Friday, April 30, 2010

Americas Greatest Ecological Disaster - Oil Spill

What happened in Alaska in 1989 was once termed "Americas Greatest Ecological Disaster."

For Exxon the remote locale of Prince William Sound and low population base made this oil spill a "parachute journalism" affair.

For BP, 30-6000 barrels a day gushing into the Gulf, one of the most highly populated regions in the USA, media coverage will be nothing short of 24/7.

Add to the fact we are going into the summer season of re-run programming and what you have is the perfect media storm.

The Gulf is essentially a bowl, to get the best understanding of what is about to happen to the region over the summer pour 10 quarts of oil into your average Olympic swimming pool. At best it will be three months to drill a relief well in the region and even then there's no assurances that the oil will stop.

That's 2-6 million barrels of oil in the Gulf by the time the oil stops gushing in three months.

We covered a similar spill last fall by the numbers. The final number of spilled barrels will never be known in the East Timor Sea but one thing is for certain, media coverage in the Gulf will be intense and unflinching.

America's finest conservation moment and ongoing challenge is about to happen.

Let's consider putting aside other conservation efforts and instead turn our focus on the Gulf.

Once in a great lifetime conservation is called upon to act as one, to respond as one, and to rise to great challenges that transcend local and regional efforts.

This is that moment, and this is that challenge. Where will you be?

Rep Jon Riki Karamatsu - Chief Waffler

What a difference a few days can make.

As it turns out Hawaii's historic vote on a complete ban on shark fins was unanimous and the critical vote of Rep.Jon Riki Karamatsu went for the bill instead of against it...

...and then in a stunning display of "flip-flopping wafflery" Riki Karamatsu turned against the bill he just voted for and tried to kill it.

For one brief moment we had thought that Riki Karamatsu had
demonstrated real conservation leadership in Hawaii.

We of the conservation world dared dream that Riki might be the kind of leader who would listen to all sides of an issue but when it comes to issues about the environment, animal cruelty, and unsustainable practices Mr.Karamatsu would understand and act.

Sadly he's just a hack politico who will waver and waffle when important bills are in play pandering to whoever and wherever he can to get a vote or two.

DO NOT VOTE for this man in is race for the Lieutenant Governors seat in Hawaii.When the chips are down, Karamatsu is a poor choice for the oceans, the environment and Hawaii.

Complete story here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hawaii - Shark Fin Bill 2169 Passed!

Congratulations to Shark Allies and the many hundreds of industry folks far and wide who wrote letters, made appearances, worked with the media, and pushed and pushed until Shark Fin Bill 2169 was made into law yesterday by an almost unanimous vote.

The one hold out?

Rep.Jon Riki Karamatsu who, in the end, sided with shark fin interests. Riki, baby, what are you thinking?

This bill now goes before the Governor of Hawaii for signing, and why would she not want to sign ground breaking legislation that will demonstrate to the world that Hawaii is an international leader when it comes to conservation and our oceans?

This bill is not to be underestimated in its impact globally. Well done to all who had a hand in its creation and shepherding through the tough legislative process.

More media Washington Post.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shark Blogging - Making Complete Sense

1800 blog posts and two years later Underwater Thrills has commented and opened the conversation on pretty much everything in the shark world, both good and bad.

One of the things we noticed, along with other early bloggers, was the need for our industry to show leadership.

Leadership in the form of conservation initiatives, film productions featuring sharks, and operations that treated the host country, the sharks and our divers with the same respect our industry was asking from politicians and those who would oppose commercial shark diving.

Today I was sent a blog post that made complete sense, from an industry member we have featured in the past reacting to major media and images online that served to reinforce the notion that our industry was populated by high octane thrill seekers with little care for the resource or the animals.

This post is a 180 degree change from earlier media and needs to be read far and wide. The writer makes complete sense and by challenging the "status quo" of the industry or even proposing ideas and plans for the future that others might disagree with is showing that quality that is most needed, leadership.

Our industry can only hope to be all that it can with open discussion. Painful though it may be sometimes it is necessary to look at where we once were, and visions for the future. 2010 was a sea change of opinion, web changes, operator lead shark initiatives, and positive media for sharks lead by operations who reacted to or who were lead by change.

Kudos for the post. We may not see eye to eye on 99% but when we do, it's nice to know someone will step out and get recognized.

Oil Spill in the Gulf - NOAA Update Site

For those interested in the ongoing efforts to stop 42,000 gallons of oil a day leaking into the Gulf of Mexico NOAA has set up a strategic media site with regular updates.


Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) activities are now underway. The plan for attacking the spill has the following elements:
  • Try to activate the blow-out preventer (BOP) using ROVs – could stop leaks in several days, if successful
  • Use an undersea dome to contain leaking oil, rigged by ROVs – has not been tried this deep before
  • Drill relief wells which could then be plugged - this process could take several months
  • Aggressive skimming and dispersing of oil on the surface – ongoing
  • Assessment and protection of coastal resources at risk - thousands of feet of oil containment and deflection boom are ready to deploy, experts are on-scene and en route

Read here.

BP reports profit surge, battles oil spill

(UK:BP. 610.00, -16.80, -2.68%) said its profit rose to $6.08 billion from $2.56 billion during the same period of 2009. Excluding the impact of energy prices on unsold inventories as well as $49 million of one-time items, and BP would have earned $5.65 billion, topping consensus estimates by about $900 million.

Revenue rose to $74.42 billion from $48.09 billion.

The stock is up about 2% this year, lagging rival Royal Dutch Shell.

Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico an oil spill disaster at a BP well continues to spill 45,000 gallons of oil a day into the ocean. US law requires oil companies to pay for oil spill clean ups.

We're not financial wizards at this shark blog but shorting BP stock at this point might seem like a sound financial strategy:

Monday, April 26, 2010

MTV and Sharks - Bumper?

Not sure where to go with this one. Nicely done as far as Euro spoofs go, but a white shark?

Alison Kock has a point - South Africa

When you start a major media piece about shark diving with the following observations, nothing good can follow:

GANSBAAI, South Africa — Jaw gaping with razor-sharp teeth bared, the great white shark launches after the tuna bait and smacks into the metal cage holding a row of wetsuit-clad tourists.

That's the beginning of an article this week about shark diving in South Africa. Fortunately shark researcher Alison Kock was there to make a point, a very good one:

"From a scientist's side, our main issue with the industry is irresponsible practices. We support the industry as long as it's respectful of the sharks, it treats them well, and people get an educational and informative trip."

The shark diving article is here, and is filled with the usual media hype and quotes.

Glad to see Alison bringing the conversation to a pro-shark, pro-industry level. Thanks.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guadalupe Island - New Conservation Video

Only Oceans Aloft could bring you aerial shots of Isla Guadalupe like these and their latest conservation video covers shark conservation at Isla Guadalupe from both historical and political perspectives.

Featuring show host host Natasha Stenbock, CICIMAR's Dr Mauricio Hoyos, conservation NGO Wildcoast, and some great underwater footage shot with Horizon Charters and Shark Diver in 2009.

This conservation video tackles "Conservation Shark Diving" head on and the viewer comes away with a richer understanding of what Isla Guadalupe means to the many thousands of shark divers who have been coming to this unique and pristine island since 2002.

Great industry quotes from Horizon vessel Captain Spencer and dive operations manager Martin Graf as well. Shark finning video courtesy of Sharkwater Productions.

Oil Spill in the Gulf - Whale Shark Impact?

For the past two years we have been covering whale shark aggregations off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana.

Upwards of 40-100 animals at a time have been sighted here year after year and have become both industry and major media news.

Scientist Eric Hoffmayer has been studying these groups as far out as 100 miles from shore and that's where this weeks news from the Gulf takes a decidedly nasty turn.

The Swiss-based Transocean Ltd's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sunk last week leaving many in the region to worry about ongoing oil seeping from the wellhead at 5000 feet. The worst case scenario has happened and now experts agree close to 1000 barrels a day are leaking to the surface or close to 42,000 gallons of oil.

Oil clean up crews have dumped over a million gallons of chemical oil dispersant into the region and more is sure to come in an effort to break up the oil on the surface. As whale sharks feed on the surface this oil and chemical dispersant does not bode well for these peaceful giants of the Gulf.

More from RTSEa Blog.

California Shark Research - Nuclear Options

Question: How do you age validate sharks?

Unlike trees or even mammals sharks are cartilaginous, they do not have bones or tree rings to look over after they die.

Bones and tree rings can give you the age of your target research specimen pretty quickly. With most shark species that's a much harder proposition.

Enter some smart folks at the Pacific Shark Research Center in California who are doing age validation of sharks and rays using radiocarbon isotopes.

As it turns out above ground testing of nukes in the 50's and 60's dropped these isotopes (14C) all over the planet and for a time every living thing on the planet had higher levels in their bodies. By tracking these higher levels in cartilage researchers can get a pretty accurate look at the age of long lived sharks like the white shark.

