Sunday, March 31, 2013

Filming Sharks in Bimini - A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday we watched the antics of a film crew in Bimini harbor swimming around at a boat dock across from us with baited Bull Sharks in an attempt to place a "fin cam" on the back of an animal.

Sadly, as they discovered, the shark site they chose has many faults. It is too shallow, the light is iffy, it's sitting off a sand bar so the vis is usually terrible on the outgoing tide (when you get sharks), and one of the town sewage outflow pipes runs right through it.

It takes some measure of bravery to snorkel in the raw sewage from "Home Week" we were impressed.

The issues are simple facing film crews who want to shoot sharks in Bimini harbor. We have taken careful stock of these issues in the design and implementation of Bimini Bull Run from site selection, to water depth, to fidelity of animals. This site and these sharks are for specific film projects - not all.


Safety, sharks, and looking at the shark resource in Bimini Harbor as a long term investment in Bimini, it's people, and the animals is what BBR is all about.

Swimming with these animals outside of cages and attempting to feed them at the same time is absolutely contrary to any kind of long term success with these wonderful resident animals. It is also disrespectful to the people of Bimini who call this harbor home. 


Seriously, the level of arrogance exhibited by this crew who knew nothing about these animals was broad by even film industry standards and it didn't go unnoticed by those who were observing.

Like Tiger Beach, if these animals were to be conditioned to swimmers/divers and bait, that combo in a harbor setting will have dire consequences.
That's why we designed the cage system for BBR with a removable face panel for filming and it is open to all - whoever you are.

We want to see safe shark interactions, we also want to see great production values. Amateur hour baiting and interactions at the dock across the way will get you no where in the long run.

Fact is we have been doing this a while and we know what works, we are sorry you didn't get your fin cam placed, but we could have told you that in advance - if you had asked.

Lastly about putting tech on any Bull Shark here in Bimini. Go through the Shark Lab first and bring them into the production space for projects like these.

We did it with a South Korean crew last month, fact is they have been here the longest, they know the sharks better then any of us and it shows a measure of professionalism and respect to reach out to the Lab.

So enough said. Our site is available to you and anyone who is interested. We chose the site well knowing that there would be a few who would take swimming in raw sewage over working with us, but that's the nature of the shark film world. 


Ego's aside everyone, safety and production values should be foremost considerations, they are with our crew and always have been. You are either doing crap fly by night productions with sharks or you are serious about your craft. For those who choose the latter, go somewhere else, for those doing serious work you'll soon discover that Bimini is a shark wonderland filled with possibilities.

If you actually want to get Bull Sharks in Bimini Harbor we're here to help.


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, March 29, 2013

Bimini Bull Run - Pristine Conditions, Let's Go Shark Diving!

Setting up the shark site this morning;)
The crew is here in Bimini on a few projects this week. After a looong night last night of fresh conch and Kaliks we woke up this morning to perfect conditions at the shark diving site we call Bimini Bull Run.

It just does not get much better then 100 foot vis and lots of sharks.


We also have a bunch of soon-to-be shark divers lined up to meet the "resident sharks" of the Bimini Big Game Club at the worlds only dockside shark diving attraction.

The new cage we installed also has film and television capability and you'll be seeing a lot more of that in action in the coming months.

Let's go shark diving!

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, March 27, 2013

New Shark Blog in Town? 'Bout Bloody Time

Da Shark has discovered a new shark blog and after just two posts we have become fans.

Of course that's also after a few Kalik Beers at one of our favorite Out Island Bahamas watering holes that happens to have crackin' Internet.

And why, you might well ask, would we be fans of another shark blog? It's in our DNA to celebrate and welcome those who are willing to share a voice for the industry and for our sharks.

In case you require proof there's this here, and this here (got some heat for that one) and more if you look (beers getting warmer by the minute).

This new shark blog hails from South Africa and the central hotbed for shark diving and shark conservation in Gansbaai. And may we say it's about bloody time someone grew a pair of steaming hot bolas and got on to the Internet to blog about South African shark diving.

Fact is if you do a Google search for Gansbaai most of the shark media is coming from mainstream sources and this is Gansbaai people, "the cradle of the shark diving industry." Thank god we got ourselves an actual industry blogger with, apparently, a sense of humor who understands nuance and the complex world of the commercial shark diving.

