Friday, June 12, 2009

Deadly Waters, Sharkbite Summer...

The 2009 line up of Shark Week starts August 2, with a series of programs designed for one thing only, thrills and sensationalist television.

Brought to you by a small handful of operators and self styled shark researchers who have yet to fully understand the negative impact of their actions on sharks.

While a growing industry chorus demands that Discovery Networks cease programming that harms the perception of sharks - we would like to propose a second action. Let's take a "hard look" at our own industry and individual members who enable productions like these.

Ironically we all know who are behind these productions, and many of those involved profess to love sharks. Some are even actively and recently engaged in shark conservation efforts.

To what end?

Folks, it's not Discovery Networks problem, they are just doing what they do because we allow them to do it. Let's stop booking the vessels that enable the productions, let's start calling out the operators who enable the access to these sharks.

Let's start by cleaning our own house.

Yes, we know, it's a radical and once again unpopular thought.

But then again this blog has never towed the company line. Ever.

The Curse of Cheddar Bay

Another reason to pay attention to Chumslicks Blog. Found on the Internet via Ectomo:

DEL STONE: Shark Saturday? Why stop there?

Del Stone has just become our new favorite spokesperson for shark conservation with this weeks Op Ed in Florida's Daily News.

Sometimes a well reasoned rant is what it takes:

By Daily News Online Editor Del Stone

Given that many of the world's species of sharks are threatened with extinction, it makes perfect sense for the Destin Fishing Rodeo to sponsor a Shark Saturday.

Who but a fool would pass up a chance to see a giant, bloody carcass hanging from a hook with its entrails slopping over the dock as a drunken carpet store manager from Birmingham mugs for the camera? It's enough to make Jerry Springer slap himself on the forehead and cry out, "Why didn't I think of that?"

But why stop at sharks? Mother Nature has blessed the Emerald Coast with a variety of endangered creatures that could be exploited for the money machine.

For instance, we have pesky sea turtles crawling up on our beaches at night to dig holes. Why, a drunken teenager looking for a quiet place to have sex could stumble over a turtle and poke an eye out with his crack pipe. Besides, sea turtles attract unsavory varmints like conservationists. Destin could sponsor a Sea Turtle Recipe Roundup. I'm saving room for the Mother Kemp's Omelet with a side order of snail darter poppers and a rasher of hash-browned beach mice.

And those nasty pelicans - the same birds that were almost wiped out by DDT a few years ago - are everywhere! They're eating our fish, getting caught in our nets, and ruining our view of the concrete monads lining the coast. Why not have a game for the kiddies - Whack-A-Pelican. At least it'll get them away from the Wii for a few minutes.

Red cockaded woodpeckers also have returned to the Gulf Coast in numbers sufficient to line the pockets of a canny entrepreneur. Sure, they're endangered. But they're also drilling holes into perfectly good trees that could be used to build new tanning salons.

Dipped in a rich, heart-clogging batter, fried and served on a stick, Pecker Pickers could be the perfect culinary accompaniment to a leisurely day spent browsing the tents of a local art festival where all the paintings depict a lonely pirate wading ashore on a forgotten beach, a gnarly foul-mouthed parrot perched on his shoulder, a treasure chest overflowing with gold doubloons resting in the foreground, an unwhacked pelican sailing on a gentle coastal breeze as beach mice scatter to avoid omelet-makers in the background and a shark prowls the emerald green waters looking for a carpet store manager from Birmingham.

And why not sponsor a Republican Roundup? In the Obamaverse, Republicans are as scarce as sharks but a lot more deadly. Imagine a Humpbacked Republican strung up by his heels snarling Rush Limbaugh dialectics to an angry crowd that probably would have voted for him two years ago. It's enough to make Mitt Romney convert to Unitarian Universalism.

Yes, the Destin Fishing Rodeo has many other options than a Shark Saturday - Sea Turtle Sunday, Manic Manatee Monday and Parking Lot Tern Tuesday, to name a few.

What's needed here is a clarity of vision ... and a total disregard for the natural world that makes our house a home.

Shark Free Marinas - Empowering Change

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative is working in four regions of the USA and internationally to effect conservation change - clearly more work needs to be done: