I had heard stories that fishermen were stapling fins to shark corpses in order to comply with the "fins attached" law, but I didn't know they went to this much effort. Apparently the law became more specific, stating that the fins must be naturally attached to the shark's spinal column...so now they are cutting away the body surrounding the fin and spinal column. Wow. I guess this helps put in perspective just how much more money the fins demand on the market compared to the flesh of the shark.
With all credit to Ticotimes.net and Lindsay Fendt, I'm simply copying and pasting the rest of their article here.
Tipped off by Costa Rican authorities, Interpol released a purple alert Wednesday to warn countries of a gruesome shark-finning technique that could bypass some countries’ anti-finning laws.
Costa Rican law stipulates that shark fins must be naturally attached to a shark’s body in order to be landed legally and exported. The law is designed to prevent shark-finning – a practice in which fishermen catch a shark, cut off its fins and throw it back into the ocean where it dies slowly, unable to swim. Due to the popularity of the expensive Asian delicacy shark-fin soup, fins can go for as much as $700 a kilogram. The shark meat, however, has little commercial value.
In 2011, shark-finners operating in Costa Rican waters on the ship Wang Jia Men thought they had found a loophole
. By cutting away all of the shark flesh and leaving only the spinal column and a strip of skin attaching the fins, the fishermen were able to free up valuable space in their ship’s hold, while technically having the fins attached to the body, a press release from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) stated. The same method was also used by three ships from Belize in the same year.
The new method did not last long, as the president of the Pacific Coast Fishermen's Union, Javier Catón, filed an official complaint prompting a ruling that the fins were not “naturally attached” to the shark’s body. Luis Dobles, president of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca)
, now faces an ongoing criminal complaint filed by a Puntarenas prosecutor for allegedly authorizing the ship to unload the sharks. He and Katy Tseng Chang, the legal representative for the Belizean boats, both face charges in Puntarenas
Dobles has denied any wrongdoing and says the charges are frivolous.
The Costa Rican Coast Guard reported the case and requested the purple notice from Interpol in August following a National Environment Security Seminar held in San José. Interpol releases purple notices to inform other countries about new criminal operation methods. The notice is intended to warn the 48 other countries with shark-finning bans that this method could skirt their current regulations.
In 2011, shark-finners sought to beat Costa Rican law by hacking away shark's flesh and leaving the spinal column. Two years later, Interpol issues an alert about the technique, prompted by the Costa Rican government.
To test a Costa Rican law that stipulates that shark fins must be "naturally attached" to a shark's body, fishermen in 2011 had cut away the sharks' flesh, leaving only spinal columns and skin attached the fins. Courtesy of Judicial Investigation Police
Guest Blog From Western Australian Local Explains Something More Horrifying Than the Death Toll Caused by Shark Nets; the Real Reasons a Faulty System Persists.
Great White Sharks; awe inspiring, majestic, and magnificent and conversely they are deeply feared and misunderstood. I live in Perth, Western Australia and work for the conservation of this vulnerable animal, but it is a difficult job. We aren’t talking about a cute and snuggly bear cub that people relate to, we anthropomorphize cute animals with big brown eyes. You can’t do that with sharks, saving them is a tough sell, especially in Australia.
Here in Australia we have numerous species of sharks including the big 3; Bull, Tiger and of course White Sharks. I have lived in Perth for about 25 years and every year or two there is a shark related fatality. It is brandished in the media, and the government always does the same thing, going out on a ‘Rogue Shark Hunt’ making a sacrificial killing to appease the public that it is safe to go back into the water, then people forget about it.
It is important to the powers-that-be that people feel safe at the beach, Perth and the South West of the State rely heavily on the continued flood of tourists attracted to our white sandy beaches.
Nothing could have prepared WA for the tragedy that took place in WA over a 10 month period in 2011-2012 with 5 people dying from Shark Attacks. The attacks were seemingly random and unpredictable; 1 person died while diving at Rottnest Island, another died while surfing at Cottesloe Beach and 3 of the deaths occurred in WA’s South West on relatively remote beaches. The attacks covered the entire south west area of the state and Perth.
That is how Western Australia earned the infamous title of ‘Shark Attack Capital of the World’ and everybody had an opinion. Following the attacks, the media ensured that the danger of sharks in the water was emblazoned on our minds, a shark swimming past a beach was headlining news, it seemed as if you couldn’t pick up the newspaper, go online or flick the TV on without seeing sharks. According to Sentia Media, West Australian media outlets had produced almost 15,000 stories on sharks in the year ending 2012.
Australia has a history of shark attacks from Aboriginal times through to the first attempts at European settlement, especially in southern waters. Research into Great White Sharks has been headed up by Barry Bruce from the CSIRO for more than a decade. His research stipulates that Great Whites have 2 nursery areas in the Eastern States, 1 at Cove Inlet Victoria and another at Port Stephens in NSW. When they reach about 4 metres in length they generally head for the cool Southern Waters of Australia and a reasonable concentration of them are found off Port Lincoln South Australia where they have moved to dine on seals.
Once the White Shark has reached that size and is in the southern waters, naturally it doesn’t respect state lines and it can roam around South Australia and come up the Western Australian coast. Only around 300 individuals have been tagged, while our coastline does boast an array of acoustic monitors, those are only picking up movements of the small number of tagged White Sharks.
Following the fatalities that occurred, the WA Government was allocated a total of $13.65 million to reduce the risk of attacks along our coastline and ensure tourists that this past summer would be nothing like the one before it.
$2 million was allocated to kill sharks that could be considered dangerous, basically they are guilty until proven innocent; something that doesn’t work in nature. The legislation became what is known as the Imminent Threat Policy. Fisheries Minister Norman Moore told reporters in November 2012:
“Previously, the orders were used in response to an attack, but now proactive action will be taken if a large white shark presents imminent threat to people.”
Premier Colin Barnett and Minister of Fisheries Norman Moore were in charge of choosing the methods which would kill sharks, particularly White Sharks which have been protected since 1997. Barnett turned to existing shark control programs that have been in place in the eastern states for a long time.
In Sydney, New South Wales Shark nets were put in place in the 1930's and fear keeps them in place today. No politician will risk pulling these nets and then being blamed for an attack. Shark nets do not provide a consistent barrier to protect bathers, rather it minimizes the amount of large sharks that could reach the coast. Between 40 and 50 percent of sharks have been found on the Beach-Side of the nets and in 2008 there were 2 shark attacks that occurred on netted beaches.
