Monday, May 10, 2010

Sharks Finned in Florida - Images

Tarpoon Dive Centers posted grizzly images of finned sharks in Florida's waters this week.

These images were picked up by Scotty Grey from Blue Iguana Charters and a host of shark conservation groups.

Scotty's response to these images was typical of those who have seen them.

We contacted Jake Shekels manager of Tarpoon Dive Centers and he said this was not the first time he had encountered finned sharks at his dive site:

These Photos were taken last weekend while diving on a reef off Key Biscayne. Unbelievable this is happening so close to home. In April of last year we saw two hammerheads and perhaps a tiger shark, this was a nurse shark around the same area and depth and I am beginning to wondering if this is a coincidence?"

Typically shark finning is done by one or two persons who run small to medium shark fin operations in Florida. Some are busted, some are not. These are lucrative operations (see link).

With conservation leadership from Tarpoon Dive Centers and help from others in the conservation community perhaps these sharks will not have been finned in vain.

See post "When One Dead Shark."

Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge - Tagged Shark Moving Fast

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge represents a radical change in shark tournament modelling.

Combining shark research and best shark fishing practices the ultimate goal for this tournament is to promote "change from within" the sport caught shark fishing industry.

A recently tagged female bull shark (perhaps gravid) is now making tournament shark fishing history in Florida waters as she reports her position to Mote Marine Labs and waiting researchers.


On the first day of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge (May 1, 2010), a large bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) was caught by tournament competitor Bucky Dennis. This adult female was possibly pregnant and an ideal candidate for satellite tagging by Mote Marine Lab's research team. The tag was attached to the shark's first dorsal fin such that it would be able to transmit whenever the shark was at the surface of the water. These transmissions provide precise location and movement information that will contribute to our understanding of the habitat preferences of this important marine predator.

For more information and to view her daily track go here.

Getting Your Squid On - Ambush or Active?

The colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) is the stuff of legends and popular myth. It is also one of our favourite deep sea critters.

Often depicted as active hunters of the deep researchers are scaling back this view, proposing that Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni is more of a passive hunter. Similar perhaps to Magnapinna and a video that made the Blue Blogger rounds in 2007/8.

The BBC had great coverage of this ongoing discussion as does RTSea Blog.

Taking into account the depth at which these critters reside and water temperatures, researchers now think the colossal squids hunting technique is like a many branched upside down tree with prey items blundering into spiked tipped arms, only to be pulled into a two foot beak and ripped to pieces...very slowly of course.

Here's a video of Magnapinna. Watching this critter in action you'll get the idea. Ironically this video comes from a Shell Oil deepwater exploration ROV: