Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ron and Val Taylor - Shark History CNN

Two passionate divers and filmmakers who have seen first hand the public's perception shift towards sharks based on the media's portrayal of them. Today, 30 years after JAWS, both are committed conservationists and back in the media sharing their experiences:

"The Asian market just can't get enough of sharks fin; the price has gone way up. Even Australian fishermen are taking shark fins now in the Great Barrier Reef.Some species of sharks are protected, like the Great White Shark... but with other species of sharks there are no restrictions."

Shark Free Marinas - Endorsed by Slash

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative is gaining momentum with a new series of celebrity endorsements and additions to the growing advisory board.

This month Slash, legendary guitarists from Guns'n'Roses, had some green words and is now joined by Nigel Barker and Bill Maher in support.

"I would like to encourage the fishing community to adopt the Shark Free Marina Initiative to help reduce worldwide shark mortality, one marina at a time. It is important to me as a father and concerned human being, that we do all we can to address the wasteful destruction of these amazing and important animals. We must ensure that sharks are around for future generations. Simply put, a healthy ocean needs sharks. Please join our impressive array of marinas that are prohibiting the landing of any shark at their docks. Together, we can save millions of sharks per year and set a new global standard for how we treat our allies in the sea."

- Slash, August 2010

Shark Pseudoscience - Juicing Tweaked Bulls

A challenge over at Southern Fried Science has us talking Bull this week.

Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) and testosterone to be exact.

A leisurely swim through the Internets murky back canals of sharky science reveals a plethora of quotes about testosterone and Bull sharks:

"Their aggression is fueled by testosterone. The bull shark has one of the highest testosterone levels of all animals."

"Bull sharks have the highest levels of testosterone measured in any creature, land or sea."

"No animal on earth has the testosterone levels of a bull shark, and that includes animals like the big cats of Africa, elephants, and grizzly bears."

Which has lead to a flood of online question from body builders, based on a video game (we could not make this up) about "juicing" Bull sharks for a cheap, fast, and legal(?) source of

Read about it here, and here and here.

In fact a Google search for "Bull shark testosterone sale" returns over 3000 results.

Is it science? Or like many shark related pseudo-cures is it just plain Bull?

As the brainchild for this online discussion seems to have been generated by a video game we're calling this one pseudo-Bull, and passing it on to the good folks over at Southern Fried Science in a pathetic attempt to get in on their latest science challenge.

Kind of like those paper-mâché volcano's you see at science fairs. Yes they look cool and all, but everyone knows you made it up at 4.30am the night before, when your bigger science fair project got eaten by your pet Bull shark...all juiced up and raging on testosterone no doubt.

SHARKS — Do We Really Need Them?

Dr Mahmood Shivji with the Guy Harvey Foundation penned an outstanding Op Ed this week:

For the longest time after the 1975 blockbuster “JAWS” gave us a spine-tingling ride, there was an often used saying that “the only good shark is a dead shark”. This man- against-beast thriller and its many progeny shark horror flicks still pervade the public’s psyche, anointing all sharks as human-eaters and keeping many beach-goers out of the ocean.

The public and media’s morbid fascination with sharks as killing “machines” continues today. There is a steady stream of media coverage when fishers catch and drag back a large shark for photo-ops. In some minds, catching and killing a large shark is almost heroic and fashionable, and a testament to man’s superiority in the “battle” against the beast.

Meanwhile, the enormous toll taken on shark numbers worldwide due to indiscriminate fisheries continues unabated. All this shark killing causes some to wring their hands in anguish about longer-term ecological impacts. Others say “what’s the big deal if sharks are killed?”

Who’s right? Should we care if many of the oceans large sharks are exterminated? Is there really enough of an impact on the marine environment to worry about?

Complete Post.

2010 Shark Diving Report - Cage Diving at Guadalupe

For our divers 2010 has been the Trip of a Lifetime so far. Celebrated with email blasts to friends and Facebook posts to the world.

These lucky divers have met the most charismatic, studied, and filmed white sharks on the planet.

For newly minted Shark Diver Craig Reynolds, nothing but his own Great White Blog to recount his adventures this year would do:

Day 5 – SAFETY SIGNALS – Yesterday was a total spoiler with each dive topping the one before it. Twice, one of the smaller younger sharks – which generally seem more adventurous than the larger and presumably more experienced adults – came head-on right up to the open-view area of the cage, only turning away when there was no where else to go, or perhaps when it realized that there was no food in our hands, only cameras.

In one instance I was holding the camera in one hand and holding on to the corner bar with the other but was forced to let myself fall backwards when the shark quickly pulled an abrupt u-turn and swung his tail toward the cage. Unsure of what kind of force that might generate against my fingers, my instinct was to not find out...

Complete Series Posts.