Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Sharks of South Africa - Rochat Test

Old Wolfgang Leander, the wizened sage of the shark diving community, is at it again.

This time he's highlighting Leslie Rochats lament about the lack of funding for sharks in South Africa, and what looks like the wholesale and unchecked slaughter of the top charismatic megafauna in the region.

Her post is titled Wanted Dead or Alive.

The issue at hand is funding for NGO's and a critical nexus that is coming down the pike faster than anyone in the conservation community will admit, or as I fear, even recognizes.

I have long said that shark conservationists are all "glorious beggars," using whatever minuscule funds they have to effect real and lasting conservation changes in a world dominated by well heeled for profit entities who, with a stroke of the pen, can send paid lobbyists to enforce their will with local and regional governments.

At hand are series of stunning announcements by nine governments to create large scale Shark Sanctuaries within their territorial boundaries. While shark conservation groups cry "victory for the sharks!," the bigger question looms, who will enforce and pay for all of this?

More to the point, where will the millions of dollars come from?

This is the next evolution for shark conservation.

Getting politicians to make grand pronouncements is a time honored game, getting them or their political successors to spend capitol treasure on these big projects is another game altogether and one that is played with hard won cash.

Leslie has highlighted the coming need for funds, and lots of them. In the next two to three years if all of the newly created Shark Sanctuaries are to be real havens for sharks and not just CINO's (Conservation in Name Only) where international shark fin vessels wait just outside territorial limits to harvest sharks thought to be protected - we will need to bankroll.

This is also one of shark conservations worst suits.

Conservation in general has always suffered from funding gaps or dependence on large endowments. It's a circular shooting gallery called the "funding season," where Directors of NGO's, some driving high end sports cars, run from one large fund to another seeking help for projects.

We can do better, and it is high time we started generating funds not seeking funds to help with the many millions of square miles of protected shark waters that now need park teams, vessels, and enforcement.

For once I do not have any viable solutions that anyone wants to hear about, that is until all the other solutions are played out. But let's start the process now shifting from Facebook petitions, to money solutions.

The game is in play, the clock is ticking...thanks to Leslie for pointing out we're already past the half-time mark on this one. Kudos.

Patric Douglas CEO

My childhood gone, we're going to miss ya Sherwood!

Gilligan's Island the Brady Bunch, just to name a few. The legacy of writer/ producer Sherwood Schwartz goes back to 1938 when we was a writer for the Bob Hope Radio Hour.

But I knew his work as a young kid in California, the crazy Laurel and Hardy antics of Gilligan and the Skipper, with the Howells, and the Professor who could build just about anything out of a piece of string and three coconuts.

Ahh, the halcyon days of after school programming.

And then there was Marsha, I mean who was not completely in love with her? The Brady Bunch introduced America to a family that was an idealized version of ourselves, and left a lasting impression of American family values with all of us.

Producers and writers walking in the footsteps of Sherwood copied him and his style mercilessly, as is the way with television, making the Schwartz brand a three decades long empire of television programming.

Sherwood passed away yesterday at the ripe old age 94.

As a 43 year old adult I look back to my days in front of the television and his shows with absolute nostalgia. God bless ya Sherwood, you were and remain a very big part of my life.

I hope your next gig has a need for television programming on "big tube color tv".

Patric Douglas CEO