Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lemon Sharks: this has happened in Florida!


Bingo, and I cite,
This Final Amendment updates Atlantic HMS essential fish habitat (EFH) based on new scientific evidence or other information and following the EFH delineation methodology established in Amendment 1 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP (Amendment 1); updates and considers new habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs) for Atlantic HMS based on new information, as warranted;
....
In addition to identifying EFH, NMFS or Regional Fishery Management Councils may designate HAPCs where appropriate. 
The purpose of a HAPC is to focus conservation efforts on localized areas within EFH that are vulnerable to degradation or are especially important ecologically for managed species.

EFH regulatory guidelines encourage the Regional Fishery Management Councils and NMFS to identify HAPCs based on one or more of the following considerations (§ 600.815(a)(8)):

  •  The importance of the ecological function provided by the habitat; 
  •  the extent to which the habitat is sensitive to human-induced environmental degradation; 
  •  whether, and to what extent, development activities are, or will be, stressing the habitat type;
  •  and/or, the rarity of the habitat type.
....
Amendment 10 creates (a) new HAPC for juvenile and adult lemon sharks off southeastern Florida between Cape Canaveral and Jupiter inlet.
The new HAPC for juvenile and adult lemon sharks is based upon tagging studies and public comments received that expressed concern about protection of habitat in locations where aggregations of lemon sharks are known to occur.
.....
Dated: September 1, 2017. 
Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
Remember the whole drama back then in late 2015?
Whereas the clamoring by the troglodytes and the shark girl  has done nothing more than piss off the fishing lobby and the authorities, and has led to the introduction of a Federal Shark diving ban, other people have been quietly looking for a solution - not for camera or applause or perceived fame but only for the sake of the animals.

This may well be that solution.
The Lemon Shark aggregation is mostly within protected State waters but extends to unprotected Federal waters, and this designation as habitat area of particular concern can now hopefully lead to a temporary fishing ban during the aggregation season from December to April - along with hopefully, less disturbance by pesky divers!

I say, well done ladies and gentlemen!
You know who you are!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Apex Predator Tourism - Paper!



I say, not too bad = a big improvement over last time!
Yes it's once again one of those papers where the academic intelligentsia is meddling and wants to tell us what to do - but when put into context like they have done here, those recommendations do make much more sense. And it's obviously nice that they mention the SRMR, and they also do get extra points for mentioning Rick's SSD!

And the whole mumbo jumbo about the need for regulation?
When it comes to Shark diving, it remains highly irritating - but I'm really not gonna waste my time and try to reformulate what I've said here, so please go and read it there = far from being the rule, regulation all the way to bans (!) is only opportune at a very last resort, i.e. only once common sense, voluntary codes of conduct and self regulation have utterly failed!
And yes, Florida troglodytes, I'm totally looking at you!

Oh and.
Considering the current rampant biodiversity loss within all non-managed ecosystems, I personally find the reference to moral, ethical, and philosophical questions about the commodification of nature naive and highly disturbing - and I can certainly leave it at that!

The good news?
This fad appears to be petering out and from what I can discern, this is very likely one of the last papers on the subject - thankfully!

Anyway.
Judge for yourselves = enjoy the paper!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

And that is why we do it!


Awesome - the picture and the quote, and the dude ain't too shabby, either!
Click for detail!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fiji's Sharks!

Love love love this image - click for detail!

And talking of Tom.
On top of his photography, he has started to film and if I'm not mistaken, this is one of his very first little edits. Great to see Papa in what may well be his very last interview before retirement.

Enjoy!



Friday, September 15, 2017

Diving for Dakuwaqa!


Very nice!

Check this out.
Kudos to Lauren the Sharkiologist for an intelligent, insightful and well-researched piece about our work at Shark Reef and beyond - and nice to see the pics by the BAD Viking and Tom, too! 
 