The other problem with establishing shark nets on coast lines is the high rate of by-catch. In NSW between 1950 and 2008, 15,135 marine animals that weren’t sharks were caught and killed in nets, including turtles, whales, dolphins, rays, dugongs and also killed 377 of the now critically endangered and harmless grey nurse sharks.
Queensland also runs a shark control program and they use a mix of shark nets and hooked, baited drum lines so is their model worth adopting? Between 1975 and 2001, 11,899 great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks were killed in nets and drum lines. Over the same period 53,098 other marine animals were killed. 505 sharks were caught between January and 20th November 2009. Less than half of those sharks caught were considered the dangerous or target species. Also killed were 16 dolphins, 6 whales, 1 dugong and 30 turtles.
So the evidence is in, the studies completed. Shark nets are indiscriminate and do not provide a proper barrier and drum lines have the same problem, on top of the fact that baiting drum lines attracts sharks, it doesn’t repel them. The studies done for The Department of Fisheries all made the same clear statement; Western Australia’s coastline should not be netted or subject to drum lining in order to protect the marine eco-system. Premier Barnett and Mr Moore made their decision, in the face of all the evidence, they chose Drum Lining as their solution.
It didn’t take long for them to test out their drum lining solution, when it was alleged that a white shark was ‘behaving menacingly’ (whatever that means) in WA’s south west near Dunsborough, The Department of Fisheries issued a kill order and contracted a local vessel called ‘The North Islander’ to set up drum lines and kill the shark… which didn’t happen, 2 tiger sharks were caught and released but the ‘menacing’ great white never showed up.
The public were outraged at this fiasco which took place in this tourist hot-spot. Citizens were demanding to know how much the useless effort cost and surfers complained that the drum liners had endangered the beach for days.
As more and more images of people swimming with sharks appear on the web, many speculate that disaster is only a matter of time away. Along with this disaster is the potential crackdown of all shark diving operations in order to “protect us from ourselves.” But is that what should really happen?
Yes, the media would have a field day. The term “shark attack” still sells papers like nothing else, so if a diver should happen to be killed by the same animal he/she was an advocate for; I imagine the irony would leave the press drooling.
Actually this sort of disaster already occurred once in Bahamian waters when a bull shark bit a recreational shark diver who did not survive the incident. Perhaps there are other similar incidents that I’m unaware of, but I haven’t heard about them. It seems unlikely that the media wouldn’t have run such a story for a month straight so I feel fairly confident that no more incidences have occurred, but to be safe, let’s go ahead and tack on a couple more. Three bites, total, in decades of diving with sharks globally, an industry whose latest estimates claim to have brought in 3 million dollars worldwide.
By contrast let’s look at how many people die during recreational diving from equipment malfunction, drowning, jellyfish stings, etc. and we’ll see that these numbers dwarf the incidents in which something has gone awry while swimming with animals DESIGNED TO KILL. Think about that for a minute. The perfect predator, equipped in every way to dispatch from existence at a moment’s notice, yet we get away with swimming with them all the time. That’s not a credit to us, that’s a credit to the shark. It’s almost baffling how tolerant these animals are of our presence, which makes them that much more intriguing. We forgive each other all the time for mistakes, mistakes we make often, but when we intentionally and repeatedly go into the domain of an animal legendary for its killing ability we can’t find it in ourselves to forgive it for a handful of mistakes. How many people reading right now have ever tasted something you regretted? Heck, how many of you have even bitten another person in anger? Now imagine being hunted and condemned for such a mistake.
Anyway, my point is that I love sharks and I love being around them. I enjoy watching them and watching them watch me back. It is humbling and fascinating, and weird as it may be, being in the wild with these magnificent animals makes me happy. First dove with Caribbean reef sharks, then snorkeled in Shark Alley, followed by a season filming at the Farallon Islands where I would leave the cage from time to time, followed finally by hanging out of open faced cages in Guadalupe. I’ll go ahead and say that the Shark Alley move was pretty dumb and I probably wouldn’t do that again. However, I have every intention of swimming / diving with sharks as often as I can. Whether a cage dive operator is taking me to a remote location or whether I wander into the ocean solo from a beach, I welcome a shark encounter. The ecotourism operator isn’t responsible for my decision and the shark isn’t responsible either. I am responsible. I made the decision to take the risk. Contrary to how many people approach the planet, it is NOT OUR RIGHT to be wherever we want whenever we want without accepting the possibility of encountering another predator. Furthermore, if such an encounter occurs we should not retaliate by killing every animal of that species in the area. If we decide to swim, surf, kayak, or paddle-board in the ocean, we are essentially deciding that the experience of that recreation is worth the risk of being “investigated” by a larger predator than ourselves. And why is it so tragic anyway if one of us perishes? There are 7 some billion people left to fill the void, whereas 90% of all pelagic species of shark are now threatened or near threatened with extinction.
Until we fund a full time fleet of ships and planes patrolling areas known to be congregation sites of white sharks, I think ecotourism operators serve a very important role in providing a watchful eye against poachers. Also to the credit of ecotourism, I have yet to hear anyone, I mean ANYONE, who has seen a shark in the wild for the first time not be blown away with admiration while losing all previous misconceptions about the animal. That’s powerful!
Thanks for reading!
Videos related to this blog:Swimming in Shark Alley
, my first shark film ever, filmed in 2004 in South Africa. Swimming around on the surface with cape fur seals, even if I was somewhat close to the rocks, was simply stupid. I blame Lalo Saidy for taking me out there after an evening of drinking absinthe. Just kidding, Lalo.Elasmo 3
(Free diving with whale sharks). When all 35 feet of these animals passed under me multiple times, I was very tempted to grab the dorsal fin and go for a ride, but out of respect I did not. I doubt the massive animal would have noticed me much, but rumor has it that our contact rubs off an important protective layer covering their skin.Hammerhead Love
. As soon as I sat at the bottom of this aquarium, a beautiful scalloped hammerhead became brave enough to come in and take a closer look at me…again, and again, and again.The Farallon Islands
(2006). Petting a nurse shark
. I swear this shark wanted some affection.
This shark "isn't stressed"
Today's entry is a discussion topic and I hope you'll participate as it helps me know when my theories are on target or misguided.
