Monday, August 21, 2017

Eli - Livin' La Vida Loca!


Thanks buddy.
Come back anytime - and make sure to bring back the Fairy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Number One!

Click for detail!
Quick quick!
Check this out before somebody will undoubtedly go and spoil it!
A big Vinaka Vakalevu to all the reviewers!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beautiful and Peaceful!

And I cite,
Desmond Ng I knew so little about sharks before I came here... they are beautiful and peaceful creatures :)
And THAT is why we do it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Tooth Fairy!

The Waterbug is going places - literally!
Eli and Maritza are taking her on a two month family road trip, and one of the stops has been at Shark Reef where a big Fiji Bull Shark has given her a present. So after the BAD boyz and gals, several BAD family members and one BAD Viking, we now got ourselves a BAD Tooth Fairy - and our youngest, and most endearing Shark diver, ever!

So welcome aboard Sophia.
Can't wait to see where this is leading!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Spearo vs Galapagos Sharks!


Pretty darn stupid if you ask me.
This is exactly why those guys continue to get bitten = better to just let the Sharks have the Fish and go catch another one.
Story here - H/T Daniel.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

River of Eden!


Just found this now.
Story here - enjoy!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

GHH vs Blacktips: Cool Shit!

Great stuff!
Yes it is missing the holy grail = a successful predation - but knowing MPO's legendary determination, it's only gonna be a matter of time til he's got that one in the can as well.
To be continued no doubt.

And here's another real nice one!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Croc vs Shark!

And they eat Sawfish, too! Source.

That sure is one unlucky Shark!
Story here.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dancing With Sharks in Fiji!

Another great picture by Marty, this time with Papa! Click for detail!

Very nice - Vinaka!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Finding Salisbury!


I really like this.

And I also like the project - FB here.
This place is as pristine and remote as it gets, and should probably be left alone - but then again, I completely ignore the back story and matters may well be a tad more nuanced, as they usually are.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Pétition: à la Poubelle!

Shark diving in French Polynesia - quite safe and totally sustainable. Source.

Have you seen this?

Seriously, don't sign that shit.
It got zero foundation in fact and is nothing but the old tired anti-industry fearmongering - and no I'm not gonna repeat myself, the more since as a reader of this blog you know exactly what I'm talking about, e.g. here, with links.

Just this.
The disappointing oblique endorsement by the Shark Girl whose career has been predicated upon being depicted clowning around on dozens upon dozens of provisioned Shark dives smacks at best of naivety and at worst, of total hypocrisy.

And, gents.
This is the moment to look at the big picture, and your presence and contribution to the IPFC 10 (especially to D and H) is going to be a great chance to address and debunk this stupid controversy.
I'm sure you understand - je vous fais confiance! :)

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Just in case you missed it (I did).

Here's that Megamouth from Komodo.
Not really the most comely of Sharks if u ask me - still, check out the pretty white markings on the pecs and pelvic fins!
Anyway, what a totally amazing encounter!
Story here - enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Insensitive Whale Shark?


Watch this.
Yes it's nice and I'm happy the wire was removed.

But that's not the point.
The point is that contrary to what is being asserted in the article, the Shark is by no means struggling and thrashing near the surface of the water but instead, it appears totally unfazed and is nonchalantly sucking down ikan puri, possibly offered from a bagan in Cenderawasih Bay; and even when the diver pulls at the wire right inside of the wound, the Shark hardly flinches and also does not swim away but continues feeding after the intervention.

Remember this post? Sure you do! :)
Methinks this video is once again evidence that Sharks perceive pain, if at all, completely differently - just imagine the reaction of any Mammal in an analogue situation!

Anyway, just saying - and yes, nice feel-good video!

Per i nostri amici Italiani: Smile, it’s Sharky Time!


If you can, check this out!
Like Paolo explains, it appears that in Italy, Fiji is mainly being marketed as a honeymoon and not a diving destination. Consequently and with the exception of several volunteers with Projects Abroad, the number of Italian tourists gracing our dive has been minimal, and our exposure in the Italian media has so far been non-existent - so this is a very welcome surprise indeed.

