Sunday, August 28, 2016

Papahānaumokuākea - Leadership!


And if you've been living under a stone and don't know what this is all about,  read this and this - or any other of the zillion pieces that have been published about this literally monumental achievement.

And here's to the other leaders.
Apologies to the many, many others  - but here's to you Matt.
Owing to your vision and your leadership, Global Ocean Legacy has quickly advanced to being today's preeminent marine conservation project, and the world is becoming a better place for it.
Thank you!

And here's to you Rick.
You will always be my hero, for your passion, your erudition and especially your wit. But above all, for always doing all the heavy lifting, anonymously - not because of the plaudits, the recognition let alone the money but because you really believe in the cause.
Thank you!

And finally, here's to you Rich.
For being such a crazy pioneer, explorer, adventurer and impeccable researcher, for having lent your time, voice and you scientific gravitas to this campaign, and for just being such an all-round nice person.
Thank you!

And one more thing: eat that Kitty
How do you and your corrupt gang of sniveling liars, cheats and thieves feel about being handed such a resounding defeat by the very indigenous people you always profess to represent!
Oh and... fuck you!

And here endeth the Sunday prayer!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ocearch - important Discovery?

Well well.

Read this.
Yes Fischer is at it again - and the rabid anti-Ocearch gang is frothing.
Obviously, all that noise by Fischer is nothing more than his usual breathy BS. If you remember this post, the nurseries have been known for years and in fact, that link [24] leads straight to this paper from 1985!

In brief, it's the most important significant discovery my ass!
This is either totally egregious or at best, totally ignorant - the sad part being that by now, I'm not even anymore surprised!

And then there are those tags, see at top.
This is important research, meaning that I can certainly live with inconveniencing a few juvenile GWS in order to learn more about their movements within the nursery and when they later disperse; but nowadays, modern fin-mounted SPOT tags for small Sharks feature single bolts, meaning that those 4-bolt tags are hopelessly outdated and will likely lead to the same injuries as recorded here, especially in those fast-growing juveniles. From countless observations, it is equally most likely that the Sharks will survive and the fins will heal - but it's unnecessarily invasive and really not good.

Oh well, so much for that.
Several of my researcher pals tell me that Fischer has evolved and become more palatable - but as long as he continues to sabotage himself, his sponsors and the science of the associated researchers, I remain highly unimpressed.

And Alisa “Harley” Newton?
I learn that she's WCS' Senior Veterinary Pathologist for WCS Zoological Health Program, or the like, and that she is joining Ocearch with a whole gaggle of other WCS folks.

So far, WCS' involvement in Shark research and Shark conservation has been patchy at best - but now that they've jumped on the bandwagon and managed to secure their share of muchos shekels by a group of very wealthy donors, they are busy hiring (and you'd be surprised at who is applying!) and obviously eager to be seen doing something. Not a good start as they're now associated with this utter PR fiasco = due diligence anybody?

Be it as it may, this remains an important undertaking, and I very much look forward to reading about the findings.

To be continued no doubt!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Biopixel Shark Promo - epic!

That's how you do it!

Remember BBC 's Shark?
Overall, I was rather underimpressed - but my favorite scenes were the aerial shot of a GWS catching a Sea Lion, and then the chapters with the reef-walking Epaulette Shark and the aggressively mimic Tasseled Wobbegong. Turns out that the latter two were both filmed by Richard Fitzpatrick who on top of being an excellent researcher is also a top notch multi-awarded underwater shooter with his own production house, Biopixel - and as with all truly exceptional people, nobody could be more knowledgeable, professional and yet humble!

Here is his 2015 Shark portfolio.
This is real natural history imaging, requiring heaps of skills, perseverance, patience, knowledge and yes, plenty of luck too. Compare that to the contrived and pedestrian fare that is regularly being dished out by Shark Week and you'll understand why I love the former and rather loathe the latter!

Anyway - enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Uprising Beach Resort joins Mangroves for Fiji!

Exemplary cooperation: Projects Abroad volunteers and staff of the Uprising Beach Resort.

I must say that I'm very happy indeed.
Right from its inception, MFF was always meant to grow beyond merely being our vehicle for becoming completely carbon neutral - but we're not an NGO but just a Shark diving operator, and have frankly never had the manpower, time, or energy to go and do much outreach with other potential candidates.

Not only have they established a whole host of whopping mangrove nurseries and planted squillions of mangroves, but their continuous advocacy has finally convinced the Uprising under the leadership of James to do the right thing, ultimately very much also to the benefit of their reputation of being forward-thinking and eco-friendly. 

The mangroves will be grown at PA's headquarters in Pacific Harbour and planted by the volunteers in cooperation with the village of Navola.
At the same time, the Uprising will be establishing a small nursery in the resort, and educate their clients and invite them to partake in the project. To this effect, they have already installed fabulous signage, and also trained their own staff.

The signpost features individual carbon footprints incurred by the tourists when traveling to Fiji.

Way to go, very well done everybody!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Please help the Sharks of Playa!

Source - and yes that looks like a subadult Bull, a small endangered Hammer and possibly a good-sized Mako.!

We never do petitions, for obvious reasons.

But this is different, so there.
We will make an exception when there's a worthwhile cause, with good people working on the ground, and when that team ask for signatures because it will help them sway their interlocutor, normally some politician or the like. One example was the push to get Florida's Lemon Sharks protected that was spearheaded by the likes of Doc, Walt Stearns and DaMary, etc, and where somebody within the FWC suggested that it would be good to show public support. That endeavor was ultimately successful and I hear that those signatures did in fact help sway the legislators.

And now we have a similar situation in Playa.
The picture at the top documents the latest, and perfectly legal haul by the only licensed Shark fisherman on that coastline. I must also add that that fisherman is the same person who used to target and kill those big Bull Sharks - but a lot has happened since that post, and he has now agreed not to fish for them during the tourist season when they migrate to the region, possibly in order to pup. So there has definitely been progress - but still, those dead Sharks are disturbing, and not anymore commensurate with the many marine conservation and ecotourism projects that are popping up all throughout Quintana Roo.

Launched by the outstanding people of Saving our Sharks and as always, very much enabled by my friend Chino of GSD member Phantom Divers, it aims at establishing a no-take zone for Sharks around the local barrier reef system. This follows years of dialogue, cooperation and lobbying with the local authorities, meaning that it has a real chance of succeeding.

This is an excellent undertaking.
Please lend a helping hand by signing the petition.

Thank you.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Legacy!


Would that be an enormous, and pregnant WS at 3:38?
The video is once again by Erick Higuera who on top (or should I say, despite!) of being one of the nicest, and most humble people you'll ever meet has firmly established himself as one of the preeminent underwater filmmakers from that nick of the world.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kinderstube für Haie!

Tom with small Blacktip Shark - source.


Check this out.
The indefatigable Tom (nice interview here) has just won the German Price for Science Photography by the prestigious Bild der Wissenschaft with his feature about the putative Shark nursery in the Ba River Estuary.
Despite of the massive challenges in the wake of cyclone Winston, he was able to complete his master thesis by documenting the presence of small subadult  Blacktips C. limbatus as well as juvenile Scalloped and Great Hammers. These preliminary findings indicate that this may be important, if not critical habitat for those latter two endangered species, warranting urgent further in-depth investigation.

Cute: juvenile Great Hammer (above) and Scalloped Hammer (below) - click for detail. Source.

Congrats buddy, very well done indeed!