The most disturbing part of editing my documentary today was hearing Fischer say to a journalist "If not us, then who? There's no one behind us, I'd be helping them if they were there."
Obviously this statement dismisses the multitude of researchers who have been working hard for decades before OCEARCH came into existence while also dismissing published data and efforts to change legislation. It also implies there was no one for him to donate his wealth to support rather than starting his own company. Which leads me to my discussion topic. I know researchers that decided to team up with Fischer and I know researchers who rejected him on the grounds that they didn't like his reputation or methods. The theme that keeps ringing in my head is that this all seems to boil down to money, or rather a lack thereof. Researchers need funding and equipment to continue their work...so perhaps the root of the problem is a general lack of funding. If there was no lack of funding perhaps there would be no foothold for people like Fischer to jump into the game.
If you don’t mind taking the time to discuss, please focus on these two questions:
- If given the opportunity to work with OCEARCH and receive funding from them, would you? What if you had no lack of funds so money wasn’t an issue...would that affect your decision to work with or not work with them?
- If you are one of the researchers who previously worked with Fischer then distanced yourself from his organization afterward, what keeps you quiet? Fear of retaliation from someone with money or a contractual agreement not to say disparaging things?
- Have you been approached by OCEARCH or a similar opportunity? What was your decision and why?
Seal entrails hang from a white shark's mouth
Gray seals off Monomoy Island
A couple of years ago I made a very short film
explaining how the disappearance of white sharks from Gansbaai, South Africa affected the local human population, particularly the fishermen. To summarize, the white shark population had been greatly damaged due to over hunting and as a consequence the seal population exploded, which in turn led to a decrease in fish available for fishermen. The white shark was eventually protected from hunting, its population rebounded, and the seal population returned to a more manageable number.
Thousands of miles from Gansbaai, a similar story has been taking place. The characters are the same, but the order of events is different, and this time it’s happening in New England. In this case it was the over hunting of the seal that led to the disappearance of the white shark from the area, thus when the seal became protected and its population rebounded, the white sharks began showing up again to hunt this food source.
I personally find it intriguing to learn about members of nature’s food chain playing out their roles, especially when the same roles can be seen taking place in multiple locations on the globe. For me it’s a reminder of the how unique the white shark is (the only fish designed to hunt mammals). At the same time I find it disturbing to see the similarities in man’s role in these stories. It seems that every time we take matters into our own hands we end up disrupting a balance that had previously been set in place by Mother Nature. Removing ourselves from the system is what allows balance to be restored.
Since 2009 there has been a slow increase in white sharks returning to the area, undoubtedly catching on to the fact that they can once again find yummy seals. While the appearance of white sharks on beaches may alarm many, it’s actually good news, especially for the fishermen. I don’t know the magic number that constitutes a “healthy population” of seals, but I did see a lot of them when I visited Cape Cod in August and the fishermen are not too happy about it. And thus we reach the point in my blog where I inevitably become cynical about mankind. Read on if you dare.
In theory, when the population of white sharks reaches a higher number, the number of seals will in turn be reduced, hopefully reaching a nice balance over time. However, this requires man to be tolerant of an increased presence of an animal that can, albeit rarely does, kill humans. When a mistake is made and a person is bitten, or God forbid killed by a white shark, will there be a cull to reduce the numbers of sharks as is happening in Western Australia? In an interview with the Boston Globe
, fisherman Kenny Kassan states, “Until somebody’s kid doesn’t come out of the water, they’re not going to do anything about it”. Ken Murray, a fisherman of Nantucket adds, “It’s just a matter of time before a shark mistakes a kayaker or a windsurfer out there for a seal,” he says. “Somebody’s going to get bit. “
Maybe someone will. Maybe someone won’t. But how we react if does happen will be very interesting. Will we accept that we are sharing the planet with other predators and accept this as an unfortunate incident, or once again take nature into our own hands? The seals will be to blame or the sharks will be to blame, but somehow we will remain faultless. I find this particularly ironic since Chatham just received the media sensation OCEARCH into their waters with open arms, who, according to an eyewitness on the research vessel, “use a massive hydraulic press to pump out a chum slick behind the boat all day long, every day at sea.” A chum slick that is carried by a current to other beaches in the Cape Cod area. Several beaches were closed due to shark sightings during this time. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not, but for some reason the sharks showed up at bathing beaches far away from their normal seal hunting beaches.
I was in Chatham to learn about the white shark research taking place there, but I unexpectedly got a taste of the battle between seal and fishermen. While grabbing lunch in Chatham Harbor I witnessed a boat unloading its catch for the day. Several gray seals were in the harbor hoping to catch a dropped fish during the unloading process. Now, I don’t have anything against fishermen or fishing, but I did find myself questioning the methods that we now use to catch fish as I watched the longline boat unload its catch. For close to an hour, I watched one boat, a small boat, in a line of many boats waiting to unload, dump crate after crate of dead fish that had been taken from the sea that day. “Fishing” is not the term that came to mind as I watched this. Rape of the ocean or an attempted genocide of a species rang more true.
I’ve read several articles showcasing the comments of fishermen who feel their livelihood is being robbed from them due to the seals eating their fish. Indeed, as the ocean struggles to produce the numbers of fish it has in the past, for whatever reason(s) we want to blame, it seems fishermen are going to have a harder time making a living. But what does “making a living” mean? Should that term be equated with fishing? Should it be equated with putting food on the table for the family? I don’t believe so. Instead, I think the problem is that we as a species don’t think we should have to adapt to survive. Instead we think we should change our surroundings to match our own desires.
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"If the greedy gray seals of Cape Cod take any more of Mr. Kassan's fish, the man may cease to resemble an elephant seal within 2 -3 years," predict local scientists.
When a fisherman brings in 30,000 pounds of fish in one catch, I don’t believe dealing with hunger is the pressing issue on his mind. More likely the concerns are profit margins, paying a mortgage, paying for a car, paying for kids to go to school, etc. Don't get me wrong, you should be able to send your kids to school, but let's not pretend we've worked hard to adapt to the current environmental challenges we've brought upon ourselves. I’ve read several articles in which fishermen are quoted as saying they are the next species to go extinct. At a naturalist training for the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary, when it was announced fishermen were restricted to a certain area to fish due to low numbers of certain species of fish, one man declared “I’m the next species that’s going to be extinct”. I was debating whether or not to feel sorry for him when he followed up with “I only made $170,000 last year”, at which point my thought quickly changed from potential sympathy to “$#%& you.”