Some advice from an old shark blogger who has enjoyed over 1.8 million page views and who would really like to see your new shark blog survive and flourish past the industry standard 8 posts:

1. Post from the heart - don't give a shit about conventional wisdom, stay away from any dive show that features, "industry leaders," and blog like you care. Fact is those who have formed an opinion about you did so years ago based on hearsay and group chatter. They are as irrelevant as the latest regulator innovation (now in PINK) and as useless to the industry as a third teat.

2. Post smart - don't be an idiot. Along with posting from the heart comes the responsibility of posting smart, make sure you are leading with some ideas, solutions, and ways of looking past the "today meme."

3. Post with legacy - be aware that blogging is really all about putting out a soapbox and letting anyone with an opinion have that opinion based on what you have written. If it is controversial it will get a lot of traction, if it is bland no one will care, so something in the middle will be your legacy, these will be the posts you are remembered by.

4. Facebook shark people are idiots - yes they are, they do not read past 15 characters and usually respond to moronic images from 2005 of puppies being fed to sharks with the title, "Sign this petition to stop Chinese from feeding puppies to sharks." Those Facebook posts get over 15K responses and every single person on those threads are...idiots, well meaning but idiots none the less. If you cannot see past the hype and feel compelled to "like" every half baked image of bikini clad bimbettes riding sharks or headgear challenged industry folks finger banging a Tiger shark you are not helping the industry much.

5. Post and post and post - don't stop posting because that's what's needed in our industry. Independent voices and strong ideas, direction, focus. Explore and shout your thoughts out, always give props where they are warranted, always feel free to point out those who are taking a global industry and dragging it into the gutter or bringing it up from the dark ages with smart ideas.

6. Ideas are dangerous - remember that one. If your smart posts are met by industry folks with with monosyllabic grunts and whistles it will give you some indication of how the cream (the pure expressions of ideas) always rises while all the rest ends up in the dustbin of history. 

Lest you be tagged as a Trash Talking Blog Dog own it. It means that you are being read and your ideas are reaching those who just might take your ideas to heart making a global industry a better place in the process.

Cheers,


Patric Douglas
Founder
Shark Diver
Currently enjoying semi-retirement

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, March 20, 2013

Southern Stingrays Gateway Shark Diving and Conservation?

There's a new paper from Guy Harvey's team about Cayman Island's hugely successful wild animals encounter, "Stingray City" and what rampant and uncontrolled commercialism of species does to feeding and movement patterns.

Oh and it's not good, in fact it reads like an old school NY Mob Indictment:

"We saw some very clear and very prominent behavioral changes, and were surprised by how these large animals had essentially become homebodies in a tiny area," says study co-author Mahmood Shivji, director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and NSU Oceanographic Center professor, who led the study."

Ok, so we knew this was an issue going back to 2009 but what of the broader implications of this report?

Equally not good, not good for tourism, not good for the Cayman Islands, and not good for commercial shark diving.

Shark diving you ask? Yes.

Commercial shark diving has struggled over the past decade for relevance and acceptance in the broader tourism space. Resorts and developments still do not want shark diving in their waters but might consider a home spun Stingray City as a gateway to shark diving down the road. In fact we know of three large chain resorts and two cruise lines who are in development stages right now for wild encounters with Stingrays based on the Cayman model.

We have no doubt that a few will drop out of planned Stingray encounters based on this report and that has implications for commercial shark diving. It might be suggested that sharks are also being conditioned in a similar manner - you know that old chestnut.

Regardless, for resort and developments to accept commercial shark diving they must first become accustomed to for profit wild animal encounters that directly benefit the resort, not a third party tourism offering, but an actual on site encounter model.

You may also ask why it is important for resorts and developments to even care about commercial shark diving. Because once they become invested in the oceans they also become good stewards of the oceans. Resorts foster and protect sustainable and revenue generating tourism offerings, so to have resorts care about regional shark populations - is a net positive for sharks.

What's happening at the Caymans is rampant and unchecked, the study results show as much, but consider the lost opportunities of those who now will not choose to engage in wild animal encounters based on raw data vs a best practices outline which tempers wild animal encounters with common animal protocols.

