqa Adventure Divers in Fiji and elsewhere.

It's not rocket science but it is a science, and it does take dedication beyond Facebook postings, and the tired litany of other high profile yet ultimately useless "save the" campaigns that are embedded in our digital age.

Commercial shark fin operators are out on the waters every day finning the animals we profess to care about. Meanwhile the shark conservation world works from laptops and web pages, producing PowerPoint presentations and statistics for disinterested government officials when boots on the ground efforts are what are really needed.

Real and lasting change comes from ownership in the same animals that the commercial sector currently claims as their own.

It's a radical thought, but as Doha has once and for all demonstrated to the shark conservation world, we cannot expect big government and business interests to make the changes necessary to conserve wildlife.

That legacy belongs to those who create safe havens for sharks, smart regional conservation efforts, and to those who shut down supply chain - now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beqa Adventure Divers - Pro Industry Media

The global shark diving industry is lead by a few forward thinking operations who lead by example. Consistency is the name of the game.

Positive shark media for our industry comes with solid relationships with good story tellers.

Showing that sharks are not playthings, or cheap props for a diver/filmmakers resume, is another of Beqa Adventure Divers forays into positive industry media, and a fine example of how to work with sharks in a manner that benefits all.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Humane Society of the United States Joins Shark-Free Marinas to Reduce Killing of Ocean’s Great Predators


The Humane Society of the United States Joins Shark-Free Marinas to Reduce Killing of Ocean’s Great Predators

‘Shark-Free Marina Initiative’ promotes catch-and-release

Note: There are Shark-Free Marinas in Harwich, Mass.; Key Largo, Fla.; Miami; Tequesta, Fla.; Vero Beach, Fla.; West Alton, Mo, Fiji, Tonga, and the U.K

(March 15, 2010) — The Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with Shark-Free Marinas in a campaign to significantly reduce worldwide shark mortality.

Fittingly, the effort is called the “Shark-Free Marina Initiative” and seeks the support of marina operators worldwide to prohibit the landing of any shark on their premises, thus encouraging catch-and-release fishing. To help publicize the plight of sharks and the need for their protection, The HSUS and SFMI are supplying signs and public information to participating marinas in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

“The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to join the efforts of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative,” said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS. “The HSUS works tirelessly to end animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect and is deeply concerned by the deteriorating status of shark populations.”

Luke Tipple, executive director of the Initiative, said, “The Shark-Free Marina Initiative welcomes the support of The Humane Society of the United States and its members to protect beleaguered shark species.”

The HSUS, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, strives to end the killing of sharks in sport tournaments around the United States, and works to raise public awareness about celebrating ocean life instead of destroying it. The Shark-Free Marina Initiative encourages marinas to adopt shark-friendly policies, preventing kill tournaments from using those facilities.
Facts Dozens of marinas in the United States, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have registered as Shark-Free Marinas since the initiative began in 2008. The HSUS also works to protect sharks by campaigning against shark finning, and the organization recently petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the porbeagle shark as endangered.

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative runs a Regional Ambassador program where anyone can get involved in their important work. Visit the SFMI Web site ( or The HSUS Web site ( for more information.

Other groups supporting the Shark-Free Marina Initiative include the Fisheries Conservation Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Institute.

Media Contact: Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455,