Thursday, June 30, 2011

White Shark Spotted in Florida at 170' - Confirmed!

Any time you can spend a quality moment in the water with an animal like this is a good day. For a spearfishing diver just hoping to get his limit on Amberjack in the green waters off Sebastian Inlet this weeks encounter with a sizable white shark was nothing but amazing!

NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute Receives $100,000 from Guy Harvey

FT. LAUDERDALE-DAVIE Fla. — Guy Harvey, the renowned artist, scientist, and conservationist, recently donated $100,000 to Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) to conduct research on fisheries.

The funding will be used to support the ongoing research projects at the GHRI, which is run by NSU Oceanographic Center Professor Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D. The GHRI conducts high quality, solution-oriented basic and applied scientific research needed for effective conservation, biodiversity maintenance, restoration, and understanding of the world's wild fishes.

“This signification donation from Guy Harvey will help advance the important work we do at GHRI to make new discoveries,” Shivji said.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), created by Guy Harvey, funds inspired scientific research and innovative educational programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments. The Guy Harvey Research Institute has received generous support from GHOF over the years.

Growing up in Jamaica, Guy Harvey spent many hours fishing and diving with his father along the Island's south coast. He was obsessed with the creatures of the sea and began drawing pictures of the many different fish he observed. Harvey’s artwork can be found in art exhibits, stores, galleries, restaurants and at fishing tournaments. He makes appearances at store openings as well as public appearances for a variety of environmental causes.

Harvey is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea.

Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between Harvey, and the Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve and effectively manage the world's marine fishes and their ecosystems.

The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of the GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and Nova Southeastern University.

The GHRI is conducting a wide variety of research on the ecology, genetics, behavior, physiology, and evolution of fishes with the aim of providing information critically needed for effective conservation efforts worldwide. GHRI research is being conducted both in the laboratory and in field locations around the globe in association with U.S. and international scientists.

As director of the GHRI, Shivji led an international research team in 2007 who showed for the first time that female sharks can reproduce without mating with a male. This is done through a type of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis. GHRI is dedicated to conducting the research required for conservation and proper management of the world’s wild fishes.

“This discovery completely rewrites the textbook on how sharks can reproduce,” Shivji said.

Shivji has also co-led a research team that discovered a new species of billfish that looks like white marlin. This finding means that many white marlin have been misidentified for decades, casting doubt on previous scientific information about the overfished species. The discovery could have a major impact on commercial fishing, which has reduced white marlin populations.

Using DNA methods, Shivji and his students also traced hammerhead shark fins from the Hong Kong markets, where the fins are prized delicacies used in soup, to their geographic origins in the western Atlantic Ocean, where the sharks are endangered. This discovery will better help conserve and manage the species.

In addition, Shivji, who also directs the OC’s Save Our Seas Shark Center, which is dedicated to shark research and conservation, has invented a DNA test that can determine which species of shark a fin came from in a matter of hours. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice used his test to successfully prosecute a Florida man who participated in dealing illegal shark fins.

Shivji’s efforts have impressed America’s most famous museum: The Smithsonian Institution. The institution is now displaying his work at The Sant Ocean Hall inside the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

World Conference on Marine Biodiversity 2011 - You Going?

"The oceans provide an irreplaceable resource to humankind which must be protected and managed into the future. The impact of changes in biodiversity as a result of direct and indirect human impact must be fully considered.

Taking place September 26-30, 2011, in Aberdeen, Scotland (UK) the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity has the overall aim of bringing together scientists, practitioners and the public to discuss and advance our understanding of the issues surrounding the importance of biodiversity in the marine environment. The conference will address issues of marine biodiversity across a deliberately wide range of relevant spheres and interacting topics.

More specifically the conference aims to:
-Review our knowledge of marine biodiversity and its role in marine ecosystem functioning
-Assess the most critical threats to marine systems and consider management strategies
-Discuss sustainable development and socio-economic impacts on the marine sector
-Identify future research priorities
-The conference will be aimed at the widest possible groups of participants stakeholders from academics to industry and include elements specifically targeted at the public and school children.

For more information and to be included on the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity Mailing list please email including your name and organisation indicating if you are interested as a delegate or an exhibitor."

Marine Biodiversity 2011 World Conference Website

Save Snapper Ledge - One Click, One Voice

An initiative to protect premier Florida Keys Dive Site, Snapper Ledge, as a Sanctuary Preservation Area, SPA.

This video portrays the incredible beauty of Snapper Ledge and the critical importance of protecting it from hook and line and spearfishing. This video shows a means to sign a petition to protect Snapper Ledge.

Save Snapper Ledge click this link to add your voice today.

A video production by Frazier Nivens, Ocean Imaging.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hideous Shark Monster Pulled from Sea of Cortez?

File this under "Montauk Monster," and we predict that this single image will soon become the summer shark freak-out image of 2011.

Hat Hip to Peter Thomas Outdoors for the find - actually we kinda wished he didn't find it.

What you are looking at is a "one-eyed bull shark fetus," pulled from a pregnant animal somewhere off La Paz Mexico.