Wild animal encounters are not a perfect match. They never have been, some are better then others, some, like the Caymans, are in desperate need of hard and fast rules and regulations. One thing that is not up for debate is the continuing and evolving need for broad based best practices leadership in the wild animal encounter space.

A road map if you will, covering all species that might be commercialized. We have it for manatees, we have it for whales and dolphins, we even have it for whale sharks.

Stingrays? Anyone?

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 Sanctuaries: The HEPCA Enforcement Roadmap?

We just found this website and we have to say it's a great idea and perhaps an actual solution or stop gap measure to the question of shark sanctuaries and enforcement.

Welcome to the fine folks from HEPCA who have had enough of sharks being taken from the Red Sea and are on a "name and shame campaign" to put a stop to it.

It's a fine concept that needs a little help, like a Facebook side, and a smartphone app, and an actual website that enables divers and boaters to submit real-time reports and images of sanctuary violators direct to government agencies.

Come to think of it maybe a site like Dive Sentry which is basically an in depth version of what the folks over at HEPCA are moving towards?

Regardless, it is good to see this kind of non NGO push for safer sharks, kudos to all.

BTW Dive Sentry is still looking for a good NGO home, it's ready made and ready to roll, know anyone who has the need?

PADI Project Aware, we're looking at you guys.

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, March 16, 2013

Fiji Leading the Shark Pack - Cool Research

Has it been a decade over there in Fiji? 

Looks like it and now we have research driven data as well.

The kind of data that helps an entire industry grow, the kind of data that Fiji and the Team at BAD are so good at initializing and producing - quality work.

If you thought today's blog post from Fiji and Da Shark was celebratory, you were correct, and congratulations are in order as well for the entire Fiji team who have fearlessly, "done their own thing," and in doing so laid out a template for sustainable shark diving the world over.

We have long been fans of BAD and Da Shark, and no we're really not secret investors, we just have an eye out for excellence in the shark diving community and Fiji consistently fires on all cylinders when it comes to commercial shark diving, conservation, and research.

So Kudos to all for this latest paper and another continued decade of adventures to all:

Opportunistic Visitors: Long-Term Behavioural Response of Bull Sharks to Food Provisioning in Fiji
Juerg M. Brunnschweiler, Adam Barnett


Abstract


Shark-based tourism that uses bait to reliably attract certain species to specific sites so that divers can view them is a growing industry globally, but remains a controversial issue. 
We evaluate multi-year (2004–2011) underwater visual (n = 48 individuals) and acoustic tracking data (n = 82 transmitters; array of up to 16 receivers) of bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas from a long-term shark feeding site at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve and reefs along the Beqa Channel on the southern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji.

Individual C. leucas showed varying degrees of site fidelity. 
Determined from acoustic tagging, the majority of C. leucas had site fidelity indexes greater than 0.5 for the marine reserve (including the feeding site) and neighbouring reefs. However, during the time of the day (09:00–12:00) when feeding takes place, sharks mainly had site fidelity indexes smaller than 0.5 for the feeding site, regardless of feeding or non-feeding days. 
Site fidelity indexes determined by direct diver observation of sharks at the feeding site were lower compared to such values determined by acoustic tagging.

The overall pattern for C. leucas is that, if present in the area, they are attracted to the feeding site regardless of whether feeding or non-feeding days, but they remain for longer periods of time (consecutive hours) on feeding days. The overall diel patterns in movement are for C. leucas to use the area around the feeding site in the morning before spreading out over Shark Reef throughout the day and dispersing over the entire array at night. Both focal observation and acoustic monitoring show that C. leucas intermittently leave the area for a few consecutive days throughout the year, and for longer time periods (weeks to months) at the end of the calendar year before returning to the feeding site.

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, March 15, 2013

Behind Blue Glass - Got $5.99 For Some Quality Shark Time?

Of course you do. In fact you will spend on average of $80 on non essential items today that have nothing to do with sharks, or shark conservation, or filing you head with amazing shark video.

That all changes now. 

David Diley (one of the good ones) has released his latest film and yes, you have to pay for it as nothing is free, but it promises to be filled with sharks...and that got our full attention:

"For years some of the largest Great White sharks ever landed, were caught off the coast of Mallorca, sometimes less than one hundred metres from popular tourist beaches. These captures abruptly stopped after the second largest White Shark ever caught was brought back to the dock by fisherman, Xisco Perez. The year was 1976, the year Steven Spielberg's JAWS was released in Spain.