And BTW.
Yes we got no Wobbegongs but we most certainly got Hammers, and did have a GHH join the feed, albeit only once - and judging by Grim's track, a visit by a GWS is definitely a possibility!
Now that would be something, so fingers crossed!

Anyway, very well done - Vinaka Vakalevu!

If You were born a Shark!


And THIS is why we love you Cristina.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

New Rules at Guadalupe!


Excellent news!
Watch.



Read this.
Following last year's cage breaches (again, BRAVO Katie Yonker!) at Guadalupe, Conanp have tightened the rules and re-designed the cages. And it gets even better: at least for now, it appears that the rules are finally being enforced!

Case in point, the troglodytes are furious, see at top.
Like I said back then, they are but a tiny obnoxious minority that appears to have severely overstayed their welcome, and we can all only hope that this will motivate them to finally fuck off.

And this?
Will the authorities finally clamp down on the fake out-of-cage science by the likes of Ramsey and Winram, ban the people on the black list and fine, and scrap the operating licenses of the enablers?

As always we shall see. 
There are now official observers on the vessels, and the transgressions are becoming increasingly difficult - so here's to a stellar season: with real ecotourism, zero cage breaches, zero shenanigans and zero Guadalupe Shark porn on Discovery!

Yes I know I know.
But hope, as they say, springs eternal!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Dear Friends, Please Stay Safe!

This is a forecast - click for detail.

Best Wishes from the whole team!
Details e.g. here.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Bulking up at Shark Reef - Paper!


Great stuff - and I cite,
With provisioning occurring 3–4 times per week at the SRMR and focal individuals consuming an average of ~0.74 heads per provisioning day, we estimate that these sharks consume ~2.6 provisioned tuna heads per week, which is similar to our estimate of food required to meet their weekly energy budget (2.3 heads per week).
As such, it appears that our focal sharks may be fuelling their energy requirements exclusively from provisioning. However, considering that encounter rates vary widely among individuals and between months and that electronic tracking data show that individuals intermittently leave the area for a few consecutive days, weeks to months throughout the year before returning to the feeding site (Brunnschweiler et al., 2010; Brunnschweiler & Barnett, 2013), at the most this may only be the case for some individuals at certain times of the year (e.g. at the beginning of a calendar year).
....
The foremost limitation to this study is that data and inferences are based on 10 individuals observed on 36 days. 
These 10 individuals may be bolder than other bull sharks encountered at the SRMR and thus predisposed to take food and, hence, the patterns found for these individuals may not reflect all the bull sharks in the area. Given the variable number of sharks at feeding events and days individuals are absent from feeding events (Brunnschweiler & Baensch, 2011; Brunnschweiler & Barnett, 2013), further work is needed to determine the importance of tuna heads compared with natural prey in bull shark diets, for example, stable isotope analysis.
So there you have it.
Very surprisingly indeed, those Tuna heads we feed are not at all rubbish but instead a valuable supplement that can help bulk up our Sharks when they come back all exhausted and emaciated after the pupping and birthing season - and I can fully confirm that we've seen many an individual Shark become chubby and happy again after only a few visits!

But what about the potential negative aspects?
Could we be overfeeding them, and could we be subtracting them from the regulatory role they got to play in the environment?
Likely not, as a) the feeding frequency is not uniform but highly individual and determined by individual dominance and/or boldness, b) our observations tell us that those same dominant Bulls do not simply gorge themselves but clearly stop feeding once they got enough and c) our Bull Sharks are not resident but only sporadic visitors whereby individual site fidelity and thus residency is by no means uniform let alone increasing but instead varies greatly from year to year - re-read this post and paper!

