Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Island of The Great White Shark-Documentary

By now you have heard about the new white shark documentary-Island of the Great White Shark. Richard Theiss spent the last 4 years documenting the research work that Shark Diver started with the help of Mexico's CICIMAR and U.C Davis.

The project is almost complete and sheds light on white shark tracking and behaviour at the island that was unknown until this data was gathered.

Here's a short clip:

Giant Squids-Cool New Research

And you thought we would never get around to blogging about the Giant Squid again.

The AP reports today that researchers in New Zealand, home to perhaps more giant squids than any other place on the planet (betcha didn't know that) have concluded that their critters have the largest eyes of any animal on the planet.

Take that Mr. Blue Whale.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP)
— Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid said Wednesday they had measured its eye at about 11 inches across — bigger than a dinner plate — making it the largest animal eye on Earth.

One of the squid's two eyes, with a lens as big as an orange, was found intact as the scientists examined the creature while it was slowly defrosted at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. It has been preserved there since being caught in the Ross Sea off Antarctica's northern coast last year.

"This is the only intact eye (of a colossal squid) that's ever been found. It's spectacular," said Auckland University of Technology squid specialist Kat Bolstad, one of a team of international scientists brought in to examine the creature.

Tiger Beach-Bahamas Rare Event

For the past 8 days Shark Diver's Luke Tipple has been the dive safety operations manager for a simply massive film crew, shooting Tigers and Dolphins in the Bahamas.

The shoot spans three continents and is styled after Blue Planet. While they are still in production we cannot give you any more details, we'll update you as soon as we can.

We can share with you this image he sent into the office this morning.

What you are looking at is "Raw Nature" to quote Luke (*add Australian accent here) a green turtle who lost out on a turtle vs tiger encounter off Tiger Beach last week.

It looks like this little critter had quite the rough time of it. When you're a turtle and you show up to Tiger Beach, it's like driving through a bad neighbourhood. Always keep your doors locked, drive fast, and do not stop for gas late at night.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Strange Sharks-Photoshop? No Way!

We get quite a few emails from blog readers each week. Some with images like this one, others with offers for cheap V!@gara delivered to your door.

This particular image was sent in from Sarah who lives in the U.K-wanting us to identify this unlikely looking critter.

At first we said "Unicorn Shark?"

Then it occurred that this critter had to be a deep water species, and if there's anything we know about deep water sharks (we know a fair bit) anything is likely down there.

Here's what we found out about this shark:

Almost nothing except about 300 posts, arguments, half stories, wild rumors and the like. Seems this critter has generated a lot of talk and is perhaps from Japan.

Whatever this critter is, we hope it gets to be about 20 feet long and shows up on our chum line one of these days. If that happens we'll probably need a handful of that cheap V!@gara.

Shark Attack in San Diego

This tragedy while unfortunate is the result of life off the California coast.

These waters are sharky, and perhaps more sharky than anyone cares to admit.

It's also a testament to the white sharks ability to not choose humans as a prime prey source. After observing these animals for over 6 years now I have come to realize they will spend a lot of time "watching and observing" suspected prey items before attacking-most often they choose not to.

Off the shores of Nor Cal I often meet surfers who say they have never seen a white shark. My response is always "that's not to say they have not seen you".

White sharks very rarely make mistakes. This particular set up, with a swimmer in a black wetsuit, in the morning, along the shoreline, lagging behind a pack of other swimmers met more than one criteria for this shark to make a tragic mistake.

It is sad anyway you look at it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Maps and Statistics of Confirmed Unprovoked Shark Attacks

You may be asking about the image to the right here. As one would expect there's at least one person on this planet who maps out all "recorded" shark attacks on the planet.

Hey, it's the age of the Internet, if they have blogs about cheeses of the world, you just knew someone had to have this.

The interesting thing about this map and the links on it-is the low numbers of shark events worldwide. Here's the breakdown.

Perspective On the San Diego Shark Attack

One of the better looks at this entirely sad event on Solana Beach this morning comes from the Daily Green Blog.

What is believed to be a great white shark attacked and killed a 66-year-old swimmer off Solana Beach, San Diego Friday, leading to a beach closure, mourning among friends and relatives, and rampant media attention.

Such fatal attacks have been relatively rare.

A single swimmer in the South Pacific was the only person to die from a shark attack in 2007, but total shark attacks rose nearly 13% over 2006, according to statistics released in February by Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

The number of fatal shark attacks hit a 20-year low. In 1987, there were no fatalities. (There were four deaths each in 2005 and 2006, and seven in 2004.)

“It’s quite spectacular that for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide spending hundreds of millions of hours in the water in activities that are often very provocative to sharks, such as surfing, there is only one incident resulting in a fatality,” the lead author, George Burgess, said at the time. “The danger of a shark attack stays in the forefront of our psyches because of it being drilled into our brain for the last 30 years by the popular media, movies, books and television, but in reality the chances of dying from one are infinitesimal.”

The number of shark attacks overall increased from 63 in 2006 to 71 in 2007, a nearly 13% increase, continuing a gradual upswing during the past four years.

“One would expect there to be more shark attacks each year than the previous year simply because there are more people entering the water,” Burgess said. “For baby boomers and earlier generations, going to the beach was basically an exercise in working on your suntan where a swim often meant a quick dunking. Today people are engaged in surfing, diving, boogie boarding and other aquatic activities that put them much closer to sharks.”

Often, about half of the world’s attacks occur in United States mainland and Hawaiian waters, but the proportion was greater in 2007, Burgess said. Last year’s total of 50 attacks returned to 2000 and 2001 levels of 53 and 50, respectively, after dropping from 30 to 40 for each year between 2003 and 2006, he said.

There also was an upswing in attacks along the Florida coast, jumping from 23 in 2006 to 32 in 2007. There has been a gradual increase in human-shark skirmishes in the Sunshine State since they dropped from 37 in 2000 to an 11-year-low of 12 in 2004, he said.

Within Florida, Volusia County continued its dubious distinction as the world’s shark bite capital with 17 incidents, its highest yearly total since 2002, Burgess said. Attractive waves off New Smyrna Beach on the central Atlantic coast are popular with surfers, he said.

Additional U.S. attacks were recorded in Hawaii – seven — marking a five-year-high, along with South Carolina, five; California, three; North Carolina, two; and Texas, one.

Elsewhere, there were 12 attacks in Australia, up from seven in 2006 and 10 in 2005, but down slightly from the 13 attacks recorded in 2004. There were two attacks each last year in South Africa and New Caledonia, with single incidents reported in Fiji, Ecuador, Mexico and New Zealand.