The story has remained largely untold outside of Mallorca until now, David Diley explores why, along the way taking seven unwitting volunteers into the deep, to show how important sharks really are, how shark encounters are actually a positive thing and show the world what is truly at risk.

This was the first film I ever made and features content never before seen on TV, including eyewitness accounts from the people who were there. Behind Blue Glass premiered to a packed room in Portals, Mallorca, in May 2011, after its DVD release earlier that year."

Extra bonus footage provided by Richard Theiss and Lawrence Groth.

Buy it here now before the VIMEO servers crash when the rest of the world comes rushing in.

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, March 14, 2013

CITES Well Done - Sharks Get a Break

Five species of sharks and two species of manta rays will now be subject to international trade regulation under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, a move that could save these threatened species from total collapse.

The required two-thirds of the 177 CITES member governments voted to protect these animals—the oceanic whitetip and porbeagle sharks, three species of hammerhead sharks, and the two species of manta rays—marking an increase in the number of sharks protected by CITES from three to eight species.

"This is a major win for some of the world's most threatened shark species, with action now required to control the international trade in their fins," said Susan Lieberman, director of international environment policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

"This victory indicates that the global community will collaborate to address the plight of some of the most highly vulnerable sharks and manta ray species. Today was the most significant day for the ocean in the 40-year history of CITES."

Lieberman added that the gridlock created by those who oppose such controls has been broken. Sharks are primarily traded to Asia for use in shark fin soup. Manta rays are caught and killed for their gill rakers—the part used to filter their food from the water—to make a purported Asian health tonic.

"The tide is now turning for shark conservation—with governments listening to the science and acting in the interest of species conservation and sustainability," said Elizabeth Wilson, manager of Pew's global shark conservation campaign. "With these new protections, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and hammerhead sharks will have the chance to recover and once again fulfill their role as top predators in the marine ecosystem."

Pew added that this commitment by the global community to shark conservation needs to be fully implemented and enforced, and should be coupled with national and regional efforts to ensure a sustainable future for these and other top ocean predators, all of which are critical for the health of the wider marine ecosystem.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 143 shark species are threatened with extinction, but few management measures exist to protect them.

Votes from Committee I on Monday 11th March:

OCEANIC WHITETIP The vote was 92 For (68.6%), 42 Against, 8 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).

HAMMERHEADS The vote was 91 For (70%), 39 Against, 8 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).

PORBEAGLE SHARKS The vote was 93 For (70.45%), 39 Against, 8 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).

MANTA RAYS The vote was 96 For (80.7%), 23 Against, 7 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/13/5261350/pew-applauds-unprecedented-conservation.html#storylink=cpy

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, March 12, 2013

China's Porkapocolypse!

While CITES is on every shark blog out there (and some fine reportage too) we thought we would turn our attention to one of the least covered stories this week and yes, we're talking about  - Porkapocolypse!

A fun fact to know and tell, I spent a few years in China running 21 day tours for overweight Americans. Well actually they were regular sized but the local Chinese thought they were simply huge.The Americans used to stop traffic in Beijing when they came off our tour buses...but I digress.

China back then was a god awful place where you had to shower twice to get coal dust out of your hair, kind of a modern post industrial Dickensian vibe. That was 1998.

Seems not a lot has changed as this week over 5000 dead pigs were found in the rivers and tributary systems of the Shanghai River - a river that feeds the city of Shanghai population of 23 million people. Ya'll want to watch what they are putting into your Green Coffee Latte at Starbucks these days. Another fun fact to know and tell, there are only three Starbucks in all of Shanghai proper.

Still, ewwwww.

China let's nothing go to waste, so these pigs died of, "something horrible." Seriously, if local Chinese who happen to love pork (and who doesn't?) could have found a way to carve up 5000+ pigs and drop them into the food chain they would have, about the only thing that can account for these animals in rivers is rampant and unchecked disease and flood.

Since there was no flood, we got ourselves a disease people - and a big one.

One last fun fact to know and tell, the major killer of pigs worldwide is swine flu or H5N1.

Anyway the number of pigs in the river keeps getting larger and larger. Government folks in China are saying the number is over 5000 and in China if the news is good they bump it up by a factor of ten, if the news is bad a factor of 20 is applied and the issue is downgraded.

