Monday, July 30, 2012

Isla Guadalupe 2012 and Shark Diver Jim Miller

Here at Shark Diver we have a fan base that translates into return divers year after year, we call them "The Hard Core Shark Divers."

And none is more hard core than Jim Miller who penned this trip report for us at the start of the 2012 white shark season at Isla Guadalupe.

Thanks Jim, see you in a few weeks:

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

An open letter to potential shark divers from a two time shark diver (third trip coming up in September 2012).

When I landed back home in Boston with all the stories, pictures, and video, I asked myself, do I really need to go back? The answer comes quickly and easily. Absolutely, yes! I relive one of the most intense experiences of my life every night as I sleep, and I’ve done it twice! How many people can say that they’ve been close enough to touch a Great White Shark? That they’ve been in the water with one of the world’s most perfect predators? What possible reason could I have for going back? 

I am not an adrenaline junkie nor do I have a death wish. Honestly, there are a lot of reasons. First and foremost is my new found love for the animal. I had an intense fear based on an experience from childhood. I wanted to beat it and it only took me 40 years to muster the courage. Being in such close proximity to these enormous, powerful, and graceful creatures is just unbelievable. There are no words to properly describe the experience. The only way to understand is to be there. You can watch Shark Week all you want, but frankly, it’s the difference between a riding a skateboard and driving a Lamborghini Diablo.

We all work hard and deserve to take time away from the chaos of daily existence.  I had been considering shark diving for several years, my fear getting the better of me every time. In 2010, I resolved to at least take the first steps to making the trip a reality. I decided to contact Patric Douglas, CEO of Shark Divers, with my concerns. Truthfully, I figured that being the CEO, he would either blow me off or just tell me what I wanted to hear in order to make the sale. 

I could not have been more wrong. 

During our first exchange, I spent approximately 45 minutes on the phone with this guy who I had never spoken with before. Within the first five minutes of the conversation, we were on a first name basis and it felt like I had known Patric for years. However, I am still a skeptic, and that mandates that I do my due diligence, salesmen be damned. My search turned up several stories from happy shark divers. My decision was made, but still, I decided that I would reserve judgment until the trip had concluded. My conclusion is that Patric Douglas is not a salesman. He is someone who cares deeply about the environment and the preservation of the wildlife that lives in it. The same can be said for the crew M/V Horizon.  

When I first boarded the Horizon back in August 2010 for my first trip, I was treated like royalty, which is a bit much for me to take. Honestly, I was more than a little wound up and scared. In other words, I was as ready for this trip as I would ever be. Being from Boston means being a bit more intense, so when someone tried to take my luggage out my hands, I thought I was going to have to get mean. I just was not used to being treated so well! It wouldn’t have mattered much, because Mark would have kicked my butt anyway, just sayin’. I said to him, “I can carry my own luggage, buddy”. He responded with “this is your vacation”. 

With that, it began and I let him have my suitcase. This brings me to Captain Spencer Salmon, who never ceases to crack me up. Captain Spencer is all business, but one would be hard pressed to see him being anything other than relaxed. He is a very unique character to say the least. Then there’s dive master Martin Graf, who briefs and instructs the divers on policy, procedures and dive safety. Martin provides a wealth of knowledge on Guadalupe White Sharks and all dive related information one would need to have a great trip. He knows the sharks by name and in some instances, does not need to be in the water to identify them. Martin is an important resource for the divers and a critical part of the Horizon crew. I can’t forget Captain Kyle, who I believe is a New York Giants fan… Can’t be perfect I guess, but still, another reason for me to be a repeat customer…  I just can’t say enough nice things about the crew. They are a huge part of the reason why I want to go back. 

Oh, and did I mention Chef Mark? How could I possibly forget Mark?   

The man who keeps us well fed and fueled up for diving! Chef Mark prepared the best steak I ever had. You read correctly. The best steak I ever had was on the MV Horizon. I don’t know what magic he used to prepare that steak; I just hope he uses it again in September! 

Yet another reason for returning has to do with the people you will meet and the friends that you will make during this adventure. I’ve made some pretty good friends on both trips that I am still in touch with. In fact, I know of two people that I dove with last year who will be returning this year. On my 2011 trip, after a hard day of diving, I can remember sitting down with my friends, Julie, Sean, James, Jack, Pierre, and Janice and talking about the day’s adventure over cocktails. 

If you are the type of person who has a hard time changing gears from work to vacation, you’ll be happy to know that it’s pretty easy to do on this trip. There is so much to take in, that it’s almost over-whelming. I can remember Captain Spencer cutting the engines on the way to Guadalupe and informing everyone over the P.A. system that there was a pod of Blue Whales just yards away from the ship. You almost expect a “Jurassic Park”-like experience.  You have to have your camera ready at all times. For example, during my first trip, we had a white shark perform a full breach, just feet away from the ship. No one saw that coming… And no one captured that on film, but I will remember it forever.

So with that said, I am 49 days away from my third trip with Sharkdiver.com and the MV Horizon to Isla Guadalupe and I am going crazy… The anticipation is tangible. I’ve watched the film I’ve taken from my previous trips countless times. There is nothing that I can do to appease the ache. I have an intense longing to be back in the water with Shredder, Bruce, and the rest of the Guadalupe White Sharks. As far as I am concerned, this is no longer just a vacation for me. I have found a cause that I love and can get behind in such a way that affords me the opportunity to actually have a positive impact. This is an opportunity to make a difference. 

After this experience, you will have no choice but to talk about the adventure with people close to you about the plight of sharks as a species. Your words will travel. The act of you telling your stories will spread awareness. Not to mention that you will have the time of your life. So I’m carefully planning what gear I’ll be taking with me this year so that I can better communicate what I
experience. 

Tonight, I’ll be dreaming of September 15th, 2012 and the start of another adventure that I will never forget. 

Shark Diver, 

Jim Miller


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Reunion’s Surfers Demand Actions after Fatal Shark Attack?

Hat Tip: Shark Year Magazine


Helmut Nickel, Shark Year Magazine, 26. July 2012
 
After third shark attack fatality,
Protesters ask Prefect of Reunion Island to allow shark fishing in Marine Reserve.


In the aftermath of the latest fatal shark attack in Reunion (here), about 300 people (most of them surfers) gathered in front of the Prefecture building in Saint-Denis early this afternoon.

The protesters demanded from the Prefect to implement measures that would prevent such tragic shark incidents from happening again.

“We made this gathering so that the prefecture is beginning to listen to us, and we can find solutions to the overpopulation of sharks,” said bodyboarder Amaury Lavernhe.