Grazie mille Paolo, sei proprio grade!
Non saprei per il "pastore di lupi" - ma senò devo proprio dire che la'hai azzeccata perfettamente, e che mi sono veramente divertito a leggere il tuo gentilissimo articolo!
Speriamo ad una prossima - e ti prometto che quella volta ci sarà anche il sole!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Totemic Sharks?

Hah - and I cite,
In a decade or two (~1995–2010), an unusual transformation occurred in the perception of sharks.
In the society, sharks went from being feared animals to protected and even totemic animals. In the shark-enthusiast community, the combination of interest or mild obsessions with sharks, the desire to do something and protect sharks, and mysticism, resulted in sharks becoming totemic animals. Even for some in the field of ichthyology, sharks ceased to be “fishes” and became totemic animals...

Shark Biology Becomes Shark Advocacy

When sharks ceased to be “fishes” and became “totemic animals,” much of shark biology evolved into advocacy.
Although there were sufficient scientific, ecological, and economic reasons to protect sharks, a totemic relationship requires that the totem be protected and be a protector of the clan. Thus, it was necessary, in the advocates’ view, to dispel “the myths created by Jaws,” or the idea that sharks are, or could be, man-eaters.

The notion of sharks as man-eaters was not compatible with the relation-ship desired with the totemic animal. Furthermore, if sharks were man- eaters, or potential man-eaters, they would not be tolerated and could not be protected in a society where most people are not aware of the differences among domesticated, tamed, and wild animals. So, in the advocates view, totemic sharks could not be man-eaters. Thus, a change in perception was needed, and sharks had to be portrayed as harmless to humans...

Shark Television

The movie Jaws also engendered a new television genre.
In 1988, the public fascination, or obsession, with sharks caused by the movie led the “Discovery Channel” to produce “Shark Week,” a week-long series of programs based on sharks. The shows were instantly successful. In time, “Shark Week ” would become the longest-running program on cable television, having lasted 28 years as of 2016.

In the early years, the shows were loosely based on natural history or conservation of sharks and were fairly realistic. Perhaps catering to what was attractive to the audience, programs soon became centered on white sharks or bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas , and their attacks on people...

As satellite tags were developed and became widely used, filmmakers turned to shark tagging to replace the superannuated shark attack programs.
The tagging of a large shark is always an exciting event and could produce the action footage that the networks loved. Because of the high cost of satellite tags, film producers could always find a willing researcher lacking funds or seeking publicity, although most of the time the “researchers” were usually unknown to those actually studying sharks. The “researcher” could assume heroic poses in the tagging film, which could be finished with the perennial “high fives” of such films.

The networks loved it!
And then, there's this.
Like any passionate shark lover, I once adored shark flicks. 
The brave scientist pressing into the unknown, the cool gadgets, the thrashing of a hippo-sized toothy fish from the deep that quickly returns from whence it came – this is the stuff of obsession for any nerdy 11-year-old kid.

But today, most of these movies make me want to wretch.
It’s not just the puffy-chest posing and the gravely-voiced narrators, it’s the whole vibe. Sharks on Shark Week aren’t really animals anymore, they’re props. And increasingly the stars aren’t scientists, they’re stuntmen like Dickie Chivell, who gets on surfboard-like things to see if he can tempt a white shark to bite him or Micheal Phelps, who … I honestly don’t know what the hell that guy has to do with sharks.

This isn’t David Attenborough, this is Jackass. Danger porn. 

Proponents of Shark Week claim that the program helps bring awareness to sharks and promotes conservation. But let’s get real, no one walks away from Shark Week saying, “Wow, I really want to donate to conservation efforts.”
Twenty-nine million people tune in to Shark Week with an average of 2 million per episode and yet no conservation NGO I know of sees a bump in donations. If anything, shark populations have plummeted during the 27 years Shark Week has been on the air.
Before watching Shark Week, you should really read this splendid tour de force about bullshit Shark science and researchers, bullshit Shark conservation and bullshit Shark movies by the venerable José Castro; and check out this little pearl by Eric Vance.
And then, by all means, feel free to go ahead and watch that shit as it is utterly irrelevant anyway.

The articles and the stupid Shark shows!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Yannis is a member of Team Predator at FIU.

Great stuff.

This is one of the good guys.
And contrary to all those media whores in front and behind the camera who will be celebrating themselves on Shark Week, he actually does stuff, and this where it matters - and consequently, much of his research has a direct impact on Shark management and conservation.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Beqa Lagoon?