“We can’t catch anything because of the seals.” says Cape Cod Fisherman Ernie Eldridge.
He only caught several dozen menhaden and squid that day, a far cry from the 30,000 pounds of fish he once caught daily -NY Times
. Yes, that sounds like a measly catch by comparison until you stop and actually think about the numbers, I mean really stop and ingest this information. 30,000 pounds? Daily!!? Even the bad catch of several dozens is still no small amount of fish. What are we talking, 36, 48, a hundred fish? In one day? You might not be making your mortgage payments, but you’re not anywhere near in danger of going hungry or extinct.
“I guarantee those seals have caught a hell of a lot more cod than the port of Chatham has,” said John Our, another fisherman. Well, John, after having filmed the video below, I’m going to have to disagree.
You may not like with what I said in this article, and perhaps I’m wrong about some things. But I’ll put money on this; if mankind does go extinct it won’t be due to sharks, seals, or any animal other than the most dangerous animal to ever inhabit this planet. You don’t need me to tell you who I mean.
Quick shout out to Sharon Young for stating in the Boston Globe
article. “We have a stewardship responsibility,” says Young. “It’s our obligation to be benevolent to those over which we have power.
I’m learning a lot in this crazy, fever-pitched world of sharks. Not the least of which is a lesson I should already know; it’s not smart to make assumptions. For example, “scientist” is not synonymous with “conservationist” and it was my mistake to assume they went hand in hand. While many scientists may be conservation minded, it is not a requirement. It is their job to gather the data, not to save the shark. Hopefully the data they gather can be used to help conserve the shark, but again, that isn’t their job. So who’s job is it? That’s the million-dollar question and we’ll get to that.
Something else I learned is that “researcher” is not the same as “scientist”. I recently paid off my graduate school loans and was burdened by the idea that I needed to go back to school again for a biology degree in order to back up any films or statements I might make. It was at that time that a biologist friend of mine told me not to bother. Marine biology degrees or other such credentials are not required to conduct research*1, in fact, a surprisingly large number of “shark experts” do not have educational credentials in the same field of their research. Look no further than Shark Week if you doubt this. Not only are the majority of their “experts” not biologists, sometimes you’re lucky if they aren’t paid actors (See Megalodon Lives).
I’m not insinuating that one needs a degree to know what they’re talking about, there are number of people who spend ¾ of the year observing sharks in their environment, but don’t have credentials, yet I would say their time in the field qualifies them to know what they’re talking about, perhaps more so than those with credentials in some cases. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a revelation to discover I could go out and “study” sharks as long as I could come up with the means to do it.*2
When I was growing up, watching shark specials from a living room thousands of miles from the closest ocean, the mysterious and almost surreal world of the white shark struck me as one that only the elite of the scientific realm were allowed to enter… a who’s who club where not everyone was allowed to play…that those dealing with the sharks were the most capable available and the sharks were in the best hands possible.*3
But I digress. The point I’m slowly working my way to is that I’ve begun seriously wondering about the data that is being collected. Yet another assumption of mine was that the data being collected on these sharks was being put to the best use possible. What is done with it? Is all of it used? Does some of it end up in a file that work conditions simply make it impossible to ever have a chance to analyze? Is the collection of this data always useful? If not, why else gather it? Why else indeed. Sadly, the more people I talk to the more I hear answers indicating the data is less about the shark and more about the person doing the collection…From hoarding information, fighting over naming sharks, sabotaging tags, to fabricating stories about the competition, there’s definitely a blemish on the face of white shark research. Let me say that by no means am I putting all researchers in this category. And even those who are career oriented I can’t judge too harshly, for if they don’t have a career with funding...well, that makes it hard to have a career. But that in turn opens the door to question the motivation behind the research. After all, as a researcher, if you’re not out collecting data you’re not going to get your next grant, sponsorship, TV contract, paycheck, name in Science Today, or whatever the specific case may be, so doesn’t it behoove a researcher to not only justify his research, but to perhaps withhold findings from the rest of the scientific community or make misleading statements as to the value of the study being conducted? One "researcher" in particular has become a millionaire by justifying his sensationalist approach of gathering data. (If you're a researcher and hate my guts right now take a deep breath.)
Here’s some background. My introduction to white sharks came in 2004 when I spent a month and half volunteering to work on a boat in South Africa. Even then I remember the locals debating the value of tagging, referring to ‘tag overkill’. Here it is seven years later and every one of those years has been filled with the tagging and attempted tagging of sharks globally. "To date more than 300 sharks have been tagged with acoustic pingers in South Africa", says Chris Fallows, of Simons Town. If we were approaching tag overkill back in 2004 then where are we now? Granted, past tagging has proven to be very informative. We learned that white sharks swim between South Africa and Australia, from California to Hawaii. We learned about the mysterious “Shark Café” in the Pacific Ocean. I even learned that white sharks sometimes come under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay from time to time. But what about future tagging and data collection; How much do we need? What do we truly need to know? When does it end? Does it? When does its value reach a zenith? Have we already reached that zenith? Ichthyologist Jeff Reinhardt states, “As a shark biologist, I am against using extensive and lethal measures to find data that really doesn’t need to be known at the expense of a rare and protected species.”
Below I examine one organization that might be blurring the truth of data in order to ensure its own success.
There is currently a massive media sensation following an organization called OCEARCH, which is tagging sharks around the world. They happen to use methods of tagging that I disagree with (if you want to know why I disagree continue reading the fine print)*4
. But who am I to disagree? Fair enough, ignore my opinion and let's put the tagging method aside; I am bothered by the fact that public interviews aired on television and published in papers include what I would consider misleading, if not altogether false statements. Why make such statements? To justify the research? To secure the ongoing career(s) and funding of the individual(s) involved? I’ll give you some examples of such quotes:
1. “We don’t know where they (the sharks) are, where they go, what they eat, why they are here”. This has ben repeated multiple times in news articles as well as video interviews. Well, I must offer disagreement with such statements. Other scientists published this data long ago with less invasive methods. Those scientists simply didn’t become TV celebs, and if you're not on TV, that means most of this country doesn't know who you are.