The ‘Océan Prévention Réunion’ Association (OPR) said about the protest: „… this is an important opportunity to voice our outrage and to demand that real steps are taken to stop this massacre (=fatal shark attack)

More concretely, a delegation of ten people had the chance to meet Reunion’s Prefect, Michel Lalande, and asked him to open the Marine Reserve for shark-fishermen. It is believed that this nature reserve has become a kind of ‘pantry’ for Reunion’s sharks on the west coast. This has consequently led to an abundance of sharks and a higher risk of attacks in the region. Although there seems to be a lack of scientific evidences to support this conjecture. According to some local scientists, it appears to be a combination of factors that can explain these shark bite incidents.
Outside the Prefecture building, the protesters were shouting : ‘Open the Reserve now ‘.

After a minute of silence to honour the shark attack victims, numerous surfboards were laid in the garden of the Prefecture as a protest gesture.

UPDATE, 27. July :  Please see the related Video Surfers protest outside the Prefecture in Reunion Island

 Source and Photo Credit: zinfos974. Other Sources: reunion.orange , facebook.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Volkswagen Shark Week 2012 - The Engineering Team

The engineering side of the 2012 Volkswagen Shark Week Commercial came from the pairing of Florida based Greg "Moondog" Mooney and the absolutely metal genius of Andre who quickly picked up the nickname, "Metal-Angelo."

In the world of sight engineering there's no better crew and the results after 20 days of hard work speak for themselves.

These guys were the heart and soul of a completely revolutionary undersea vehicle.

The challenge for this particular vehicle, being a wet submersible, ran the gamut from propulsion systems which were provided by Silent Submersion to a complete made to order life support system that no one has ever seen before.

In short, this unique engineering crew designed, created, and launched the equivalent of an undersea moon shot in 20 days.

Here's the second teaser installment of the 2012 Volkswagen Commercial - enjoy:

 


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Sheep ships can have no influence whatever on the Great Whites

Drinkin' from the media fountain again?
"Shark expert Hugh Edwards and WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman have backed the Australian Live Exporters Council in rejecting the Humane Society International’s (HSI) attempts to link recent tragic shark attacks off the WA coast to live sheep exports."

A fine howdy-do this morning as we awoke to this anti-shark/sheep media report out of Australia.

No doubt planted by our blogger nemesis in Fiji, one Da Shark, who never liked the idea of a causal link between hundreds of dead and floating "sheep pops" on the surface of the ocean to increased shark activity in a given region and unfortunate shark strikes on humans.

We cite two things wrong with this story.

1. The shark expert mentioned in this piece is a paid hack of the Australian Live Exporters Council.

2. La la la la la la la.

So there.

Meh.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Shark Conservation - The Show Boats, the Sloggers, the Volunteers, The Public Media Conservationists, and then the Piggy Backers.

Every once in a while along comes a new shark blogger voice that cuts through the noise, digs deep into the world of sharks, and comes up with entertainingly brilliant stuff.

Such is Paul De Kock and his blog SharksWild this week.

Paul takes an unflinching look at shark conservation today and distills down to the "fun-de-mental" aspects of it including personalities, egos, orgs, and their efforts.

It's great stuff and smart writing.

The good news is there's an actual shark conservation movement out there. Not something that was even on the radar back in 2003.

But like all conservation efforts for whales, seals, tuna or sharks, once the movements have gelled it's important to sit back and take a hard look at current programs and solutions. Not something a lot of folks want to do, but ultimately necessary.

Sideways drift with conservation is something that all efforts suffer from and the notion that any conservation effort which brings "basic awareness" to an issue years down the line, no matter how self serving, is good for the effort - is false.

It's one of the tools organizations like Sea Shepherd uses to suck conservation donations out of the conservation space. Money that could be used to help next gen boots on the ground programs like replanting vast swaths of mangroves for shark nurseries is instead going to multi media extravaganzas that do nothing but demand conservation dollars from unwitting Facebook users.

Every conservation effort has stages. Initial stages are all about "awareness" but once an effort has enjoyed over 5 years of sustained effort, the next stages must be metrics based solutions that move away from awareness to action.

Read - The Show Boats, the Sloggers, the Volunteers, The Public Media Conservationists, and then the Piggy Backers.

Recognize anyone here?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Volkswagen and Sharks Bahamas - Video

As a lot of the industry knows we were AWOL for a month this year on another fun project with the entire A-Team in the Bahamas.

Exactly what that project entailed was the subject of much speculation.

You can stop speculating. Or begin a fresh round as the first in a series of anchor commercials for the 25th Anniversary of Shark Week has officially aired.

It's more of a teaser really, but here it is.

Enjoy:




About Shark Diver. 

As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cocktail Ice Tsunami Anyone?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Far be it for us to suggest how you should get your Margarita ice these days, but may we suggest that getting it from this particular pit stop is hazardous to your health. In fact someone should put up a sign or something:

"Danger Cocktail Ice Is Closer Than You Think"

At least that's the sign we would erect here.

Hat Tip Deep Sea News.


 


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Oceana calls for freeze of unmanaged shark catches

Oceana today echoed management recommendations from scientists of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), who have called for caution in Atlantic fisheries for shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus).

The ICCAT stock assessment report, released today, recommends that fishing for this species should not be permitted to increase until its status is more reliably known in the north and south Atlantic Ocean.

“The message from ICCAT scientists is clear,” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe. “Given the high uncertainty surrounding the current status of Atlantic shortfin mako, and the fact that its biology makes it very vulnerable to overfishing, fisheries should not place any further pressure on this species until the potential impacts can be assessed. It is now up to nations fishing in the Atlantic to follow the scientific advice.”


The shortfin mako is a large (up to 4 m), highly migratory shark which is considered Vulnerable in the Atlantic Ocean. Valued for its meat and fins, it is primarily threatened by overfishing. In 2010, countries within ICCAT reported catching nearly 6 500 000 kg of this species, roughly equivalent to 103 000 shortfin mako sharks.

Mediterranean countries within the Barcelona Convention, the majority of which are also members of ICCAT, have already granted the highest level of protection to this species in the Mediterranean Sea.
Oceana is calling for the adoption of management measures for shortfin mako sharks at the November ICCAT meeting in Agadir, Morocco.

Source: OCEANA

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, and Direct Action on Trial

Paul Watson has fled Germany.

So much for the vaunted Sea Shepherd mantra, "we will do anything for wildlife."

That quote is part of Sea Shepherds media machine or as the rest of the hard working conservation world knows it, the "Donor Dollar Sucking Machine."

Why did Paul Watson flee Germany?