Click for detail!

Fiji's first National Marine Park, the Shark Reef Marine Reserve where we conduct our Shark dive is located on the fringing reef of the Southern coast of Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu - not in Beqa Lagoon which is an atoll in the South of us, see the image at the top. 
Now you know!

And BTW: what about the other featured destinations?
Most are equally being serviced by members of Global Shark Diving, i.e. Tiger Beach by Jimmy and Epic Diving; Cocos by Undersea Hunter; Kleinbaai next to Gansbaai by Marine Dynamics; the Hebrides by Basking Shark Scotland; Malapascua by Divelink Cebu; Osprey by Mike Ball; Guadalupe (and Socorro!) by Nautilus; Jupiter by Jimmy; and finally, Playa by Phantom. And when you come diving with any of us, you will be given a card entitling you to discounts with everybody else.

So, what are you waiting for.
The best operators in the best destinations await you!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Gombessa IV Genesis!


Love love love love!

Everything here is just simply epic.
This is one of my very favorite dive sites featuring one of my favorite underwater spectacles, the cinematography is out of this world, and it's even great to see that the indefatigable Sané is still living the dream in his very own piece of paradise - and nice to see you, too, Johann! :)
And remember the paper? This is it!

Totally, utterly and ridiculously amazing - enjoy!

Friday, June 30, 2017

OSAM - Now available to Buy and Rent!

Read this.
I know I should probably say something, so there.

This has been shot way back then in 2011.
A lot has happened since, foremost of which the tragic passing of Rusi but also, on the positive side, the designation of the SRMR as Fiji's first National Marine Park.
Also, most of our staff have changed, and the dive itself is also very different from what it used to be back then = now it's much more of a tightly managed tourism product and much less of a thrill, meaning that nobody will ever get close to the Bulls like David did back then. Having said that, we will certainly bring the Bulls very close to you - check out the reviews here! :)
And when it comes to yours truly, I have continued to learn a lot and as a consequence, many of my thoughts and especially, my priorities have been refined or changed altogether - and yes I'm six years older and six years more cantankerous!

In brief, OSAM is now more of a historical document.
Nothing wrong with that - just don't expect us to be like we're being depicted, because we are not.

Other than that, enjoy!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Queen awesome!


Read this.
Brava, complimenti!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bye bye Manta Rays?

From the paper - click for detail!
It sure looks so - at least taxonomically!

Check this out.
It postulates what has been rumored for quite a while, i.e. that genetically, the Mantas belong to the Mobulas and that consequently,  their Genus needs to be changed from Manta to Mobula. The paper also does away with three species of Mobula (eregoodootenkee, japanica and rochebrunei) that are being subsumed under Mobula kuhlii, M. mobular and M. hypostoma, respectively, thus reducing the total number of Mobula species to eight. 
This does not necessarily affect the common names = we can still continue calling Mobula alfredi the Reef Manta, and Mobula birostris, the Giant (and/or Pelagic or Oceanic) Manta!

And would this be the last of it?
Considering the obvious morphological differences (= e.g. terminal vs sub-terminal mouths, shape of the cephalic lobes etc) but also the emotional attachment to the Mantas by so many folks out there, methinks most likely not - but with Will and Gavin being the current titans of Elasmobranch taxonomy, any detractors better come well prepared!

To be continued no doubt.
Really looking forward to a good frothy brawl - and if the past is any indication, we can all look forward to some epic fireworks! :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mimic Sole!

This is the unpalatable Flastworm Pseudoceros scintillatus. Source.

And talking of (Batesian) mimicry - how cool is this!
Story here - enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Carly Shark Attack!

Not a fan - not of the stick, not of the operator. Source.


Yes shit happens - especially when handling those frisky Reefies!
Hence the mesh suit that certainly preformed as advertised. On the negative side, I personally don't like feeding off sticks and am not in favor of teaching Shark feeding to tourists - and boy, talk about zero empathy by the callous so-called teacher, or whatever!

Story here

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

East Wells: Bimini’s Last Hope!