2. “This is the first research of its kind”, "pioneering new research that's never been done before", "the first of its kind in history". The number of times this is said in the course of just one interview and at least once in every interview shows that OCEARCH knows how important it is to mesmerize the public. And I have to disagree with these statements on multiple levels. Position tracking of white sharks has been taking place for a very long time. If OCEARCH is referring to this specific method of hauling the shark and attaching SPOT tags I also have to disagree since this method was taken from another scientist, whom, whether I agree with his methods or not, is the one who pioneered that method. OCEARCH took his method and ran. Financially it seems to have been a brilliant move. Ralph Collier, president of the Shark Research Committee had this to say “The record should be clear that any such study by Fischer and his group, is not the first study for this topic."
3. “We can’t put policy in place to protect these sharks if we don’t have this data.” Well, I would like to clarify some things. Policies are in place. They just aren’t enforced well. When existing data is ignored by the powers that be (those who set fishing restrictions, etc.), what assurance is there that more data will change that? Furthermore, this particular organization has been conducting its work for the better part of a decade. In their defense I’d like someone to please list policy changes that have been made as a result of their work thus far. Please list any bills or proposals this organization has started or authored in an attempt to further the conservation of these sharks. The irony that really bothers me is that marine sanctuaries such as the Gulf of the Farralones National Marine Sanctuary has policies in place that prohibit people from even approaching these sharks up to a certain distance for "the good of the shark"...yet this policy was thrown out the window when the OCEARCH guys came into town. These sharks that were so strictly protected that you couldn't approach them were suddenly allowed to be "wrangled". OCEARCH has been collecting data for 7 years. Which year are they going to approach the politicians mentioned in this interview
4. “Risking their lives to save the sharks”. The only lives in danger here are those of the sharks. These guys are operating on a boat the size of a battleship. Even the revenge seeking shark from JAWS 4 couldn't get to these guys.
5. "Scientists are really surprised by these discoveries" (referring to the tagged sharks moving on the Atlantic coast). What scientists are surprised by this? Insect scientists? If you're a white shark scientist and you're surprised that these sharks move up and down a coast, especially after more than a decade of migration tracking studies, you're a bad scientist.
6. Here's a quote justifying the killing of sharks they study. "If you have to catch 100 sharks to solve a 450-million-year-old puzzle and you know you’re going to kill three of them to save the rest is it worth it?"
Well, that's a glittering generality statement made to dazzle people that don't know any better. Rather than be dazzled, stop and ask:
- What is this puzzle exactly? Why does it need to be solved?
- An animal that has existed 450 million years with no natural predators*, yet has made its way onto the threatened species list during the short span man has existed on this planet tells me one thing. Man is the problem. Mystery solved.
- What exactly is the proposed method of "saving the rest"? Saving them sounds great, sure. It also sounds great for me to say I don't approve of sharking finning, but as far as you know I had another spoonful of shark fin soup as I said it.
- These aren't cows, rats, or even a more common species of shark. This is a relatively rare shark, one that doesn't reproduce quickly. In fact, many scientists agree that these sharks don't reproduce until reaching the 15 or 16 foot mark, the very sharks that are being targeted. So, to refer to the killing of a few being OK for the good of the many, when the population in question is already low, I believe conservation should come first and experimentation second.
I just returned from a trip to Cape Cod where this organization is currently conducting its work. I interviewed many locals who attended their publicity events. The leader of the campaign referred to himself as the next Jaques Cousteau. He implied that they were the pioneers of tagging the Atlantic white shark…right in front of the tagging team that, ironically, is currently grounded due to OCEARCH’s presence in town. It's worth noting that the existing team in Cape Cod successfully tagged 30 white sharks since the sharks began making their return to the area in recent years. These guys and their work were not mentioned at all. In their present campaign, costing a reported $750,000 dollars for the month of August alone, OCEARCH has not tagged a single shark to date. I think I could come up with other ways to use that money on shark conservation.*5
If you don’t already disagree with me, pretend that you do now. Let’s say someone films a white shark giving birth for the first time. What’s going to change? So my question regarding data is, "How much is the right amount before conservative action is taken?" What is the grand goal we are striving for? After we film white sharks mating and know what their body temperature is at all hours of the day, what comes next? A brief headline then business as usual? Or will one of these events be the magic event that brings salvation to the species? What does the best data amount to when the powers that be ignore the advice based on that data anyway? What’s going to change? Despite what Fischer says, we know where they spend most of the year. We know which direction most of them head to when they leave and what their destination is. And we know they are still being caught on long lines, drowning in gill nets, being “accidentally” caught by fishermen (who smile and pose for pictures with their “accidental” trophies), and white sharks continue to be blatantly, outright hunted by poachers. Hey, I may have just solved Mr. Fischer's 450 million year puzzle; do away with what I just listed above and I'll bet money the white sharks will be just fine.
I’m afraid I made this sound like an attack on researchers. It’s not, it’s more of an invitation for us to all look at ourselves and question what motivates each of us. Remember I said that it is not the job of researchers to save the sharks? Remember the million dollar question at the beginning, “Who’s job is it to protect the shark?” I believe the answer is that it is the job of all of us. We are stewards of the earth and we need to start doing things because it’s the right thing to do and not because of financial or personal gain.
So the next time you hear about senators suddenly vetoing a shark protection bill they originally helped write, or hear about juvenile white sharks dying in fishing nets (in the same place, year after year), or watch a video of a shark that looks like its being mistreated, even if its in the name of science, question what you are seeing and hearing and make your voice heard.Questions I leave you with to discuss openly here:
Is tagging the same as research? Why or why not?
What percent of research is conducted for personal interest rather than for the shark?
What is an example of past / existing data that aided the formation of a new and helpful conservation policy (they exist, I’m not saying they don’t).
Do you have an example from your geographic location (Australia, South Africa, Southern California, etc.) of advice provided by researchers that was ignored by those who establish and control policy?
Opinion to debate: Nature knows what it's doing. The best thing we can do is leave it alone.The fine print that I promised:
*1 "There are scientists that have honed their skills within a multi-disciplinary course of study however; these people include those who study the science and policy management integration. This is the leading edge of pure science and management capabilities that combine a strategy for effective decisive action". - Jeff Reinhart, marine biologist.
*2 While a permit or research credential are not always required to initially conduct your work, once you have brought enough attention to yourself regulations may often follow.
*3 Instead, big game fishermen with a history of fishing shows get to team up with scientists badly in need of funding to experiment with controversial methods on a protected species while getting rich. According to "policy", anyone else doing this would be breaking the law.