He was about to be arrested, deported, and sent for trial in Latin America. It's part of the world of Direct Action, a conservation policy that says it is o.k to harass and ram vessels and interfere directly with wildlife harvests anywhere in the world - irregardless of treaties, fisheries policies, and or the personal health and well being of the participants on either side of the wildlife issue.

We're all for it, "if" it has long lasting results, like stopping a slaughter completely...and forever.

Unfortunately Direct Action is a failed policy because it stops nothing, from seal harvests, to Bluefin tuna, to whales. One might think that 30 years is enough time to gather a consensus on any policy failed or not.

Direct Action does create great Reality Television moments like this one for Season One of Whale Wars where Paul Watson faked being shot in the chest. It also sucks conservation dollars out of the atmosphere like an out-of-control and cartoonish Hoover vacuum.

And that's the problem with Direct Action. Donor money that could be used by forward thinking conservation entities who have boots on the ground and great conservation programs that actually save wildlife being sucked away by a constant, high profile, and unrelenting Direct Action Buffonery lead by Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson.

30 long years, and now when the chips are finally down for Watson, when it looks like he will have to face some measure of legal reality for his failed conservation policy...he slips away under cover of darkness.

The lawsuit, the extradition, the ensuing media surrounding Paul Watson's trial in Latin America was to be a public airing of Direct Action as a policy by conservationists the world over.

Sadly, because Paul Watson is ultimately a coward who would rather invent death defying moments at sea vis-a-vis his faked assassination moment, we will never get to see Direct Action on trial.

Instead prepare yourself for another 30 years of invented Direct Action moments that fail completely, save for the flow of money leaving the rest of the conservation sphere and into more inventive media moments brought to you by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Run, Paul, Run.

More here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Andrew Darby, Shark Pundit, Village Idiot, or Both?

Darby unfrozen or frozen?
"Some say it's time we started hunting great white sharks. There already is a form of hunting sharks, actually – it's called cage diving."

So quoteth the Great Darby this week in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald so fought with 1970's shark hysteria that one has to wonder if this reporter was not frozen in time at the exact second he sashayed out of the movie Jaws in 1976, wearing his oh-so-hip bell-bottom jeans. Only to unfrozen and put in front of a computer to pen this utter load of shark drivel.

This is what it has come to in the shark world. Reporters who have no clue attempting to grab at the media spotlight when sharks strike, people question, and answers are hard to come by.


Instead of seeing the global shark diving industry as a force for education, awareness, and conservation, Andrew Darby has instead chosen to spend his valuable research time watching a few You Tube shark videos and perhaps asking random homeless people on the streets of Sydney what they think of white sharks.


"The question is: what do the sharks think of this? How much do they learn to associate food with those strange-smelling creatures trailing four appendages – in other words, us?"

Andrew Darby is a media bottom feeder of the lowest order. A shark attack fear monger who uses cracked innuendo and half witted causal conclusions to sell papers and stay relevant. To ask what an animal with the brain the size of a walnut thinks of,  "strange-smelling creatures trailing four appendages" is to understand everything you want to know about Darby's writing style, his interest in the commercial shark diving world, and his capacity for any sort of investigative journalism.

Sorry, our bad, this was an Op-Ed piece. So Andrew does, in fact, get to spew forth babbling shark nonsense to waiting audiences like he's an expert, a waterman, and knowledgeable in any way shape or form about sharks and shark behaviour.

A lot has been written by smart people about recent shark strikes in Western Australia which have been surprising, devastating for families, and a source of questioning by those who work with sharks on a daily basis.

It right to question and propose solutions when these unfortunate events happen.

It's wrong to shovel piles of steaming words together into a wheelbarrow and parade through the media streets shouting, "bring out yer dead!," as Andrew has done this week.

Shame on Andrew Darby and for the record there is no causal relationship between recent Western Australia shark strikes and any part of the commercial shark diving industry anywhere. To suggest so, is to also suggest that white sharks will repeatedly attack big ocean going vessels captained by a lunatic shark hunter, an over the top marine biologist, and a small town sheriff.


The movie Jaws was fiction Andrew, fiction, look it up because ironically much of your recent Op-Ed was also fiction and we're here to put you on notice.

You want to write about the commercial shark diving world?

Get out from behind your desk, go live a life, and go discover an industry that has matured light years past your primitive descriptions of it. It's been a quiet 20 year revolution, but like all revolutions when folks from the past come and try and change hard won paradigms, heads roll.

We refuse to put up with idiot mainstream shark journalism anymore.

Sorry about your head Andrew, perhaps they can refreeze it?

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Mayans Respected Sharks 1600 Years Ago?

Shark Gods 1600 years ago
1600 years ago the ancient Mayans had a thing for sharks, at least when it came to representing them as Sun Gods.

National Geographic has the scoop and some pretty nifty images this week with a new temple discovery in Guatemala.

Nice to see even 1600 years ago people revered the shark, or...was this a conservation cult for sharks where individuals used these animals to their own grandiose media ends?

From Nat Geo:

Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar. Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shark Strikes in Australia, a Sheepish Connection?

While the conservation and commercial shark diving worlds mobilize to counter Western Australia's plans for a reversal in white shark protections and a series of limited culls of these magnificent animals in response to several deaths in the region, we came across another interesting sheep/shark connection to this story.

For those who follow this blog we also looked at the sheep/shark connection in Egypt during a series of unprecedented shark strikes last year.

Of course right about now Da Shark, located at his Blogger Bunker somewhere in Fiji, is screaming bloody murder at the very thought of dead sheep thrown into the ocean leading to sharks strikes on humans.

But wait, there's more.

In fact the notion that several hundred dead sheep suddenly dropped into any region might elicit a higher surface predatory response from local sharks is not out of the realm of possibility at all, and even the Humae Society of Australia seems to think this is an issue:

 A spokesperson for the animal protection society, Alexia Wellbelove, said  "thousands of dead sheep ... either whole or minced" were being thrown overboard as ships departed ports for the Middle East "without care or consideration for the consequences".


"It is highly likely that the disposal of animal remains in this way will attract large sharks over a wide distance," Ms Wellbelove said.

So there you have it. All joking aside the real issue as everyone knows are local politicians who will use these unfortunate events to justify more shark nets, a cull structure, and perhaps even a roll back of hard won protections for white sharks in the region.

Kudos to the many hundreds of voices that have jumped on this issue over the past week to say "hell no" and to keep Western Australia white sharks where they belong. In the ocean.

If you want to get involved you can do so here, here and here. 

The sharks thank you.


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sea Shepherd Fiji's Shark Conservation Boondoggle?

South Pacific vacation idylls with donor money? Yup!
First of all an indulgence and a short education of the word, "Boondoggle."