But that's obviously not hard evidence but (highly) educated guess.
Hence the suggestion that one examine the Bull Sharks' diet via e.g. stable isotope analysis - and without wanting to preempt anything, I can state with great confidence that you will need to keep watching this space! :)

And this stupidity with its even stupider title?
Re-read this: the actual problem is not the provisioning per se but the disturbance of the Whitetips' diel rhythm, and not the fact that they are being fed but instead, the fact that they are not getting enough food and are incurring a metabolic loss as a consequence! 
Incidentally, much like at those cage dives where in their collective wisdom, the regulators have decreed that the GWS must chase teaser baits without ever being fed - and even more so in e.g. Shark Alley where they are being lured into wasting heaps of energy on fruitless breaches so that the photographers can get their shots!
Detail detail!

But I'm digressing as usual.
Enjoy Juerg's paper (and here)!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Breaching Orca!

Source.

Cool - watch.
Story here.



Onward and Upward!

Click for detail!
 
We've just bid Isa Lei to some most excellent people.
And I cite,
I really must make a plan to get out to Fiji!!
Of course I would have to work on a scuba cert beforehand. :-)


Dive cert: easy, takes 4 days!
How can u b a shark biologist and deprive yerself of the opportunity to witness behavior first hand! Tellya what: if u make it over here I’ll throw in the cert FOC – because I can!


A dive course included!
Honestly, now I have no excuse not to come. Careful, I am one of those people who actually does take people up on their offers! I will have to take a look at my winter and see if I can get a few weeks in :-)
And she really is, and she really has - more than four years later!
I must say that I'm stoked as ever since those ignominious events back then in SA *, Michelle aka the infamous and very regretfully retired Megalobomb and I have been regular pen pals - and it was really high time that we finally meet in person.
Needless to say that it was very much worth the wait, and then some, as she is sharp and witty, and pretty, too, and generally a total pleasure to be with! She is now a newly minted Shark diver, and I have no doubt that this will have consequences - good ones for the Sharks and hopefully, renewed bad ones for the bullshitters, charlatans and media whores!
Anyway, can't wait to discover where her journey will lead her next - and yes, this is very much to be continued!

And then there were Elena and Daniel.



Looks like our wish is about to come true!
She has persevered, and after literally years of searching, it really looks like the intrepid duo may have found a location where to set up camp and create an integrated Shark diving, research and conservation business that is  modeled after what we try to do here in Fiji. I'm obviously not at liberty of divulging any details quite yet - but it's gonna be brilliant so keep watching this space!

So godspeed my friends.
Here's to fair winds and following seas, and to many more epic Shark dives! 

* Having checked (which I now bitterly regret), the bloody Facebook group is alive and kicking, and even worse than before: still with its complement of pompous bloviating Sesselfurzer and dipshits with an opinion and a keyboard, thankfully sans the lying SVS but with the addition of such luminaries like Collier, and a gaggle of fawning desperate housewives = Dunning Kruger meet Idiocracy meet the bloody Dolphinization
Sigh - and lest you did wonder, all those years of pathetic chest thumping and verbal diarrhea have led to precisely zero new scientific insights, and to a grand total of zero Sharks being saved!
And so it goes!
 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tiger Shark Movements at Tiger Beach - Paper!

You can visit the iconic Tiger Beach with GSD members Jim Abernethy Scuba Adventures and Epic Diving.

Good one!

Read this.
If I understand it correctly, it appears that the effects of provisioning at Tiger Beach are, if at all, minimal insofar as the Shark diving schedules appear to have an only negligible influence on overall Tiger Shark movements, and as the large majority of individual Sharks did leave for their annual migrations as already described many years ago.

And the four homebodies?
Maybe they just like it there, maybe they're in love with Jimmy or Eli, maybe they're just lazy or maybe that's just the "right" amount of Tigers in that area, who knows - plus, as our own research has shown, residency may be completely different in another year!

Long story short?
This is once again evidence that Shark tourism in general and Shark provisioning in  particular appear unproblematic at the ecosystem level whereas at finer scales, effects are, if at all, clearly sub-lethal. Granted it's merely a data point - but the evidence is certainly mounting!
And our increasingly irritating detractors? Like I never cease to repeat, come up with some fucking evidence or shut the fuck up! 

