Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Speaking of Aliwal Shoal - Research Paper

We spend a lot of time reading research papers on shark tourism and conservation. This week, in between dives for big critters off the coast of Nags Head, we read this paper on famed shark diving dive site, Aliwal Shoal.

Published in the African Journal of Marine Science in 2009 it is a fascinating read:


Understanding socio-economic aspects of the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier diving industry, including information on participant expectations, experiences and expenditure, is necessary for the effective management of the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area on the east coast of South Africa. Between January and December 2007, a total of 2 133 tiger shark dives was conducted by 1 065 divers (95% CI = 946-1 198). Data were collected by means of the administration of a semi-structured survey questionnaire to 197 (18.6%) dive participants. Respondents indicated that the direct value of tiger shark diving to the Aliwal Shoal region was R12 405 274 (95% CI = R10 777 324-14 228 541). A total of 1 000 Monte Carlo simulations was used to estimate confidence intervals. On a ranking from one (poor) to five (excellent), the average participant response to overall quality of dive and standard of dive operator was 4.6 and 4.7 respectively. The majority of divers (98.0%) observed a tiger shark, at an average of four per dive. Although tiger sharks approached to an average distance of 1.6 m from divers, the majority (95.9%) felt safe and enjoyed the experience. The majority of interviewees (88.5%) supported the use of chumming for a closer 'tiger shark experience'.

To get a copy go here.

Oceana - End Run for Fisheries G-20

NGO Oceana is going for what amounts to an "end run" to limit fisheries in the G-20 nations.

As it turns out many of these unsustainable fisheries are made sustainable due to heavy fishing subsidies, money from governments that all but guarantee price stabilization and do not allow for markets to correct when fisheries become unsustainable.

Any movement on this front would benefit sharks and after the stunning losses at Doha we're supporting any continuing efforts to reign in unsustainable fisheries take.

Mission Blue features an all star cast of voices from the marine and conservation worlds demanding changes at the next G-20 summit meeting:

“Subsidies encourage unsustainable operations, accelerating the depletion and ultimate demise of fish and fishermen alike. No fish, no fishermen.” said Dr. Sylvia Earle. “A new commitment to fisheries would demonstrate that G-20 can contribute to solving environmental problems of global consequence while fulfilling its shared responsibility for the economy and well-being for people of the world."

To get involved and to get informed please spend some time today to review the following press release.

Daniel Botelho Captures India

Underwater photographer and shark diver Daniel Botelho recently came back from India with a new set of images to behold.

We have been following Daniel for a while and are fans of his work, especially when it involves big charismatic terrestrials swimming in the ocean.

Last month Daniel unveiled his work in Mexico with sailfish. The sailfish site has been covered by a legion of underwater photographers his work is on par with some of the best out there.

Nice job Daniel on your latest adventures, here's his link.