Most of those attacked (56%) were surfers and windsurfers, followed by swimmers and waders (38%) and divers and snorkelers (6%). The one 2007 fatality was a snorkeler from France visiting the Loyalty Islands archipelago in French New Caledonia.

“We advise not getting yourself isolated because there is safety in numbers,” Burgess said. “Sharks, like all predators, tend to go after solitary individuals, the weak and the infirm, and are less likely to attack people or fish in groups.”

Shark-Attack Victim ID'd

Update. Very sad news.

The swimmer killed in a fatal shark attack this morning off the coast of Solana Beach has been identified by a family friend as 66-year-old Dave Martin. Martin is a retired veterinarian who has lived in Solana Beach since 1970. The announcement was made at a press conference held in Solana Beach.

Shark Attack in California-Posts

To get an idea of the public's response to this tragedy we pulled some comments from the L.A Times site who seem to have the best coverage and are thus far staying away from the Fox News style hype which is permeating the other 365 articles and news reports out there at this time.

Here's what people are saying:

1. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It is a tragedy, yes, but the way human beings are distroying this planet, plants, animals, & wildlife are all suffering. This is a perfect example of the selfishness of the people of our planet...taking advantage of the earth's bounties, killing, distroying and maiming and then complaining about it. This is a sad reality of life in the 21st Century.
Submitted by: Shari
11:34 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

2. Unfortunately dbx's comment about justice is the way Fish and Game usually sees it. They follow public opinion, and there are usually outcries to kill the shark after attacks. I am an avid free diver and we know the risks and respect the environment we go into, it is of course a tragedy, but sharks must stop being portrayed as bloodthirsty, brainless killers. The more people understand them, the less fear there will be of them.
Submitted by: koby
11:28 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

3. This is a tragedy, and I'm sorry for the attack victim and his family. At the same time, it is ridiculous to think that another attack could be prevented by locating and trapping the shark. This type of response seems hysterical and ignorant to someone like myself who has been surfing for the last 15 years in Northern California, where shark sightings and attacks are much more common. Humans are not part of any shark's natural diet. Attacks on humans are rare, and the idea that a single shark would attack humans more than once before it continues on its migratory path, assuming it's a White shark, is ridiculous.
Submitted by: Isaac McGowan
11:27 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

4. Entering the Ocean is a wilderness experience. Even so, an attack by a predator on a human is so random and so rare its shocking when it happens. My condolence to the Gentleman's family & friends.
Submitted by: Tri guy
11:25 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

5. Any habitate other than our own, should be used with causion. A shark like a grizzly bear are preditors and weather they are in the wilds or in a facility of training, they are still wild animals. We need to respect that fact. If you step into a den of vipors you need to know that you are going to get bitten. It is a fact of life. We need to remember that FACT. It is not your God given right to do what you want. My heart always goes out to the victums and their families at their time of greif. May God give them strength to make it through this hard time.
Submitted by: Rhonda in So. Cal.
11:24 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

6. I agree with Mike. Surfers and Open Water swimmers know the risks of their sports. They respect and love the ocean. I hope the killed swimmer did not suffer too much. Fish and Game should be known as search and destroy. They have little understanding of wildlife except as seen from behind the barrel of a long range rifle.
Submitted by: Pita
11:18 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

7. I know there were great white shark sitings off of san onofre a few years ago. I wonder if they are starting to make their way south from oregon/washington area...
Submitted by: matt s.
11:10 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

8. What a tragedy. I grew up going to Solana Beach. I never would have guessed a shark attack would happen there.
Submitted by: Dan
11:06 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

9. we have to trap the shark to bring him to justice and teach nature that democracy will prevail at all cost.
Submitted by: dbx
11:05 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

10. Going to the beach is never a bad thing but we all have to sit back and think here. Trying to trap a shark. For what reason? Once we set foot in the water, we are no longer in our habitat. We must respect the animals of the sea and know that we are swimming at out our own risk. My prayers do go to the individual who lost his life never the less.
Submitted by: Mike USMC
11:01 AM PDT, April 25, 2008

Shark kills man swimming with triathletes in S. Calif.

At 8.00am this morning we started getting calls from the media for comment. Expect an unfortunate result for the sharks coming from this as the media spins this entirely sad event up.

Most of the reporters/assignment producers who contacted us were looking for anti-shark quotes. We politely refused. Our sympathies go out to the family of the swimmer.

Check back for updates.

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A shark on Friday attacked and killed a swimmer who was training in the ocean off San Diego County with a group of triathletes, authorities said.

A man between 55 and 60 years old was swimming at Tide Beach around 7 a.m. when he was attacked, according to a statement on the Solana Beach city Web site.

The man, whose identity was not immediately released, was taken to a lifeguard station for emergency treatment but was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.

Swimmers were ordered out of the water for a 17-mile stretch around the attack site and county authorities sent up helicopters to scan the waters for the shark.

"The shark is still in the area. We're sure of that," Mayor Joe Kellejian said.

It was unknown what kind of shark was involved.

Solana Beach is 14 miles northwest of San Diego.

Shark attacks are extremely rare. There were 71 confirmed unprovoked cases worldwide last year, up from 63 in 2006, according to the University of Florida. Only one 2007 attack, in the South Pacific, was fatal.

The last fatal shark attack in California, according to data from the state Department of Fish and Game, took place in 2004, when a man skin diving for abalone was attacked by a great white shark off the coast of Mendocino County.

USA to end controversial shark 'finning'

Sometimes there's good news for sharks. This would be one of those days.

The oceans just got a little safer for sharks. Fishermen must bring their shark catches to shore with fins still attached, the US fisheries service has decided.

The new rule, put forward last week, aims to prevent fishermen from slicing fins off vulnerable species and discarding the rest at sea.

"Finning", as the practice is known, is illegal in the US and elsewhere, but the ban is difficult to enforce. Right now, fishermen may land piles of fins separate from shark bodies, so long as the fins weigh less than 5% of the total catch.

Shark meat fetches much lower prices than do fins, which are the main ingredient in the prized Asian soup. The discrepancy encourages cheating as it is hard to identify the species of a shark based solely on its fins.

Shark Shield Technology-A Testamonial

A quick word about the Shark Shield. Recently a nasty lawsuit and media storm over the Shark Shields ability to deter sharks and effectiveness has surfaced.

The details are here.