But I'm digressing as usual.
Enjoy Neil et al's interesting paper!
 

GWS off Jupiter!

Another lucky sighting in Florida - Source

Watch.



Awesome.
Certainly much smaller than the reported 18 to 20 feet - but what a great encounter and also, great comment by Stacey.
Story here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tiger Sharks in the Galapagos - Paper!


Cool!

Check this out.
I must say that having gone there several times and never having heard anybody mentioning them, I was totally surprised when reading about the occurrence of Tiger Sharks in the archipelago - but then again, considering the numerous (possibly distinct) Green Turtles and their nesting beaches, it makes total sense! 
May this be a rather recent phenomenon like in Cocos where there however were previous reported sightings by Hans Hass and Zane Grey? Considering the tracks, quite possibly - but then again, who knows!

The findings?
Much in line with what has been reported by Adam and Richard in Raine Island = that most Tigers would remain in the vicinity of the Turtle nesting site but that some would roam further. The way I read this, this once again confirms that those Tiger Shark migrations remain highly complicated and mediated by environmental factors - which of course begs the question, what is the influence of the ENSO = there is definitely a need for longer term monitoring studies.

Anyway, very interesting indeed!
Enjoy the paper!

PS - turns out that I've really not been paying attention!
 

GWS vs Seal!

Source.

Not a good day to be a Seal!
And not a good day and place for bathing and surfing, either - remember, and here?
Story here.



Monday, August 21, 2017

Eli - Livin' La Vida Loca!


Watch.



Thanks buddy.
Come back anytime - and make sure to bring back the Fairy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Number One!

Click for detail!
 
Quick quick!
Check this out before somebody will undoubtedly go and spoil it!
A big Vinaka Vakalevu to all the reviewers!
 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beautiful and Peaceful!


And I cite,
Desmond Ng I knew so little about sharks before I came here... they are beautiful and peaceful creatures :)
And THAT is why we do it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Tooth Fairy!



The Waterbug is going places - literally!
Eli and Maritza are taking her on a two month family road trip, and one of the stops has been at Shark Reef where a big Fiji Bull Shark has given her a present. So after the BAD boyz and gals, several BAD family members and one BAD Viking, we now got ourselves a BAD Tooth Fairy - and our youngest, and most endearing Shark diver, ever!

So welcome aboard Sophia.
Can't wait to see where this is leading!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Spearo vs Galapagos Sharks!


Watch.

Pretty darn stupid if you ask me.
This is exactly why those guys continue to get bitten = better to just let the Sharks have the Fish and go catch another one.
Story here - H/T Daniel.




Saturday, August 05, 2017

River of Eden!


Awesome!

Just found this now.
Story here - enjoy!



Wednesday, August 02, 2017

GHH vs Blacktips: Cool Shit!


Great stuff!
Yes it is missing the holy grail = a successful predation - but knowing MPO's legendary determination, it's only gonna be a matter of time til he's got that one in the can as well.
 
To be continued no doubt.
Enjoy!



And here's another real nice one!



Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Croc vs Shark!

And they eat Sawfish, too! Source.

Watch.
That sure is one unlucky Shark!
Story here.



Monday, July 31, 2017

Dancing With Sharks in Fiji!

Another great picture by Marty, this time with Papa! Click for detail!

Very nice - Vinaka!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Finding Salisbury!

Source.

I really like this.



And I also like the project - FB here.
This place is as pristine and remote as it gets, and should probably be left alone - but then again, I completely ignore the back story and matters may well be a tad more nuanced, as they usually are.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pétition: à la Poubelle!

Shark diving in French Polynesia - quite safe and totally sustainable. Source.

Have you seen this?

Seriously, don't sign that shit.
It got zero foundation in fact and is nothing but the old tired anti-industry fearmongering - and no I'm not gonna repeat myself, the more since as a reader of this blog you know exactly what I'm talking about, e.g. here, with links.

