Friday, August 1, 2014

Newly added Great White Shark Expedition.

Yesterday, we sold the last spaces for this years Great White Shark expeditions to Guadalupe Island.
It didn't take long for our phones to ring, with divers asking us to add another trip to our schedule. So we decided to run another expedition from November 5-10.


November is a great time to see the truly enormous females. Some of them measure up to 18 ft. and are wider than a SUV. When they swim by, they look you straight into the eyes. It's an experience you will never forget. It is truly a trip of a lifetime.


If you want to join us, don't wait until it's too late. This is your last chance to come face to face with these magnificent animals this year.




Call us at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275. email staff@sharkdiver.com

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Shark attack filmed at Guadalupe Island

In November of 2013, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took "our" vessel "Horizon" to Guadalupe Island to do some research on Great White Sharks.

This is a video of the expedition.


REMUS SharkCam: The hunter and the hunted from Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst. on Vimeo.

We are looking forward to our first expedition to Guadalupe Island this year, leaving on Aug. 7

Our season is sold out, but you can reserve a spot for next year. Call us at 855SHARKDIVER or 619.887.4275

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shark sightings good for business?

We always hear about "shark scares" in the media. In Western Australia, the government is conducting a highly controversial shark cull, mostly because of fear that sharks are bad for business.
shark diving, swimming with sharks is fun, cage diving, bull sharks
So I was quite surprise to see this headline "Shark sightings off Cape Cod a boon for tourism"

The East Valley Tribune writes " In "Jaws," the fictional mayor tried to protect the summer tourism season by keeping a lid on reports of the man-eater lurking offshore. As sightings of great white sharks mount off Cape Cod in real life, however, businesses in the Massachusetts town of Chatham are embracing the frenzy."

Maybe the Western Australia government should visit Chatham Mass. and talk to their businesses. They would hear that instead of the great white sharks scaring tourists away, they actually attract them.

Shark T-shirts are everywhere, "Jaws" has been playing in local theaters and boat tours are taking more tourists out to see the huge seal population that keeps the sharks coming. Harbormasters have issued warnings but — unlike the sharks in the movies — the great whites generally are not seen as a threat to human swimmers. 

No sensational headlines, no mass hysteria, no loss of business. Why don't we see more of this kind of reporting in the media?

A local business man is quoted as saying: "I mean, truthfully, we've probably grown about 500 percent in terms of the sale of our shark apparel," he said. The T-shirts, hoodies, hats, belts, dog collars and other accessories bear the iconic, torpedo-shaped image of great whites and sell for between $10 and $45.
 
Read the entire article here

It's nice to see that an entire community has been embracing the great white sharks and found a way to use them to their benefit. This is an example, how humans and nature can benefit from each other. The people have a booming economy and the sharks don't get culled. Are you listening, Western Australia?

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Japanese Whaling Crew eaten by Killer Whales?

Journalism standards, and I'm using the term "standards" very loosely, have pretty much disappeared in a lot of cases. Take today's headline on the "worldnewsdailyreport" which proclaimed "japanese whaling crew eaten alive by killer whales 16-dead"



Now for those of you who don't know about the World News Daily Report, this is how they describe themselves.

"World News Daily Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction."

So basically, they are like "The Onion", a satirical publication. That didn't stop other "reputable" news organizations, like the "International Business Times" from putting up headlines like "Killer Whales Gobble Japanese Whaling Crew" even AOL in the UK put up a headline "Pod of Killer Whales apparently attacked whaling crew". After I wrote to the editor of the International Business Times, they changed their story to say that it was a hoax. AOL in the UK followed suit, citing the correction in the "IBT"

This explains a lot about how the news business works. Someone comes out with a story and everyone else just picks it up, without checking any sources or facts. 

Japanese Whaling Crew Eaten Alive By Killer Whales, 16 dead - See more at: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/japanese-whaling-crew-eaten-alive-by-killer-whales-16-dead/#sthash.6hQvDwjd.dpufjapanese-whaling-crew-eaten-alive-by-killer-whales-16-dea
Then of course, stories like these also bring out some crazy responses like this.