The eye is the freaky part and we might have called "Faux Shark" on this one until word that renown shark scientist Dr.Felipe Galvan had seen, studied, and produced an initial paper on this otherworldly animal.

Dr.Galvan in tandem with Dr.Mauricio Hoyos are the lead shark researchers at Isla Guadalupe studying white sharks with CICIMAR.

Spinner Shark takes on surfer - Video

The spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, named for the spinning leaps it makes as a part of its feeding strategy. This species occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide, except for in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is found from coastal to offshore habitats to a depth of 100 m (330 ft), though it prefers shallow water. The spinner shark resembles a larger version of the blacktip shark (C. limbatus), with a slender body, long snout, and black-marked fins. This species can be distinguished from the blacktip shark by the first dorsal fin, which has a different shape and is placed further back, and by the black tip on the anal fin (in adults only). It attains a maximum length of 3 m (10 ft).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Predation Carcharodon carcharias or Isurus oxyrinchus?

A long beaked dolphin (Delphinus capensis) missing it's middle section in a "very suspect" semi circular pattern washed ashore in Redondo Beach in March this year (click image).

The wound pattern opened up the question about it's attacker(s) and a running debate is now unfolding between two camps who are championing:

1. Carcharodon carcharias

2. Isurus oxyrinchus

“It’s a predation kill, most likely by a great white shark,” Dave Janiger, a curatorial assistant in the mammalogy department of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.

The main question is timing. Do we even have Carcharodon carcharias off Redondo beach in March large enough to make a successful predation on an animal this big?

Seals in August and September have washed up in the same location without heads in previous years and that's fits with migration profiles.

So, was this the work of an overlarge Isurus oxyrinchus perhaps?

Image by surf photographer Brad Jacobson.

Viva Honduras for the sharks!

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa will sign the sanctuary bill into law on Friday on a visit to the island of Roatan, the country’s top diving and snorkeling destination, his office said on Thursday.

The move makes permanent a moratorium on commercial fishing for sharks that Honduras announced last year in a joint declaration with the Micronesian island of Palau.

The march for sharks has reached all corners of the planet, and in the shadow of Mexico's recent ban on shark fishing this brings strong leadership to Latin America.

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds University of Miami's R.J. Dunlap Program

MIAMI – June 23, 2011 -- In the past 50 years, approximately 80 percent of all sharks have disappeared – this includes the shark populations off the coast of the Sunshine State.

The University of Miami's R.J. Dunlap (RJD) Marine Conservation Program was awarded a $30,000 grant by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) to conduct research designed to further shark conservation off the Florida coast. The grant has the potential of reaching a total of $120,000 over the next four years.

"The ocean's top predators are under unprecedented pressure from unsustainable fishing practices and changes in the ocean chemistry," said world-renowned marine artist and biologist Dr. Guy Harvey. "This research will give us great insight into how their removal will impact the entire marine ecosystem."

Headed by Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, the RJD Program is investigating the effects on the ecosystem structure due to overfishing top predators. "Models have indicated that a decline in top predators will decrease the number of economically important fishes, and even a loss of important habitats such as coral reefs," according to the proposal.

The team will conduct a series of field and laboratory studies including field surveys, stable isotope analysis, genetic analysis and blood hormone analysis. Taken in marine protected areas and areas subject to fishing throughout the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, field studies will be used to determine community structure and patterns.

Press release.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chris Fallows - Hats off to amazing!

When the Sardine Run is "on" it is the greatest show on earth and industry veteran Chris Fallows was there to document it this month in a series of stunning images.

Chris and wide Monique are shark diving industry veterans, industry innovators, and all round nice folks.

Word on the street he'll be on this years Shark Week with something special and it's about time too, as we have not seen him work his shark magic for a few years now.

Anyone remember the stunning slow motion white shark footage from a few years back?

For more on Chris and his latest sardine adventure read Pete Thomas Blog.

The 30-Mile Dive with Scott Cassell - Support Today!

I want to produce a 3-D documentary chronicling my world record attempt this Fall as I swim from Catalina Island to Los Angeles Harbor UNDERWATER in a non-stop 24 hour SCUBA Dive using state-of-the-art systems to explore this frontier of inner space. During the dive I will attempt to gather important scientific information including a search for the last of the sharks in the area.

Topside, we will follow the ups and downs of making such a dream a reality. This includes; the physical demands, developing our own technical innovations, the explorer's mind set, and the final outcome with discoveries/insights.

Underwater, state-of-the-art 3D technology allows the viewer to experience firsthand the personal side of this journey.

The 30-Mile Dive is a celebration of what we can achieve when working in harmony with our surroundings while pushing the limits of what we think is possible.

All donations are tax deductible through our non-profit Undersea Voyager Project. Funds raised will be used in the building, purchase or rental of all necessary equipment,the support of the team during filming, pre-dive training and travel, all editing and creation of the documentary and copies, public relations outreach before, during and after the dive, all insurance, promotional products for sale or reward use, and all other costs associated with the attempt.

All findings from the 30 Mile Dive will be freely given to the public via YouTube, the Undersea Voyager Project website, media releases and through public speaking.

Support the project here.