Just this.
The disappointing oblique endorsement by the Shark Girl whose career has been predicated upon being depicted clowning around on dozens upon dozens of provisioned Shark dives smacks at best of naivety and at worst, of total hypocrisy.

And, gents.
This is the moment to look at the big picture, and your presence and contribution to the IPFC 10 (especially to D and H) is going to be a great chance to address and debunk this stupid controversy.
I'm sure you understand - je vous fais confiance! :)
 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Megamouth!


Just in case you missed it (I did).

Here's that Megamouth from Komodo.
Not really the most comely of Sharks if u ask me - still, check out the pretty white markings on the pecs and pelvic fins!
Anyway, what a totally amazing encounter!
 
Story here - enjoy!



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Insensitive Whale Shark?

Source.

Watch this.
Yes it's nice and I'm happy the wire was removed.

But that's not the point.
The point is that contrary to what is being asserted in the article, the Shark is by no means struggling and thrashing near the surface of the water but instead, it appears totally unfazed and is nonchalantly sucking down ikan puri, possibly offered from a bagan in Cenderawasih Bay; and even when the diver pulls at the wire right inside of the wound, the Shark hardly flinches and also does not swim away but continues feeding after the intervention.

Remember this post? Sure you do! :)
Methinks this video is once again evidence that Sharks perceive pain, if at all, completely differently - just imagine the reaction of any Mammal in an analogue situation!

Anyway, just saying - and yes, nice feel-good video!

Per i nostri amici Italiani: Smile, it’s Sharky Time!


Finalmente!

If you can, check this out!
Like Paolo explains, it appears that in Italy, Fiji is mainly being marketed as a honeymoon and not a diving destination. Consequently and with the exception of several volunteers with Projects Abroad, the number of Italian tourists gracing our dive has been minimal, and our exposure in the Italian media has so far been non-existent - so this is a very welcome surprise indeed.

Grazie mille Paolo, sei proprio grade!
Non saprei per il "pastore di lupi" - ma senò devo proprio dire che la'hai azzeccata perfettamente, e che mi sono veramente divertito a leggere il tuo gentilissimo articolo!
Speriamo ad una prossima - e ti prometto che quella volta ci sarà anche il sole!

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Totemic Sharks?


Hah - and I cite,
In a decade or two (~1995–2010), an unusual transformation occurred in the perception of sharks.
In the society, sharks went from being feared animals to protected and even totemic animals. In the shark-enthusiast community, the combination of interest or mild obsessions with sharks, the desire to do something and protect sharks, and mysticism, resulted in sharks becoming totemic animals. Even for some in the field of ichthyology, sharks ceased to be “fishes” and became totemic animals...

Shark Biology Becomes Shark Advocacy

When sharks ceased to be “fishes” and became “totemic animals,” much of shark biology evolved into advocacy.
Although there were sufficient scientific, ecological, and economic reasons to protect sharks, a totemic relationship requires that the totem be protected and be a protector of the clan. Thus, it was necessary, in the advocates’ view, to dispel “the myths created by Jaws,” or the idea that sharks are, or could be, man-eaters.

The notion of sharks as man-eaters was not compatible with the relation-ship desired with the totemic animal. Furthermore, if sharks were man- eaters, or potential man-eaters, they would not be tolerated and could not be protected in a society where most people are not aware of the differences among domesticated, tamed, and wild animals. So, in the advocates view, totemic sharks could not be man-eaters. Thus, a change in perception was needed, and sharks had to be portrayed as harmless to humans...

Shark Television

The movie Jaws also engendered a new television genre.
In 1988, the public fascination, or obsession, with sharks caused by the movie led the “Discovery Channel” to produce “Shark Week,” a week-long series of programs based on sharks. The shows were instantly successful. In time, “Shark Week ” would become the longest-running program on cable television, having lasted 28 years as of 2016.