*4 Why I disagree.
- Dorsal fin damage (usually permanent)
- High rate of failure in tags.
- Trauma to shark during hooking and hauling.
- Trauma to shark while out of water.
- Trauma to shark while its weight (tons) rests on a hard platform rather than supported by the ocean.
- Altered hunting pattern of shark
- Inhumane (in my opinion) manner of hooking, fighting, dragging, and exhausting the shark.
- Falsified justification for pursuing the tagging.
- Ignoring already existing, less invasive methods.
- Confirmed killing of sharks subjected to this treatment
- Confirmed disappearance of sharks from their feeding ground after being subjected to this treatment.
*5 Things to do with the money.
- Give it to the researchers who were already doing a good job with less invasive methods.
- Develop smaller tags.
- Influence lobbyists and senators to work toward shark conservation.
- Fund fleets of boats that free sharks from nets.
- Patrol known feeding grounds for poachers.
- Remove long lines from known and suspected pupping locations
First day in the air over the OCEARCH vessel. They are just offshore of Shark Cove in Cape Cod. As we approached the boat a massive chum slick could be seen trailing behind and drifting toward shore.
On shore was a large gathering of gray seals that we circled for several minutes. Suddenly the pilot and I spotted two white sharks swimming only yards from where the seals played in the surf. The pilot estimated the sharks to be of at least 15 feet in length. After a time the sharks moved away from shore and straight toward the chum slick.
Upon landing, we checked the OCEARCH site to find out that the sharks did investigate the chum slick, but did not stick around.
My first thought was "Please don't hook those sharks." I am truly nauseated at what these sharks go through during the hooking, hauling, and bolting process.
My second thought was, "These sharks have altered their behavior due to the chum slick." I can't prove what the sharks were thinking, but I can tell you that they were spotted near the seals and were later spotted hundreds of yards away in the boat's chum slick. If I am correct, this means the sharks ceased their normal hunting / feeding behavior and wasted their time and energy investigating a false food source. But it could have been coincidence. How can we tell the difference?
Thoughts? Reactions? Arguments?
JoAnne Sanders shared this photo with me today. A small (3 foot), unidentified shark swam in circles for several hours today near a dock in Fort Mason according to witnesses, only leaving once the boats from the America's Cup began to show up.
Even more peculiar is the interest the shark showed in its viewers. Reportedly, whenever people on the dock stood by the edge, the shark would swim past, taking a look at its observers. When I asked if the shark turned on its side and broke the surface while looking at the observers JoAnne said "yes".
This behavior is only known in a few sharks, white sharks being one. Could it be that a young white shark was lost in the San Francisco Bay today? A mako? A salmon shark?
Based on the photo above, the shark had a very distinct white marking on its side extending to its underbelly while the rest of the shark was dark. However, the tail looks rather long for a white shark.
Full photo below
KTVU declared this a white shark, but the Pelagic Research Foundation
showed that the markings match that of a salmon shark. One such shark washed ashore yesterday due to infection and its like the behavior of this shark is also due to poor health.
taken today in the bay
image of a salmon shark washed ashore just yesterday.
The below permit was just made available to me by a shark advocate on the east coast. It is the most incomplete, unprofessional, ridiculous farce for a permit I've ever read. The bulk of the permit pertains to not holding Massachusetts responsible and doesn't mention anywhere safety concerns for the sharks. The sharks are simply allowed to be "taken and possessed" for "scientific purposes". What does "taken and possessed" mean? What about the method of possessing them? Any regulations there at all? Any size or sex limitations? Any time restrictions? What about determining if the shark has already been tagged and what to do in that situation?
"Take and possess"has a scary ring to it, particularly when not followed up by any definition. And that's where mention of the sharks ends. Everything else is about the area to be worked in and not being held responsible for anything that goes wrong. No where does the permit list or demand any safety procedures defining acceptable methods for obtaining the sharks. Nor is there a list of what is unacceptable. This is a free for all.
Can anyone tell me what defines "smallest zone of attraction possible", because this permit certainly doesn't define it in even the broadest of terms. Is this for OCEARCH to decide as they go? Apparently so.
Making it worse is the fact that the marine fisheries just rejected recommendations from local researchers not to allow the exact type of methods OCEARCH will be using due to concerns for both man and animal. That was rejected and in place a permit was issued with pretty much no regulations whatsoever.
Oh, excuse me, they aren't allowed to do this on Saturdays and Sundays. (Let's see if they even follow that rule).
Reed and weep.
1 Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Paul J. Diodati
Richard K. Sullivan, Jr.
Mary B. Griffin
Division of Marine Fisheries
251 Causeway Street, Suite 400
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Scientific Permit Number: 167281
Date: July 10, 2013
Pursuant to its authority under M.G.L. Chapter 130, Sections: 17(2) and (3), 38, 69, 75, 80, and 83, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) hereby grants this Research Permit to:
1790 Bonanza Drive, Ste 101
Park City, Utah 84060
The following activities are authorized by this Research Permit:
To take and possess white sharks for scientific purposes, subject to the conditions below.
Aboard vessel(s): M/V OCEARCH (126’) and 28’ Tournament Model Contender
1. The primary collector for OCEARCH for the duration of this permit shall be Chris Fisher. This permit or a copy must be in the possession of OCEARCH’s primary collector, or his designee, while taking and/or possessing white sharks for scientific purposes.
2. The taking and possessing of white sharks shall begin no sooner than July 29, 2013 and be completed no later than August 30, 2013.
3. No taking or possession of white sharks shall take place on Saturdays and Sundays, unless authorized in advance in writing by DMF.
4. OCEARCH shall conduct the fishing for white sharks in a manner that results in the smallest zone of attraction possible to accomplish its goals.
5. Unless authorized in advance in writing by DMF, the area of taking and possession of white sharks authorized by this Research Permit is restricted to those waters east and south of Monomoy Island (Chatham) and around Muskegat Island (Nantucket).
6. OCEARCH shall indemnify and hold harmless the Commonwealth, including the Department of Fish and Game and Division of Marine Fisheries, its agents, officers and employees, against any and all claims, liabilities and outside costs for any personal injury or property damage, or other damages that the Commonwealth may sustain which arise out of or are reasonably connected with the activities authorized by this Research Permit, including but not limited to negligence, reckless or intentional conduct of OCEARCH, its agents, officers, employees or subcontractors and which are reduced to a final, non-appealable judgment or settlement with OCEARCH’s prior written consent, not to be unreasonably withheld. OCEARCH shall at no time be considered an agent or representative of the Commonwealth, the Department of Fish and Game or Division of Marine Fisheries. The Commonwealth shall not be liable for any costs incurred by OCEARCH arising under this indemnification provision.
