Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mark Addison Terrible Day For Sharks

Mark Addison runs Blue Wilderness shark diving in the Ailwal Shoal Marine Protected Area.

Today was a dark day for Tiger shark conservation at that site as he and his team discovered three stunning animals caught in fisherman's nets.

One of the smaller animals was "rescued" by Mark but the blow to this dive site is something you cannot even begin to imagine.

We'll keep you updated as to the next steps to be taken here. Overall it's been a tough week for sharks, highlighting the global need from Australia to South Africa for local protections and initiatives for sharks.

Here's the email we got this afternoon:

Dear all,

Today was a tragic day for the tiger sharks in the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area. Two animals were killed in the shark nets at Scottburgh this morning and we were able to free another little girl later in the day.

Kind regards

Blue Wilderness Dive Expeditions
see us at: www.bluewilderness.co.za
or call us: +27 (0)39 973 2348
fax: +27 (0)86 648 5072
Blogg: http://sharkparksa.blogspot.com
Blogg: http://sharkroute.blogspot.com

Shark Diver Noblesse Oblige

There's an old French saying “Noblesse Oblige."
It roughly translates in to Noble Obligation.

Those that are on the front lines of an issue and can effect change have a noble obligation to do so.

Which gets us to the state of commercial shark diving worldwide. The industry is valued at $200-300 million dollars and for the most part, operators are content to show divers sharks, make money and repeat. Without a doubt the current state of “Noblesse Oblige" in our industry is at an all time low.

Let me qualify this statement before the angry emails start. In our world effecting change with sharks goes beyond just interacting with these animals on a commercial level or aligning ourselves with non profits who are doing all the heavy lifting. You have to be engaged, you have to create directional focus and motivate people who might not consider it to be active in the shark community.

Let's face it with 80 million sharks being killed each and every year there's little room anymore for fence sitters who are content to just make money diving with sharks.

Operators should be bound by “Noblesse Oblige" to create conservation efforts outside their operations. Real and lasting projects that further the protection of sharks, shark science, and conservation.

Having said this there are some simply stunning projects out there that are fully supported by many forward thinking commercial shark diving operations. They are, unfortunately, the minority of the industry and we can do much better beyond a few online petitions, some POS material on a vessel, and an eco chat with our guests.

As front line sentinels, operators from California to South Africa are often the first to report trouble, and have a key insight into the health and direction of local shark populations. One of the misnomers is that real and effective shark conservation costs a lot of money, it does not.

It does take time and effort beyond operations.

There are many within the shark community who are trying to make 2009 The Year of the Sharks-to that may we add “Tiburon Noblesse Oblige." The hope that operations worldwide look to where they can become involved, create local efforts, websites, focus and direction.

We cannot allow NGO's to shoulder the shark conservation burden alone. Noblesse Oblige can and will effect lasting change for shark conservation. Time is a luxury that sharks, unfortunately, do not have.

Patric Douglas CEO

Australian Marine Conservation Society-Update

Image:Luke Sorensen

We got the following update from the Australian Marine Conservation Society who are taking the lead in the recent government sponsored white shark kills in Queensland.

We requested contact information from them so divers, shark conservation groups, and blog readers could directly get involved. Here are the points of contact they suggest we all take a minute to register a complaint about white sharks being targeted off the coast:

Hi Shark Divers,

Thanks for the email

It is great to see you guys out there helping save sharks. Your blog is fantastic. We are all very impressed.

Our key shark campaign is getting the QLD government phase out shark fishing across Queensland and this ties in well to getting rid of the Shark Control Program.

At the moment, it is worth taking a shot across the government's bow on sharks via the shark control program, but alluding to the need to stop all forms of shark fishing in QLD (which helps our key message)

Proposed Ask - In order to protect Australia's precious sharks and secure a better future for Queensland's marine ecotourism industry, we call on the Queensland Government to amend the Fisheries Management Act (Section 3A (1)) to discontinue the Shark Control Program, and to commit to phasing out shark fishing in Queensland within the next 4 years.

Key background reference - http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/11824.html

Key contacts:

Hon Tim Mulherin, MP
Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
GPO Box 46

Cc: Hon Peter Garrett, MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
P.O. Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Hon. Deslie Boyle
Minister for Tourism, Regional Development and Industry
Office 1 "McLeod South"
78-84 Spence Street

Let me know what else you might need,

Kind regards

Craig Bohm, Campaigns Director
Australian Marine Conservation Society
PO Box 5136, MANLY QLD 4179
ph: +61 7 3393 5811
Mob: 0427 133 481
fax: +61 7 3393 5833
Email: craigbohm@amcs.org.au

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Capt. Stanley's unlicensed, DIY shark dives

A few years ago I enjoyed a truly remarkable shark adventure taking a submarine down to 2000' to get knocked around by monster 6 Gill sharks (Hexanchus nakamurai).

What was remarkable about this adventure was that it started at a seaside Argentinian restaurant at 10.00pm and after liesurly consuming two bottles of red wine, some grilled beef and a coffee we boarded the submarine Idabel down the beach and were submerged in the inky darkness for the next 5 hours.

That was a few years ago, today Karl Stanley's submarine in Honduras is the hottest non commercial adventure you can do in the southern hemisphere.

Don't take our word for it, here's the latest this morning from CNN