For more information go here.

Palau Shark Sanctuary - Video Interview

We follow a number of blogs one of which is The Palau Shark Sanctuary Blog Shark Talk.

For those that do not know the inspiring story of Dermot Keane there's a new video interview out that makes for fascinating watching:

When Irishman Dermot Keane visited Palau for the first time, he wasn’t aware of the disruptive fishing techniques, or the shocking shark finning that was going on around the island. But once he did, he decided to do something about this.

Big time!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oceanic Dreams - Watch This Video

Thanks to Oceanic Dreams for posting this conservation PSA.

Have we evolved in our stewardship of the oceans?

This PSA might suggest we have a long way to go just yet. Impressive media, and this is how you do conservation messaging. The subject matter is stark, ugly and frank.

As conservationists we have to look at these issues in the wider context, for the rest of the world policy making by politicians and viral media PSA's like this one are an absolutely effective means of changing hearts and minds.

Well done.

Hawaii - Shark Fin Bill 2169 Almost Law?

Hawaii's complete ban on shark fins and shark fishing could soon be be made into law after Tuesday's vote.

A vote that has the potential to open a deep fissure in the worldwide trade and sales of shark fin and a vote that will set a unique precedent.

Under the new Bill 2169 shark fins could not be harvested, sold or owned.

The bill is heading for final votes in the Hawaii Legislature. The bills main stumbling block, a conference committee, agreed on the measure Tuesday, sending it to the House and Senate for approval.

Shark conservationists maintain the ban is key to shutting down the overfishing of sharks for their fins is causing an imbalance in the oceans. Currently the price of shark fin is hovering at 1980's gold price levels and is used primarily for soup.

As Stefani Brendl from Shark Allies put it when the final vote was read:

"It's Alive! Getting it out of conference was by far one of the most difficult and critical steps in this process. Many people would have bet that it won't happen. There was doubt and criticism until the very last moment. But here it is! The impossible became possible! This is really a historic moment!!!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pete Thomas Outdoors - Brazil Shark Fin Bust

If you have not yet become a fan of the Pete Thomas Outdoors blog you should do so soon.

Investigative journalism is what this blog is all about. And it's no surprise because Pete is a reporter with a free reign to cover just about anything. Fortunately one of the things he cares about are our oceans, and more specifically sharks.

Pete covered a recent shark fin bust from Brazil that no one is talking about yet. One ton of fins destined for Japan with a $29,000 fine.

"The owner of the export company in Brazil was fined $29,700 and crews of the fishing boats also are expected to be penalized for illegally slaughtering sharks."

Good to have Pete on our side.

Complete story.

Fly Fishing's Mount Everest - Hydrocynus goliath

Angler biologist Jeremy Wade has a hit show on Discovery Networks travelling around the world to catch and release some of the planets more extreme underwater critters.

It's a great job if you can get it.

The critter he is holding is fly fishing's Mount Everest, it is Hydrocynus goliath and to date few have actually caught one and lived to tell the tale.

For obvious reasons this critter is hard to catch (namely teeth) and the fact you'll find it in the Congo River Basin an area not known for friendly gastronomic flora, insects, rival militaristic rebel groups or even ease of travel.

Still, as far as freshwater predators go, this one is at the top of the list. Nice catch, great show.

Still interested?

As rare as "Unobtanium" - Shark attack Guadalupe?

What are the chances that you will have your vessel attacked at Isla Guadalupe by a white shark?

If you are running commercial operations at this pristine and unique island the chances are close to 0% percent. In fact in the many years we have been to this site it has never happened. These animals are curious, but just not that aggressive towards small floating vessels.

If you are running research operations at this pristine and unique island the chances are, once again, close to 0%.

If you are Discovery Networks and stuntman Charles Ingram who are only at this dive site for 72 hours to film a white shark special, the chances that a white shark will attack your floating dinghy with your show host inside are closer to 100%.

Is this real television, stunt work, staged animal filming, or just plain "good luck" for the production company?

"Trieste" by any other name

While the rest of the planet went about its daily business last week a small but dedicated group of explorers joined together in celebration in Washington.

There were gathered to celebrate mans first descent to 35,800 feet and Don Walsh who is the only surviving member of that stunning dive. A groundbreaking exploration he accomplished with dive partner Jacques Piccard...50 years ago.

Luminaries from James Cameron to Sylvia Earl were on hand to congratulate the man, the submarine, and the achievement. They were also on hand to ruminate about the possibilities of going back.

50 years ago deep water technology did not include composite materials, lightweight carbon, and newer composite viewing windows.

As the Washington Post wrote last week, Don Walshes descent almost ended before it began:

At 31,000 feet, they echo-sounded for the bottom. There was no return. At 32,400 feet, a thick window cracked with a bang. Farther down they went. Into the bleak hadal zone, named for Hades, the ancient Greek underworld. Finally, at 35,800 feet, then-Navy Lt. Don Walsh, 28, phoned the surface: "This is Trieste. We are on the bottom of Challenger Deep. . . . Over."

Complete story and video.

Rep Jon Riki Karamatsu - Conservationist!


What a difference a few days can make. As it turns out Hawaii's historic vote on a complete ban on shark fins was unanimous and the critical vote of Rep.Jon Riki Karamatsu went for the bill instead of against it...

...and then in a stunning display of flip-floppery Riki Karamatsu turned against the bill he just voted for and tried to kill it.

For one brief moment we had thought that Riki Karamatsu had demonstrated real conservation leadership in Hawaii. We dreamed that Riki might be the kind of leader who would listen to all sides of an issue but when it comes to issues about the environment, animal cruelty, and unsustainable practices Mr.Karamatsu understands and acts.

Sadly he's just a hack politico who will waver and waffle when important bills are in play pandering to whoever he can to get a vote or two.

DO NOT VOTE for this man and is race for the Lieutenant Governors seat in Hawaii.When the chips are down, Karamatsu is a poor choice for the oceans, the environment and Hawaii.

Complete story here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oceans Documentary - Filming Whites Guadalupe

Catch, Release, Conserve: The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge

Sport fishing, science, business and humane interests are coming together for the first time in support of a new kind of catch-and-release fishing tournament for sharks that demonstrates that a fishing competition really can support shark protection while providing the excitement that spectators and anglers have come to expect.

The new Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge series is a catch-and-release only competition off the Southwest Florida coast, beginning with a qualifying round April 30 - May 2 at Burnt Store Marina in Lee County and concluding with a Grand Championship Finale May 21-23 at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota. During the tournament, fishermen will compete by catching sharks and scientists will tag the sharks for conservation research purposes to learn more about the animals' travels in the wild. Spectators will be able to watch the action live via video from the boats.

"For the first time, what we call a ‘love 'em and leave 'em' shark tournament will be transformed into a true spectator sport," said Sean Paxton. He and his brother, Brooks, known as the Shark Brothers, are creators and directors of the event. Along with Co-Director and Associate Producer Capt. Robert Moore, they said: "Our shared vision for this tournament is to effectively combine the goals of sport, science and conservation. By leveraging modern broadcast technology, we'll also be providing spectators onshore with an exciting and educational multimedia experience."

The Humane Society of the United States views the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge tournament design as a significantly more humane alternative to traditional catch-and-kill shark tournaments. "We know shark species are in decline and that we need to better understand their life histories in the wild," said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of HSUS. "We think this tournament format will help support necessary protection for sharks that would have died in a traditional kill tournament."

The tournament was developed in 2009 when the Paxtons approached Robert Hueter, Ph.D., director of Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research, about the idea of an innovative catch-and-release shark tournament. Hueter had run a successful all-release, research-oriented shark tournament from 1989 to 1998 along the southwest Florida coast. Together with Capt. Moore, the group then teamed up with renowned marine wildlife artist, scientist and conservationist Guy Harvey, Ph.D., to present a model for responsible sport fishing that promotes shark protection.

Harvey, a longtime marine conservationist and founder of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, said the tournament will increase global awareness of the important role that sharks play in the world's oceans and our ecosystem. "The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament Series will be a uniquely exciting event for participants, spectators and everyone who cares about the future of our oceans," he said.

Hueter and staff from Mote's Center for Shark Research will oversee the scientific aspects of the tournament, including tagging operations. Anglers will attach identification tags to as many sharks as possible and scientists will outfit a number of sharks with satellite-linked transmitters that will track shark movements after release. Hammerhead and bull sharks will be the focus of the satellite tagging efforts, but other species may be tagged as well. The satellite tags are designed to transmit location and other information about the shark's travels when the animal's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water.

Once the satellite tags are deployed, the public will be able to follow these sharks' travels on the Internet for as long as one year or more.

"This project will provide a breakthrough in collaborative research involving the marine science and recreational fishing communities," Hueter said. "The fishermen deserve great credit for embracing this new approach. By working together to develop a 21st-century, conservation-oriented alternative to the more traditional kill tournament, the Mote Center for Shark Research and tournament organizers hope to provide a national model for the responsible use of marine resources."