In the early years, the shows were loosely based on natural history or conservation of sharks and were fairly realistic. Perhaps catering to what was attractive to the audience, programs soon became centered on white sharks or bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas , and their attacks on people...

As satellite tags were developed and became widely used, filmmakers turned to shark tagging to replace the superannuated shark attack programs.
The tagging of a large shark is always an exciting event and could produce the action footage that the networks loved. Because of the high cost of satellite tags, film producers could always find a willing researcher lacking funds or seeking publicity, although most of the time the “researchers” were usually unknown to those actually studying sharks. The “researcher” could assume heroic poses in the tagging film, which could be finished with the perennial “high fives” of such films.

The networks loved it!
And then, there's this.
Like any passionate shark lover, I once adored shark flicks. 
The brave scientist pressing into the unknown, the cool gadgets, the thrashing of a hippo-sized toothy fish from the deep that quickly returns from whence it came – this is the stuff of obsession for any nerdy 11-year-old kid.

But today, most of these movies make me want to wretch.
It’s not just the puffy-chest posing and the gravely-voiced narrators, it’s the whole vibe. Sharks on Shark Week aren’t really animals anymore, they’re props. And increasingly the stars aren’t scientists, they’re stuntmen like Dickie Chivell, who gets on surfboard-like things to see if he can tempt a white shark to bite him or Micheal Phelps, who … I honestly don’t know what the hell that guy has to do with sharks.


This isn’t David Attenborough, this is Jackass. Danger porn. 

Proponents of Shark Week claim that the program helps bring awareness to sharks and promotes conservation. But let’s get real, no one walks away from Shark Week saying, “Wow, I really want to donate to conservation efforts.”
Twenty-nine million people tune in to Shark Week with an average of 2 million per episode and yet no conservation NGO I know of sees a bump in donations. If anything, shark populations have plummeted during the 27 years Shark Week has been on the air.
Bingo.
Before watching Shark Week, you should really read this splendid tour de force about bullshit Shark science and researchers, bullshit Shark conservation and bullshit Shark movies by the venerable José Castro; and check out this little pearl by Eric Vance.
And then, by all means, feel free to go ahead and watch that shit as it is utterly irrelevant anyway.

Enjoy.
The articles and the stupid Shark shows!
 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yannis!

Yannis is a member of Team Predator at FIU.

Great stuff.

This is one of the good guys.
And contrary to all those media whores in front and behind the camera who will be celebrating themselves on Shark Week, he actually does stuff, and this where it matters - and consequently, much of his research has a direct impact on Shark management and conservation.

Enjoy!



Friday, July 14, 2017

Beqa Lagoon?

Click for detail!
 

BUT!
Fiji's first National Marine Park, the Shark Reef Marine Reserve where we conduct our Shark dive is located on the fringing reef of the Southern coast of Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu - not in Beqa Lagoon which is an atoll in the South of us, see the image at the top. 
Now you know!

And BTW: what about the other featured destinations?
Most are equally being serviced by members of Global Shark Diving, i.e. Tiger Beach by Jimmy and Epic Diving; Cocos by Undersea Hunter; Kleinbaai next to Gansbaai by Marine Dynamics; the Hebrides by Basking Shark Scotland; Malapascua by Divelink Cebu; Osprey by Mike Ball; Guadalupe (and Socorro!) by Nautilus; Jupiter by Jimmy; and finally, Playa by Phantom. And when you come diving with any of us, you will be given a card entitling you to discounts with everybody else.

So, what are you waiting for.
The best operators in the best destinations await you!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Gombessa IV Genesis!

Source. 

Love love love love!

Everything here is just simply epic.
This is one of my very favorite dive sites featuring one of my favorite underwater spectacles, the cinematography is out of this world, and it's even great to see that the indefatigable Sané is still living the dream in his very own piece of paradise - and nice to see you, too, Johann! :)
And remember the paper? This is it!