7. A copy of this Research Permit specifying the conditions applicable to OCEARCH’s permitted activities must be available at all times aboard each vessel identified in the permit when conducting the permitted activities. A copy of this Research Permit must also be provided to an environmental police officer upon request.
This Research Permit will expire on August 31, 2013 unless revoked for cause by DMF prior to this termination date.
Paul J. Diodati, Director
I want to first thank Melissa Smith and Ross Weir for participating in the interview with me and sharing extensive knowledge. Also contributing to the interview were Blair Ransford and Barry Bruce. Due to length, this interview will be presented in multiple parts, so check back in next week.
WSV - I recently read about your collaboration with Blue Seals to stop longlining. On my recent trips the local dive companies told me horror stories of longlines wiping out resident and migratory sharks, as well as turtles, birds, etc. But what about white sharks? How do longlines affect whites in Western Australia? WASC
- Longlining is a destructive fisheries practice that we at WASC would like to see banned in Australian waters. Long lining by commercial, Commonwealth and State fisheries impacts on the Great Whites by killing them directly, as by-catch. Even those that are released alive are affected as some later succumb to death. It also impacts upon these sharks by killing the animals they predate upon.
We do know that white sharks are being killed on these destructive longlines, including juveniles. Barry Bruce of the CSIRO has shown what is considered to be two separate populations, one on the Eastern seaboard of Tasmania and one west of Tasmania. The South West Tuna and Billfish fisheries use longlines and it is very likely that Great Whites are also caught in Seiners targeting endangered blue fin tuna. Many of these are, of course, also a food source for the diminishing Great White shark population. WSV - Can you give me any specific numbers? Is anyone studying this?WASC
- Long lining and its impact on the Great White Shark population is a complicated affair, primarily due to the migratory nature of the Great White Sharks and the lack of intensive research done on the issue. Barry Bruce of the CSIRO is considered one of the major researchers into Great White Sharks in Australia and his studies concluded that Great White Sharks in eastern and southern Australia form two genetically separate populations which are highly mobile population (Bruce and Colleagues 2006). These sharks are inhabiting the waters of the two states which report ongoing mortalities within their State-Managed Fisheries, these are South Australia and Western Australia.
The data that reflects mortalities by commercial fisheries, by Commonwealth fisheries and by state fisheries are a combination of both longlining and gill net related deaths.
Commonwealth managed fisheries indicates that there were approximately 37 Great White Sharks caught between 2002–2008 of which 27 were reported as being released alive (DEWHA 2008aaaa). Only South Australia and Western Australia reported interactions from within their state managed fisheries - of those, Western Australia reported 10 interactions in 2007–2008 while South Australia reported five interactions in 2007–2008 (DEWHA 2008aaaa).
The studies do however acknowledge that the true mortality rate of Great Whites resulting from commercial and recreational fisheries practices is far higher than Commonwealth and State statistics.
Although not specifically targeted, they are caught as by-catch on longlines and in the nets of professional fishers and in fin fish farm cages such as tuna farms. This is currently thought to be the largest cause of mortality for Great White Sharks.
The estimate of Great White Sharks caught by commercial and recreational fisheries is listed as anywhere between 100-440 per year throughout Australian waters.
WSV - What about drum lining?
WASC - Drum lining for Shark Control Programs on the coasts are having a huge impact on Great White Sharks and this is documented in much more detail. While WA’s Imminent Threat Policy includes the use of Drum lines on occasion, Queensland has been drum lining year round for decades and the damage this has done is massive. The Queensland program which operates from the Gold Coast to Cairns, uses 344 baited* drum lines year round (Green et al. 2009). The hook is baited every other day with fresh sea mullet, which is a naturally occurring food source for sharks (Qld DPI&F 2006). Between 1985–1986 and 2008–09, some 18,900 sharks were caught in the Queensland Shark Protection Program (Qld OESR 2009). Of these, 214 (or approximately 1%) were Great White Sharks.
*note, these are baited lines. The lines are intended to reduce shark activity in the area, yet bait is used to attract the sharks. Seems rather unfair.
WSV - In addition to longlines, drumlines, etc., your sharks are also facing the ‘Imminent Threat’ policy. To summarize for the readers, this is a government sanctioned program to destroy any shark lingering in waters “too long”. What can you tell me about this?
WASC - The Imminent Threat Policy is an another example of Political Policies that result from purely financial interests, so much so that even endangered species can be targeted such as the Great White Shark. When the spate of attacks occurred in WA, former Department of Fisheries Minister Norman Moore attempted to have the protected status removed from the Great White Shark, reasoning that they could not possibly be endangered when they had been seen during attacks or near attack spots. Luckily, the protected status was not lifted, but the Imminent Threat Policy was introduced by Premier Colin Barnett and Norman Moore, which threatens these endangered sharks.
Norman Moore stated that his primary reason for pursuing the Imminent Threat Policy was because he felt WA’s Tourism sector would suffer as a result of the attacks and this policy would lessen the impact that attacks had on holiday destinations, particularly in WA’s south west. Premier Barnett supported this policy to garner more votes in showing that he had his state’s ‘Shark Problem’ under control while the media frenzy called WA ‘Shark Attack Capital of The World.’
WSV - When dealing with a “threatened” species, I have found myself on more than one occasion wondering why policies and permits are set forth that allow for the damage and destruction of the animal before proof is shown that these policies are solidly founded.WASC -
WA Premier Colin Barnett and former Fisheries Minister Norman Moore sought studies from other parts of the country to help them make an ‘informed decision’ about what kind of shark control program would suit WA. The main study was done by Bond University and its results were based on the history of Eastern States Shark Control Programs. Critically, the study revealed:
- Shark control programs do not provide a continuous barrier that prevents access to beaches by sharks. Instead they aim to reduce the number of sharks that could cause harm to humans through shark meshing nets and drum lines, essentially killing or capturing them.
- There is a high likelihood that a shark control program in WA would have potential implications on any currently threatened marine species or where conservation concerns are emerging that would be vulnerable to control-gear.