And I cite,
Bimini Island in the Bahamas lies just 48 miles from Miami, Florida and is an ecological wonderland.
But for the past 17 years, Bimini has faced serious environmental threat in the form of a US-owned development. Much of the Island's mangrove forest has already been dredged out to build luxury homes, a casino and most recently, a Hilton hotel. Just to the east of the development lies East Wells, Bimini's only remaining pocket of pristine habitat, but the development is growing and the latest marketing brochures advertise a golf course which will be the final blow to the people of Bimini and the ecosystem on which they depend.

A new government has just been voted into power.
This video is an appeal from the Biminites for the declaration of a marine protected area that will protect their environment. We call on the Hilton Hotel Group to do the right thing and halt any development that will destroy East Wells - a critical nursery area for all marine life in this region of the Caribbean. 
Exhaustive article here

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dominican Republic: Shark Sanctuary!

Still in its infancy: Dominican Shark viewing tourism. Source.

Great News!

Read this.
The linked article tells about an indefinite fishing ban for Sharks and Rays, a 5-year moratorium for Sea Urchins and a  2-year moratorium for Parrot- and Surgeonfishes which is all excellent and once again cements the position of the Dominican Republic as a visionary conservation leader in the Caribbean.

And then there is this.
Where others brazenly claim credit where no credit is due, Rick praises others where much of the credit is his. In fact, this is actually his seventh Shark Sanctuary in the Caribbean - remember back then three years ago?

So, once again, bravo my friend.
I'm proud of 'ya in so many ways!

Hawaii's Aquarium Fishery: Regulated, Valuable, Sustainable!



Background story here.
H/T to MCSI for highlighting this important issue!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shout Out!

Watch this.

So here's the deal.
Mike Lever of GSD member Nautilus Liveaboards is traveling to Israel in order to participate in this year's edition of the Silence of the Sharks, and he is offering a gift certificate worth a whopping 1,800 bucks to any diver willing to travel there with him; plus, he has launched a children's poster competition.
Details here.

Having been asked to re-post, I'm happy to oblige.
I do this because Mike is a good man; because Nautilus Liveaboards is an awesome operator and member of GSD; because organizer David Pilosof is one of the few remaining mossbacks and deserves our respect; and yes, because the whole shebang features some pals, will likely cause no harm and is even likely to do a little bit of good.

So there you have it - do with it what you want! :)

PS: the  event has been postponed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cownose Ray Hunting - Moratorium!

Back to the exploding Cownose Rays, and I cite,
The cruelty at play, at times, gives the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, a run for its money.
Read this.
It summarizes brilliantly the whole fiasco in the Chesapeake Bay starting with Myers' fatally flawed paper all the way to the decision to ban those horrible killing contests.
And I cite again,
The story that unfolded across the Chesapeake Bay is one that should give reason to pause: people were quick to read into unrelated research; to scapegoat; to find blame where they wanted. It’s a lesson about the dangers of oversimplifying science. But there is nothing simple about coastal ecosystems, where a multitude of species and processes interact—many of which have yet to be discovered.
Which begs the question, have the lessons been learned?
And more specifically, have those Shark NGOs, educators and awareness raisers removed all references to the paper from their propaganda educational materials - and will they forthwith finally inform themselves and refrain from all the unhelpful hyperbole?

Yeah I know I know.
To be continued!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cuttlefish: putative Mimicry of a Hermit Crab - Paper!


Awesome - watch!

Paper here, story here and here - additional footage and story here!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Basking Shark Research!

And from us, too! :)


Yes this would be Basking Shark Scotland.
Obviously, they are a proud member of Global Shark Diving, your global alliance of responsible and long-term sustainable Shark diving operators, and it is great to see how they are translating our guiding principles into action on the ground. This is the peak tourism season, and I really do invite you to travel there and give them your business, as every penny will contribute to their conservation and research efforts.

Anyway, great stuff - enjoy!

The economic Value of Shark-Diving Tourism in Australia!

From the paper - click for detail.


So, in 2014, Shark diving in Australia was worth 25.5m.
This compares to 42.2m for Fiji, 18m for Palau or a whopping 109m for the Bahamas - or maybe not quite as this paper only looks at direct expenditures. This also compares to the value of 2.2 bn dollars attributed to Australia's dive-related spending for marine tourism.