"Pretty gruesome scene, my sincere condolences to loved ones for your loss. As tragic as this may be, hopefully the Japanese will see this as a sign that Gaia’s had enough of Japan’s cavalier, inhumane stance on whaling – “ENOUGH”!


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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

What's the difference between a Great White and a Tiger Shark?

Not only does shark week sensationalize sharks. Now in their effort to "educate" people, they ask this.



I knew that the stripes can fade, but looking like a White Shark? Lets see, is this a tiger shark or a white shark below?

What am I? Tiger or White Shark?


How about this one?


I'm having an identity crisis. What am I? Tiger or White Shark?

Good job Discovery channel! I'm discovering more and more, that you are misinforming, instead of educating.

For anyone that is not familiar with the different shark species and doesn't know the difference between a Tiger- and a White-Shark, here are a couple of full body shots of both.

First the White Sharks. Note the shape of the nose, the eyes, the gills, the shape of the dorsal fin and the tail.



Now the Tiger Sharks, look at the same areas.




Instead of putting out a trivia question with a misleading answer, wouldn't it have be nice, if they actually showed what differentiates these two species?

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, July 25, 2014

"Sharknado" is real!

When the syfy channel aired "sharknado" last year, we all assumed that unlike  the Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives! "documentary" on the Discovery channel, it was meant to be a spoof. Well, we have been wrong.

source


Just before the release of "Sharknado 2", Tara Reid, in an interview with GQ magazine said:  

"I mean, the chances of it happening are very rare, but it can happen actually. Which is crazy. Not that it – the chances of it are, like, you know, it's like probably 'pigs could fly'. Like, I don't think pigs could fly, but actually sharks could be stuck in tornados. There could be a sharknado." 

Ahhhh,...... well,....... wow!

Tara, I mean the chances of it happening are very rare, but it can happen actually, which is crazy, not that it, the chances of it are rare, like, you know, it's like you actually have a coherent thought, like I don't think you could have a coherent thought, but actually you could be waking up one day, with a coherent thought. You could actually make sense one day!

In a related story, Discovery Channel has announced that Tara Reid will be joining them as a "shark expert" on  shark after dark.  We applaud their decision to add Tara to their lineup of shark experts. It will greatly improve the quality of those experts.

If you want to see those sharks in their natural environment, before they're all sucked up in a tornado, join us on one of our our expeditions.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver 

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who is going to be at Guadalupe?

Our Great White Shark season is starting in a couple of weeks. This is going to be my 14th year, visiting Guadalupe Island and believe it or not, I'm getting more excited to go back each year. I just can't wait to see who's back.

Is "Shredder" going to show up again, after missing the last 2 years?


"Shredder" my favorite shark.

How about "Horizon"? As you can see from the picture below, he's not the most careful shark in the world. I wonder, if he's related to "Shredder", they seem to have some very similar personalities. His dorsal is missing a nice chunk and parts of his tail have been bitten off by other sharks on a couple of different occasions.

"Horizon"

Bruce, Bite Face and Jaques have been faithful visitors, showing up every year, since MCSI started keeping track of them in 2001. When we first encountered them, they measured a "measly" 11-12 ft and are now they are all 16+ ft. Are we going to see them again this year?

"Jacques"    

The discover channel is starting their "shark week", just about the same time our first divers are going to experience a "Real Shark Week". Coming face to face with these awesome sharks is nothing like what you see on TV. You will never forget the moment, when they look straight into your eyes, for the first time. It is truly an experience of a lifetime!

To all our divers that are coming out with us this season. I'll see you soon and I can't wait to introduce you to my toothy friends. In the meantime, we'll keep you updated with pictures and stories from our expeditions, as the season progresses.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

If you also want to experience a "Real Shark Week", diving with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe, swimming with Tiger Sharks in the Bahamas, or having 70 Bull Sharks swim around your head in Fiji, give us a call at 855.987.4275, 619.887.4275 or email us at staff@sharkdiver.com We do have a couple of space open in October for this season and are actively booking for next year.