So expect the numbers to rise and for my friends in Shanghai right now, if you need some bottled water from outside the country we can send it, it looks like you'll need it and stay out of the Starbucks at least until the Porkapocolypse has subsided.

Update: It's a virus, Porcine circovirus, as reported by Chinese health authorities and not H5N1.

Cheers,

Patric Douglas
Founder
Shark Diver
Currently enjoying semi-retirement

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, March 11, 2013

Getting Excited About CITES?

There's a whole lotta euphoria in the air today regarding CITES and well done to everyone who had a hand in the new listings for species like Manta's and OWT's.

If there was one clear sign that the past decade of action for sharks and rays has been successful it was the announcements of today and the well heeled, well funded opposition groups, who failed to rally the necessary votes to keep sharks and rays from being listed in CITES.

Kudos.

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.

Sean van Sommeran, full of sound and fury, signifying his own self-importance?

How can a tag be in two different places over the span of a decade?
Update: As expected a week has passed and Sean van Sommeran Executive Director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation has failed to provide any evidence of his self proclaimed and very public "discovery" of last April.

As expressed by members of the California white shark shark research community this week:

"PSRF's sole obligation was to provide scientific proof of the PSRF ws tag in the Sea of Cortez - from day one."

Instead we have seen reams of Internet bluster, accusations of secret Corporate/NGO cabals and no more than a few somewhat grade school accusations leveled at those who would question what is now understood as one of the most outrageous claims ever perpetrated on the California white shark research community.

The final question remains. Why? Unfortunately getting any coherent answers to the Big Shark Research Lie will probably be as hard to come by as getting any tangible proof that anyone involved in the original story ever existed, aside from one man sitting at his desk in Santa Cruz back in April of last year with a very big imagination.

Now on to our original blog post:

Sean van Sommeran, full of sound and fury, signifying his own self-importance?

We're almost loath to blog about this guy, as one might loath the prospect of researching the life habits of parasitic tapeworms that inhabit the bottom of port-o-potties at construction sites in San Diego.

Yeah, that kind of loathing.

But for the *fact* (and when blogging about SvS you use that word lightly) that the white shark research world was rocked by the assertion of a tag discovered on a shark in the Sea of Cortez back in April of last year - we would not be writing right now.

SvS claimed in the news, and on Facebook, and in emails, and on the phone, and via carrier pigeon and even to the homeless in Santa Cruz when they would listen, that the mailbox he calls the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation had in fact tagged a simply huge white shark that wound up in the Sea of Cortez providing - for the first time - direct evidence of adult sharks moving from California into the Sea of Cortez.

He was adamant about it and he had proof, an image of a tag.

Then the story took a weird turn, according to the PSRF a rival researcher stole the "tag evidence" (as witnessed by an actual image attributed to the shark) and the PSRF was robbed of one of the most exciting research stories of the year. A new page on white shark migratory patterns was wiped out and the world was a darker place because of, "well heeled corporate researchers who are jealous of PSRF success."

The whole Steve Zissou vibe.

The image was the key and as we pointed out back in April nothing about the image made any sense at all, never mind the story, or the person peddling the story, or the fall out from the story within the California white shark research community - then the same image appeared last week on Facebook attributed to another GWS tagging event in California by the PSRF in 2001,wait, what?

The ENTIRE MX tag story was...wait for it...you probably know where this is going... a lie.

A huge, pulled out of your steaming arse...lie.

A malformed and twisted...lie.

A moronic half baked fib, nurtured to a white lie, and then kicked into a caldron of hate and misinformation and left to the desert like elements of Mexico...lie.

A childlike and somewhat stupid, "I didn't put my finger in the pie momma" but with far reaching adult implications...lie

We could go on, but our sustainably harvested, shade grown, $40/lb morning coffee is growing colder by the minute and frankly, like the tapeworms, once you get past the "ick factor" this entire story is about as interesting as the bottom of those port-o-potties we mentioned earlier.

Oh, and LIAR!

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, March 8, 2013

Florida's $80M Tourism Mistake - And A Solution!

Waayy back in 2002, Floridian law makers, responding to a few folks with some good media connections and seeing a political opportunity banned shark diving in Florida's waters.