Boondoggle - work of little or no value done merely to look busy waste, wastefulness, dissipation - useless or profitless activity; using or expending or consuming thoughtlessly or carelessly; "if the effort brings no conservation gain it is a waste"; "mindless dissipation of  donor resources."

Which brings us to the topic du jour, Sea Shepherds South Pacific Shark Conservation Campaign.

You know the one. It was preceded by several breathless press releases and this over-the-top conservation PSA which promised to kick ass and take names and numbers once the Sea Shepherds arrived in the South Pacific.

For the sharks!

This particular PSA was met with the following statement from the Ministry of Defense in Fiji and if you have not read it, read it, it's an eye opener. In short Fiji has several amazing shark conservation programs in place with hardworking folks and a plan to make Fiji a Shark Sanctuary.

These are long term, local grass roots programs, the best of shark conservation in action.

Sadly, like most of Sea Shepherds media outreach the reality on the ground for Operation Requiem could not be more different from their media hype and this post is directed at the Sea Shepherd donor base whose money pays for Sea Shepherd vessel assets to spend months in the South Pacific wandering about from island to island.

Is this how you envisioned your money being spent?

Instead of changing the world for sharks as the propaganda suggests by direct action where members of this elite (ahem) South Pacific team would "gladly trade their lives for sharks," they, in the fine tradition of missionaries the world over, are spending their time spreading the Gospel of St Paul The Conservation Redeemer to islanders, and even commercial long liners.

More on those commercial long liners in a minute.

In Fiji their efforts have been about as helpful as tourists who steal things from World Heritage Sites.

It's great "conservation work" if you can get it and we know of at least a half dozen or so hard working NGO's who at this very moment are saving actual sharks with boots on the ground efforts that could use a three month "vacation" to the South Pacific to "save" sharks.

Unlike Sea Shepherd, these NGO's do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend pumping out simply fantastical cover stories or even have access to floating palaces to causally saunter from island to island with. These NGO's do not seek the mainstream media limelight, their staff do not demand a personality cult for species. They are the real deal vs grandiose "look-at-me-ain't-I-grand" conservation buffoonery at sea.

Once again Sea Shepherd's media vs actual conservation realities stand at stark contrast to each other. No sharks are being saved in this campaign but the weather is nice and the media they are pumping out looks great.

So back to the commercial long liners. In Fiji the proposed Shark Sanctuary is in its final decision process and for anyone in the shark conservation community who has fostered a shark sanctuary you know these final days are finger nail biting times where last minute deals, phone calls, and conversations hopefully lead to thousands of square miles of shark safe zones. A first step in a long and drawn out process.

These are precarious times, and anything can derail these last minute negotiations.

Enter Sea Shepherd and a post on their website from the elite team of Shark Angels who, if you remember, were asked in no uncertain terms to stay out of Fiji in the first place. They ignored that request and instead sat down with a local long liner who had his own anti shark sanctuary propaganda to spill forth.

Until Sea Shepherds Shark Conservation Campaign came along this Fijian long liner had no one willing to regurgitate his propaganda for him:

"Nathan worries the Fijian shark sanctuary proposed won’t be effective – the sharks will simply be taken elsewhere and legitimate operators will be the ones punished. He feels the use of wire traces should be prohibited (and enforced) around the world and it will decrease shark mortality by at least 80%. And he believes the fact none of his peers and the commercial fishing industry were properly consulted will result in its lack of the Shark Sanctuary approval in Fiji - in order to be successful, the legislation needs to consider all constituencies.  Pretty sound reasoning (regardless of whether I agree or not) for someone I had assumed was going to be without a clue."

You read that correctly. It is conservation garbage. It has also been mainlined directly into the propaganda machine that is Sea Shepherd for reasons that no one in the wider shark conservation community understands. It serves no purpose but to derail delicate negotiations in Fiji by a group of wandering shark media interlopers who are masquerading as actual shark conservationists.

Is this how you want your donor money being spent?

There's a choice people have to make. Support organizations that do real work and have real metrics for success when it comes to saving wildlife. Or fall for the hype and glossy PSA's that show action! pathos! and steel jawed animal savers with the wind in their hair, and just the right amount of lip gloss to catch the light.

You quickly find that 99% of the hype is good old fashioned conservation bullshit lead by conservation leaders who inspire their hand selected followers with their own brand of faked media moments for wildlife.

It has to end because the flip side to all this conservation noise is the donation button. It's the button Sea Shepherd hopes you press so they can continue on with their 30 year Boondoggle Machine.

Their machine is a well oiled beast that drops "elite teams" into hot spots around the world to take a few pictures, hype a few videos, and produce more media content next to that donation button.

The choice is ultimate yours and your wallets. Are you donating for changes to wildlife or another reality tv show?

In Fiji the choice is clear. We wish the Sea Shepherds well on their continued voyages and as a helpful hint make sure you use that 50 SPF sunblock. You don't want to start looking like someone from an actual NGO who has just finished planting 30,000 mangrove roots to create a shark nursery.

No, that would just be too horrible to contemplate and frankly nothing media worthy about it at all.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Unsung Shark Conservation Hero? Yes, Claudia Li

We spend a lot of time pointing out what's not working with shark conservation.

Namely to try and guide the discussion and or deflate those whose world views about themselves or conservation messaging is out of touch, out of whack, and downright counter productive to a global effort to save sharks.

So instead we wanted to focus on someone who is doing things right. A group that has created a global template for awareness and change within a community, and that group is Shark Truth.

We have been huge fans of Shark Truth from its inception back in 2009. Here's an organization whose branding, messaging, outreach, and media roll outs have been simply flawless.

If you want to see a website that's on point, on target, and frankly the future of shark fin conservation on a regional level you cannot help but admire what Vancouver, Ca resident Claudia Li and her team have put together.

Shark Truth could, if funded to its logical resource level, become the future of shark fin change across the planet. From Hong Kong to Malaysia and back smart and local boots on the ground efforts are the way to effect conservation change.

It's not sexy work, there's no reality tv moments, no $75.00 sustainable appetizers at Hollywood parties, what Claudia does is real conservation grind. Changing the minds and the hearts of her community one person at a time, making her and her entire team the Unsung Heroes of Shark Conservation.

If you would like to see a world where Shark Truth had branch offices across the planet, donate here this is money well spent, this is money that will actually save sharks for generations to come.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Super Shark Attacks...Plus Walking Tanks!

A Shark Movie that's got:

1. A giant, mobile, angry white shark - check
2. A walking tank - check
3. The Dy-No-Mite Guy from the 80's sitcom - check

What's not to love here?

 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chris Fischer's Dead White Shark Problem?