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 staff@sharkdiver.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Could the Manhattan Beach shark bite have been predicted?

The recent shark bite incident at Manhattan Beach Pier, made worldwide headlines. Just google "shark attack Manhattan Beach" and you get literally pages and pages of links with headlines screaming "Shark Attack".

Weather.com used the picture below to catch their readers attention and wrote that A 7-foot-long great white shark attacked a swimmer off the California’s Manhattan Beach on Saturday, causing panic amongst crowds of people enjoying one of Southern California's most popular beaches on the 4th of July holiday weekend.

source
Now a headline and picture like that would scare any sane reader and make them think twice about swimming in the ocean.

Of course we know, that the shark didn't really attack the swimmer, but was trying to get away from a fisherman, who had him hooked on a line, instead. Was this just a freak accident, or could this have been predicted?

Back in November of 2013, Pete Thomas wrote a piece for Grind TV about swimmers and fishermen harassing juvenile great white sharks at the exact location where this swimmer got bit. The article says:

“White sharks are a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act and therefore fully protected,” Traci Larinto and Michelle Horeczko, part of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s White Shark Status Review Team, explained in a statement. “They cannot be taken or pursued. The public should take steps to avoid white sharks while fishing or being out on the water.”

As to the legality of trying to catch great white sharks, it has this statement:

“Right now, every surfer/thrill seeker with a GoPro is going out to Manhattan Beach and trying to film them, ride them, and catch them on hook and line,” said Christopher Lowe, a Cal State Long Beach professor and white shark expert. “Most people do not understand CESA regulations and that even incidental catch [or] being caught swimming after a shark with a GoPro camera can be considered take or harassment and is a citable, even jailable offense.”

 

So it comes as hardly a surprise that there are juvenile great white sharks in the area and unfortunately, it seems that, despite the law protecting them, some fishermen are still purposely trying to catch them. 

“One rumor is that a couple of fishermen have caught and killed some sharks off El Porto and supposedly found squid in the stomachs. I just don’t think the public understands the ramifications of the law here.”


We have known for quite a while, that juvenile great white sharks are in the vicinity of Manhattan Beach and that fishermen, along with thrill seekers are harassing and trying to catch them. So it comes hardly as a surprise that something finally happened. Predictably though, the headlines don't say that illegal shark fishing was to blame, but instead scream "Shark attack!"

It looks like the authorities have also realized that the fishing was the cause of this shark bite and reacted by banning all fishing from the pier, for the next 60 days.

This situation reminds me of all the idiots going outside the cages at Isla Guadalupe, where sooner or later, something might happen as well.
 
If you want to legally and safely swim with tiger sharks, dive with great white shark, or come face to face bull sharks, give us a call at 619.987.4275 or send us an email at staff@sharkdiver.com.

We specialize in "Safe and Sane" shark diving, always using cages when diving with great white sharks and only diving with sharks, where it is safe and legal to do so. 

When done responsibly, swimming with these awesome creatures is truly an experience of a lifetime. After 14 years of diving with all kinds of sharks, I've come to love and respect them for what they are, highly efficient predators, that are neither mindless killers, nor harmless pets.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver
 
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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Illegal shark fishing causes injury to swimmer.

A swimmer in Manhattan Beach, CA was bitten this morning by a juvenile great white shark! Predictably, the headlines are screaming "Shark Attack Injures Swimmer!" and "Swimmer Attacked by Shark!"


Here is what actually happened. A man, fishing from the pier, caught a juvenile great white shark and was fighting it for 40 minutes. Trying to get away, the shark started biting at the line and in doing so, bit a swimmer. It is illegal to fish for great white sharks in California. Here is an excerpt from the California Fish and Game regulations.

