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!