Let the pathos and the gnashing of teeth begin because it's official, Chris Fischer and and his merry band of Shark Men have killed a white shark.

The following is the very best media spin brought to you by lawyers, media writers, and a group of filmmakers who are hoping to be tagging white sharks for a second season on History Channel off the East Coast of the USA this summer:

Shark Wranglers aired the third show of its debut season on History and the men of the shark research vessel MV OCEARCH were devastated after one of the great whites perished in the course of their operation.

It is a risk inherent in the mission which team leader Chris Fischer understands. He described the expedition like this. 

"We don't know much. We don't know why they're hear. We don't know where they go. We don't know where they breed, give birth and the only way to find out is to get these tags on them so that we can protect those areas where they are the most vulnerable."

Fischer's bio on the History channel website for Shark Wranglers indicates that he had a hand in developing the method to capture and tag the sharks that can weigh up to a ton. Humans can be better protected from shark attacks if the data gathered by the team successfully identifies their whereabouts.

In "The Curse of Maya" the team headed up by Chris Fischer was not only affected emotionally, the mission was put in jeopardy. The body of a dead shark will keep others away from the area and a decision had to be made.

Do the men try and recover the body of Maya to enable them to continue in Mossel Bay or do they move on? They have yet to successfully tag more than three sharks and have fallen behind in their 40 day mission with 47 sharks to go.

The decision was made to go down and try to retrieve Maya and the brave soul who volunteered was Ryan Johnson, the team's lead scientist who has worked with and studied the great white shark species for a decade. 

There was no cage surrounding Johnson as he went to find the shark's body and he was given a limited amount of timeto be submerged before he would have to get out of harm's way. Despite the tag on Maya that revealed she was no more than 40 meters from the vessel, she was not found.

The greatest danger is attack from below a person and that means that as the diver resurfaces he is in the most peril. Ryan was retrieved quickly and the team was forced to try and make up the time lost.

They found two others and the capture process is complex. Not only do they need the shark to bite the chum on the line but they must muscle it into a wooden lift that projects from the side of the ship.

Rough seas make the lift vulnerable to cracking because it is exposed on three sides in the water. Wrangling the shark to get it into the lift is quite a chore. Once it is done, team members leap into the lift as the shark lies on the wooden surface. 

Keeping the shark alive and as calm as possible is the key to a successful operation, as they implant the device that has a GPS signal on it. With a stop watch ticking, team members perform the necessary mini-surgery..

The crew is vulnerable throughout the time the shark is captured prior to its release, making the action on Shark Wranglers real and exciting. Learn more about the team members and their mission at the Shark Wranglers website, here.

Of course we had a few words to say after the Junior Affair at the Farallones and a shark that was left with 2.5 pounds of rusting hook in its gut during the filming of Chris Fischer's Shark Men in 2011.

Naturally with any reality tv show that hopes to trade off with a modicum of science and or conservation thrown in those who become involved soon realize that the show must go on.

For the sharks who are the centerpiece of these shows we're not sure they would agree.


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

For Fijian Sharks It's Decision Time, Or Not?

This is a reprint from the Shark Defender Blog and great stuff as well.

It is equally important to point out that behind the push to create a Fijian Shark Sanctuary are some smart groups and people like Pew and the Coral Reef Alliance who have actual boots on the ground efforts here to make this happen.

Sadly, and you probably know where we are headed here, Sea Shepherds Operation Requiem posted anti shark sanctuary propaganda either willingly or unwittingly at a time for Fiji's sharks when any contrary views that might endanger this well thought out plan are unwarranted, unwelcome, and frankly amateur conservation at it's finest.

 "Nathan worries the Fijian shark sanctuary proposed won’t be effective – the sharks will simply be taken elsewhere and legitimate operators will be the ones punished. He feels the use of wire traces should be prohibited (and enforced) around the world and it will decrease shark mortality by at least 80%. And he believes the fact none of his peers and the commercial fishing industry were properly consulted will result in its lack of the Shark Sanctuary approval in Fiji - in order to be successful, the legislation needs to consider all constituencies.  Pretty sound reasoning (regardless of whether I agree or not) for someone I had assumed was going to be without a clue."

Well done Operation Requiem and Julie Anderson. Since when did Sea Shepherd Conservation Society post the views of the commercial long line industry as "gospel fact" in the face of existing and coordinated legislative efforts to save sharks in any given region?

On to serious shark conservation efforts, perhaps Operation Requiem should read this:

According to the Fiji Times, the Cabinet will consider the Fiji Shark Sanctuary decree on Tuesday, July 30, 2012.  Previous reports stated the decree would be taken up yesterday. From the Fiji Times:

THE Ministry of Fisheries will make its submission to Cabinet on July 30 for the proposed legislation to turn Fiji's 1.2 million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into a shark sanctuary.

Deputy permanent secretary of Fisheries Penina Cirikiyasawa confirmed this, saying they were happy with the draft submission.

"We will be giving the copy of the submission to the Minister of Fisheries Joketani Cokanasiga by the end of this week," she said.

"The only change that could be made is recommendations from the minister himself. Other than that, we have already had consultations with the industry stakeholders and other relevant stakeholders and we are pleased with the draft that has been compiled.
The Fijian government has been considering shark protections since 2009 and has engaged with the Coral Reef Alliance and Pew Environment Group since December 2010 to conduct stakeholder consultations, including four rounds of consultation with the fishing industry, gather data, support research, including research that is identifying endangered scalloped hammerhead nursing grounds, and organize outreach activities, including the production and distribution of Shark Hope, a Fijian-made film about the importance of sharks to Fiji's culture, environment, and economy.

The Fiji Shark Defenders, a coalition headed by the Division of Fisheries, The Fiji Times, CORAL, and Pew, recently concluded a shark art contest for World Ocean's Day.  The winners of the contest received school supplies and had their photos and stories in the Fiji Times.  Additionally, entire schools have taken on the shark sanctuary campaign and organized their curricula around sharks.  The Suva Multiple Intelligence school in Suva was recently interviewed about what they have been doing all year:
Students from Classes One to Nine are encouraged to learn all aspects of shark conservation, including statistics, scientific terms as well as creating their own perceptions about the worldwide conservation efforts to protect sharks.

The school's co-founder Doctor Robin Taylor, through this shark conservation project, says his students are able to learn other subjects like mathematics and English as well as other skills that are applicable in real life.

"For the upper classes we have a puppet video production and the students have to write the screenplay, design the storyboard, write the dialogue and shoot the video of the puppets. These skills are real-life skills and they're learning it through this shark project," Dr Taylor says.

"The teachers can only suggest and supervise their activities but the students themselves come up with the original writing.

