Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Playa del Carmen - All Together Now?

Once again word from Playa del Carmen in Mexico and nascent Bull shark dive operations in the region are not good.

From a recent eyewitness account:

The sharks are being fished out right now (see attached photos). There was a great agreement with the local fishermen in Playa del Carmen and they had stopped shark fishing completely. At the beginning of December however, a fisherman from a neighbouring town captured and killed 21 bull sharks, following which the Playa fishermen decided that if he could do it, so could they.

Twenty nine 2 m+ bulls have been killed in the last month or so, and no-one is seeing any live sharks at the dive sites.I have just heard that there have been a couple of decomposing finned bull shark carcasses found on the reef in the last week - great advert for Playa!

Of course this ongoing horror with Mexican fishing interests can all be distilled down to a great argument for regional conservation efforts in tandem with initial operations. But we'll leave that to Da Shark from Fiji who summed up Playa in an outstanding Blog Dog post that is a must read for industry folks, and a cautionary tale for the folks trying to make a go of it in Playa.

From Da Sharks Blog - Playa del Carmen - too late already?

Shark Shot of the Week - Bahamas

Isa Baquerizo was recently on a commercial shark diving adventure off Freeport, Bahamas and came back with "The Shot of the Week."

You gotta love the look on this reef shark as he passes close by.

Curiosity has a face.

"So we arrived to Unexso the 2nd day of the trip. We first did the shark dive which was not incredible... it was AWESOME!!! Probably the best shark dive available today.. even better than stuart's cove because these incredible guys let you interact with the sharks within cm of distance. That's why I love so much the dive."

Matt Rand from PEW - Bahamas Shark Tourism PSA

If you are wondering why so much attention is being directed at shark conservation in recent times Matt Rand, Director of Global Shark Conservation of the PEW Environment Group says it is all becomes of an Asian obsession with shark fin soup.

"Unfortunately, because of their value in a bowl of soup, up to 73 million sharks are killed annually, just so their fins can end up in soup. It is a luxury item, it is not a food item. And what this is causing very rapidly is a global depletion of sharks. Right now 38% of shark species that are in the world's oceans are threatened, or are near threatened with extinction; and those are just the ones that we know. We also know that that statistic is actually short," said Rand.

This global decimation of the shark population is now having a negative impact on the ecosystems of many oceans, but Rand says but for a country that has tourism as its number one industry, potentially there can be a more devastating outcome.

"Here in The Bahamas, shark tourism activity actually brings in $78 million into the economy annually and reef sharks here are actually estimated to be about $250,000 each for shark tourism and shark related activities here in The Bahamas. So it is an important economic driver and it's a sustainable situation. If you leave the sharks in the water, keep them healthy as you currently have them, and keep the ecosystem healthy right now then you will have this resource for future generations to come, so that the kids will actually be able to see a healthy ocean environment as well," continues Rand.

Complete Story.