- Shark Control Programs result in the capture of a wide range of by-catch species including marine mammals, turtles and sharks and rays not implicated in unprovoked attacks on humans.
- Due to the environmental impacts of shark control activities, it is not recommended that either shark nets or drum lines be introduced in Western Australia
The Bond University findings were sent to WA’s Department of Fisheries and despite its recommendations that Western Australia’s coast should not be subject to drum lines, when the Imminent Threat Policy was drafted two months later, these findings were ignored
and Drum Lining was included in the policy dealing with Pre-Emptive slaughter. Once again we see that the politicians favored an environmentally unsound program (which has played out in Queensland for nearly three decades with huge numbers of sharks killed along with turtles, dolphins and rays) because that is what suited them financially.
Bond University Study:http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/Documents/occasional_publications/fop108.pdfWSV - Who does this type of policy really benefit?WASC
- Who does the Imminent Threat Policy benefit? As previously discussed, it benefited politicians like former Fisheries Minister Norman Moore, WA Premier Colin Barnett also benefited hugely as he was re-elected in March of this year. In addition to the political benefactors of The Imminent Threat Policy, the tourism sector also benefited. The public saw an increase in Surf Lifesavers with Jet Skis and helicopters on Shark Watch all summer which was very beneficial for them, but this part of the policy was attached to another portion of the funding.
WSV - How many sharks have been killed directly by the pre-emptive killing policy?
-This summer period was the first trial of The Imminent Threat Policy and only one drum line action was instigated by The Department of Fisheries. This action occurred in WA’s South West, near Dunsborough in early January 2013 where it was alleged that ‘menacing great whites’ had been present on the same beach for a period of several days. A Kill Order was issued by the Department of Fisheries and they employed the services of vessel ‘North Islander’ and its crew to deploy drum lines in attempt to catch these ‘menacing sharks’. The end result after a couple of days was the capture and release of two tiger sharks officially. Drum lines were pulled out of the water with no capture or even sighting of the great whites.
The reaction to this first drum lining attempt in the Dunsborough community was quite strong. Surfers complained that the burleying of the waters by ‘The North Islander’ was likely to attract sharks long after the lines had been pulled up and the community demanded to know how much this fruitless effort cost. The Department of Fisheries refused to release details on the expense of the exercise and another drum lining was not attempted for the rest of the summer period of 2012-2013.WSV - A large sum of money was put toward the shark cull. How much money does the government give to shark research organizations?WASC -
The Imminent Threat Policy was actually broken down into several funding initiatives that spread the $6 million across several different shark control matters. Funding was allocated as following:
WSV - What’s the likelihood that we, mankind, are in fact responsible for the increase in sightings near shore? WASC -
- $2 million allocated to the Pre-Emptive killing of sharks deemed ‘an imminent threat’ over the space of 4 years.
- $2 million for research and tagging. While $300,000 worth of funding was given to the Shark Hazard and Research Committee (SHARC) at the University of WA to research different forms of shark repellents etc, it is worth noting that, since the introduction of The Imminent Threat Policy, no sharks have been tagged in WA waters.
- $2 million dollars allocated to a Shark Watch tower for Cottesloe Beach (not completed) and funding for water-skis for Surf Lifesavers as well as the daily patrol of 2 helicopters.
The obvious answer to this question is yes, there are many things that mankind does which could be considered to be increasing the amount of sightings near shore. These include fisheries operations and other vessels jettisoning waste, overfishing areas of the ocean that sharks frequent, impacting on the population of seals, sea lions, sea birds and other species that are prey items. Activity around river mouths is also included, particularly since we tend to use river mouths as Ports and marinas for fishing vessels. Also overfishing of sharks must be considered since it has badly damaged the breeding stock, forcing them to move to areas they have not been found to visit with regularity historically. All these things can pressure sharks closer to shores in search of food or breeding.
This is however a double sided question. We are creating more ways of monitoring sharks through tagging practices, through shark watch programs, and having more people, in more vehicles on the ground, in the water and in the sky looking specifically for sharks whether it be for “beach safety”, for research and protection or through targeted fishing.
Therefore it can also be said that while more sharks are being reported in the surf zone, it can also be easily argued that seeing more sharks in shallow water doesn’t mean their presence there is new or unusual: only that there are more eyes on the water now than ever before. Basically, more research is needed to truly answer this questionWSV - Obviously, the more eyes on the water, the more sharks will be spotted. Directly associated to more eyes on the water is the concept of increased numbers of beaches acc
essible to humans. How many beaches in the last two decades have been developed on that were previously uninhabited?WASC
- Western Australia has received a lot of growth in the last twenty years due to both the tourism sector and in general population. The South West of WA has been at the forefront of this growth with towns such as Albany and Dunsborough which were historically Whaling Stations growing into tourist locations for their beautiful white sandy beaches. The Margaret River area, which is also part of the South West has grown immensely also, not just for beach areas but due to its vineyards making it a major tourist draw. With business growth comes steady residential population growth and far more people are now living in these towns and enjoying the extended beaches of the coast.
The population increase in the outer CBD is also reflected in the building of another Train Line which extends out to the Mandurah coastal area which, until about ten years ago was primarily a tourism area, but now the residential population in the Mandurah, Falcon area has exploded. The North West of WA has several major tourism areas, all centralised around coastal hotspots, but much of the actual land is divided amongst the mining industry.
There are many more boats out on the coast than there were twenty years ago and more Marinas have been built and existing ones extended to deal with this increase of recreational boating traffic. The Fremantle Port which traditionally has been the main port for all of Perth’s imports and exports has grown and changed. Fremantle has spread into a large residential beach side town with many tourist draws.
The live export industry, particularly to the Middle East is based in Fremantle with hundreds of thousands of sheep and cattle being trucked to this port for loading onto Live Export Vessels. These vessels spew a lot of waste into the river mouth as they stay loading for days at a time and the Fremantle Mayor has been supporting the Stop Live Export Movement of Perth in a bid to rid Fremantle of these vessels. Another Port is being reclaimed in an area called Kwinana which is commercial.
The population of WA has certainly grown and the use of our coastline has increased, now more than ever the beaches are filled with swimmers, surfers, divers and kayakers. Studies have shown that the spread of the population around Southern WA and the greater Perth region show a pattern consistent with the distribution of water based activities along the coast when matched up to shark attacks.
To be continued...check back for part two of this amazing interview.