Frankly, I'm not terribly impressed.
Considering the size of Australia's tourism industry but also, the sheer potential bearing in mind Australia's enormous coastline and wide array of marine habitats, and its large number of Elasmobranchs, this is really just a pittance. But it is what it is - and if I were to venture an explanation (which I am not), I would certainly want to explore the effects of Australia's Shark attack phobia but very much also that of its stifling regulatory framework.

But I'm digressing as always.
Enjoy Charlie's paper.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Fiji - Shark and Ray Commitment!

Fiji Bull Sharks: big, badass and soon to be protected !

So Fiji has delivered in spades.

Here is Fiji's Elasmobranch commitment.
If you look at the Deliverables, it not only includes as commitment to protect the putative Shark nursery in the Rewa but quite a bit more, including a comprehensive regulation for the protection and the management of Fiji's Elasmobranchs. Having been consulted, I can unequivocally state that the end result will be somewhere between excellent and very good, and take into consideration the interests of all the relevant stakeholders - provided, that is, that nobody barges in to meddle and spoils it at the very last minute like what has happened back then!
So, again, thanks but we do not need your help - you know who you are!

This is of course only step 1.
A very special bravo and Vinaka vakalevu, once again, to the incomparable Aisake Batibasaga for having put this on the agenda - and fingers crossed that this will translate into legislation very soon!

And one last comment.
Under Resources Mobilized you can discern that the WWF will play a special role. This is in recognition of the tireless efforts of Ian Campbell who over the past years, has managed to earn himself the respect and the trust of the local authorities.
Here he is, educating the public - enjoy!

PS: and here come the first scavengers - how fucking pathetic!

Shark Strike!

There are Sharks in the ocean - and spear fishing and especially, trying to hold on to one's catch can lead to conflict.
Fundraiser and story here.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Ocean and Us!

Thank you BBC Earth.

Challenges and Priorities in Shark and Ray Conservation - Paper!

Well done, and I cite,
Over-Simplification Can Hinder Effective Shark Fisheries Management 

The general tendency for sharks to grow more slowly, mature later, and produce fewer young than most fished species is fundamental to the appropriate elevation of their conservation priority and the prevention of population depletion. The fact remains, however, that life history characteristics vary widely across shark species, with many capable of supporting a significant level of fishing if such extraction (in all forms) is limited to science-based levels.

After more than two decades of expanding efforts to publicize sharks’ inherent vulnerability, people appear to increasingly believe that sharks cannot withstand any fishing at all.
Similarly, there appears to be a trend toward blanket bans on fishing and trading, with a focus on shark fins. While complete bans are appropriate, and even long overdue with respect to species that are exceptionally threatened (like sawfishes) and exceptionally vulnerable (such as devil rays), in other cases the unequivocal messages and ‘one size fits all’ remedies may serve to hinder policies needed to curb fishing and ensure sustainability.

Under a general perception that sustainable shark fishing is impossible, there is reduced support for the work necessary to formulate comprehensive fishery management policies that allow for sustainable take while addressing unintentional bycatch, and the need for population assessment. Governments convinced that managing shark fishing is a losing proposition and/or publically unacceptable may opt for full protection, but may also shy away from attempting to set any limits at all. Those opting for blanket bans may be reluctant to admit and address significant incidental shark mortality and/or enforcement inadequacies.
Sharks Contribute to Food Security in Poor and Developing Nations

While shark meat, in some cases, provides a high value product (e.g. gummy shark in southern Australia, porbeagle in Europe, and skates in Korea), it is more often a cheap source of animal protein. The low value stems from the relatively low quality of the product (due to high levels of urea) and the fact that it is often dried for non-perishable storage and transport. While domestic catch and consumption is common, some countries rely heavily on imports and exports, e.g. Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, and India. According to FAO statistics, more than 90% of the world’s reported shark catch is taken by 26 fishing nations (Figure 2), one-quarter of which (7/26) are among the least developed nations (with low or medium Human Development Index scores; Figure 2). Moreover, 40% of the reported global shark catch comes from seven of the major shark fishing nations with the lowest Human Development Indices, most of which border the Indian Ocean (Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Yemen, and Tanzania) and Eastern Atlantic Ocean (Nigeria and Senegal; 
Generally, it is costly to replace fishery losses in countries where seafood provides a high proportion of animal protein. It is understandably difficult for governments in nations facing extreme poverty and food security crises to prioritize shark conservation, particularly when scientific advice for sustainable catch levels is lacking. Similarly, conservationists as well as governments of developed countries are understandably reluctant to press struggling governments for such actions.
Yes in theory, some (but most certainly not all!) Elasmobranchs can be managed and fished sustainably - but in practice, this is currently not possible in many impoverished Shark fishing nations.