We would like to weigh in on this technology. For the past two years the crew of Shark Diver have used these dive units in a variety of places and situations with several different species of sharks, including big macro predators.

The result is always the same, deterrence. In short these units work, each time and every time. For an operation that introduces divers to sharks in baited situations it's nice to know that you have an additional layer of dive security on site. For the film crews we work with they insist on multi-layer shark security when filming. These units allow us to offer that.

Shark Diver Disclaimer:

These units are never to be used as a first layer of shark diver security. Knowing the animals you will be encountering, the area you are diving, and having rock solid diver safety protocols should be your first and foremost consideration. Always leave the area if you have baited sharks and they are acting in a manner that causes concern. Shark Shields should be pre-tested on the animals you will be encountering prior to commercial use to gauge response.

Shark Capture Causes Traffic Jam

What is it with Floridians anyway?

Perhaps the most shark crazy bunch of people on the planet right now with perhaps the exception of China.

Let us qualify that, coastal Floridians.

LOWER MATECUMBE KEY -- All the Miami fisherman wanted to do was measure the lemon shark he had caught and then release it back into the open sea.

Instead, James Fuqua caused a traffic mess on the Overseas Highway when about 50 people parked their cars haphazardly on the road and waded into shallow waters to take pictures, touch the shark or simply get a closer look.

To make matters worse, the gawkers trampled hundreds of native plants -- sea oats, sea-oxeye daisies and sea grapes -- that had been planted in a volunteer beach restoration project over the weekend.

All this for a lemon shark?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Found On The Internet-People are Less Sharky

Thanks for taking this poll
Which is your most ideal ocean vacation destination?
shark cage at Guadalupe Island
buffet line on a cruise ship in Alaska
lounge chair on the beach in the Bahamas
kayaking along the fjords of Chile
on the couch at home watching the Discovery Channel
Total Replies : 2791

Shark Diving and Feeding Raises Concerns, for Sharks and Divers

Voice of America recently tackled the open debate about shark diving and it's effects.

Sadly the piece, aired last week, is just a standard regurgitation of what has come many times before.

When tackling the complex issue of wild animal encounters-it would seem the media is less interested in fact finding and more interested in "commonly held shark notions".

Most of these "notions" are out of date and out of touch and not substantiated by any science or on site observations at all.

Here's the point. Operations like Rodney Fox in Australia have actually supported research to answer the burning question of "habituation" of white sharks to chum. It was a great project and yes there's actually an answer to that question now, we'll let the Foxes tell the world when they are ready.

This is how our industry will counter far flung and unsubstantiated claims about sharks and shark diving. In the end shark diving does change perceptions of sharks to thousands each and every year.

While the shark diving "industry" does have it's mavericks, those who push limits of wild animal encounters, it is good to be reminded that the entire industry is still growing and developing. Changes will happen as time moves forward. Accidents, as this industry grows, will happen as well. That is the nature of developing wild animal encounters.

In the end, and in the final summation, research to answer basic questions about sharks and shark diving will not only help the industry along, but it will provide those on the outside with a broader understanding of what we do and what these animals are doing there as well.

Media, instead of just reaching for the same old tired comments about an industry that, beside itself, has managed to introduce thousands of people, safely, to a wild predator that needs our help as much as any other wild animal in today's oceans.

Food for thought.

Wolfgang Leander and Son-Shark Family

There are precious few "originals" in our dive industry these days.

Even more so when you add sharks into the mix.

Here's one "absolute original" that we just had to introduce you to this morning. Hope you enjoy him.

From the Oceanicdreams Blog:

Usually when my dad and I get together sparks fly at one point or another – this time was no different: me giving him dirty looks or him giving me the stink eye when I would not get close enough for the shot of him in-between three large tiger sharks feeding on whale meat. But this trip just reaffirmed something to me: my dad LOVES sharks and is truly passionate about these magnificent animals.

For a long time I have quietly sat behind and listened to the conversations on various shark groups, seen scientists bicker, film makers becoming famous, Shark organizations refusing to work together and people fighting over credit of campaigns; I have come to wonder if these people are really passionate about sharks or about the fame and exposure for themselves or the organizations they represent.

I know one thing, my old man does not care if his photos are published, if his face is on a movie poster, if someone else takes credit for a campaign; (sure you might argue that you need the fame and exposure to get the message out – but it can be done together)…the only thing he cares about are sharks and spending as much time as possible with them. It is so deep that he got seriously depressed when he found out that some of the tiger sharks in both Aliwal Shoal and Tiger Beach were killed.

William Winram, world class freediver and waterman, said something to my dad that stuck with me: “You are an inspiration”…Wolf was the first one in the water and last one out…mind you he is 67.

And while I am sure the sparks will continue to fly I am very proud of having him as my father and consider him one of the few people that are truly truly passionate about sharks and their fate…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Palladium Neodymium-Hope For Sharks

What you are looking at may just save millions of sharks in the coming years. Researchers have discovered some metals actually cause sharks to be "repulsed" in salt water (if you live in a canal region with loads of Bull sharks, sorry)

Thanks Underwater Times for this story.

Sharks in captivity avoid metals that react with seawater to produce an electric field, a behavior that may help fishery biologists develop a strategy to reduce the bycatch of sharks in longline gear.

Shark bycatch is an increasing priority worldwide given diminished populations of many shark species, and because sharks compete with target species for baited lines, reducing fishing efficiency and increasing operating costs.

A recent study by NOAA scientists and colleagues on captive juvenile sandbar sharks showed the presence of an electropositive alloy, in this case palladium neodymium, clearly altered the swimming patterns of individual animals and temporarily deterred feeding in groups of sharks.

Shark Diver Hits 100,000,000!

Without a doubt the most watched shark diving video on You Tube right now was shot at Isla Guadalupe and we were in the middle of it in 2007 with white shark researcher-Mauricio Hoyos.

The video has hit over 100,000,000 views and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. It has also launched the career of aspiring wild animal show host Luke Tipple.

You may also know him as the Dive Operations Manager for Shark Diver and Islander Charters.

What made this video a hit?

Good question. This was a grand experiment in Web 2.0 for us here at Shark Diver. We knew that the right video at the right time with a compelling story would draw interest. It also had a lot to do with how this was marketed on the net.

Without giving too much away-having the right partners, in this case the boys from 689 Design, made all the difference. Adam and Zander are pure genius, they know what works, they know timing, and they (thanks to us) also know Great White sharks.