"As defined in state law, “take” means “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill.” Anyone who takes a white shark without a permit may be cited for violations of CESA and subject to criminal prosecution"

As usual, when something happens with a white shark, the shark gets the blame, not the fisherman who was endangering the public, by fighting a great white shark in waters crowded with swimmers on a holiday weekend! The headlines should read something like this "Illegal shark fishing causing serious harm to swimmer!"

Luckily the swimmer has non life-threatening injuries and we hope he'll have a speedy recovery. 


Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver



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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Shark Cull, last chance to submit your comments!

                                    

The submission period for public comments on the Western Australian shark cull is ending soon!

Here is the link to the official submission form!shark diving, swimming with sharks, shark week

Before submitting your comments, I recommend you listen to "DaShark" and read here. Also remember what we discussed here

I hope we can make a difference this time and avoid having to see pictures like these in the future.

source

Let's get this done!shark diving, swimming with sharks, shark week

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Breathhold diving at Tiger Beach

Shark Diver Just finished a trip to tiger beach in the Bahamas, where we encountered up to 6 tiger sharks at a time.



Chris and Euse were freediving during our expedition and have written about their experience here.

They have also taken this amazing picture.



If you want to experience your own "real shark week" and come face to face with the incredible sharks at tiger beach, give us a call at 619.987.4275 or send us and email at staff@sharkdiver.com

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Western Australian Shark Cull. Make a difference!

The Australian EPA is doing a Public Environmental Review (PER) and is soliciting comments from the public. This is our chance to be heard, but please consider a few things, before you write your response.

As usual, "DaShark" has beat me to it and written an excellent blog on the subject. Here are a couple of things he mentions.

During the first period of public review, here is what happened.

The 14 week trial attracted intense media and community interest. 
The trial generated: 

  • 765 separate articles on sharks in local, state and national newspapers 
  • 1,100 radio news bulletins on sharks (Western Australia) 
  • 850 radio talk back comments on sharks (Western Australia) 
  • 290 television news items on sharks (Western Australia) 
  • 286,000 emails and letters to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) - a significant number of which were pro forma emails
  • and a significant number of postings on Twitter and Facebook, some of which were offensive and contained personal attacks on members of the Government and staff involved with the program.
And the net result of that onslaught of unsolicited appeals, petitions (= pro forma emails), opinions and abuse?



A big fat zero.
So why did all that media attention, written petitions and postings on social media have no effect on their decision? Well, it did have an effect. Probably not the effect you were hoping for, but an effect nonetheless. 

The government is stating: 

The 14-week trial generated “offensive and contained personal attacks on members of the Government and staff involved with the program” on Twitter and Facebook.
Supporters said they had “no choice but to stay quiet due to the level of abuse and vilification received”, describing the level of personal attack and social media postings as “unacceptable”.
“The Government is now more acutely aware of the level of abuse that was directed towards supporters of the program and the reasons for so many staying silent,” 

So basically, they blame us for why, what they claim is the silent majority, has stayed quiet on the subject. They are not kidding, that's what they believe. If we want them to listen to us, we have to mind what we say and how we say it.

Here is DaShark's advice.

Both the postulated silent majority and the anti-cull faction have an equal opportunity to have their voices heard - and I sure hope that the latter is not only composed of social media slacktivists and agitators but that instead, it will make a vigorous attempt at turning things around by fielding rational arguments.
Not really convinced that the WA government will listen - but along with the federal assessment, it's the best opportunity we got.

Recommendations here.
Please make your submission - the clock is ticking!
I could not have said it any better myself. Here is the link with all the information on how to submit your comments. Let's make our voices heard! 
Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO


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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

10 ft. white shark being eaten? Mystery solved!

Yesterday we talked about the international headlines of "Great white shark being eaten by sea monster".

Here is a response by CISRO, the organization who placed the tag on the shark in question.