RTSea on TOPP's - Brilliant Research

The RTSea Blog has full coverage on TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Predators) findings this morning.

Great reading and first rate research.

If you were curious about Pacific white shark movement data here it is.

In California, many people involved in ocean conservation are familiar with the ground-breaking work of Dr. Barbara Block and the program she started, TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Predators). Using various types of telemetry and satellite tags, the TOPP crew has tagged a variety of ocean animals, from sharks to tuna, to turtles and more. Doing so has enabled them to determine many of the key migration routes these predators take - quite often of a seasonal nature, traveling great distances back and forth between key locations year after year.

After 10 years of tracking using over 4,000 tags and accumulating data from over 23 different species, TOPP has released a final report of its findings in conjunction with the Census for Marine Life, published online in Nature. The report shows that migration patterns play a very crucial role in the lives of many ocean predators. Writing in the Washington Post, Julie Eilperin repeated TOPP's description of the eastern Pacific Ocean as being akin to Africa’s Serengeti, teeming with wildlife and crisscrossed by migration corridors used by sharks and seabirds. Two currents play a key role in the migrations: the California Current - which stretches from western Canada all the way south to Mexico - and the North Pacific Transition Zone - which travels east and west between the sub-arctic and subtropical water.

Complete post here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

1000lb Mako Shark Taken in Florida?

Hat Tip - Peter Thomas

"Wound Up" 1000lb. Mako Shark June 18, 2011 - WSVN Channel 7 Miami

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marc Montocchio - Underwater Photography Greats!

Not being a underwater photographer has allowed me to enjoy those who have taken the craft in new directions.

I am a fan of innovation.

One of these trail blazers is Marc Montocchio, thanks to Da Shark for the blog introduction this week.

"Born in Durban, South Africa, Marc developed an early love for the sea, swimming in the warm, blue waters of the Indian Ocean. He inherited a passion for fishing from his grandfather, Edouard Montocchio, an avid big game fisherman born in 1906 to a French colonial family on the island of Mauritius."

Marcs work is innovative to say the least and almost impossible to get watch this video. Kudos!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Conservation Authority Guy Harvey Reiterates Shark Free Marina Policies

Guy Harvey, Chairman of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, underscores need for clear policy prohibiting the landing of sharks at a Shark Free Marina.

Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) June 16, 2011

Conservation and marine science authority Dr. Guy Harvey, Chairman of Guy Harvey Outpost LTD., announced today that a photographic image of a Mako shark, taken at the weigh in station of the Bimini Big Game Club and circulating on the internet, was authentic. “It is extremely disappointing that this occurred and is a clear violation of my shark conservation principles and efforts”, said Dr. Harvey, an recognized marine conservation authority and acclaimed artist. The Big Game Club operates under license from Guy Harvey Outpost, a company he co-founded to promote sustainable tourism and marine conservation among water sport enthusiasts and the legions of Guy Harvey followers worldwide.

He confirmed the shark was caught by a visitor to the Big Game Club while vacationing in Bimini over the Memorial Day weekend and the resort's dock staff assisted in hanging the shark up for photographs. The boat's captain, Chase Camacho, confirmed his charter angler fought the shark for over two hours after hooking it while deep drop fishing off the Bimini coast. "It's important to have a black and white policy with no grey areas when it comes to operating as a Shark Free Marina, particularly when my name is on the door”, Guy said in addressing the event.

“The boat's captain believed the shark was stressed to the point of dying, and thought it proper to bring it back to the dock so it could be given to the church for distribution to needy locals,” clarified Dr. Harvey, who holds a PhD in Marine Biology and directs shark research worldwide with the efforts of his scientific staff at the Guy Harvey Research Institute. Underscoring a common misunderstanding among anglers on the resilience of sharks, Guy noted “a nearly dead shark has a much better chance of surviving in the water than on the dock. Sharks are very tough animals.”

Professor Mahmood Shivji, Director of the “Save our Seas Shark Center” at Nova Southeastern University echoed Guy's sentiment. “It's a food cycle issue. We are dealing with a marine ecosystem such that a dead or dying fish provides food resource to the entire marine ecosystem and its best to let the ecosystem operate without intervention, however well intentioned.” Dr. Harvey characterized the event “an unfortunate learning moment for all anglers.” He went on to acknowledge the angler and captain erred with good intentions, and the shark was donated to the local community as intended but noted “in today's world there's nothing to celebrate in bringing any shark to the dock for a photo opportunity”.

With a Guy Harvey designed logo to identify member marinas worldwide, 'Shark-Free' marinas participate in a voluntary program to prohibit sharks from being landed at their facility. “Shark Free marina policies were designed to foster catch and release fishing methods by discouraging any thought of landing a shark for any reason”, Harvey went on to say. “Our Outpost team took immediate action to investigate this when first brought to my attention. Staff has been reminded of their role in helping promote shark conservation awareness by enforcing the policies of a 'Shark Free' marina." The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is a project of The Humane Society of the United States and supported in part by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, an organization Dr. Harvey chairs to foster marine research and conservation.