Supporting tournament organizers in this collaborative effort are Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah; Luke Tipple, director of the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative; and John Land Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond USA, a prominent outdoor and fishing equipment retailer. All involved share a view that this event should become the "next generation" model for shark fishing competitions.

"Shark-Free Marinas has been involved with the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge since its inception and is in full support of its methodology," Tipple said. "Sharks need protection and we need to manage the ways we utilize their stocks. In the past, some shark fishing tournaments have killed reproductively capable sharks, which are a dwindling resource. This catch-and-release format offers the best of both worlds, allowing the sport of shark fishing to directly contribute to our scientific understanding of their population status and functional life history."

Le Coq and Fishpond are also concerned about the status of sharks. "Fishpond must lead by example to influence the destructive perceptions of the magnificent sharks that roam our oceans in peril, and to help end the kill-oriented tournaments that have traditionally existed in ports around our country," Le Coq stated.

Sharks will be caught using heavy conventional tackle, to reduce time between hook-up and release of sharks, and the fishermen will use inline, non-stainless steel circle hooks that minimize injury to the sharks. Sharks will be measured in the water and then outfitted with either conventional ID or satellite tracking tags. Tail snares and other special equipment will be used for angler and animal safety, as well as for humane handling and release of the sharks.

Qualifying Round

* When: April 30 - May 2
* Where: Burnt Store Marina, 3192 Matecumbe Key Rd., Punta Gorda, Fla.

Grand Championship Finale

* When: May 21 - 23
* Where: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Fla.

Shark conservation facts:

* Many shark species are imperiled worldwide. According to the World Conservation Union, about one-fifth of the 547 species of sharks and rays evaluated are considered threatened with extinction.

* Threshers, tigers, makos and blue sharks are all targeted in shark tournaments, along with hammerhead and bull sharks.

* There is still insufficient information available to evaluate the conservation status of about 100 shark species, many of which are also caught in tournaments.

* Anglers can be important collaborators in shark conservation efforts. Mote scientists have tagged more than 20,000 sharks over the past 20 years along Florida's Gulf Coast, with most tag returns by sport fishermen. Tagging allows Mote scientists to study shark abundance, movements and population dynamics, providing data for better management of shark populations.

Media Contacts

Tournament Directors: 941-416-1788 / 5073,
Mote Marine Laboratory: Hayley Rutger, 941-374-0081,
Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation: 1-800-288-1227,
HSUS: Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455,

About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Founded by marine biologist and artist Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is an organization of philanthropists, conservationists, scientists and educators focused on developing sensible strategies for promoting the conservation of our oceans and nurturing the next generation of marine scientists and guardians of our seas.

About Mote Marine Laboratory

Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent nonprofit marine research organization. Mote is dedicated to advancing the science of the sea through the study of marine and estuarine ecosystems, through our public Mote Aquarium and through an education division that provides unique programs for all ages. Throughout 2010, Mote is celebrating its 55th Anniversary with special events highlighting its groundbreaking ocean research and outreach. Learn more at

About The HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty - On the Web at

About Shark-Free Marinas

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative supports shark conservation at sport fishing and resort marinas by prohibiting the landing of any shark at the participating marina. Registered marinas will encourage sport shark-fishermen to exercise catch-and-release techniques. The acceptance of catch-and-release fishing techniques represents an incremental step in protecting valuable marine resources as well as providing valuable data for research organizations. SFMI also works with the community through it's Regional Ambassador program. For more information visit

Oceans Documentary - Stunning Images

To fully grasp the power of this image you need to click on it to get it to full size.

Now breathe.

Captured from Disney's latest documentary and the follow up to "Earth."

Oceans will be the "must see" documentary event of the summer featuring absolutely unparalleled footage of the undersea world.

Oceans opens April 22nd in the USA and just in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Website here.

Shark Repelling Bracelet - For what species?

According to Repel Sharks, LLC and Bob Millings this anklet will repel sharks. The theory being that if you wear this item a potential shark bite might be averted.

It is well known that magnets repel some species of sharks but as far as we know none of these studies have been done on much larger charismatic in shore species like Tigers and Hammerheads.

Back in 2007 and again in 2008 we field tested shark repelling magnets in a non scientific study at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico with white sharks.

The results were less then satisfactory, in fact the sharks took no notice of the magnets and proceeded to devour presented hang baits.

So much for the concept and white sharks at least.