When we looked at its data there was a period of approximately three weeks just before the tag surfaced where the temperature recorded was higher than the surrounding sea, but where the tag continued to ‘dive’ in a pattern consistent with a white shark. During this time, the tag failed to record light. Data before and after suggest the tag was functioning normally. The temperature recorded for these three weeks was consistent with that of the core body temperature of a white shark but too low for something like a killer whale.

They go on to explain, what they think had happened.

At one point the shark that had eaten the tag dived to a depth of 570 m – this is not unusual for white sharks – it is normal behaviour. This dive took place about one week prior to the tag recording the higher temperatures (not immediately before as some have reported) and the two events are not related.

All evidence suggests that the tag had been eaten by another white shark. We have seen white sharks biting each other before, sometimes removing pieces of tissue in the process. We concluded that this was the most likely explanation – One shark bit off a little more than he could chew and ended up swallowing the tag. 

We never concluded that the 3m shark was consumed by another much larger shark.

Yesterday I questioned the "scientists" conclusion, that a sea monster ate the shark. Now we know that there were not even any scientists that concluded that, it was simply the filmmaker ignoring what the group who placed the tag in the first place had to say. Now that's something you'd expect from a Sci Fi channel production, not a Smithsonian "documentary"!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Great White Shark eaten by even bigger Great White Shark?

 The story that a tagged great white shark has been eaten by another great white shark is making headlines around the world. Various news outlets like UPI are reporting that "Australian scientists are searching for a "mystery sea monster" that likely devoured a nine-foot-long great white shark they'd been tracking." and People magazine is saying  it was a "colossal cannibal great white shark"  and even stating that it's size is "estimated at 16 feet long and over 2 tons"

Now what has lead these "scientists" to this conclusion? In the following video they say that the shark suddenly plunged to 580 meters, about 1900 ft., where the temperature of the tag went from 46 degrees farenheit to 78. (BTW. the tagged shark shown at 2:12 in the video, is actually one of our Guadalupe sharks) People magazine states that "They (the researchers) end up coming to the terrifying hypothesis that a "colossal cannibal great white shark" – estimated at 16 feet long and over 2 tons – snacked on his lil' buddy. The scientists offer several suggestions as to how this nightmare become reality: Perhaps this was a territorial dispute, or maybe the larger shark was so hungry it was driven to attack another of its own species" 


Wow, that is amazing! They not only know that this shark has been killed, they also know what killed it and even estimate the size of the killer. How the heck did they do that? Estimate the size and species of a predator by the temperature of a tag. And here I was, finding it incredible that another guy claims to be able to do that by the shape of a dorsal fin.

So let's look at a few facts. The great white sharks do indeed maintain a body temperature of a few degrees above the water temperature. According to Elasmo-research.org, great white sharks maintain a muscle temperature of 7-9 degrees f, and a stomach temperature of 13-25 degrees f above water temperature. The scientists claim that the tag could not have fallen off, because it would have recorded a lower temperature first, before the jump to the higher temperature, after it was eaten. So if that were true, that would put the maximum temperature inside a great white shark stomach at 64 degrees and not 78. 

Since the tags we are talking about here, are external, they record the temperature of the water and not that of the sharks muscle. Therefore, they would not have recorded a lower temperature after falling off. The fact that it plummeted straight down to 1900 feet is a further indication that the tag fell off. If another shark had attacked this 9+ ft great white, there would have been a struggle and they would not just have plummeted down. Also, the typical attack behavior of a great white shark is to strike and let the prey die, not fight with it and take it down deep.

Having watched great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe for 13 years, I've seen them fight, bite each other and noticed that the smaller sharks tend to stay away from the bigger ones. Those actions always seemed to be a way to establish the pecking order and not an attempt to kill and eat the other shark. As a matter of fact, when we encountered a dead shark a number of years ago, all the other sharks stayed away from the area for a while, indicating that they weren't comfortable being in an area with a dead one of their own.

I have no problem saying that I have no idea what happened to this shark, but for the scientists to state that a "colossal cannibalistic shark" ate this individual, simply because of the temperature recording of a tag, is not very scientific at all.