The Shark Free Marina Institute's web site indicates that as many as 100 million sharks are killed annually, posing a serious threat to the oceans health. The stated purpose of a Shark-Free Marinas is to help reduce the take of sharks and encourage responsible use of the oceans. “With my worldwide efforts to promote shark conservation, particularly in the Bahamas, and my name on the front door of the Big Game Club, I've reminded staff that our marina will adhere to the Shark Free Marina Initiative policies, no exceptions” added Dr. Harvey. “We all have to play a part in protecting these magnificent animals.”

Conservación de gran tiburón blanco en Isla Guadalupe

El gran tiburón blanco es el depredador más famoso de los océanos del mundo, y también uno de los más incomprendidos. Para muchas personas, el miedo y el odio han llenado el vacío dejado por la falta de información precisa acerca de estas increíbles criaturas. Su número se ha reducido debido a la campaña de pesca como resultado de la persecución y la pesca de trofeos a lo largo de las décadas, dejando a su especie (y de los ecosistemas marinos que habitan) que cuelga en un equilibrio precario. Isla de Guadalupe en la costa occidental de México se ha convertido en un lugar importante para la protección de los tiburones blancos, así como un lugar para que los investigadores a reunir más información sobre ellos que pueden educar al público y ayudar en la conservación del tiburón blanco.

Isla Guadalupe se encuentra a 150 kilómetros al oeste de la costa de Baja California - formada por dos volcanes en escudo y rodeado de aguas profundas. La isla en sí es el continuo enfoque de muchos esfuerzos de conservación gubernamentales y científicas, en un intento por revertir el daño masivo realizado por los gatos salvajes y cabras a la izquierda por los cazadores / pescadores que utilizaban la isla como lugar de parada. Es un sitio de congregación para los grandes blancos, sobre todo en los meses de otoño e invierno. La visibilidad promedio de 100 pies de agua hace que sea un lugar ideal para la investigación submarina. Muchos grupos y organismos involucrados en el estudio y protección de los tiburones blancos en Isla Guadalupe.

El gobierno mexicano ha hecho la Isla de Guadalupe (y las zonas marinas circundantes) una "Reserva de la Biosfera", con lo que el dinero y mano de obra nacional se puede ahorrar para proteger la isla y su fauna. Esto se suma a la protección internacional que otorgan los grandes blancos de la Convención sobre el Comercio Internacional de Especies Amenazadas (CITES). CONANP, el acrónimo de la traducción al español de la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, es un grupo nacional dedicado a "la conservación del patrimonio natural de México." Con respecto a la Isla Guadalupe, CONANP monitores isla de datos, regula la actividad de la isla, y se coordina con los observadores y los investigadores para recoger información sobre el estado / la biología de la isla de la vida silvestre (como el tiburón blanco en las aguas circundantes).

Los grupos de investigación que acuden a este lugar de primera gran tiburón blanco suelen ser de las instituciones educativas o científicas en México y / o California. Investigadores de la Marine Conservation Science Institute han estado examinando activamente los tiburones aquí desde 1999. Utilizan una gran variedad de técnicas para rastrear el comportamiento de los tiburones y las poblaciones, tales como el etiquetado de satélite, una identificación con foto / catalogación, toma de muestras de ADN, y la observación visual de las jaulas de protección del tiburón bajo el agua. Los estudiantes de posgrado y profesores de CICIMAR (Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas) y CICESE (Centro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de Ensenada) son con frecuencia la realización de la investigación y la observación de los tiburones y otras criaturas marinas cerca de la isla.

La conciencia y el atractivo de los grandes blancos en la isla de Guadalupe han ido más allá de los de las comunidades científicas y de preservación ecológica. En los últimos años, muchos "regular" la gente ha viajado a Isla Guadalupe por la oportunidad de ir a bucear en una jaula con tiburones blancos. No sólo son capaces de ver a los tiburones, pero muchos de ellos también son testigos de la preservación de isla en curso y los esfuerzos de investigación.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PADI Project AWARE - Shark Free Marinas Fiji

Shark-Free Marinas, Fiji

Fiji’s marinas and resorts are taking the lead on shark conservation. A Project AWARE grant supported the International Shark-Free Marina Initiative by working with marinas, boaters and fishermen to develop local shark protection policy that prohibits the landing of sharks.

Fishermen are not permitted to bring shark catches into any participating marina.

Under the leadership of Stuart Gow, Matava- Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, 13 marinas and fishing charters on Fiji's tropical islands have signed their commitment. Job well done Stuart!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Oil Well Ownership Game - Environment Loses

Over at Sky Truth another well in the Gulf has sprung a leak, this time near Venice with enough oil to make the mainstream press.

Although the mainstream press does not seem to know where this "mysterious slick" has come from Sky Truth with the help of Gulf Restoration Network have pinpointed the slick to an exact well and uncovered the sad wells history.

As it turns out since this wells sidelining it has changed hands multiple times, with entities going bankrupt, filing for chapter 11, or sold to other entities.

In short a shell game of biblical permutations and one has to wonder, is this by chance, or by design?

With some 15 thousand early orphaned wells in the Gulf that do not produce major quantities of oil and gas but are still "active" and getting older, who owns a well when it starts leaking?