Totally, utterly and ridiculously amazing - enjoy!



Friday, June 30, 2017

OSAM - Now available to Buy and Rent!


Read this.
I know I should probably say something, so there.

This has been shot way back then in 2011.
A lot has happened since, foremost of which the tragic passing of Rusi but also, on the positive side, the designation of the SRMR as Fiji's first National Marine Park.
Also, most of our staff have changed, and the dive itself is also very different from what it used to be back then = now it's much more of a tightly managed tourism product and much less of a thrill, meaning that nobody will ever get close to the Bulls like David did back then. Having said that, we will certainly bring the Bulls very close to you - check out the reviews here! :)
And when it comes to yours truly, I have continued to learn a lot and as a consequence, many of my thoughts and especially, my priorities have been refined or changed altogether - and yes I'm six years older and six years more cantankerous!

In brief, OSAM is now more of a historical document.
Nothing wrong with that - just don't expect us to be like we're being depicted, because we are not.

Other than that, enjoy!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Queen awesome!

Source.

Read this.
Brava, complimenti!
 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bye bye Manta Rays?

From the paper - click for detail!
It sure looks so - at least taxonomically!

Check this out.
It postulates what has been rumored for quite a while, i.e. that genetically, the Mantas belong to the Mobulas and that consequently,  their Genus needs to be changed from Manta to Mobula. The paper also does away with three species of Mobula (eregoodootenkee, japanica and rochebrunei) that are being subsumed under Mobula kuhlii, M. mobular and M. hypostoma, respectively, thus reducing the total number of Mobula species to eight. 
This does not necessarily affect the common names = we can still continue calling Mobula alfredi the Reef Manta, and Mobula birostris, the Giant (and/or Pelagic or Oceanic) Manta!

And would this be the last of it?
Considering the obvious morphological differences (= e.g. terminal vs sub-terminal mouths, shape of the cephalic lobes etc) but also the emotional attachment to the Mantas by so many folks out there, methinks most likely not - but with Will and Gavin being the current titans of Elasmobranch taxonomy, any detractors better come well prepared!

To be continued no doubt.
Really looking forward to a good frothy brawl - and if the past is any indication, we can all look forward to some epic fireworks! :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mimic Sole!


This is the unpalatable Flastworm Pseudoceros scintillatus. Source.

And talking of (Batesian) mimicry - how cool is this!
Story here - enjoy!



Friday, June 23, 2017

Carly Shark Attack!

Not a fan - not of the stick, not of the operator. Source.

Watch.



Yes shit happens - especially when handling those frisky Reefies!
Hence the mesh suit that certainly preformed as advertised. On the negative side, I personally don't like feeding off sticks and am not in favor of teaching Shark feeding to tourists - and boy, talk about zero empathy by the callous so-called teacher, or whatever!

Story here

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

East Wells: Bimini’s Last Hope!


Watch.



And I cite,
Bimini Island in the Bahamas lies just 48 miles from Miami, Florida and is an ecological wonderland.
But for the past 17 years, Bimini has faced serious environmental threat in the form of a US-owned development. Much of the Island's mangrove forest has already been dredged out to build luxury homes, a casino and most recently, a Hilton hotel. Just to the east of the development lies East Wells, Bimini's only remaining pocket of pristine habitat, but the development is growing and the latest marketing brochures advertise a golf course which will be the final blow to the people of Bimini and the ecosystem on which they depend.

A new government has just been voted into power.
This video is an appeal from the Biminites for the declaration of a marine protected area that will protect their environment. We call on the Hilton Hotel Group to do the right thing and halt any development that will destroy East Wells - a critical nursery area for all marine life in this region of the Caribbean. 
Exhaustive article here
 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dominican Republic: Shark Sanctuary!

Still in its infancy: Dominican Shark viewing tourism. Source.

Great News!