"Another example will be they get to learn how much shark fin costs as compared to one pound of tuna per square inch. By calculating this they are learning mathematics," Dr Taylor adds.
There is still time for you to participate in the creation of the Fiji Shark Sanctuary. Here are five simple things you can do right now to help:

1. Take the Fiji Shark Defenders pledge. We'll add you name to our petition, and call on you if we need your help. We will also inform you as soon as Fiji's sharks become protected.

2. Write a short letter to the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun explaining why you support shark protections.  Say you want to see full protections with no loopholes.  If you don't live in Fiji, say that you can't wait to come visit our sharks. Email your letter to: editor@fijitimes.com.fj and letters@fijisun.com.fj

3. Write a letter to the Fiji Director of Fisheries Sanaila Naqali thanking him for standing up for sharks, and encouraging full protections for Fiji's sharks including a ban on the commercial fishing, sale, trade, possession, and transshipment of shark and shark products, and retention of sharks caught as incidental bycatch. Mail your letter to: Director Sanaila Naqali; PO BOX 2218; Government Buildings; Suva, Fiji Islands.

4. Post our public service announcements to your Facebook wall. PSA #1 and PSA #2 talk about the importance of sharks, while PSA #3 (starring shark champion Senator Tony DeBrum from the Marshall Islands) talks about the importance of banning bycatch and transshipment.

5. Update your Facebook and Twitter status to I love Fiji Sharks #FijiMe #Finsanity Please Like, Share, and ReTweet the message every time you see it.


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

White Shark Death in Vietnam - Video

If it was up to us these magnificent animals would be best served with sustainable shark tourism not a side of hot sauce and indignation:


 "Cá mập ở Quy Nhơn" indeed!




About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

The Shark Empire Strikes Back?

The global shark diving industry has become a juggernaut for shark conservation efforts and best practices for animal tourism world wide.

It's been a quiet revolution that has happened over the past decade and one that has been lead by some of our industries best and brightest.

Sadly, not everyone has received this memo and that's a failure of our industry to push back in a consistent and coherent manner when politicos, the media, and a few traditional agenda based voices (hacks mostly) speak up to regurgitate opinions taken from dog eared copies of the book Jaws.

If there was a Bible for misinformed media hounds who spend 98% of their time sitting behind desks at home waiting patiently for their creme colored wall mounted kitchen phones to ring - Jaws is it.

Thanks to the industries shark blogs there is a small amount of push back and it is usually to the point, on target, and dare we say what's needed if our industry is to continue to grow, thrive, and become all that it can be in the years to come.

Case in point this latest from Fiji and who else, Da Shark, who has penned one of the best responses to the recent shark strike media firestorm in Western Australia. Kudos sir.

What's at stake is a growing call for a complete reversal of shark protections for great whites in the region and a "limited cull" of these magnificent animals in response to five shark strikes and particularly gruesome death.

To date this call for sharks heads on sticks in the region has been met with resounding white noise from shark groups, shark divers, and commercial shark interests worldwide while the politicos in the region are having a media field day.

We have to push back, and it is posts like this one from Fiji that serve as a template for the rest of a global industry to become engaged.

Owning a commercial shark diving company or even working with one on even a part time basis makes you part of an elite fraternity. You are responsible for the future of the industry on a local, regional, national and global level.

What happens in one part of the world for good or bad to our industry is often carbon copied and exported to other regions, hence the push back and it does not get much better than this.

Oh, and in case you're on of those who think that blogs are nonsense and that no one reads them, think again. Words and ideas are powerful things, and like individual web pages blog posts sit on the Internet for eons marinating, proposing ideas, and justifying position that those in the media search for when the subject of sharks come up.

Food for thought.

More blog information and outrage here.


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where Does YOUR Shark Fin Come From?


Kudos to Pew.

A long time ago we suggested that to really understand the global shark fin industry you needed something like a map - we said this in way back in 2009.

Well here's a map, in fact it's more of a global template, and it's the key to saving sharks.

Take a good look because THIS is shark Conservation 101. This is the template for ever single shark fin campaign from 2012 onward. A way of knowing in real time where to focus resources, time, and energy for those who actually understand the salient fact that to be successful with shark conservation we need to "identify and target," not "raise awareness and fluff."

Cannot help but be impressed with work like this coming from Pew.

Then again when have we ever not been impressed with the work for sharks coming out of Pew?

More from Da Shark with some insider scoop.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bull Sharks and Jesus - Video

Looks like the local kids will not be swimming at this dock anytime soon. Still, with all the prayers The Jesus get's each day this one probably caught his attention, that's if you believe in that sort of thing.

We're more "Jesus in The Pancakes" kind of folks. Hat Tip RtSea:



About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Sea Shepherd Fiji and Conservation Carpetbagging?

The conservation world became alerted to "something odd" in the shark conservation space a few weeks ago when the island nation of Fiji posted this warning about Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

What was particularly interesting about this open letter to the world was Fiji's recognition that Sea Shepherd as an organization had become more of a conservation parody of itself over the past decade with it's homespun reality tv shows and media stunts, and less an actual force for real and lasting conservation change.

Fiji's open letter was the first look behind the Green Curtain for Sea Shepherd, revealing for the first time by a sovereign nation a bloated conservation media machine run by kool aid drinking drones who seek fame in the conservation space as the new Conservation Kardashians.

We wrote a satirical post about this last week.

Case in point Sea Shepherds abject failures to stop sealing in Canada after 30 years of media circus, whaling in Antarctica, Bluefin Tuna harvests, or even propose and foster any manner of metrics based conservation efforts that leave behind lasting change for wildlife.

In fact metrics based conservation, the kind of lasting hard work in one area to see that conservation is done right is not in Sea Shepherds DNA. They are spectacle makers first and foremost choosing the easy conservation route of shifting conservation baselines, and "awareness for conservation."

By now, and thanks to the hard work of tens of thousands of people the world over who have never sought the limelight, people are fully "aware" that sharks are in trouble.

For the past decade and lead by some true innovators in the region Fiji has created several admirable boots on the ground programs that have made real and lasting differences to the lives of sharks and these amazing programs continue to this day.

What's a stake in Fiji is a new Sea Shepherd reality tv show that looks very much like Sea Shepherds other reality tv shows that offer hype, broken vessels, and a particularly nauseating brand of "personality cult for species" that is looking to carpetbag its way into Fiji for a quick media pump and dump.

Conservation Carpetbagging is not new, but it has been perfected by Sea Shepherd.