So, in case you're one of the few shark fans who have not seen the video, here it is yet again:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

White Shark Projects-Tragedy Update

15 April 2008

White shark viewing and diving continues

You will, by now, have heard the tragic news of the accident in Gansbaai on Sunday, 13 April. Our shark diving and viewing boat was capsized by a freak wave during an otherwise ideal sea-going day. Thanks to the prompt and efficient reaction of local emergency services and our crew, the incident was contained. Sadly, three lives were lost, and our deepest sympathy goes to their next of kin.

Be assured that all safety measures were in place. As always, White Shark Projects operates to the strictest standards as laid out by the shark cage diving and viewing industry and the South African Government's Marine and Coastal Management. Indeed, these are the basic requirements of an operator’s exemption and/or permit.

We would also like to assure you that our diving and viewing continues as usual. Existing and future bookings are not affected by the accident and visitors are assured, as always, of a wonderful experience.

Yours sincerely

Charmaine Beukes

Sales and Marketing


Mobile : +27 (0) 83 728 4833

Reservations: +27 (21) 405 4537

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Australia+Crocs+Bungee Jumping=Video

What do you get when you add an Aussie, a video camera, a world class bungee outfit and a 15 foot Saltwater Croc on an otherwise uneventful day over the Murrybundi River?

The answer is some amazing You Tube Video:

Of course if you believe everything on You Tube we can't help you.

McSeals Go Missing-McKiller Whales Blamed

If there was any doubt after reading this latest news that the Great White shark is only the second most impressive oceanic predator...we're not sure how much convincing you need.

Seems off the coast of Scotland McKillers are gobbling up seals faster than $1.00 Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches.

Killer whales blamed for decline of Scottish seals

Attacks by killer whales may be helping to drive the sudden and mysterious decline of seals around the northern coasts of Scotland, new research suggests.

British populations of harbour seals (also known as common seals) are falling steeply, with numbers in Orkney and Shetland dropping by 40 per cent in the five years to 2006.

So far, the declines are unexplained, but a new theory is that killer whales, or orcas, the bulky, black-and-white predators which are in fact the largest members of the dolphin family, have increased their taking of seals to such an extent that it may be causing populations to shrink.

The harbour seal is one of Britain's two native seal species, the other being the bigger grey seal. But while grey seal populations remain buoyant, harbour seal numbers are tumbling, especially in the Northern Isles, where nearly half of them live. Surveys in Orkney and Shetland in 2001 found 12,635 animals, but when the counts were repeated in 2006, they showed that numbers had plunged to 7,277.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tragedy in South Africa-Shark Boat Update

We got this comment from Lauren regarding our first post:

"Actually, the boat had just finished doing a shark dive, and were getting ready to go back to shore. There were plenty of sharks in the water, according to our daughter who was a volunteer on the boat."

Three tourists who died in a shark-diving boat accident were identified on Monday by Western Cape police.Two men from the United States and one from Norway died when their shark-diving boat capsized near Kleinbaai on Sunday,

The two Americans who died in the accident were named as Cassey Scott Lajeunesse, 35, from Maine and Christopher Tallman, 34 from California.

Kenneth Roque from Moss in Norway was the third victim.

"Nine crew members and nine other tourists survived the incident and were treated for injuries and shock" said police spokesperson Andre Traut.

Traut said three death inquest case dockets had been registered.Gansbaai police were investigating the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.

On Sunday, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon said the boat that capsized was a 36 foot White Shark Projects boat. Chairwoman of the Great White Shark Protection Foundation, Mariette Hoply, said the shark-cage diving boat had anchored just before a freak wave struck it around 10am on Sunday, causing it to capsize.

The boat's crew had not started shark-cage diving when the wave struck. - Sapa

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"MythBusters Shark Week 2008"

Of course the crew here of Shark Diver knows more about this than we will let on:

On a March afternoon, Savage is busy with a 3-foot-long metal rod, a variable-speed drill and red string. He can't hide the "it's always Christmas Day" enthusiasm on his face as he works on his latest contraption: a device to simulate how an injured fish acts in the water. It is for a myth to be explored in an episode to air on the cable channel's "Shark Week" this summer.

The "Shark Week" episodes will be filmed in the Bahamas. A few weeks earlier, the team was in Alaska to examine myths associated with the far north. The last new episode, which aired Feb. 20, was the show's 100th. A new batch of original episodes will begin airing in July, and the crew is preparing those shows now.

S.Africa White Shark Boat Capsizes, 3 Killed

S.Africa Boat Capsizes, 3 Killed

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Two Americans and one Norwegian tourist on a South African shark cage diving adventure drowned Sunday when their boat was hit by a freak wave, tourism and rescue officials said.

The 10 passengers and nine crew members onboard were flung into the water when the boat capsized under the wave. Nearby boats rescued 16 people who were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

The two Americans and one Norwegian were pronounced dead at the scene, said the head of the Great White Shark Protection Foundation, Mariette Hopley.

The accident happened in Gansbaai, which calls itself the Great White capital of the world because its waters are teeming with sharks. The small town, about two hours from Cape Town, attracts thousands of tourists each year who are lowered into the water in metal cages to view the sharks.

Hopley said the boat had just anchored around 10 a.m. and was preparing to lower the first cage into the water when the freak wave hit. She said there were no sharks in the immediate vicinity at the time.

She said it was the first accident since the advent of shark cage diving in Gansbaai in 1991.

Blow Your Mind-Shark/Sea Horse Pics

A few weeks ago intrepid underwater explorer Karl Stanley took his submarine down the Cayman Trench with some Nat Geo guys for another deep water shark adventure.

Let's back up a bit...

What would you do with a dead racehorse in Roatan, Honduras?

If you're Karl, someone "donates it" to you and you quickly drop it down 1700' and then drop your home made submarine down 1700' to see what arrives to feed on it. Karl wrote:

"National Geographic came down to shoot Six Gill sharks for a special on them- I sank a horse and we saw 5 sharks- we were actually in the middle of a Six Gill feeding frenzy, and they bit the sub".

The next series of images are nothing short of amazing. Like we told you years ago-the animals at this site are simply huge. Last time we got to see these monster Six Gills all we had were a couple of pigs heads...and don't ask us how we got them!

Bill at Congress-Act To Save Sharks?

A new bill is sitting in Congress that might require the bodies of all sharks taken in US Waters to also have fins with them and vice versa.
Shark Diver is in full agreement with the actions taken on this bill but it needs your support.
Here's how you can help today:

US citizens wishing to express support for this important bill should also contact their Representatives in Congress click and type in your zip code.