Read this.
The linked article tells about an indefinite fishing ban for Sharks and Rays, a 5-year moratorium for Sea Urchins and a  2-year moratorium for Parrot- and Surgeonfishes which is all excellent and once again cements the position of the Dominican Republic as a visionary conservation leader in the Caribbean.

And then there is this.
Where others brazenly claim credit where no credit is due, Rick praises others where much of the credit is his. In fact, this is actually his seventh Shark Sanctuary in the Caribbean - remember back then three years ago?

So, once again, bravo my friend.
I'm proud of 'ya in so many ways!

Hawaii's Aquarium Fishery: Regulated, Valuable, Sustainable!

Source.

Watch.



Background story here.
H/T to MCSI for highlighting this important issue!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shout Out!


Watch this.



So here's the deal.
Mike Lever of GSD member Nautilus Liveaboards is traveling to Israel in order to participate in this year's edition of the Silence of the Sharks, and he is offering a gift certificate worth a whopping 1,800 bucks to any diver willing to travel there with him; plus, he has launched a children's poster competition.
Details here.

Having been asked to re-post, I'm happy to oblige.
I do this because Mike is a good man; because Nautilus Liveaboards is an awesome operator and member of GSD; because organizer David Pilosof is one of the few remaining mossbacks and deserves our respect; and yes, because the whole shebang features some pals, will likely cause no harm and is even likely to do a little bit of good.

So there you have it - do with it what you want! :)

PS: the  event has been postponed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cownose Ray Hunting - Moratorium!


Back to the exploding Cownose Rays, and I cite,
The cruelty at play, at times, gives the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, a run for its money.
Read this.
It summarizes brilliantly the whole fiasco in the Chesapeake Bay starting with Myers' fatally flawed paper all the way to the decision to ban those horrible killing contests.
And I cite again,
The story that unfolded across the Chesapeake Bay is one that should give reason to pause: people were quick to read into unrelated research; to scapegoat; to find blame where they wanted. It’s a lesson about the dangers of oversimplifying science. But there is nothing simple about coastal ecosystems, where a multitude of species and processes interact—many of which have yet to be discovered.
Which begs the question, have the lessons been learned?
And more specifically, have those Shark NGOs, educators and awareness raisers removed all references to the paper from their propaganda educational materials - and will they forthwith finally inform themselves and refrain from all the unhelpful hyperbole?

Yeah I know I know.
To be continued!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cuttlefish: putative Mimicry of a Hermit Crab - Paper!

Source.

Awesome - watch!



Paper here, story here and here - additional footage and story here!
Enjoy!
 

Friday, June 09, 2017

Basking Shark Research!

And from us, too! :)

Watch.



Yes this would be Basking Shark Scotland.
Obviously, they are a proud member of Global Shark Diving, your global alliance of responsible and long-term sustainable Shark diving operators, and it is great to see how they are translating our guiding principles into action on the ground. This is the peak tourism season, and I really do invite you to travel there and give them your business, as every penny will contribute to their conservation and research efforts.

Anyway, great stuff - enjoy!

The economic Value of Shark-Diving Tourism in Australia!

From the paper - click for detail.

Interesting!

So, in 2014, Shark diving in Australia was worth 25.5m.
This compares to 42.2m for Fiji, 18m for Palau or a whopping 109m for the Bahamas - or maybe not quite as this paper only looks at direct expenditures. This also compares to the value of 2.2 bn dollars attributed to Australia's dive-related spending for marine tourism.

Frankly, I'm not terribly impressed.
Considering the size of Australia's tourism industry but also, the sheer potential bearing in mind Australia's enormous coastline and wide array of marine habitats, and its large number of Elasmobranchs, this is really just a pittance. But it is what it is - and if I were to venture an explanation (which I am not), I would certainly want to explore the effects of Australia's Shark attack phobia but very much also that of its stifling regulatory framework.

But I'm digressing as always.
Enjoy Charlie's paper.