Companies that promote shark repelling devices should be bound by industry set testing with multiple species prior to making claims about repelling sharks.

Magnets are no replacement for site knowledge, local conditions, and decisions to remove yourself from the water when sharks are present.

Hawaii - Karyn Herrmann Shark Conservation

Another in a long string of well thought and researched articles about Hawaii's current conservation track record and the the problems with politicians who only see $$$ when it comes to the environment.

Case in point Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu
who is currently attempting to kill new legislation that would ban shark finning, transshipment, and sales in Hawaii.

Karyn Herrmann:

Currently about 175 countries have signed an environmental treaty to halt shark finning. Will Hawaii really allow an entire marine species to be wiped out forever just to satisfy the palate of a so called "cultural tradition" or the mana of a mythological "deity"?

The only explanation that can be drawn from these most recent events in the Hawaii Senate is that the hidden, money-driven, black market of the Honolulu distributors has paid off both the advocates and the opponents of the bill. Clearly, shark finning is a multimillion-, possibly billion-dollar business in Hawaii, legal or not. When you have so many vocal entities opposing a ban that is supported globally, one must question if the entire process within the Hawaii Senate is riddled with corruption.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Support for Hawaii shark-fin ban grows, but will it be enough?

More reporting on Hawaii's close but not quite decided Senate Bill 2169. A bill that would ban shark fin sales in Hawaii setting a precedent around the world.

Who is holding this bill up and what can you do about it?

Rep Riki Karamatsu, for reasons that remain his own, reasons that run contrary to environmentalists and even the vast majority of politicians in Hawaii who would like to see this done.

Hawaii is poised to show real leadership around the world for it's oceans and the health of our planet, that is unless one man with a dark agenda beats everyone to the gate.

Complete story by Peter Thomas.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Found on Craigslist - Guadalupe Cage Diving?


Date: 2010-04-16, 9:14AM PDT
Reply to:

I'm taking our boat to Guadalupe Island sometime this summer and go shark cage diving. I have lots of space on the boat and I'm willing to cost share this experience. The date is not set yet, (June, July, or August) I'm trying to see if anyone wants to do this with me. This is a private boat, not a commercial thing. I will bring the kayaks in case you want to bring a non diver, they can paddle around. I will send pics of boat or call me and we will talk about this adventure of a lifetime. This is on my "bucket list" so if your interested, call or email. xx0-432-3111 (home).

  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 1695044364

Shark Conservation - Tournament Models

Question: How do you effect conservation change with shark kill tournaments?

If you are like many in the shark world protesting shark kill tournaments seems like the answer.

Unfortunately after a decade of protests by some of the largest NGO's and shark groups, tournaments are still going strong and tournament organizers have successfully characterized eco groups as "bomb throwing media loons."

Our effective rate for the cessation of these tournaments hovers at about 1%.

Of course there's another way, one that embraces the sport but leaves the sharks in the ocean. One that is guided by some of the best minds in the business, and one that will soon become the tournament model of choice for all shark tournaments nationwide.

This strategy is called change from within.

Welcome to the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge, doing for sharks what the Marlin tournament model did for sustainable sport fisheries management almost 30 years ago.

Effective conservation change starts with new ideas, and smart thinking. This is what the folks over at the GHUSC are attempting to do this year with a certified catch and release model for shark tournaments. Gone are animals that will be caught and killed, gone also lightweight tackle and hooks that damage animals and gone are the images of animals that are strung up for waiting audiences.

Smart conservation change starts with a few brave and determined individuals willing to try something new, staking reputations and experience on outcomes that ultimately save sharks.

These folks do not build websites and send petitions. These folks dedicate 24 days to changing the way sharks are treated by the sport fishing industry.

As shark conservationists we can protest, petition, and create as many web pages as the Internet will hold. In the end it is boots on the ground efforts and real grunt work that effect conservation change.

Kudos to the entire team behind the concept and the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shark Safe Certification Program - Fiji

Congratulations to Matava Resort in Fiji the first of it's kind to receive the coveted Shark Safe Certification:

KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS - 14 April 2010 - Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort is proud to take a world wide leading role in the the international Shark Safe Certification program by becoming the first resort to be certified Shark Safe.

Shark Safe certification aims to protect oceanic ecosystems by encouraging practices that do not negatively impact shark populations. By increasing public awareness of the need for shark conservation, we endeavor to change the way people think about sharks, thereby reducing the sale, use, and trade of shark products.

Full details here.