Many conservationists believe the bill could be improved by adding a requirement that sharks be landed with their fins attached. Those who agree with this should mention their support for a fins-attached requirement in their letters to Congress.

Thanks all, Sonja

Sonja Fordham
Policy Director, Shark Alliance and
Shark Conservation Program Director, Ocean Conservancy
c/o Pew Environmental Group
Level 21, Bastion Tower
5 Place du Champ de Mars
1050 Brussels, Belgium
T: +32 (0) 2 550 37 44/45
M: +32 495 10 14 68

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Salmon Futures $40/Lb? You Betcha!

Well, it has come to pass. The once magnificent salmon runs from San Francisco to Oregon are now officially gone. With a one year "temporary ban" in place...and who are we kidding here, fishermen and a 500 million dollar industry have been wiped out overnight.

The same old war horses who got us into this mess are now trying to fix it. The solution is 500 million for fish replanting and habitat reconstruction, 10 years of good will, and a few prayers of forgiveness to the almighty.

SEATTLE — Failure. Disaster. Devastation.

Those words can describe the utter loss of commercial and sport ocean Chinook seasons in 2008 in most of Oregon and California. But through all of the gloom, Oregon emerged from the historic closure with a small victory: a 9,000-fish coho quota for sport fishermen.

The historic closures due to low returns to much of the West Coast rivers, primarily the Sacramento, was marked only by a lot of angst, a few simple votes, a quiet audience and much regret as the Pacific Fishery Management Council met in Seattle to decide the fate of not just sport and commercial fishermen, but also several coastal ports and towns for years to come.

"Ocean Adventure: Immerse Yourself in Nature"

Sea Watch is doing their part to preserve the Sea of Cortez. Leading by example and working with Conapesca to introduce legislation banning fishing with compressors and hookah in the continental and ocean waters of Mexico. This can only be good news for a body of water almost stripped of wildlife over the past 15 years.

From the Blog Ocean Adventure: Immerse Yourself in Nature

The destructive fishing methods that utilize hookah divers with nets and harpoons, that has devastated the reefs of the Sea of Cortez over the last 10 years are being banned by a new regulation adopted in norma 064. This regulation if enforced will stop the killing of over a 1000's tons of reef fish yearly in the waters of BCS.

Here is a letter dated 2/07/08 from a CONAPESCA official.

I refer to your request for information on prohibiting fishing underwater in any of its forms, with scuba equipment and / or equipment hookah in the Regulation Mexican Official NOM-064-CFSP-2006, about systems, methods and techniques that are prohibited for catching fish in the waters under federal jurisdiction of the United Mexican States, which was published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación for public consultation on May 8, 2007.

In this regard I wish to inform you that based on the technical opinion of the National Fisheries Institute (INP), as well as the recommendations contained in the Carta Nacional Pesquera (Fisheries law), the application was deemed appropriate, so the Norma Oficial Mexicana referenced will be published in the (Diario Oficial de la Federación ) shortly and provides for the prohibition of fishing underwater with scuba equipment and / or hookah equipment in continental waters and in marine waters.

In conformity with the above, under the heading of NOM-064 grouping systems, methods, techniques and fishing gear that are prohibited for commercial fishing, sports and recreational fishing, didactic and household consumption, including the method of fishing with harpoons and fítoras from the shore or from boats using the technique of diving with a compressor (hookah) in marine waters and in continental bodies of water, except as authorized by the Secretariat based on the technical opinion of the INP.

In regards to the steps to its publication, once approved at the Third Meeting of the Consultative Committee for Standardization of Responsible Fisheries, on August 23, 2007, a document entitled "Response to the comments and changes made to the Draft Norma Oficial Mexicana PROY-NOM-064-CFSP-2006, about systems, methods and techniques prohibited for fishing in waters under federal jurisdiction of the United Mexican States, published on May 8, 2007, "as well as the corresponding regulation, were forwarded to the Coordinación General Jurídica de la SAGARPA (legal) for their opinion, under the procedure established by the same Coordination together with the Oficialía Mayor de la SAGARPA. Once they have issued their opinion, both documents will be sent the Comisión Federal de Mejora Regulatoria (COFEMER) for the purpose of obtaining an opinion referred to in section 69-L of the Federal Act on Administrative Procedure, and then be able to publish them in the Diario Oficial de la Federación.

Atte. Lic. Belinda Cedillo Tirado
Director of Legislative
General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture Management

NBC Series-Shark Taggers Part 2

Ohhh Boy!

NBC's latest reality based show on primetime, not Discovery, called Shark Taggers. For those of you who missed the synopsis from earlier on in the week here it is again:

Lost in all the excitement over the mysterious The Office spinoff (which is, for now, titled The Office Spinoff) were two equally tantalizing additions to NBC’s 2008–2009 lineup, announced earlier this week: America’s Toughest Jobs and Shark Taggers, both from producer Thom Beers and his Original Productions.

You may know Beers as the man who’s building a mini-empire based on dangerous-job reality shows, such as Deadliest Catch (about the perils of deep-sea fishing) on Discovery and Ice Road Truckers (about the perils of driving trucks on icy roads) on the History Channel. Back in December, Beers signed an interesting deal with NBC during the writers' strike, which essentially guaranteed him two one-hour blocks of programming a week.

And now he’s delivered: America’s Toughest Jobs will be like Deadliest Catch: The Home Game, in which twelve regular Americans compete while performing the world’s most dangerous occupations, from oil-drilling to logging. Shark Taggers is about, well, people who tag sharks; specifically, marine biologists studying shark attacks (cool!) and migration patterns (okay!). We’re not sure this is actually a dangerous job, but tagging sharks certainly sounds dangerous. And Beers has an undeniable talent for wringing maximum drama from America’s occupations, as evidenced by Lobster Wars, a series in production for Discovery about lobster-fishing off the coast of New England, and Verminators (also for Discovery), which follows an “elite team of pest busters to the front lines of their never-ending battle against infestations of all kinds.”