Like I never cease to repeat, we are quickly running out of time.
With that in mind, I strongly advocate cheaper and simpler bans now, and costlier and more complicated management at a later stage once it becomes practically feasible. AND, let's not forget that in order to succeed, species protection alone is not gonna be good enough!

Anyway, awesome paper.
Once again, required reading (and understanding!) if you want to be taken seriously when talking about Shark conservation.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Big GWS on a Beach!

Same thing, different ocean - source.

Apparently this GWS is hunting Stingrays.
Maybe, tho to me it looks stranded - but who knows.

Anyway, enjoy!

PS story here.
The conclusion that the Shark was hunting for Stingrays because it was too injured to hunt for sea lions is highly speculative and likely incorrect as even large GWS do not at all exclusively prey on Mammals but instead feed on a wide variety of prey including Elasmobranchs, bony Fishes and Cephalopods etc.

Fiji: Protection of the Shark Nurseries?

Juvenile GHH in the Ba - source.

Read this.

This is of course excellent news.
It's not done quite yet - but having the chiefs support Shark conservation is obviously a huge step in the right direction. There is increasing evidence for Fiji featuring multiple Shark nurseries, for Bulls but also Scalloped and Great Hammers and other species like e.g. Lemons in and around its major rivers; but alas, it appears equally clear that those Sharks are being subjected to massive targeted and incidental fishing pressure that is dramatically impinging on their chances for survival - the good news being that having been alerted, Fisheries are doing something about it.

So let this be a beginning.
Co-host Fiji is about to unveil its commitments at the UN Ocean Conference - so here's to there being something about Sharks!

Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 05, 2017


I must say that this has been way cool.

Thanks to the personal initiative by my pote the incomparable Serge, we've just hosted a group of divers from the iconic French expedition schooner Tara - and lemme tell 'ya, trying to manage a good dozen Frenchmen endowed with national hero status has most certainly not been for the faint of heart! But manage we did: they actually behaved impeccably, conditions were squally but otherwise propitious, and the Sharks did perform - so all is good.
And who knows: hopefully, we may have assuaged some trepidations and reservations and maybe even created some more Shark diving aficionados among the researchers!

Click for detail!

From here they are continuing to Suva.
Coinciding with the ground-breaking UN Oceans Conference in New York and World Oceans Day, they will participate in several events with local partners - see here, here and here. This is important stuff, and there is really something for everybody, including the chance to have a look at the vessel - so do make some time and do participate as nothing could be more vital for the future of the SoPac.

Obviously, for us, every day is Oceans Day.
June 8 is a Thursday, and we'll be diving with our Sharks - so, what are you waiting for!  :)

See you at Shark Reef!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Abundance and spatial Distribution of Reef-associated Sharks - Paper!

Shark Reef Marine Reserve: protecting the Sharks, their prey and their habitat! Great pic by Ozzie Sam!

And I cite.
Our study found shark abundance to be primarily driven by fish biomass amongst lower trophic levels and functional groups.
The importance of fish biomass in predicting shark abundance suggests the necessity of ecosystem level protection, involving all species and functional groups, rather than species-specific policies, such as shark sanctuaries, which might still permit on-going depletion of prey species.
Similarly, studies across a range of marine ecosystems have found that assemblages of top level predators such as sharks require both healthy environments in terms of prey availability, and a wide range of habitat zones to accommodate different species’ habitat preferences and to permit resource partitioning and ontogenetic changes in habitat use. Individual species or life stages preferentially use particular habitat zones or depth ranges, and, though often highly site-resident, reef shark species have been shown capable of making long movements between neighbouring reefs.
This implies that marine reserves that encompass a wide variety of habitats within the boundaries of the protected area may be more effective in preserving species diversity in the shark assemblage and providing the habitat niches required at different life stages. Very large MPAs such as the BMR, in contrast to more narrowly scoped or zoned protection regimes, have the additional advantage of protecting not only known and surveyed habitats but also the unknowns.
Like I've been stating for a while, e.g. here, we really need to shift away from the current narrow focus on species protection towards a much more holistic approach - and those mega-MPAs are an excellent way of achieving that aim.

