Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Shark species?


According to a recent article by Daniel Cressey on nature.com, scientists have discovered scores of new species of sharks and rays.
Scalloped Hammerhead © Richard Merritt
 A genetic study of thousands of specimens of sharks and rays has uncovered scores of potential new species and is fuelling biologists’ debates over the organisation of the family tree of these animals. The work also raises the possibility that some species are even more endangered than previously thought.

Gavin Naylor, a biologist at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and his colleagues sequenced samples from 4,283 specimens of sharks and rays as part of a major effort to fill the gaps. The team found 574 species, of which 79 are potentially new, they report in theBulletin of the American Museum of Natural History1.

Naylor says that he was “flabbergasted” by the result, especially because the sequencing covered only around half of the roughly 1,200 species thought to exist worldwide.

Read the article

This is even more evidence of how little we know about sharks and the ocean ecosystem in general. I'm happy that we at Shark Diver can do our small part helping out the researchers by providing our pictures for the photo ID database of the Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Shark Diver/Horizon
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico




About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sharks Tearing Apart a Whale - Video

Pretty cool video coming out of Stanwell Park, NSW and Warroora Station this month as almost 100 sharks devour the remains of a whale in the surf line.

Yes sharks actually eat things folks, and yes sharks do have teeth. We only mention this obvious fact to counter the incessant and somewhat myopic conservation nonsense being spewed forth by a host of "24 hour shark experts" these days in an ongoing campaign to re-brand the shark as anything but what they actually are - perfect predators.

Here's a thought, you can still love a predator.

Enjoy:

 

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Worlds Largest Marine Reserve? Yes!

Great news for all of us who love the Great White Sharks and all the other creatures that live in the Ocean! The New York Times reports that  Australia Plans World’s Largest Marine Reserve.

According to the report:

Australia plans to create the world’s largest network of marine reserves, encompassing a 3.1 million square kilometer patchwork of coastal waters, the government announced Thursday. The move is aimed at balancing protection for the country’s delicate reefs and marine life, which are facing growing environmental pressures, with the demands of its booming resource-driven economy.

Shredder, swimming at Guadalupe Island
It's great to see that Australia takes a major step to protect the marine environment. The article further states; fishing and oil and gas exploration would be restricted in nearly one-third of Australia’s territorial waters, an area of 1.2 million square miles that includes the pristine Coral Sea off the country’s northeastern coast and the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

Read the complete article

We at Shark Diver  are applauding  Australia for this action and hope that it will encourage other countries to follow suit.

Cheers,


Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Shark Diver/Horizon
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

“Now we know that while white sharks across Australia can mix, the intriguing thing is that they seem to return to either east or western regions to breed,” Bruce said.
“Now we know that while white sharks across Australia can mix, the intriguing thing is that they seem to return to either east or western regions to breed,” Bruce said.
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Man evolved from Monkeys! Sharks! Bacteria?

This image is obviously all wrong now - Feh!
The latest headlines from the files of WTF science postings currently making the rounds is the, "Man is a Shark" storyline.

Gleefully picked up like a child's chewed play toy by shark-o-philes the world over it almost sounds like there's a new t-shirt design in the works.

But wait!

Yeah, you knew that was coming.

All this sceince-y stuff is just a back track on overall evolution is it not?

Gasp! You mean Man might have also evolved from say, bacteria?

Why yes, and not the pretty kind either.

That's the problem with headlines and sharks these days, almost any headline can be used to support the cause of shark conservation. The trick is checking the facts and seeing if they are relevant.

For many out there "relevancy" and "shark conservation" are two words that never seem to meet in the middle.

Oxy-Shark Myth anyone?

More from RTSea here.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Mako Shark Munch and Crunch

Hat Tip to the venerated Dorsal Fin Blog (yeah, you stick for more than a standard blog year you become "venerated") for this latest video.

It's got a cool Mako, some tragically bent fishermen, and a wife/girlfriend combo who is not into the whole shark thing.

For us lucky guys who have married or are dating girls who are "into" the shark thing, apologies to those of you who have been missing out. Like the poor guys in this video trying to hook the Mako:




About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

World Oceans Day Quotes and Bytes

Most of the Shark Diver crew is in Florida this month on a massive new project, but we all still took time to answer the media's call for quotes on World Oceans Day which, next to the Superbowl, is one of our favorite days of the year.

You might have seen some of our guys on local television talking sharks and conservation while Shark Divers CEO, Patric Douglas, took an online approach with Cloud 9 Living:

Patric Douglas, the CEO of Shark Diver, makes a point to take care of the ocean he loves, drilling in a healthy dose of respect for the environment and its creatures into everyone he meets. His motto for divers: "respect that you are walking into someone's living room." He has recently decreased his carbon footprint by 20 percent by adding green engines to his boats, making them 30 percent more efficient.