This whole thing happened 9 years ago. So why is this all over the news now? Well, according to People, The Smithsonian Channel repackaged an Australian documentary called The Search for the Ocean's Super Predator into another doc called Hunt for the Super Predator.

So all this is done to promote a "documentary" by the Smithsonian channel. Why am I not surprised that after "Nat. Geo" and "The Discovery Channel" they are just going after sensational headlines to boost their ratings as well. Let's just scare the heck out of people by letting them believe that there are monsters lurking in the Ocean. It's not like people don't have an irrational fear of sharks already. It's not like they are killing sharks based on this irrational fear. No, they need to stoke that fear so that they can sell their stupid "documentary". Damn the consequences!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver
 
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 staff@sharkdiver.com

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sharkfishing tournament. A silver lining?

They just posted the results of the 2014 Ocean City Shark tournament here

The bad news, they killed 15 sharks, 7 blue-, 6 mako- and 2 thresher-sharks.

The good news, they released 107 sharks. The prize money for the release division was slightly higher than that of the weigh in (kill) division.

releasing a shark
I don't like shark tournaments, I love the sharks and want to protect them and not have them killed by fishermen. Many conservationists feel the same way I do and are working to get these kinds of tournaments eliminated.

Instead of demonizing the fishermen and questioning their character, like a lot of others do, I want to acknowledge that the organizers are making an effort to lessen the impact those tournaments have on the shark populations. It has always been Shark Diver's position to try to work with fishermen, to educate them about the problems associated with shark fishing and get them to at least, practice catch and release, if not stop fishing for sharks altogether. That was how the shark free marina initiative got started.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shark scare in Orange County?

A couple of days ago, there was a fake shark scare in Newport Beach, CA.

The Orange County Register reports:  


source
"NEWPORT BEACH – The warning was clear: A big, aggressive great white shark is on the loose along the shores in Newport Beach, and beachgoers are advised to stay away from the water."

Problem was, local lifeguards and the U.S. Coast Guard never heard of any shark danger. 

“I guess it was one of the local guys; someone who wanted to keep the crowds down at a break out there,” Coast Guard search and rescue controller Sandy Needle said about the notice. “There was nothing from the Coast Guard.” 

The warning – which appeared on official-looking letterhead that said “United States Coast Guard” in the notification dated Wednesday – was floating around on Facebook, claiming that three incidents should put beachgoers on high alert.

The article goes on to give the details of the warning which contained the following paragraph:

The third sighting, the notice read, came when two lifeguards got a call about an adult-sized shark that bumped two kayakers and swam away after the boaters struck it “with an oar in the gill area of the fish.”

So far so good, it looks like the media is responsible for once and instead of hyping up a shark scare, are trying to calm the public.

The article then states, how they recognized the warning as fake.

"Although the flier looked official, there were a lot of clues that it was a fake.
“There’s a lot of misspellings, and it called a shark a fish,” Needle said."
Well there you have it. It called the shark a fish!  No self respecting Coast Guard representative would call a shark a fish! Everyone knows it's not a fish, it's a.... hmm, no not that, it's a ...... , I'm stumped! Any of you know?

Maybe I should be asking an expert in these matters.

You can read the entire article here

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver


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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Best shark dive in the world?

We just got back from 2 weeks in Fiji, diving with Beqa Adventure Divers. The shark dive is billed as the "Best shark dive in the world". Now that's quite a bold statement. ...... so did they deliver?

For me, to be great, a shark diving operation doesn't just have to deliver awesome shark action, but also  provide education about the sharks they're diving with and be involved in conservation.

As for the shark action, did it live up to the billing? Look at these pictures and judge for yourself.

Did they come close? ...... well, there were still a couple of inches between the shark and my camera.

Too bad they didn't come close ;-)
Did we see a lot of sharks? ......well, there were a couple.

Can you spot the bull shark? ... can you?

Of course, after every dive, there is the boring safety stop. ...... well, maybe not so boring! There was some great action, with white- and black-tip reef sharks buzzing around us the entire time.