Enjoy David and Jessica's paper!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Beto: Comprometido en salvar a los Tiburones!

Beto - a good man. Source.


This is really, really nice.
Alberto "Beto" Friscione has been diving forever, and his witness account, and passionate and eloquent advocacy for the Sharks are important and very much authentic. Together with Saving our Sharks where he is a founding member, he and Chino have been instrumental in bringing about extraordinary progress, for which they need to be highly commended.

Required watching - enjoy!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Shark Bite in Florida!

Nah don't worry I'm not gonna go there.

Just this.
Wishing Randy a successful reattachment and speedy recovery - and may there be a bloody learning curve, and may it be steep!
Fucking steel gloves anybody?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Competition: Who is this Shark?

Love love love this picture - click for detail!

But, who is it?
This is unmistakably (!) one of our named Sharks - and if you tell me the correct name, you can win yourself up to one week of diving with us.
Because we can! :)

  • Please only participate if you plan to take your prize; if you're not a friend who dives FOC anyway; and if you're not a current or past volunteer or staff member of Projects Abroad who has been trained in Shark ID!

  • Answers as comments on this blog - not on Facebook!

  • You can post as many answers as you like - however only one answer every 24h.

  • Today you can win seven days of diving; tomorrow I'll post one clue at the bottom of this post, and the prize gets reduced by one day; and so on.

  • One week of diving usually comprises 5 Shark diving days and two coral diving days. You win whatever is scheduled in the week you choose, on the basis of one two-tank dive/day. Not included are additional dives and extras like rental gear, nitrox, marine park levy, apparel etc.
Wishing you the best of success!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Welcoming Friends!

Great fun!

Behold Jorge El Chino Loría and his badass jefa Elena La Táfana!
For new readers of this blog: Chino is the big boss of Phantom Divers, and they in turn are a member of GSD, your one stop shop for responsible, safe and long term sustainable Shark diving across the globe!

I must say, I respect the man enormously.
Over the past years, he and the outstanding team of SOS under the leadership of Luis Lombardo have invested a huge amount of time and money into completely turning around the situation in Playa del Carmen from a huge problem (scroll down to the earliest posts in the link) to a huge win for everybody whereby this has now become a world famous Shark diving destination with a cohesive Shark diving industry with its own code of conduct, and where the Sharks are finally being protected.

Anyway, we're having a great time.
We're also hosting Martin of Shark Diver, and the dives and conversations are simply stellar = I can already say that the networking will undoubtedly lead to new initiatives and more cooperation, and to renewed solidarity vis-a-vis the latest irritating meddling (and e.g. here!) by our detractors.

And the big question?
How do the Fiji Bull Sharks compare with the Caribbean Sardines?

Go to Playa and ask Chino!

Friday, May 26, 2017

New Kid on the Block - maybe!


I must say that I'm stoked.
After thousands of Shark dives where I've come across dozens of female Silvertips, I've just encountered my first ever male. Whereas the females are believed to be resident and territorial and can be seen along drop-offs and in channels, the elusive males are thought to be transient and at least in the SoPac, they are said to be roaming much deeper = past the 50 meter mark and thus eluding most recreational divers. With that in mind, this visit may well turn out to be a one-off - or hopefully not!

And his name?
Being the first such male in our data base, there could only be one choice - tho being a perfect animal lacking any notable blemishes = identifying features, it will be very difficult to positively ID him in the future.

Anyway, welcome to the SRMR, Adam!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Close Encounters in the Shark Corridor!

Best Safety Stop in the Word!


Read this - and click on the pics!
As always, Tom shines both through his knowledge, his understanding and his stellar imagery, a great combination that points to a future as science communicator.
As always, we shall see - but that's my prediction.

For now, Vinaka Vakalevu Tom - much appreciated!

Friday, May 19, 2017


From today's dive.
Yup those would be big Fiji Bull Sharks - and in two months' time we may well be seeing double that!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Shark VFX - Awesome!