The Academy Award winning movie The Cove was subsumed by Sea Shepherd in an orgy of bad taste and poor media judgement. It was Conservation Carpetbagging at its finest and a clear indication of Sea Shepherds willingness to take any effort done by others and make it their own for the clear purpose of draining conservation dollars into Sea Shepherd coffers.

Hence the grave concern being directed at the new Fijian shark effort by Sea Shepherd and it's clones.

The shark world does not need another personality cult and sharks could care less if these hackneyed media seekers would "die for sharks."

In fact to even publicly state this, to put yourself in a media situation that you know is completely false from the get go is to let down the animals you profess to care so deeply about. It is the poorest choice of words for animals that need change, not hype and more "awareness."

Sadly the issue of this new programs involvement in Fijian waters has not been resolved even with the recent letter by the Fijian Government to the rest of the world. As it turns out instead of moving on to other Pacific islands could in fact use help for sharks Sea Shepherd is trying to back channel their way back into the region and into work done by others.

For readers of this blog you'll note we broke with Sea Shepherd the year Paul Watson faked his own assassination for season one of Whale Wars. It was an eye opening moment that should have shocked others in the conservation space to their core.

It did for some.

For others it opened their eyes and desires to become Conservation Rock Stars. The reality that you could bald face lie to millions on television and then be invited to swanky Hollywood cocktail parties to feast on $75.00 sustainable appetizers served to you by out of work actors whilst being feted by big dollar donors who admired your latest brush with death for wildlife.

Sharks don't need this. Sharks need actual help.

Reality tv shows that are designed to callously suck up conservation dollars in return for media spectacle and personality cult offering "awareness" are as damaging to sharks as the fishing fleets that target them, because those on the actual front lines with real solutions need those dollars more than ever.

Food for thought.


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Very Cool White Shark Encounters 2012 - Video

Occasionally spear fishermen get fist hand encounters with Mr.White and thanks to mini cam systems like GoPro these rare encounters get caught on film.

Of course the media want to make these encounters into more than they are, the natural curiousness of a top order predator on its daily rounds. Having said that the footage is always dynamic and riveting.

Kudos to Nathan and his buddy  for taking this encounter in stride and not harming the shark:




About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saying a Few Good Words For Our Industry?

TravelMole is the travel portal for tourism offices, travel agents, and industry types the world over. 

So when they asked us to comment on a recent decision by Western Australia to pre-ban all shark diving in the region to focus instead on an antiquated shark net policy...you know we had some choice words on the matter.

As did one George Burgess from Florida. Seriously George, you have to get some better talking points about the global shark diving industry. We would suggest that you do the following if you are to stay credible in the coming years:

1. Get out from behind your desk.

2. Go shark diving for once, or even twice.

3. Get to know our industry beyond what you see on Animal Planet and You Tube.


George has been a media thorn in the side of a global industry that has matured and has grown over the past decade beyond a handful of operations and into a global juggernaut of conservation minded tourism folks who understand the many facets of animal interactions and sustainability.

Here's our quotes, we'll leave George to sort out what he said, suffice to say, if you pull a media quote from George going back to 1985, it all sounds the same.

Desk George, walk away from the desk:

Patric Douglas, CEO of Sharkdiver, a US-based shark diving company that operates in Mexican waters told TravelMole: "As a successful commercial shark diving operator with over 15 years of experience with big animals like white sharks and tigers I am always a bit taken aback at the few backwards looking politicians who see sharks through the same lens cast in the 1970's after the movie Jaws debuted.

"The past decade has seen a revolution in the commercial shark diving world from enhanced shark diving protocols to broad based conservation initiatives developed by commercial shark diving operations designed to save dwindling shark populations. Additionally, commercial shark diving is a major tourism driver in places like the Bahamas which counts on the direct tourism revenue each year from safe interactions with sharks."


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Did Sea Shepherd Take Shark Conservation Into a Brave New World?

Dear Shark Conservation Community,

I write this desperate email from the future having perfected time travel in my spare time. I don't know what the deal is with scientists because I did it with a few random wires, an old refrigerator box, and this glowing object that fell from the sky on a recent drift boat trip down the Mackenzie River.

I recently visited several of the years from 2022 - 2100. While I really enjoyed hanging out with dead celebrities for extended AppleGooFace Hover Hikes through the Grand Canyon in 2050, I am actually writing to warn you of impending DOOM for shark conservation.

Yes, DOOM.

You see as it turns out Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the year 2012 decided to get into the shark conservation game in a big way and no one in the wider shark conservation community even noticed. Save for a few bloggers, shark diving operators, filmmakers, and shark conservation folks whose metrics based conservation efforts were in fact changing real conservation paradigms and yes - saving actual sharks.

Conservation folks from the future, those who are left, call this period in time, "The Golden Years."

It all started with Whale Wars in 2009, an Animal Planet soap opera/reality tv show that featured Sea Shepherd in all it's media glory chasing whalers...year, after year, after year, after year. They called this conservation. But the animals kept being harvested and even South Korea joined in after watching Japan harvest whales from coastal waters for over a decade without any opposition.

Much like Sea Shepherds other efforts to save seals in Canada for 35 years to no avail.

China sadly harvested the last Canadian seal in 2034 with the President of China dressed in traditional Inuit native clothing holding up the last seal pup by the tail to cheering cod fishermen from Newfoundland.

Not to mention the Bluefin Tuna that went extinct in 2041.

I was at the last Sushi Party for Bluefin watching in anticipation with an invite only crowd of 300,000 as Russian Oligarch, Dimitri Vostanoff, carefully lifted the last known slice of Bluefin to his mouth at a cost of $425 million dollars.

In attendance was a stage filled with Tibetan Monks giving ancient blessings upon the event, the entire Mitsubishi Corporation Board, weeping heads of state from the Mediterranean and a small group of Bikini Clad Sea Shepherd Extremists who rammed a perfect replica of the Hover Ship Steve Irwin into the side of the GoogleFace Concert Stadium in Wembly, U.K

Folks in attendance treated the ramming and subsequent explosion as any other media stunt in the future. Many opted for the "Donate Now" button on the side of their ocular implants and donated money to Sea Shepherd with two quick blinks. A girl next to me waving a tuna flag said, "not quite as good as the Greenpeace Volcano Jump for Marsupials, but I will give them a few dollars none the less."

It seemed strange to see Sea Shepherds in Bikinis, even the men, sporting the traditional Paul Watson big belly and White Beards of Truth and Justice, but that is the conservation world of 2041. A place where conservation looks a lot like big budget Hollywood stunts that served no actual purpose but to get folks to donate to the next big budget Hollywood stunt.

The Presidents of Planet Earth (2022-2053) Trey Parker and Matt Stone even produced a little documentary on the early exploits of Sea Shepherd, perhaps you have seen it.