He also sponsors two large initiatives through is company. The first is a campaign for shark-free marinas, an international initiative with more than 2,000 marinas pledging to not allow fishermen to bring dead sharks onto their docks. The other is going after the invasive lion fish in the Caribbean. These lion fish have no natural predators in the area, but it has been discovered that the tiger shark is not affected by its poison. 

Douglas works with other divers to kill the lion fish and leave them as bait for tiger sharks in hopes that the tiger sharks will start hunting them naturally.


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More than one Species of Great White Shark?

After 10 years of watching Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe I learned that those creatures will continually surprise and amaze you. Just when we think we know them, we learn something new.

I also learned that the news media will continue to misrepresent and twist the facts to get a good headline. According to an article on Red Orbit, Australian Great White Sharks Are Actually Two Distinct Species

The actual quote of the scientist doesn't mention anything about two different species, it say simply that there are genetic differences.

“The genetic makeup of white sharks west of Bass Strait was different from those on the eastern seaboard of Australia – despite the lack of any physical barrier between these regions,” said Professor John Pandolfi, a Chief Investigator at the University of Queensland.

The headline misses the real interesting part of the study.  
“Our tagging and tracking showed that white sharks travel thousands of kilometers,” said Barry Bruce, a lead study researcher from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). 

“Now we know that while white sharks across Australia can mix, the intriguing thing is that they seem to return to either east or western regions to breed,” Bruce said.

You can read the actual study here.


Don't trust the headlines, check their sources and stay informed.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Shark Diver/Horizon
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
“Now we know that while white sharks across Australia can mix, the intriguing thing is that they seem to return to either east or western regions to breed,” Bruce said.
“Now we know that while white sharks across Australia can mix, the intriguing thing is that they seem to return to either east or western regions to breed,” Bruce said.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A poor 3rd world country fighting shark finning? You betcha!

Burning the poachers loot!
Honduras has taken the fight against illegal shark finning to a new level.

According to an article on Science 2.0:

Hondurans Burn Shark Fins To Stick It To Poachers

So when the fins, mostly from nurse sharks, were seized in April by the Honduran navy, it was a safe assumption the fins were obtained illegally. Still, with 14% inflation and 22% of the country below poverty levels surely something could have been done with the hundreds of shark fins, worth that $300 per pound as mentioned. The poachers were already penalized but actual law-abiding poor people could have been helped with the money for a product perfectly legal in plenty of other countries.

Instead, President Porfirio Lobo joined the country's top law enforcement officials yesterday in a bit of political theater, to watch the burning of the illegal shark fins.


I personally applaud president Porfirio Lobo for this action and wouldn't characterize it as "political theater" I think this action sends a clear message to the poachers that Honduras is serious about shark conservation and will not allow anyone to profit from the sale of shark fins. Suggesting that the Honduran Government should have sold the fins to help the poor, is a little like saying our DEA should sell the pot they confiscate to help fund programs for the poor here.

Well my friends, that's my take on it. Feel free to let me know if you have a different take on this.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
Dive Operations Manager
Shark Diver/Horizon
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Saving Great Whites In Mexico?

If you're a reader of this blog you know we like smart metrics based shark conservation efforts.

In fact we're almost fanatical about them and if they have a local flavor to them - more the better.

That's why you rarely see us posting about women hanging from fish hooks in soap stores because at the end of the day conservation noise like this makes no sense, saves no sharks, and is as about as self serving as an overworked and wheezing Frozen Yogurt machine on a hot July day.

So when smart initiatives being put forth by dedicated people pop up we're quick to point them out.

Case in point, the Mexican initiative to educate coastal fishermen along Baja and Sea of Cortez. Run by Dr. José Leonardo Castillo-Geniz and a host of others in Mexico this is real boots on the ground shark awareness at it's finest. And it is desperately needed as well.

You'll note our 5 year running expose on one fish market in Ensenada, Mexico where white shark pups regularly arrive to be sold as Swordfish and Mako for just pesos a kilo. White sharks are meant to be protected in Mexico and yet they appear in videos and images on a disturbingly regular basis.

Part of this is the nature of the fisheries.

Inshore long lining catches both tuna and swordfish and a healthy numbers of white shark pups. Many of these pups are dead when they arrive back to the boat and asking a small, poor fisherman, to dump a carcass worth a few dollars makes little sense. But reminding this same fisherman that these animals are protected does make sense because for those few animals that arrive back to vessels alive, or are still alive in nets they now have a fighting chance.

Nothing in this world is perfect when it comes to conservation initiatives. But efforts like these, targeting remote fish camps and leaving behind great POS material really makes a fundamental difference and we are thrilled to see it being done. Kudos.

Thanks to the following folks in Mexico who had a hand in this effort:

Pam Baker EDF
Fernando Aguilar Club Cantamar
Juan Carlos Cantu of Defenders of Wildlife Mexico
Dr. Mauricio Hoyos-Padilla

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.