Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jeff Dudas - Humoring a "Bad Thing"

In response the the ongoing "anger and bewilderment" at a recent Today Show expose of our industry that portrayed it in the worst of lights - Jeff Dudas, driving force behind Underwater Times, came up with an industry disclaimer for media misfires.

We have adopted this disclaimer and feel that it clarifies misunderstandings about the shark diving industry, images and video provided by industry members to the media, and the ongoing media myth that our industry is populated by a bunch of radical and somewhat half witted miscreants "who do bad things with sharks".

Hereto be known as "The Dudas Media Disclaimer":

Man-eating white sharks not included in this trip. White shark cage
incident, though real and part of a similar trip with thrill-seeking
tourists and baited sharks, occurred elsewhere in the world.

Any implied or real references to the deadly danger imposed by baited sharks
was intentionally and formally disclosed to all participants as a
precondition to the shark diving.

No sharks were killed in association with this production. Markus Groh was
not killed in association with this production, but was killed by a baited
shark in an area not far from where this segment was filmed, in association
with a similar trip, with similar thrill-seeking tourists and baited sharks.

Eli's statement "I think they're completely harmless" may not be true in
certain circumstances. See Groh, Markus.

There were no real or subliminal references to mako sharks in this segment.
We apologize on behalf of the aggressive, temperamental, and
terrorizing mako sharks (ht, Capt. Tom) around the world if they were in any
way besmirched by their unintended association with "completely harmless"
sharks in this segment.

Tiger beach, not associated with man-eating white sharks or mako sharks, is
associated with man-eating tiger sharks and bull sharks; reef sharks
and lemon sharks, though not considered to be man eaters, could eat a man in
certain circumstances.

Robotic sharks or CGI were not used in this production. A common
post-production special effect was used during this feature: some footage
was speeded up to make slow moving sharks appear to move faster, even appear
more menacing than they are in real life. For other examples of this
technique, see any movie featuring a shark (or diver) since the invent of
such movies.

Though the reporter disclosed his minimal dive training, none of the
thrill-seeking guests had to disclose their minimal dive training.

During the time it took to film this segment, falling
coconuts killed two people around the world. By the way, we have no way of
verifying the coconut claim. For that matter, the risk of falling coconuts
is in no way related to the risk of baited shark diving. Coconuts do seem
less harmful than a tiger shark, which is used by some to confuse the matter
of relative risks.

During the filming of this segment, hundreds of thousands, if not millions
of sharks, were killed by various fisheries around the world to support the
trade of shark fins. Though in no way directly related to the central
"thrill seeking" theme of this production, some feel this fact should never
be left out of any report on sharks, lest the production be ridiculed as

Palau's Shark Conservation Under Siege?

With the good news from the Maldives this month of island wide shark protections, comes disturbing news from Palau about an attempted policy shift away from shark protections in favor of commercial shark fining.

The story was broken by the Shark Talk blog this week and has a list of contact emails to voice your opinion on this shift from conservation to one time take.

A good friend once said, "Shark conservation is like playing a global game of Whack-a-Mole, just when you think you got it hammered down, another disaster surfaces".

Please take a moment from your day to read up on this latest game changer in Palau and send a few emails to speak out against against the proposed Senate Bill 8-44:

Belau Tourism Association:
Palau Chamber of Commerce:
Palau Visitors Authority:

Kudos to the Shark Talk blog for this concise and well researched post.