For the wildlife that interacted with this latest slick, they are the ultimate losers.

Keep following Sky Truth for the complete story and the Gulf Restoration Network for the great work with oil spills. If you want the facts of the Gulf and Gulf oil spills, these are your prime sources.

Images by Southwings.

"Holy crap, I've been nominated for an Emmy!"

That's the great news coming from iDive Sharks and Mark Thorpe who indeed has been nominated for an Emmy for his underwater work this month.

"Contracted by an independent production entity and along with a great team of other guys we set up camp for ten days living on a limestone rock in the western Pacific to film the daily Migration of the non stinging Jellyfish that call the lake home, all 16 million of them! The resulting footage when edited became the focal piece for the recent Great Migrations series aired on National Geographic, it is for this work on this project that I have recently found out that, along with the rest of the team, I've been nominated for an Emmy award, result!"

Kudos Mark, this nomination could not have happened to a better guy!

Tiger Beach Tiburón 2011 Expediciones Diver

En la primavera de 2011 Shark Diver estaba de regreso en las Bahamas con buzos nuevos y que regresan en el remolque de una de las mejores temporadas de primavera de buceo de tiburones todavía no hemos encontrado.

Lo que tengo es el buceo increíble, lleno tiburones soplado, y buen clima durante seis semanas.

En el primer viaje de la temporada, un trío de buzos, Brad Bamford, Toft Jonas, y bajo el agua fotógrafo Michael Coughlin se unió a nosotros para una semana de encuentros simplemente increíble.

Captado por la cámara de Michael Coughlin, que las imágenes son algunos de los mejores que hemos visto en mucho tiempo, Michael logró capturar la gracia y la naturaleza simples depredadores de estos magníficos animales.

También atrapó uno de los 14 tiburones marcados por el Dr. Neal Hammerschlag y su grupo de la FAU en la acción (más sobre esto por venir), en fin esta primera expedición de la temporada de entrega casi todo un buzo gustaría, incluidas las visitas nocturnas Tigres del ambiente;)

Gracias a la tripulación del M / V Kate nuestra salida al buque en la región y el capitán Rob MacDonald, que sigue siendo uno de los controladores de tiburones más importantes del sector. Usted puede no saber Rob porque es uno de los "profesionales de calma" que no busca el centro de atención, pero pocos han pasado tanto tiempo con estos Tigres como lo ha hecho.

Si usted está haciendo los tiburones en las Bahamas, ya sea comercial o con producciones de cine y televisión, Rob es el hombre, y hemos tenido la suerte de trabajar con él ahora para los últimos 5 años.

Únase a nosotros este otoño ya que a cambio de los tiburones más grandes y excelentes condiciones de caída en las Bahamas, 2011 ha sido sin precedentes hasta el momento y no podemos esperar para volver.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Shark Bible - The Summers Must Have

What Oprah's Book Club missed this summer was a good read with some teeth in it.

Fortunately for beach loungers across the nation this summer there's Dr. Jose Castros new book for the sharky set.

Welcome to The Sharks of North America an about to be released new book on our toothy friends featuring 135 comprehensive species accounts summarize the present knowledge.

Each begins with the etymology of a species' common and scientific names, followed by the description, identifying characteristics, geographic range, biology, reproduction, location of nurseries, growth and longevity, and relation to humans. These accounts synthesize decades of research and first-hand examination of sharks collected in fisheries and research operations across the continent. They are thorough, current, and dispel many myths and misunderstandings found in the scientific and popular literature.

Each species is illustrated by one or more original profile figures in color, augmented by images of the snout, upper and lower teeth, and dermal denticles. The stunning color illustrations have been painted directly from freshly dead sharks or Castro's photographs of live or fresh specimens. Their anatomical accuracy and true-to-life coloration are unmatched. The detailed pen and ink drawings of the snout and teeth are crucial aids to species identification, as are the exquisite scanning electron microphotographs of dermal denticles.

The Sharks of North America will serve as the standard reference on sharks for the twenty-first century and is certain to become the primary source of information for anyone interested in sharks, from professional biologists and conservationists to students, informed laypersons, and fishermen.

Get yours today and be the first to accurately identify shark images on Facebook!

Friday, June 10, 2011

NSW Grey Nurse Sharks - Recommendations and Plans

Over in Fiji, Mike, aka Da Shark has been following the issue of Grey Nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus) in Australia.

We covered some of the stunning policy details here.

Mike has penned a complete look at this issue from multiple sources, with some well thought and conservation minded solutions as well with the help of Mark Gray the award winning dive pro of Sundive in Byron Bay.

This is must read stuff, and industry leadership in full blossom.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Adventures of Shark Girl and Shark-Free Marinas Fiji

The Adventures of Shark Girl Blog has in depth coverage of the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative in Fiji this week.