Personally, we’ll be rooting for all these shows, especially because, if Shark Taggers is a hit, it should clear the way (Brushcutters! Coming in 2010 from NBC!) for future Beers-NBC collaborations, such as Hornet-Nest Jostlers (“nature’s deadliest buzz”); Lawn Jockeys (“tackling America’s unsightliest yards — while riding just inches above three spinning blades of death”); and Grizzly-Bear Barbers (Short, back and sides? Or death?). —Adam Sternbergh

O.K Adam, we'll invite you to Isla Guadalupe to spend a night with the local fishermen in the "Love Shack" then you can tell us how dangerous shark tagging really is!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Deep Sea News-Davidson Sea Mount

If you have not checked out our links section do so today. You'll find a great selection of weblinks with videos and images that will most likely blow your mind. Case in point the Davidson Sea Mount.

When possible, I like to keep close tabs on the world of octopuses, for two reasons: 1. Everybody has their hobbies, mine just involves cephalopod mollusks and don't you judge me, and 2. I often get the feeling that they're plotting something:

Savor The Moment-Live The Image

If you get a chance today click on this image to see it in full size. This is Isla Guadalupe. The shark is called "Shredder". He's a 14 foot bruiser who we came to know several years ago quite by chance when he decided to sever our brand new anchor line with a flying bite.

That was way back in 2002.

Since then "Shredder" has become famous the world over with several articles written about him and his exploits at this site. Along with "Bruce" and a few others, he's become one of the dominant males here and we look for his return every year. The image features Mauricio Hoyos CICIMAR shark researcher hoping to get a tag on him. Shredder eluded Mauricio that day.

Shredder has got one thing going for him. That once proud dorsal fin of his is a mess, in today's oceans that's a definite plus when shark finners are lurking around every nautical corner.

Guadalupe Conservation Fund-New Home

Back in 2006 Shark Diver created the Isla Guadalupe Conservation Fund website.

The goal was to direct funds from concerned divers and members of the general public into ongoing shark tagging and research studies being conducted by the team from CICIMAR.

We're happy to announce that this goal has been met, and that the CICIMAR team-lead by grad student Mauricio Hoyos has completed their work at the island and will be publishing their data soon. What the team discovered at this pristine site has answered three of the main questions that have puzzled us since we began operations here 6 years ago.

While we would love to tell you what they discovered, we'll let them tell you in their own words. Suffice to say, knowing what the sharks are doing at Isla Guadalupe on a day-to-day basis has made the entire 4 year effort worth it.

Additionally the IGC Fund now has a new home.

The Isla Guadalupe Conservation Fund is now managed as an advised fund at the International Community Foundation, a registered 501c3 not-for profit-organization which is dedicated to expanding charitable giving internationally with an emphasis in environment and conservation grant making in Northwest Mexico.

The ICF has raised over $30,000 with the extreme help and support of Mike Lever owner and operator of the Nautilus Explorer. Mike remains committed to all aspects of marine conservation and when he gets a chance he'll always step in and protect the critters he makes a living from.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Underwater Shark Park-Bahamas 2013

The proposal is simple. The details enormous.

What would it take for the Bahamian Government to enact laws that not only protected all species of sharks in their water, but simultaneously created a series of Shark Parks or protected areas where sharks would be guaranteed safe sanctuary?

The idea is not so new and with global shark populations shrinking at rates never before seen- unique sites like Tiger Beach become prime sites for big ideas like these.

Recently, this blog covered several sites worldwide that are loosing their sharks to short term fishing pressure and turning, perhaps too late, to tourism to save these animals.

Tiger Beach, Bahamas is one site that has everything going for it, a stable government, a thriving eco tourism client base, researchers who have expressed interest in studying these animals, and the good will of many members of the dive community.

The question remains, what would it take? Who would step up and make it happen?

One thing is for sure, looking into the Crystal Ball 15 years from now, we will look back at this blog post and say one of two things.

Hopefully it will be-"Let's go see some of the only remaining Tigers at the Shark Park this week".

Tiger Beach Bahamas 2008 - Fly Fishermen Kill Shark

Sometimes the news we get here is news you never want to hear.

Last week a fly fishermen from the USA seeking a trophy catch deliberately hooked and killed a 15 foot Tiger Shark and brought it back to a marina for a weigh in.

Those on site who witnessed the event say the animal weighed in at 1200 pounds, and when cut open, revealed a few full term pups, one of which was put into the marina and as of last week was still seen "swimming around".

This report was confirmed by speaking with the marina manger "Peter" this morning who also added that "the same vessel was at the marina last year and caught another shark of similar size".

The crew of Shark Diver are distressed to hear of any gravid animals harvested for sport, especially coming from Tiger Beach where fishing for Tigers is like shooting fish in a barrel. We would like to propose legislation for this site to protect these animals in Bahamian waters.

Perhaps it's time for those within our community who have spent the past few months attacking Bahamian dive operations over the recent Shear Water Affair to re-focus on more pressing issues like this one.

It's a big step in leadership, let's see if anyone is up for it?

Aussie Gold Coast Madness-Kill Sharks

With the recent fatal attack off the coast of Australia last week, age old "voices of vengeance" are calling for a return to 70's style shark hunts or "culling" of sharks.

This quite naturally is madness on a scale that would devastate the shark populations off the coast.

The image featured in this article is from a Tiger shark said to have been caught recently by the fishermen in the picture. One more magnificent shark reduced to a set of jaws.

A LEADING fishing expert believes northern NSW needs to introduce a shark control program similar to the Gold Coast to reduce the number of the deadly predators in the area's waters.

Gold Coast Bulletin and Channel 9 fishing expert Paul Burt last night said without a shark control program, 'the sharks were free to come and go as they like.' "Our guy catches quiet a few sharks when they are running which is eradicating the problem, which is why we don't get as many attacks," he said.

The call for northern NSW to introduce a shark control program, like the Coast's nets and drum lines, comes after 16-year-old Peter Edmonds was fatally attacked by what experts believe was a bull shark while body boarding at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina yesterday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Slaughter-Threshers Decline In The Philippines

One of the most elusive sharks (for shark divers) is rapidly declining in the Philippines-according to recent reports.

The whole story is sadly familiar, poor fishermen who have run out of traditional fish stocks now targeting this rare and beautiful animal for it's fins.

Surprisingly a recent illegal fishing bust at the Socorros, Mexico revealed a healthy population of Threshers at this site as well...caught in the nets.

BATANGAS CITY – The Philippines may soon lose its thresher sharks – listed as “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – if their slaughter for meat and fins continues unchecked.

“The extent of the fishery situation with regard to the thresher sharks in the Batangas Bay area is absolutely – in my honest, scientific opinion – not sustainable,” Dr. Simon Oliver, shark specialist and chair of the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Group based in the United Kingdom, said.