"World's best safety stop"



OK, so they delivered on the sharks, but what about the educational aspect and their involvement in conservation? During our surface interval, between shark dives, we had Ben, a marine biologist, tell us all we wanted to know about the bull sharks, their behavior and local migration. He counted the sharks on each dive and knows the sharks individually. They have a database with around 150 different sharks identified, very similar to our photo ID database of the great white sharks at Guadalupe Island.

Beqa Adventure Divers "BAD" bill themselves as a conservation company masquerading as a dive shop and they mean it. During our visit, Shark Diver has seen Projects Abroad go out on "BAD's" boats to conduct various research projects on the reefs on a daily basis. I personally also had the opportunity to tag along (pun intended) on a trip, trying to tag juvenile bull sharks and will write about that experience in a different blog. You can read about all the other conservation projects that "BAD" is involved with here. It's an impressive list!

So is it the best shark dive in the world? I have to admit that I'm partial to "my" great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, but overall I have to say, not only did they meet my expectations, they far exceeded them! We will definitely be back. Stay tuned for details.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Interesting opportunity for shark researchers.

A dead 50' fin whale that washed up on shore at Point Loma in San Diego yesterday, will be towed out to sea by the Marine Conservation Science Institute today. Shark diving, cage diving, swimming with sharks at Isla Guadalupe, with www.sharkdiver.com
source
According to a post on their Facebook page, they will use it to try to attract great white sharks and attempt to tag them. Cage diving,shark diving
This is what they posted. cage diving, swimming with sharks,
"BREAKING NEWS!
If all goes as planned, we will be taking possession of this whale carcass at high tide today. We will tow it offshore and then babysit it while we wait for white sharks to find us. When that happens we hope to tag adult females that are in the area for pupping. This will be the first attempt to tag pupping females in southern California. Popup tags, as opposed to SPOT tags, will be used. We will have a short deployment of 140 days to determine where these pupping females have come from."


This is a unique opportunity to tag some sharks and get valuable information on their pupping grounds. It is also a chance to show that great white sharks are not just fierce predators, but also opportunistic feeders, playing their part in keeping the oceans healthy, by eating these rotting carcases.

We hope that they are successful.and maybe they'll see one of "our" Guadalupe sharks, though we think that they are going farther south to pup.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver
 
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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Where do "our" great white sharks give birth to their young?

Back in 2000, when we started diving with great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe, we knew very little about where the sharks were going, when they are not at the Island. I remember the days, when the scientists thought that they went to Shark cafe/Sofa to mate. Thanks to satellite tagging by Dr. Domeier and his team at MCSI, we now know that males and females are not in the same place, same time in that area. Based on tracking data and the white sharks gestation period of 14-18 months, we now think that they are actually mating at Guadalupe Island.
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific. - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific. - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Domeier M. L. and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2012. Sex specific migration patterns and sexual segregation for adult white sharks in the northeastern Pacific. - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf


The next question of was, where do they give birth? Again, thanks to the long term SPOT tags, (we just talked about the improvements to those tags here) we now have a better idea of where that is taking place. For the females that aggregate at Guadalupe Island, it seems to be off the coast of Baja California MX as well as the Sea of Cortez. (Two-year migration of adult female white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) reveals widely separated nursery areas and conservation concerns)
Two-year migration of adult female white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) reveals widely separated nursery areas and conservation concerns - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf
Two-year migration of adult female white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) reveals widely separated nursery areas and conservation concerns - See more at: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/#sthash.pCmg6BvH.dpuf

Gill Raker's latest location.
For all of us that don't want to read scientific papers, but still want to know what our sharks are up to, MCSI has this nifty little app. here.

This is the latest post on the MCSI facebook page today, showing what Gill Rakers is up to!