Hawaii Shark Fin Bill - Update

We just got a recent update from Stefanie Brendl of Shark Allies today.

Her efforts in Hawaii are a prime example of how boots on the ground efforts can help shark conservation regionally. Her teams efforts to change the laws regarding legal shark fin operators in Hawaii are an encouragement to the industry.

We recently had a conservation with someone who thinks it is "o.k" to support commercial shark take and fining in New Zealand. Efforts like Stefanies and the overwhelming support she has garnered from the shark dive industry show that this activity is never "o.k" in any form:

From Stefani:

We were able to get bill through two committees in the Senate and the Senate vote. Then it travelled over to the House, where it was referred to 3 committees. Since this is a short session, committing a bill to 3 is a clear indication that they wanted it killed. It was nearly impossible with the time constraints, to get it through in time. But we did.

The bill was struck down in the last committee, House Judiciary. Everyone thought it was dead. We didn't give up and put pressure on the committee chair and co-chair to bring it back to hearing. This is when the Hawaiian community finally started to get involved.

With great reluctance from chair Karamatsu we were able to bring it back and it was passed out of committee just in the nick of time. It also passed the House floor vote. Mostly because it the bill has a defective date and is therefore forced into committee (see explanation below).

The first conference committee didn't go well. It is apparent that there are a few strong members in the house that are actively fighting to kill this bill. We have been able to address all the opposing groups, including researchers and fisheries. What is left is the fact that people want to continue to eat shark fin soup. There may also be some commercial fishermen that are still lobbying to keep a market for shark fins, but we are not sure.

All we know is that despite the overwhelming evidence and support for this bill, there is a strong group pulling the strings to stop it. And they are not coming out in the open. They are operating in the background of the legislature, influencing key members.

I have been mobilizing the forces with the help of a list of shark organizations, Wild Aid, Mission Blue etc . And we are currently looking to get Chinese support and voices to speak out on the issue as possible. Locally and internationally. Getting lots of letters from Hong Kong and West Coast organizations in support, as well as celebrities.

Right now it really comes down to showing everyone that not all Chinese want to eat shark fin soup anymore. That it is not a cultural attack. It is a question of sustainability.

We are also planning a big press conference on Sunday, and hope to have the Royal order of Kamehamea there to express the view point of the Hawaiian community.

In a few hours we have the 2nd conference meeting. So I have to run.

Here is a link to the bill and it’s status. If you click on the pdf version, you can download the actual bill.

A note to the “Defective Date” at the end of the bill:

This defective date was added by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee chair felt that the current version of the bill was not ready to become law; therefore a defective date was added to give more time for discussion. This also allowed for the bill to stay alive and to continue traveling on its course through the Senate and House. It also forced the bill into “conference”, meaning that after all committees have had hearings and added amendments, representatives from both sides (Senate and House) have to come together to discuss a final version that everyone can agree on. Only then can the defective date be removed.

The ongoing battle:

Shark organizations, activists, celebrities, business leaders and leading marine scientists from all over the world have been actively lending their support through hundreds of letters, statements, phone calls, videos and photos.

Support for this bill, locally and internationally, has been overwhelming. Polls have shown an obvious majority of 72% of Hawaii residents want shark finning to stop and are against allowing shark fin soup.

In Hawaii, the driving forces behind this bill are:

Senator Clayton Hee and his staff

Inga Gibson from the Humane Society of the United States

Vicky and Ginny Tiu

Stefanie Brendl from Shark Allies


Shark Fin Ban Still Alive”- KHON Report by Andrew Pereire

Shark FINale?” – Editorial by Star Bulletin

Ban shark fin possession” – Editorial Star Bulletin

Humans: A dangerous predator” -West Hawaii Today

The Endangered Hawaiian Shark Is Endangering Hawaiian Culture”– by Eryn-Ashlei Bailey

Hawaii Legislators Make Unprecedented Move to Protect Sharks”, PR Web article by Laleh Mohajerani

House Judiciary Chair Defers a Bill to Ban Shark Fins” – Hawaii Reporter

Hawaii revives shark fin ban legislation”- Bikya Masr Egypy

San Francisco Chronicle- letter to the editor by David Barkley

German news on Shark fin bill

Sea of Cortez - Predator Nursery

As word slowly leaks out of the Sea of Cortez, what started as a hypothesis, has now become a full blown four alarm eco disaster.

The oceans have a new super predator that has migrated into the top of the food chain. Where once tuna and sharks selectively culled, these animals indiscriminately destroy everything in their path. This is a prime example of predator loss upsetting the natural balance of our oceans and it is happening right now.

