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!