Antarctica Scary Critterfest

Antarctica-we brought you the video of what life is like on the surface a few weeks back. Chilling stuff.

Now researchers have begun sending small probes beneath the ice in search of life. Part science fiction, part exploration, what this team has discovered has trumped any theories put forth over the past 10 years.

It was once thought that the floor of Antarctica would be a vast wasteland, the opposite is true.

With new critters being identified faster than the US Gov wastes money in Iraq (that's a lot by the way) the future of scientific study beneath the ice is bright indeed.
This predatory fish, called a stareater, uses its luminous red chin appendage to lure prey into striking distance.

The fish in this image was one of more than 30,000 marine creatures hauled up by a team of 26 scientists and 18 crew during a census of Antarctic life in early 2008.

The team endured icy weather as cold as 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 13 degrees Celsius)—which caused equipment to freeze up and samples to ice over as soon as they landed on deck. Think we'll stick to shark diving.

Damn Catfish At Risk...From Dam

There are some bodies of water in the world that you just do not want to know what's patrolling around in the murky depths.

Case in point Vietnam and Cambodia. Great countries to visit, but if you have small children keep them out of the waters here.

Actually that's good advice in any country outside of the USA. Anyone reading this actually smelled the Ganges lately?

We digress.

The story here is about this catfish. One of the largest on the planet and now in peril due to a massive damn project that will essentially cut it's home range down to a few square miles of filthy, muddy water. That's not to say that we do not care.

The problem's just hard to love a giant pink catfish living in Vietnam.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rare Fatal Shark Attack-Australia

Australians woke up this morning to a media frenzy around a rare fatal shark attack in NSW. Here's some of the latest reporting filled with the standard shark attack catch phrases designed to keep you out of the water for at least a month.

By Drew Cratchley April 08, 2008
THE fatal shark attack on a teenage surfer in northern New South Wales is the first in Australian waters in over two years, and the first in NSW since 1993.

However, the boy's death follows a number of non-fatal attacks and shark sightings in the region over the past year.

The 16-year-old surfer was fatally mauled near the North Wall at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina this morning while bodyboarding in murky water with a friend.Experts say the shark - possibly a bull shark - may have been attracted by the heavy flow of fresh water from the nearby Richmond River, which in turn draws schools of fish.

It is the first fatal shark attack in Australia since January 7, 2006.

Sarah Kate Whiley, 21, from Brisbane's north, was attacked at Amity Point at North Stradbroke Island east of Brisbane that afternoon as she swam in waist-high water.In an horrific attack, Ms Whiley was mauled by up to three bull sharks, which ripped both her arms from her body and bit into her torso and legs.

Two fishermen dragged Ms Whiley out of the water onto the beach, before she was airlifted to a Brisbane hospital where she died of shock and massive blood loss. The next prior shark attack death occurred in South Australia in August 2005, when marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens, 23, was taken by a shark while diving for cuttlefish eggs off Glenelg in Adelaide's west.

However, it was just over four months ago that two schoolgirls were stranded on a shipwreck as a shark circled below them at Byron Bay, about 20 kilometres north of where today's attack occurred. The girls, both 14, were diving off the wreck on November 21 last year when one of them spotted the "large, dark shark".

Lifeguards were able to rescue the girls, but the popular tourist spot's main beach was temporarily closed as a precaution.Six weeks earlier, and also in Byron Bay, a woman was knocked from her surf ski by a white pointer.

Linda Whitehurst, 52, and her husband Glen were paddling about 150m off shore at The Pass on October 15 last year when the 2.5m shark bit into her surf ski, toppling her into the water.The experienced paddler was able to fend off the shark by belting it with her paddle, and she escaped with a small wound on her arm.

On the morning of February 3 last year a 26-year-old man escaped an attack with several similarities to today's attack, just a few hundred metres north of Ballina's Lighthouse Beach. Matthew McIntosh was riding a wave on his body board at Shelly Beach when he was bitten on the lower leg by a shark.

According to figures from the International Shark Attack File, compiled by the Florida Museum of Natural History in the US, there were 12 shark attacks in Australia in 2007, up from seven in 2006, 10 in 2005, and 13 attacks in 2004.

But Taronga Zoo's John West, who established the Australian Shark Attack File in 1984, said Australians are more likely to be killed on their way to the beach than killed by a shark."If you take the average fatalities over the last 10, 20, 50 and 100 years, the average is 1.2 deaths per year," Mr West said.

Today's attack puts NSW at the top of the list of shark attack fatalities since records began over 200 years ago, with 73 of the nation's 192 shark attack deaths recorded in the state.Queensland is second on the list with 72, followed by South Australia with 19 and Western Australia with 13.

However, Mr West said NSW has actually been one of the safest states in the last 50 years.

"The last fatality in NSW prior to this was in 1993, and prior to that was 1983, so it's been 15 years since we've had a fatality in NSW," Mr West said.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Jimmy Hall And His White Shark

Does anyone remember this video?

We do, and we also remember the guy who shot it as well. Jimmy Hall was the best of everything that the dive industry has to offer. An original, a genuinely nice guy, and an adventure seeker.

Sadly, he passed away last year, but this video stands as a testament to someone who loved animals and loved the ocean. The dive industry has few replacements for Jimmy:

White Shark Researchers Have All The Fun

The shark guys over at TOPP's seem to have the all the fun when it comes to white shark encounters at San Francisco's Farallone Islands.

This unique site is home to some truly giant white sharks. The problem is since new rules and regs curbing everything from towed decoys to how close you can actually get to a fresh seal kill, the site is just not as fun as it used to be.

Still, if this latest video is any indication, the science guys out there are not limited to the same rules the commercial guys are. Wonder how much they charge for a full day of serious sharking on their boat?

Cheesy music aside, this was what it used to be like years ago:

Monster Bluefin Tuna? New Zealand's The Place

The crew from TOPP's have been toiling away for the past few years in New Zealand, tagging monster bluefin tuna.

Turns out they are not the only ones interested in some of the last stocks of these magnificent animals left on the planet.

Bluefin are some of the rarest and most valuable tuna on the market with some animals fetching upwards of $80,000...for one fish!

Tuna is also the favorite food of great whites at Isla Guadalupe where the mighty bluefin were once as plentiful as sardines at this dive site.

Here's the local story. The picture features a guy who's been eating nothing but bluefin for his entire life and now has the strength of 12 men.

O.K, that part was an onion, but the rest of the story is pretty amazing, now where did we put that fishing gear?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Video Game Crysis-Oh Yeah, It's Sharky!