Also known as industry gal Jillian Morris and often seen on the company of Duncan Brake, her blog coverage this week is a must read:

For a small island nation, Fiji has set a standard for their involvement in the Shark Free Marina Initiative. With 25 marinas signed on, they are still going strong. The Fijian culture respects sharks and the people realize the tourism and environmental value of a live shark. Island nations are limited in their economic ventures, so they protect that which is valuable. At the forefront of the Fijian campaign are Stuart Gow of Matava Eco Resort and Mike Neumann and his team at Beqa Adventure Divers. We interviewed Stuart for a PSA video and he said his involvement was a “ no brainer.” The resort is home to a popular sport fishing charter that also encourage catch and release if catching at all. He said is what a natural progression of the message the resort is already operating by. Stuart was also able to get PADI Project Aware involved in order to cover the cost of purchasing signs for all the marinas.

Mike Neumann and his team at BAD offer the ULTIMATE shark dive and care deeply about the animals they work with everyday. His feeders and dive team have a special connection with the sharks, like nothing I have seen before. Mike did not speak to us on camera, but the actions of his whole crew spoke volumes. Every one of them is truly an ambassador for sharks and for the ocean.

Complete post here. As a side note we have added Jillian's blog to our hallowed blog roll;)

Los Angeles Where the "Mud Marlins" Are

The L.A River is a conservation nightmare, a running cesspool of concrete, plastic bags, the odd corpse, and for one enterprising fly fishing fanatic - The Valhalla of Giant Fish.

Known to the fly fishing community as "Mud Marlin," giant carp (Cyprinus carpio) are said to inhabit the toxic depths of the L.A River and Steve Blair is their nemesis.

With fly fishing skills honed on the Eastern Sierra in the hunt for trophy trout, Steve has discovered where the Mud Marlin are found and over the past year what imitations these leviathans of the toxic stew which runs through downtown L.A will hit on.

It's a remarkable adaptation as this urban fly hunter turns his sights on the least understood and shattered eco system in America, to haul out 20-30 pound fish.

Of course these fish are quickly put back.

Here's to the real trailblazers within the fly fishing world, those who's desire to catch big fish can be found in the most unlikely places, like the L.A River.

When not on the hunt for Mud Marlin in L.A you can find Steve on National Geographic playing with giant squids and at the Long Beach Aquarium.

Shark fishing completely banned in Mexican waters?

The National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca) decided to ban the fishing of all shark species in federal waters on both coasts in order to contribute to the conservation of the resource.

The ban will be extended during the period of greatest reproductive intensity of the main species, that is to say, between May and August each year, and in each particular region.

According to Mexican fishery authorities, this is the first such action taken in the countries of Latin America.

Commission officials met on June 2 with concessionaires and licensees of commercial fishing for shark and specialists in this resource to present the results of "research on reproductive periods of representative species and the effects of their protection" by scientists from the National Fisheries Institute (Inapesca), reported Conapesca.

During the meeting held in Mexico City, Inapesca researchers detailed the methodology used in the sampling, presented the results of the studies in the geographical areas where the fleet of the country's coastal work and the information from the observers’ programme on board.

Before publishing the establishment of the closed season in the Official Journal of the Federation (DOF), Conapesca will perform indications regarding the regulatory project with additional technical considerations made by experts of the Institute.

The meeting was also attended by some representatives of the National Chamber of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Canainpesca), of the Union of Coastal Shipowners from Océano Pacífico AC, of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives (Conacoop) and Inapesca specialists.

Juan Campos Cárdenas, a spokesman for the Federation of Shark and Scale Cooperatives assured that fishermen are willing to enforce the ban. However, he sought to establish compensation for the period of inactivity.

While the Government considers that about 30,000 tonnes of sharks are caught annually in Mexican waters, several organizations for the protection of marine fauna warn that overfishing has reduced the volume, AFP reported.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Great whites and now Tigers too? Yo-rific!

Thanks to researchers in California, South Africa, and Guadalupe we know that white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) spend a lot of time yo-yo'ing through the water column. This behavior is often attributed to hunting activity with animals moving up and down in a straight line seeking prey items.

Tigers (Galeocerdo cuvier) on the other hand were thought to be generalized migrants, but all that has changed with an interesting study coming out of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where a join effort with University of Tokyo, the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research, and the University of Florida, is shedding new light on the hunting behavior of tiger sharks by studying their swimming dynamics off the west coast of Hawai‘i Island.

As it turns out Tigers yo-yo too, as described by lead scientist Dr.Carl Meyer:

"These findings are exciting because they have given us unprecedented new insights into the behavior of these huge and difficult to study marine predators," explains Dr. Carl Meyer, a researcher at HIMB and the lead U.S. scientist of the project. Meyer also emphasizes the importance of these results “although we have long debated the reasons for the yo-yo diving, we have only recently developed tools allowing us to directly measure the behavior in sufficient detail to understand what these animals are actually doing”.

Complete study here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tiger Beach Shark Diver Expeditions 2011

In the spring of 2011 Shark Diver was back in the Bahamas with new and returning divers in tow for one of the best spring shark diving seasons we have yet encountered.

What we got was amazing diving, full blown sharks, and great weather for six weeks.

On the first trip of the season a trio of divers, Brad Bamford, Jonas Toft, and underwater photographer Michael Coughlin joined us for a week of simply amazing encounters.