O.K they banned shark feeding, with the intent of banning shark diving - it worked.

Hailed as a "good idea" at the time Florida watched in 2008 as it's entire economy withered and died in response to the housing crises. Even tourism, Florida's staple economic driver, almost collapsed.

Meanwhile, in the Bahamas, just a few miles away shark tourism grew, and grew, and grew. It's an 80+ million dollar Tourism Juggernaut and it was created entirely by the decisions of Florida almost a decade ago.

Stop and consider for one moment $80 million dollars - those are compelling numbers.

Shark tourism has defied every tourism paradigm. It continued sustainable growth in the face of shark bites, economic downturns, and negative media. It is predicated on one simple principal - people want to interact with sharks.

In the intervening decade the perception of sharks, thanks to the tireless work of countless individuals and the blending of shark conservation messaging with commercial shark diving, arrived at a sustainable place where Florida should now consider allowing commercial shark diving back in Florida waters.

Why?

Because sustainable operations with hard and fast protocols could well be regional economic drivers.

The value of commercial shark diving to the state of Florida could be in excess of $400 million dollars, given the size of the state, the numbers of tourists, and access to sharks.

It is time for enlightened Floridian lawmakers to look back at the $80 million dollar mistake of the past and look to a future where the commercialization of sharks, conservation, and even research can be blended into sustainable operations that boost the economy.

Alternately, Florida can continue to watch double digit tourism growth with sharks in the Bahamas and feel the sting of tourism dollars leaving the State of Florida.

In the world of tourism, especially wild animal encounters, the number one rule for lawmakers is, "never take an option off the table - forever."

You never know when technology, demand, or public sentiment will change.

Leaving your tourism suite - short changed.

 

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, March 6, 2013

Mystery Sharks off Rottnest?

Mystery sharks off Rottnest shed new light on species

News Release

The University of Western Australia

28. February 2013

————————
The discovery of two sharks never seen before in Australian waters is set to re-write scientists’ understanding of the species.

Shark biologist Ryan Kempster, of The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, said the rare sharks were caught off Rottnest Island two years ago at a depth of 430 metres by local recreational fisherman Steve Downs.

Mr Downs gave the two sharks to a group of researchers at UWA’s Oceans Institute and School of Biology, and the WA Museum.

The mystery sharks were a male just under a metre long and a pregnant female about 1.2 metres long.
“After two years of thorough investigation which included DNA sequencing, the sharks were identified as mandarin dogfish (Cirrhigaleus barbifer), a species never before seen in Australia,” Mr Kempster said.

“This species was known previously to be found only between Indonesia and Japan, and also New Zealand.”

It’s not known why the sharks were found so far from their normal habitat.

But the find already has scientists re-evaluating their understanding of the species.

“The female shark found off Rottnest had 22 unborn pups and is only the second ever-recorded specimen of a pregnant female of this species,” Mr Kempster said.

“Previously, it was thought that the maximum number of pups for this species was 10.”
The researchers’ findings were announced this week in the Marine Biodiversity Records journal published by Cambridge University Press.

Source: University of Western Australia

Related Scientific Paper :
Ryan M. Kempster, David M. Hunt, Brett A. Human, Channing A. Egeberg and Shaun P. Collin (2013).




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, March 4, 2013

Shark Diving Bimini, Bahamas at Bull Run


Martin Graf from Shark Diver is having an amazing month in Bimini, Bahamas getting to know the locals or Bull Sharks in the marina at the Bimini Big Game Club.

The Bimini Bull Run crew asked Martin to join us to help set up the world's first dockside shark diving operation because of his decades long experience with sharks in Mexico at Isla Guadalupe.

Bimini Bull Run is also a new film and tv hub site for all shark production needs while on Bimini. Our one day shark production site works in tandem with commercial shark diving operations and shark safety.

We take shark diving seriously at Bimini and always have. The team here at BBR have been working with sharks for the past decade in the Bahamas. We see sharks as they are, top predators, not playthings, not toys, and not a resource that we can abuse.

Sharks are wild animals, they are magnificent, and they must be treated with respect - always.

At Bimini Bull Run our goals were simple, bring the world of wild sharks to as many people as we could and hopefully they will come to understand these animals, their eco systems, and the wild places they live in as places we need to protect for future generations.

Let's go shark diving!

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.