If I thought the Bluefin Tuna spectacle was strange my visit to 2100 still haunts me.

In 2012 Sea Shepherd created another soap opera/reality tv show for sharks. In a world that was already filled to capacity with honest and hard working conservation groups struggling to bring awareness and conservation help to dwindling shark stocks, this new program was designed to do what Paul Watson, then head of Sea Shepherd did best before he succumbed to a $75.00 sustainable appetizer at a Hollywood fundraising party in 2026:

1. Lay claim to all conservation.

2. Create personality cults around "high value" wildlife.

3. Get ordinary folks to donate to Sea Shepherd by offering them media spectacles for their money.

It's known as the "Watson Doctrine," and there's even a statue to his honor at the Grand Palace of Conservation. A sprawling 70 acre estate in Hollywood where the old Church of Scientology used to sit before it was purchased by Sea Shepherd in 2023. They kept the religion, just changed the logos on all the vestments, wall hangings, and Scientology Sippy Cups.

Much like the Romans did to Christianity in AD 391.

A 200 foot tall and 90 foot wide statue of Watson stands in gilded glory pointing to the horizon with Sea Shepherds motto blazed across the sky day and night with 700 Diamodium lasers - "Make It Up As You Go Along."

After the airing of the new Shark Reality TV show in 2014 Sea Shepherd essentially owned shark conservation by sucking up all the conservation bandwidth and donations, laying claim to the hard work of others.

They even started a new fashion trend in the conservation world, The Conservation Bikini or Con-ninni.

As it turned out and much to the horror of the many thousands of hardworking souls who had quietly worked to save sharks without wanting to grab the media spotlight, the Sea Shepherd Spectacle Machine rolled right over them. Replacing years of metrics based shark conservation with reality tv bytes and vessel rammings that did nothing but suck money from regular folks coming home from minimum wage jobs.

These shows also helped sell SUV's and detergent during the commercial break which made Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd the darling of giant earth wasting chemical companies, huge corporations, and well heeled politicians who soon realized that supporting conservation groups who seemed radical was good for business.

I came back from the year 2100 exhausted.

This is not the place that I ever envisioned conservation would end up. It happened because instead of pushing back against media spectacle and personality cults that started to infest and subsume the conservation world in 2012 too many of us sat by and said and did nothing. In fact many of us adopted this strange new world hoping to become the Kardashians of Conservation, selling hand bags and tailored soaps to help animals that commercial fishing fleets and big governments were taking from our oceans with abandon.

It's not too late, that's why I came back, to make a difference by saying "no" to the insanity that soon will be.

It's up to us.

Now if you'll excuse me I have a date with Rolling Stones in concert at the Music Hall in Athens.

After the Greek bailout in 2014 failed the Stones bought the whole country and with life extension technology from Russia have been playing twice a decade gigs to throngs of fans.

Set dial for July 18th, 2120 and I..am....outta.....here.

More on the subject here and here (read it, this is great stuff).

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
415.235.9410


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Australia Acts Decisively Against Shark Tourism - Meh!

In a  stunning act of political theater taken from the recent pages of half assed tourism policies in Maui the minister of tourism for Western Australia has banned commercial shark diving.

“I have decided that Western Australia will not be the place for shark cage tourism, like those currently operating in South Australia and South Africa,” Mr Moore said. “There have been no formal applications for such ventures in WA as yet, but I have acted to let any potential operators know this State’s policy."

Yes folks, even though there are currently no operations seeking to dive with sharks on a commercial level in Western Australia, and even though commercial shark diving is a multi-million dollar conservation juggernaut across the globe one Mr Moore, Minister for the Inane in Western Australia, has banned this activity.

You have to admire the shortsighted politics of decision makers these days who in most cases can count the time they have spent on water with two or three fingers and actual shark interactions from what they see on You Tube or on Animal Planet. In this case Mr Moore banned future commercial shark diving after a series of shark attacks in the region.

Seems Mr Moore in his alter ego as Great Future Tourism Prognosticator has seen a world wherein shark attacks in the Western Australia region will increase ten fold because of the activity of a few  "yet to be conceived of" commercial shark operations far offshore. This will be the first time a politician of any stripe has pre-banned commercial shark diving based on existing shark attacks that have nothing to do with our industry.

As we said many months ago following the Maui shark ban:

The number one rule for regional tourism is "never take tourism options off the table." This rule looks into the future of tourism destinations and changing public demand. What is not popular today may well be tomorrows latest fashion.

Of course that does not stop those who play politics on a professional level from setting policies that  are ultimately short sighted.

Kudos Mr.Moore your decisive actions have saved perhaps...0 people from negative shark interactions in the region. We wish you luck with act two of your grand decision which sounds a lot like an expansion of shark nets to us:

“A Shark Response Unit has been set up by the Department of Fisheries to co-ordinate shark mitigation operations and research and a community engagement strategy is also being developed to increase general knowledge about shark safety and to work with public agencies and stakeholders to enhance preparedness and responses to shark hazards,” Mr Moore said.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No more Shark Fin Soup in China?

Yesterday the New York Times reported that China said Tuesday that it would prohibit official banquets from serving shark fin soup, an expensive and popular delicacy blamed for a sharp decline in global shark populations.

Will pictures like this soon be a thing of the past?
Alex Hofford/European Pressphoto Agency
 It looks like years of efforts to raise awareness about Shark Finning is starting to pay off. This news comes just a couple of months after the media in Hong Kong struck out against the global anti shark fin campaigns, characterizing them as "anti Chinese" and "discriminating against their eating culture". While official state dinners use just a tiny fraction of all Shark Fins consumed, this announcement still sends a signal, that China is starting to change it's attitude towards Shark Conservation 

Cheers,

Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Shark Diver/Horizon
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Radical Groups not welcome in Fiji

As an individual that has been working with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe and involved in shark conservation for the last 10 years, I'm  frustrated with radical groups that hinder our efforts, in the interest of self promotion and producing "reality" television.

Oceanic White Tip
I'm happy to report that according to the Fiji Blog, the Fijian government has decided that  RADICAL GROUPS THAT DISRUPT LEGITIMATE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION NOT WELCOMED BY FIJI

It goes on to state that Radical international groups, such as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, any similar organisation or any other related party, which seek to sensationalise esoteric fishing practices, including on so-called "reality television," do so for purposes of self-promotion at the expense of disrupting legitimate conservation work. These groups are not welcome in Fiji and will not be tolerated by Government.

The full statement

Thank you Fiji, both for making environmental protection a priority and realizing that legitimate environmental groups have nothing to do with those radicals.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Shark Diver/Horizon
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico



About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.