Caught on camera by Michael Coughlin, who's images are some of the best we have seen in a while, Michael managed to capture both the grace and simple predatory nature of these magnificent animals.

He also caught one of the 14 sharks tagged by Dr. Neal Hammerschlag and his group from FAU in action (more on that to come), in short this first expedition of the season delivered pretty much everything a diver would like, including late night visits from friendly Tigers;)

Thanks to the crew of the M/V Kate our go-to vessel in the region and Capt Rob MacDonald who remains one of the top shark handlers in the industry. You might not know Rob because he's one of those "quiet professionals" who does not seek the limelight but few have spent as much time with these Tigers as he has.

If you're doing sharks in the Bahamas, either commercially or with film and television productions, Rob is your guy, and we have been fortunate to work with him now for the past 5 years.

Join us this fall as we return for bigger sharks and excellent fall conditions in the Bahamas, 2011 has been unprecedented so far and we cannot wait to get back.

And now for something completely different - Video

We rarely break format here at Underwater Thrills and when we do you know it has to be something "amusing".

Truth be told we have been mad fans for the past several months of "My Drunk Kitchen" an offbeat and completely natural series of online videos by Hannah Hart and her small band of back up "enablers" who help Hannah cook for the masses.

That is to say "cook badly for the masses," but heck with as much earnest and bubbly personality as Hannah displays on each episode you can forgive the burps, unwashed hands, bottle swigging, and final food products that often resemble the goop found inside the Crab Head Pods from the movie series Alien, or crispy rocks...depending on the episode and the alcohol consumed.

Not a fan yet, or never heard of "My Drunk Kitchen?"

Start today, right here, it's easy, now where's that wine?

David Doubilet and Hal Silverman - Top of their game

LinkYou have to click on this image to for fully appreciate it and all we can say is wow, just wow.

We're talking about a recent underwater expose featuring images from U-352 resting in the Atlantic at 110 feet and shot by two of the industries consummate watermen and genuinely nice guys, David Doubilet and Hal Silverman.

When it comes to underwater photography there's a reason why these two lead the pack, their work stands alone and remains some of the seminal underwater images of our time.

Kudos to both.

About U-352:

The U-352’s story starts in May 1941 when the German military built the first of the Type VIIC U-boats with more fuel capacity and torpedoes than its predecessor. Commanded by Capt. Kellmut Rathke, the U-352’s 45 man crew prepared in October 1941 to set sail for the waters of the Atlantic.

After several months of drills, testing, and exercises, the U-352 was deemed action ready and set sail. Almost immediately the crew spotted a convoy and prepared to take action when it was realized they had been spotted. The U-352 barely survived the barrage of depth charges and continued on towards American waters. Less than 5 months later, the U-352 would be sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic.

More images here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Shark Diving Tourism 20% Increase in Donsol!

DONSOL, Sorsogon -– Tourist arrivals for the whale shark interaction season in Donsol this year reached 49,000, up by nearly 20 percent the records posted during the same period last year, local tourism officials said on Friday.

The season runs between February and May. From January to March alone, the volume of arrivals have already reached about 26,000 which was already 10 percent higher than the 23,000 posted in the same period last year.

Another 23,000 came for the peak season which was between April and May, raising the total number to 49,000 during the first five months of the year. This surpassed the 40,000 recorded for the same period in 2010 by about 20 percent.

Maria Ong-Ravanilla, Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director for Bicol, said the accomplishment exceeded expectations despite the El Niña phenomenon that prevailed over the area during the whole duration of the whale shark interaction season.

“This is a good indication that the tourism industry of this small, far-flung coastal town is continuously growing owing to the popularity it has achieved for being home to the whale sharks, locally called butanding, the Gentle Giants of the Ocean,” Ravanilla said.

The presence of this rare and endangered sea mammal species was first discovered in 1998. With the massive tourism promotion and conservation efforts initiated by the local government and several environmentalist groups, both local and international, public consciousness spread throughout the world and tourists have been coming in, she said.

Impressively, the whale sharks seem to be cooperating very well as during this year’s season, Ravanilla said. Photo identifications and satellite tracking made by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) confirmed the presence of 165 butandings at the coastal waters here, some of them sighted as close as 20 meters from the shoreline.

The largest school of butandings came to feed on the planktons at the mouth of the Donsol River, to mate and even give birth last April. Local fishermen also accidentally caught in their fishing net a newly born whale shark measuring only about 15 inches, according to Councilor Ronald Malilin, chairman of the town council’s tourism committee.

“These creatures that roam around the globe have actually found a home at the coastal waters of this town that is adjoining the Ticao Pass and protective measures are in place while they are around homing in the area and offering exciting interactions with the throng of people coming in from all over the world,” Malilin said.

Ravanilla said the whale sharks have been major contributors to the tremendous growth of the tourism industry in Bicol which is now occupying the second slot among the most visited regions in the country next to the national capital region or Metro Manila.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Marlin Magazine Takes on Sharks - Leadership

Marlin is the premier big game sportfish magazine, and many kudos to the editors for taking on sharks and shark sportfishing over the past three years.

