Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge - Research Tracking in Action

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge has revealed the science behind its new shark fishing tournament model with a tagged female and possibly gravid Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas) reporting back to Mote Marine Labs this week.

"Bucky's Baby" is on a long distance swing outside the tournament area and providing real time data to waiting researchers who have launched an interactive website providing website viewers with:

- The option to subscribe to a daily project update by email (works great if you're interested in the day-by-day movements)

- Additional tournament info with links

- Specifics on Bucky's Baby and general information on bull sharks

- An option to "Adopt" Bucky's Baby to help fund the research

Shark conservation initiatives take many forms and are often lead by industry leaders willing to step out from traditional molds to create new conservation paradigms. The team behind the GHUSC are a unique group of thinkers and industry folks, from Mote Marine Labs, The Humane Society, to well known oceans advocate Guy Harvey who are trying to change the way we catch sharks, run tournaments, and ultimately treat the resource as a sustainable effort.

After three decades of protests and efforts to educate fishermen, shark kill tournaments are still the tournament of choice in the sport fishing industry. The GHUSC is one way forward to address sport caught shark take.

In tandem with other initiatives like the Shark Free Marinas these "out of the box ideas" to address shark conservation will effect real and lasting change. There are no silver bullets in the shark conservation world, just smart thinking, planning and execution.

Kudos to everyone involved.

Costa Rican Conservation Network - First Person Shark Fin Report

Allan Bolaños needs an award.

For the past few years the conservation world has been missing a key element in the shark fin story, first person and eye witness accounts of the ongoing shark slaughter.

We follow a number of blogs on the Internet and the Costa Rican Conservation Network is one of them.

Allan is a Pretoma marine researcher, after a week long odyssey with long liners in the region he comes back with this bloody, if not completely credible, first person report.

Not only is shark finning as bad as reported in the region but the "choicest fins" are in fact the most bizarre with the the caudal fin, or “timon” in Spanish being the most sought after fins on the Costa Rican market right now.

"In my last trip on the open ocean I observed that the shark finning problem is probably worse then ever”, he said. ”One species in particular, scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) are being targeted the most. You can’t sell its meat back in port, but its fins are well received.”

Allan's complete report is here.

Kudos to the entire team for this post. More about the CRCN here.

Kids and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Off the coast of North Carolina at Nags Head this week I am spending some quality time with my extended family while on an interesting shark project.

Yesterday was spent with the kids at Kitty Hawk home to the Wright Brothers first flights and aviation's humble beginnings.

60 years after the Wright Brothers flew their home built airplane at this very site man walked on the moon. A fact that stunned me when I first read, and then re-read it again from the beginning.

What little Hannah (the world's cutest little girl) will be doing 60 years from now makes today's family adventures even more exciting for me.

Her world is one of unlimited opportunity thanks in part to two men who went after a goal that many said could not be done, and with dogged determination discovered the keys to controlled and sustained flight.


Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410

Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge - Industry Change

Bucky Dennis. This name was synonymous with an outpouring of anger last summer as professional angler Bucky Dennis hunted down and killed a 1060lb pregnant Great Hammerhead.

The second biggest of his fishing career.

Enter the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge and industry lead change to the perception of sport caught sharks and regional shark tournaments.

Shark conservation initiatives take many forms and are often lead by industry leaders willing to step out from traditional molds to create new conservation paradigms. The team behind the GHUSC are a unique group of thinkers and industry folks, from Mote Marine Labs, The Humane Society, to well known oceans advocate Guy Harvey who are trying to change the way we catch sharks, run tournaments, and ultimately treat the resource as a sustainable effort.

After three decades of protests and efforts to educate fishermen, shark kill tournaments are still the tournament of choice in the sport fishing industry.

Having Bucky Dennis become an early adopter and ambassador for this new kind of shark tournament is a good first start.

Controversial? You bet.

With recent dead sharks washing up again on beaches in Florida (great coverage) attributed by conservationists to "shark fishing from shore" the need for some sort of industry change is now. This effort is the first of what will inevitably be a series of efforts to change the sport caught shark model, evolving, and educating along the way.

As we have long said. Shark conservation begins with "One."

One person. One idea. One initiative at a time.

Full coverage.

SDI and SAI - New Shark Blog and Conservation Initiative

2008 ushered in an explosion of good shark initiatives, blogs, and boots on the ground local efforts that bore shark conservation fruit from Florida to Honduras.

It was the beginning of a revolution in the shark world.

These efforts were in response to a conservation vacuum, left in the wake of top heavy NGO's who did not seem nimble enough to respond and act on a local and regional basis.

These new efforts were often lead by shark diving industry folks who were invested in sharks beyond commercial shark diving.

The number of pro-shark efforts has not stopped with two new ones getting off the ground this week.

Sonja Fordham,a well known shark advocate and policy maker has opened the doors on Shark Advocates International (website to come) we have covered her efforts in the past with her work at Ocean Conservancy:

"Sharks are among the oceans' most vulnerable animals, and now more than ever they need our help," said Sonja Fordham, Shark Advocates International president, in a statement. "After decades of steady progress, recent months have brought serious setbacks in international shark conservation. Starting immediately, Shark Advocates International will fight to reignite and accelerate progress toward effective shark safeguards."

Another effort that we're glad to see up and running is Shark Diving Internationals Blog.

Lawrence Groth is an advocate for sharks, and has been for the past decade of work with these animals from the Farallones to Isla Guadalupe. His team of shark conservation people stretching around the planet will be a welcome addition to the understanding of sharks, conservation, and news from the industry.

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410