Someone has been playing with the Crysis video game mods. Whoever it is we salute you. This game has become 1000% more sharky than the original, and that's saying something.

Gives a whole new meaning to Land Shark:

Television-Giant Squids? Yeah!

You just have to love any programming that involves the Humboldt Squid (sneak peak video).

With a sharp beak that can open up even the toughest armor like a hot knife through butter anyone who dives with these critters is rewarded with an adventure of a lifetime.

Here's the scoop for all you "couch divers" out there video below:

QUEST SEASON PREMIERE. A mysterious sea creature up to 7 feet long, with 10 arms, a sharp beak and a ravenous appetite, has invaded ocean waters off Northern California. Packs of fierce Humboldt Squid attack nearly everything they see, from fish to scuba divers. Marine biologists are working to discover why they've headed north from their traditional homes off South America.

Will giant Humboldt squid take over Northern California's fisheries? Jane Stevens of the Tagging of Ocean Predators (TOPP) Blog posits that changes in the Oxygen Minimum Layer (OML) may be partly to blame for the invasion of these giant cephalopods.

Friday, April 4, 2008

NBC New Television Series-"Shark Taggers"

Now we're talkin' real shark television.

After suffering through almost 10 years of shark programming that has devolved into shark show concepts called "Bite Me"-someone has come up with a show that has all the fun, half the science and of course our favorite subject sharks!

"SHARK TAGGERS -- From creator/executive producer Thom Beers “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers” and executive producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, “Shark Taggers” is a one-hour reality series that follows daring marine biologists as they track down the ocean’s top predators and hand-tag them with cutting-edge satellite transmitters or investigate bull sharks’ sudden attacks on surfers. The series is produced by Original Productions and BermanBraun."

Sign us up we'll be there with the popcorn and Shark Trust Wines in 2009.

Latest White Shark Sightings Report-California


March 26
Location: South Pier, Huntington Beach
Surfer Jeff Duncan reports seeing a shark while surfing on the south side of the pier. “I was sitting watching the horizon, for the next set wave, when I noticed something surface just to my right of view and approximately 20 to 30 feet away,” said Duncan in his report. “It took only a moment to realize that it was not a dolphin, whale or other animal…it was a shark. It slowly surfaced only enough to see its side and dorsal fin. I only saw a large triangular dorsal fin and about 4 to 5 feet of the shark’s dorsal/side, which was a very light gray. The large dorsal fin had a somewhat irregular edge which almost looked damaged in someway, though not seriously. It seemed to be swimming north toward the pier and not toward me, but I was the only surfer near the animal at the moment.”

March 22
Location: Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach
Beachgoer Matt Moore reports seeing what appeared to be a shark or sharks circling a small whale 50 to 75 yards offshore. Having seen great whites before in person while surfing, he reported that he was quite certain the dorsal fin was that of a great white. Two surfers nearby concurred with Moore that they’d seen a shark.

March 14
Location: South of Bay Street, Santa Monica
Surfer Dan Burks reports seeing what appeared to be an 8- or 9-foot shark some 70 yards away from him. Burks says that another surfer nearby also saw the shark.

March 7
Location: Dog Beach, Huntington Beach
Surfer Tom Larkin reports having been attacked by a shark, which bit his surfboard. “I was waiting for a set for about five minutes when I felt a jolt down on the tail of my board, immediately followed by a violent bubble cascade, which sunk the board down about another 8 inches,” said Larkin in his report on Larkin then caught a wave to the beach where he “emptied the board [of water] through the apparent bite mark.”

March 5
Location: Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach
Kelly Lewis was walking her dog along the beach at 1:45 p.m. when she came upon what appeared to be a 6-foot-long great white shark “thrashing violently [on the beach] until a set of waves came in to float it,” said Lewis on the Web site. “It then spent another two to three minutes in very shallow water sometimes on its back, eventually swimming into deeper water and disappearing.”


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Aquarium's Get Into The Action $$$ For Sharks

Since when did big aquariums decide that they would open their tanks to every Joe Diver in the world for instant shark thrills?

It started a few years ago with one or two smaller aquariums offering shark dives. Then as we reported last month the Grand Daddy of them all the Georgia Aquarium decided to offer interactive Whale Shark encounters.

Here's the rub, for years, aquariums have fought for legitimacy, saying that animals in captivity were ambassadors for the species. In 99% of these cases they were right.

Now the party line has shifted as aquariums look for new ways to generate revenue and to attract media attention. In the case of Florida they have been at this since 2001, about the same time that all commercial shark diving in the ocean was banned.

May we suggest a middle ground here?

Perhaps, if someone with say, $500,000,000 would be interested in building the ultimate dive attraction, it could be created for divers from around the world, indoors, with plenty of sharks for all.

Total commercial, total experience, instant sharks for all. Shark Diver is standing by with site plans and a logo.

33 Of The Best Diving Sites In The World

Sent into our News Tip line this morning. The good folks over at the Pro Traveller blog spent many hours compiling a list of top dive sites worldwide that you probably have heard of and some that you might not have.

Here's a quick run down of some of our favorites from this list, all sharky of course:

The Blue Corner Wall, Palau

The Blue Corner Wall

The Blue Corner Wall: Many divers who have experienced the amazing seascapes at Blue Corner Wall claim that this was their best diving holiday ever. The underwater life here consists of barracudas, sharks, turtles, orcas (killer whales), tuna, and much more. The reef wall consists of 'hooks' which divers can hold onto, and sit-back and gaze in amazement at the schools of fish swimming in the nearby sea current as if it were a super highway.

The Bahamas, Caribbean

The Bahamas

The Bahamas: With over 700 islands in The Bahamas, there are plenty of opportunities to dive here. The Travel Channel calls The Bahamas 'one of the best scuba diving sites in North America'. There are a variety of blue holes, 120 miles of barrier reef, lots of shipwrecks, and plenty of wall-diving opportunities for more experienced divers. In The Bahamas, you can expect to come across large sea turtles, rays, dolphins, and a plethora of sharks. Shark dives are very popular here.

Heron Island, Australia

Heron Island

Heron Island: This small coral cay is located just east of Australia at the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef. This dive site is home to over 1,000 species of fish and 72% of all coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is protected by the government, so it's in good condition. Diving here is like no other place on earth, and you can see whales, sea turtles, sharks, and so much more, definitely one of the best places in the world to explore the deep sea. Many claim that it's a life-changing experience to dive here.