The Marlin sport fishing story is one of industry leadership spanning 30 years, with the realization that a once vibrant sport fishing industry and resource (Marlin) was in decline. Members of that community banded together to create, foster, and grow a first class catch and release ethic for the entire generation.

To see members of this community reach out and embrace sportfishing for sharks in a sustainable manner is real leadership and deserves notice.

This month Marlin highlighted Guy Harvey's efforts to bring sportfishing tournaments for sharks into the catch and release mindset.

This growing effort, while featuring the Guy Harvey name, also encompasses a small army of dedicated sportfishing industry leaders and enablers who have been the nuts and bolts of this industry shift.

Exposure by the folks from Marlin magazine is not only helpful, but it takes the conversation about sharks and sportfishing into an industry mindset and about good resource management.

For sharks, and the next 40 years, time will tell if the efforts put forth by many today will in fact slow the tide of loss enough to keep stocks from collapsing entirely.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cabo san Lucas Shark Munch 2011

Pete Thomas has the scoop on a 300 pound sushi shark buffet in Cabo this week.

Seeing shark "on predation" is perhaps one of the most awe inspiring moments you can witness, for Tyson Seeliger of Houston, Texas, aboard the Great Escape Jr, this event was one of a kind.

"This tuna never dove but stayed up on the surface the whole time," Tracy Ehrenberg, the Pisces general manager, said in a report posted on the company blog. "After another two hours they had the fish 20 feet from the boat, when it was attacked by four pilot [or silky] sharks. They ripped into it, devouring it in large bites, as Tyson frantically reeled as fast as he could to try to save his sushi."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oregon approves ban on sale of shark fin - Loophole?

The Oregon senate approved a bill that would ban shark fin sales in the state with a titanic caveat, otherwise known as a loophole.

The bill makes an exception for spiny dogfish, a small shark that accounts for 300,000 pounds in landings by commercial fishermen each year and sport fishermen with a valid license are not affected. Additionally the bill carries a paltry fine of up to $720 for violators.

So what of these shark fins and the "possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading or distributing?"

Ya like Dags Blog has pre-emptive thoughts on that and we have to agree with their final summation.

While this is great news for sharks in general and a clear win for conservation:

"It’s interesting to see the compromise of the Federal law being mirrored on a state level with a different species. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a bigger controversy down the road."

Major exports for spiny dogfish shark fin harvested in the U.S are Asian markets.

White Sharks and AC/DC? Best Practices Garbage

A recent article has popped up in the mainstream media about some industry folks in Australia who claim that blasting AC/DC underwater attracts white sharks, oh, and the white sharks "love it."

Naturally we have to call bull-shit on this one.

Folks, as long as we have been in the shark game, going on for over a decade now, we have seen every kind of shark attraction device known to man - and a few that defy description.

Blasting AC/DC underwater is not new, it is not innovative, and dare we say it is a complete and utter disservice to the animals that we make a living with.

It's the kind of best practices garbage that you just do not see with terrestrial animal tourism.

Where are the megawatt speakers blasting the sound track from Zanadu in the Gombe National Forest? We're pretty sure that someone without a PhD, and who's vested interest in the wild animals that inhabit this park could come up with some half-assed observation about chimpanzees "rocking out" to techno funk from the 1970's.

The fact is, folks like us make a living "with" wild animals, not "from" wild animals and that's a distinction that many within the shark industry have forgotten, or have conveniently decided to ignore as they chase sharks around the world.

Worse yet some within our community are now throwing up a thin excuse for bad behavior with sharks as calling it "conservation", which is the next iteration of the AC/DC and white shark argument.

Last week we saw a video featuring a woman, dressed as a mermaid, free diving in 500 feet of water with white sharks at Isla Guadalupe, no cages, no dive safety team, all under the mystical caption of "conservation".

What's starts with basic disrespect for wildlife, leads to all manner of lunacy with sharks under many guises.

The final observation?

White sharks have been around for the past 300 million years in perfect balance with nature and none of that nature included mermaids, simians riding on fins, or AC/DC.

Are we fortunate enough to spend time in the presence of white sharks, or do we have to completely and abjectly modify the shark encounter to suit our tastes as top water interlopers, surviving in their environment in what amounts to crudely designed life support gear?

David Diley and Sharks on Film - Good Stuff

We have been waiting for David Diley's first foray into the world of sharks on film, from the looks of things, a lot of bars are about to be reset.

Here's a sneak peek:

Filmed on location in Mallorca, "Behind Blue Glass" tells the story of Mallorca's history and tradition with the Great White Shark and in which, seven unwitting volunteers come face to face with sharks and in doing so, send out a powerful message in favour of the conservation of these awe inspiring animals.

Coming in Summer 2011.

RTSea Productions on OC Magazine

OC Magazine (Orange County California) is the gold standard for regional happenings and local interviews with highlights of OC luminaries.

One of these was our very own Richard Theiss from RTSea Productions who, for the past 30 years has been one of California's premier underwater and above water cameramen, directors, and production developers.

You can read the interview here, like his blog (which recently garnered the attention of Nat Geo Magazine) it's a great read.

Richard Theiss on OC Magazine.