"We have been waiting nearly 17 months to see where Gill Rakers will give birth. Now that we think she is heading for the Sea of Cortez, we must prepare for a stressful 4-6 weeks. The Sea of Cortez is a narrow body of water with intense commercial shark fishing. She will be running the gauntlet, through longlines and gill nets...gear that kills. Our biggest question: Will She Survive?? Watch with us on the Expedition White Shark App...and stay tuned to our FB page."

We all share their concern for Gill Rakers safety. The Sea of Cortez is not a safe place to be, for a great white shark. We hope that we'll see and get to dive with her once again this fall, at Isla Guadalupe.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver 

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 staff@sharkdiver.com

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Better spot tags for great white sharks?

The Marine Conservation Science Institute has revealed a new kind of spot tag.

"Can you identify three MCSI innovations/modifications? They ask on their FB page. "Two are done at the manufacturer and one is done in our lab (painting does not count!). Two of the mods greatly improve shark tracking performance and one is for the benefit of the shark."

source
One visitor on their page correctly identified all 3, and she's not even a researcher!

Marine Conservation Science Institute 
Melissa Michaelson pointed out the three modifications. Yes, we have a thicker/stiffer antenna and copper wet/dry sensors. Both of these things are designed to combat biofouling (sea life growing on the tag). We believe biofouling is the biggest cause of tag failure. The stiffer antenna will not easily bend when algae grows on it, and nothing will grow on the copper wet/dry sensors.

A big thank you to MCSI for tirelessly working on better research methods and tools, designed to both improve the collection of data and be less intrusive on the sharks. We constantly have to balance the need for gathering data, with the impact the methods used to obtain that data have on the sharks. Too many researchers simply justify the negative impact their research has on the sharks, by pointing out the valuable information they gather. Kudos to MCSI for being aware of that fact and spending time and money on lessening that impact.

Shark Diver is proud to partner with MCSI for our science expeditions and also be a part of their photo ID data base at Guadalupe Island. 

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

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 staff@sharkdiver.com.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A new friend at Guadalupe

We have a new friend at Isla Guadalupe. Meet "Myla" our new addition to the photo ID database. She's a beautiful female!Cage diving with great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe. shark diving,

"Mayla"
I can't wait to go back there this fall and see all our old friends again. If we find a new one, we will add it to our growing list of great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe. So far, we have over 150 sharks identified. All of our new sharks have to get a name. We don't want to say "this is #7", we yell it's "Bruce"! And that would not be possible without the database.

If you would like to support this valuable, ongoing research project, you can do so, by sponsoring and naming a shark. Anyone interested can get more info by clicking here.

All our divers will also be able to participate in this study, by donating the use of their pictures to this database. If we identify a new shark on one of our science expeditions, (we have only one space left on Nov.11) our divers will get to name it. How cool is that?!

Other than that one space on Nov. 11, we only have a few spaces left on Aug. 12, 17 and 23. All the other expeditions are sold out.

Welcome to the family "Mayla" I hope we'll see you in the fall.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

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, April 24, 2014

Political reality in conservation!

OK, I know this is not strictly shark related, but how can we succeed in persuading our politicians to pass laws to protect our environment and endangered species, when they publicly violate the few laws they are passing?

source
This is a photo that Senator Cruz tweeted today. He's proudly posing with fellow Senator Lee showing himself "doing a little shopping for the office" You can see his tweet here.
  
Just in case you are not aware, that it is illegal to bring any part of an endangered species into this country, here is a quote from the US Fish and Wildlife Service's website. 

"Furs: Most of the world’s wild cats, including tigers and such spotted species as jaguar, leopard, ocelot, margay, and leopard cat, are protected. You cannot import skins or items made from, or trimmed with, the fur of these animals. Furs from seals, polar bears, and sea otters are also prohibited."

You can read the entire section on their Law Enforcement page here.

It is frustrating to say the least, when all the hard work that goes into passing a law to protect our endangered species finally pays off, and a law is passed, only to see the lawmakers themselves violating those laws.

At least these two were dumb (or maybe arrogant) enough to post their illegal activities on twitter.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

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.