From RTSea Productions and the RTSea Blog:

The long and silent farewell

WOODS HOLE — ABE has been lost at sea off the coast of Chile, claimed by the same waters it once spent countless hours exploring.

The Autonomous Benthic Explorer, nicknamed ABE, is a 15-year-old, unmanned underwater robotic vehicle used to map the sea floor, collect samples and allow scientists to better analyze underwater discoveries, according to officials at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The Woods Hole scientific center designed and operated the submersible.

Complete story.

Travel Blogs - "Capturing the moment"

When friends Allie and Mark decided to take a full year off and go travel the world we were thrilled to hear they were going to add a blog of their adventures for the rest of us.

This is one of those classic moments caught on tape featuring Mark. A quick note about Mark, there's no mountain tall enough, or waters deep enough to contain this guys boundless enthusiasm for adventure...and sometimes pain.

Allie tells the story leading up this this video best:

We spent our Easter ”tubing” down the river here in Vang Vieng, which is lined with zip lines, 60′ tall rope swings, and 100′ tall water slides, all ending in the river. Mark learned on his first zip line attempt the importance of letting go before you reach the “stopper” at the end of the line, which brings the trolly to an instantaneous stop (though not the rest of his body, which resulted in a complete 360 degree back flip followed by a belly flop). Of course we had a Flip handy, and the moment has been captured for posterity.

Vic Hislop Shark Hunter - Frozen in Time

PT Barnum, the world's greatest showman once said, "there's a sucker born every minute."

In the frozen shark world Vic Hislop remains PT Barnums top student.

For most of shark community the announcement of Vics latest acquisition of a 1200kg, 5m hammerhead estimated to be close to 40 years old surprised few.

Rumors that he intends to display this animal in a frozen Disneyesque state for paying customers disgusted many including us. Vic remains a perfect example of 1970's shark mindsets where animals are to be killed, and ironically displayed and promoted as the oceans ultimate killers.

Has the world evolved in the understanding of sharks since the 1970's? Most definitely.

Has Vic Hislop evolved or is he, like his shark show, frozen in time?

Sharks International Conference

The organising committee for Sharks International would like to extend an invitation to attend this one-time event being hosted in Cairns, Queensland, Australia from 6-11 June 2010.

The aim of this conference is to provide a forum for the world’s leading shark and ray experts, along with students and up and coming early career researchers, to come together to share ideas, update information and report on the progress of the most recent scientific studies in the field of shark and ray ecology.

As these species become more affected by human and environmental factors on a global scale, international approaches to their study and management will be increasingly important. This conference is a first step in encouraging and developing international linkages between researchers from various regions.

To register for this event.

Massachusetts White Sharks - Research Talk

Aquatic biologist John Chisholm will discuss the Massachusetts Shark Research Program for the Division of Marine Fisheries on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Old Methodist Meeting House, Main Street, Wareham.

Chisholm will discuss the occurrence and biology of white sharks in waters in and around Massachusetts.

For more information, call 508-295-0211 or visit

Shark Truth - Grassroot Efforts

My name is Claudia and I am the Founder of Shark Truth. We are a grassroots nonprofit promoting awareness around shark fin soup in the Chinese community.

Our goal is to Stop the Soup at wedding banquets (where shark fin soup is most popularly served) through our 'Happy Hearts Love Sharks' international wedding contest we just launched. We are looking for partners to give us a hand in promoting the contest - would you be interested in sending a message out to your network (blogs, newsletters, Facebook or Twitter)?

Happy Hearts Love Sharks

Wedding Contest 2010

Did you know that a wedding banquet serving shark fin soup to 300 guests can kill up to 30 sharks?
Through the 'Happy Hearts Love Sharks' wedding contest, we will reward couples who submit a video or photo entry of their pledge to Stop the Soup at their wedding banquet and promote shark fin soup alternatives.

Couples can enter now for a chance to our International Grand Prize: a waterproof digital camera and an adopt-a-shark package. The first 5 international couples to enter the contest will get the beautiful coffee table book “Sharks Up Close”, which captures the majestic, beautiful shark in photography.

Contest closes May 9th, 2010

Registration and contest details at

Questions and comments? Email

Stop the Soup - Spread Shark Truth

Attached is a pamphlet file you can feel free to spread widely through your networks! More goodies can be downloaded here:

If you want to help us Stop the Soup or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly. Shark Truth look forward to hearing from you!

Claudia Li, BBA
Founder & Co-Chair | Shark Truth