Friday, September 12, 2008

East Coast Shark Diving-Nantucket Report

Got another update from our pal Bryce at Nantucket Shark Divers this evening. Seems the waters on his side of the continent are filled with our snappy friends as he carves out world class shark diving operation:

Hi Patric,

Epic day on the water today. With the waters chilling with fall season settling in the sharks are becoming very active. Water temps have dropped in the 60's and the big offshore pelagics are feeling the crunch. We are having to run a bit further offshore to find good water but overall productive water is all around us. Today was a classic late season day with huge amounts of action in the water. The small weather windows available during these stormy months mean less trips but big days when the weather breaks. Today we had packs of big blue sharks around the boat for hours along with several large bluefin tuna that were hyped up and in feeding mode. This time of year it is not uncommon to have several sharks and large tuna in one spot. We still consider ourselves very lucky to have seen these endagered and prized fish coming so close to us with little fear whatsoever. Amazing day on the water with a steady stream of 8+ bluesharks and 80 - 100 pound bluefins crashing the party, often chargeing sharks for baits.

Editors Note: Pretty much the way we like it mate!

Isla Guadalupe - Eco Tour "Bizzaro Land"

With the with the MX Navy at Isla Guadalupe now physically enforcing a ban on chumming at the islands North Bay, we're going take a moment to look at this situation in context.

One word comes to mind "unprecedented".

In the 25 year history of commercial shark diving worldwide no navy has ever effectively attempted to shut down sustainable shark diving operations.

Not in Australia, not in South Africa, not in the USA.

Simply put this is a first. The question that comes to mind is why?

Why would the MX Navy, PROFEPA, SEMERNAT and CONANP want to see chumming stopped, or do nothing to help, work with, or effectively direct a nascent $3.1 million dollar, multi vessel, cross border, eco tourism business within Mexico?

You might say "this is not their job", and you would be right. But these agencies all know that this Bio-Sphere is in desperate need of funding and infrastructure. They are also aware this site has a built in and thriving eco tour machine-based on sustainable shark diving.

Unprecedented yes, with worldwide implications as well. As we have been reporting there's a growing shift within the NGO community from World Wildlife Fund to Ocean Conservancy towards sustainable shark diving as a bridge solution to sustainable shark management. No where has this been demonstrated better than Guadalupe.

Isla Guadalupe, with it's extreme isolation from any human population, stable and seasonal white shark migrations, and ease of site shark research is a perfect test bed area to enable shark diving programs within Mexico. This site could, with some attention, proper management and funding become one of Mexico's undersea jewels.

One might argue this has happened already already.

Mexico, unfortunately, has a terrifically poor record of resource management as seen by a recent illegal 2.5 ton shark fin take at another Bio Sphere the Revillagigedos Archipelago. Anywhere you look Mexico's track record on the oceans shows a failure to support existing laws that quickly enable short term resource takes over the long term sustainable gain.

For Mexico to pull Navy vessels into Isla Guadalupe to essentially "guard" eco tour operators suggests that much larger forces are now involved at this site.

What their intentions are is anyone's guess at this time.

Isla Guadalupe Trip Update 9.2009

The situation at Isla Guadalupe remains unchanged at this time. As we have been reporting the chum ban for all fleet vessels is in effect. That's the latest news.

There are many efforts right now within Mexico to get clarification on this issue and to get it resolved and we may see a break as soon as next week.

We got a trip report from one of our divers yesterday. Steffen is from Europe and was literally "in the area" when he booked his trip with us on board the MV Horizon last month. This was his first encounter with the Great Whites so he had big expectations.

Regardless of the recent shark site politics this has been a great season down there as always:

Hey Patric

I't was a fantastic trip. We saw alot of sharks (on every dive, except one) and it was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. They are truly facinating animals. Also, everybody in the crew was both very proffessional and helpfull, and they were a big part of making this trip an unforgetable experience. Thinking back on this, one thing that really stands out, was the level of information we recieved about the sharks and the respect they were handeled with by the crew. All in all, it was truly an unforgettable trip, and I'm am certainly not done with shark diving. So I want to thank both you and the crew for making this happen.

Best regards
Steffen Nielsen

Editors Note: Happy to help Steffen-where are you this week?