Back that up with examples you say? Gladly.
These are direct quotes from Chris Fischer, on camera, from an interview with CBS First Watch.
- LIE 1 "We don't know where they (white sharks) feed." - CF
- Hmmm, let me unravel the mystery for you, Fischer. The places they feed are each of the aggregation sites that OCEARCH has traveled directly to in order to tag the sharks. Let me put that another way. The sharks are at exactly the place you went to because you knew they would be there. It was not a mysterious voyage out to sea. You went from Isla Guadalupe to the Farallones to False Bay, Gansbaai, Cape Cod, etc. because these areas are well documented. These are the same places the shark’s food source can be found, the same places islands of pinnipeds are found, the sames places documentaries are filmed and the same places white shark cage-diving exists because the people running cage diving KNOW THAT'S WHERE THE SHARKS ARE.
- LIE 2 "We don't know where they go." - CF
- Wow. Scientists around the world tracked the movements of white sharks way before OCEARCH ever came around and did so without harming the sharks. For example, in South Africa, one specific study of white sharks conducted between 2002-2003 led to the discovery of intercontinental travel between Australia and South Africa, most notably by the shark Nicole. In California, TOPP provided extensive migratory data showing white sharks moving along the California coast, movements between California and the Farallon Islands, movements between California and Hawaii, movements between Baha and Hawaii as well as to a mysterious spot in the Pacific Ocean known as the White Shark Cafe. Not only do we know where they go, but we know when they go and for how long and where they go next. All this data was published before OCEARCH and was provided using PAT tags, which are attached harmlessly to the shark as it swims by. While we don't know everything about these sharks, lack of data isn't the problem. Lack of action is. This leads to the next lie.
- LIE 3 "We can't put policy in place to protect them until we have this data." - CF
- Let me address this lie in multiple parts.
- Policy is already in place, so his quote is flawed immediately. The enforcement of policy, rather the lack of enforcement, is the problem. Multiple countries around the world have laws setting forth fishing regulations on sharks. White sharks specifically have been protected since the 90s. In certain waters it is against the law to even approach these animals. So, again, I say that policy is in place, but it’s ineffective, as evidenced by OCEARCH. The fact that a group of former trophy hunting fishermen have been able to enter marine sanctuaries and disfigure, harass, damage, and even kill these sharks is a good sign that policy in trampled on and ignored.
- Funding seems to be an issue in enforcement of policies. The ocean is big, even when broken down to smaller sections such as marine sanctuaries, thus it is difficult to patrol these waters effectively. The money OCEARCH is receiving is money that could be used to fund more boats and officers patrolling areas we already know the sharks frequent. Even if a patrol boat pulls over someone illegally fishing for sharks, it is easy to dump the bodies or claim the shark was caught accidentally. Californians worked hard last year to move white sharks to “endangered” classification because this would make it easier to prosecute anyone caught with a white shark, accidental or not. Unfortunately, NOAA stepped in and overturned this decision.
- OCEARCH has been doing its thing for the better part of a decade. What have they done to improve policy? What have they donated to conservation programs? What improvements have we seen as a result of the “data” they have been collecting? NOTHING. NADA.
- Based on the fact that the data OCEARCH says is needed already exists, why would anyone be inclined to think that protection for sharks will improve if OCEARCH goes on tagging or re-tagging sharks for another decade? (I say retagging because many of the sharks OCEARCH pulls out of the ocean already had tags.) I personally have seen a shark with three tags on it.
In the image on the left, 5 flotation devices have been attached to the shark's jaw via a large hook in order to keep the shark at surface and drag it for hours to the point of mortal exhaustion before being hauled out of water for further mishandling. Also pictured, Captain Brett McBride jumps into the water whenever the near dead shark is brought onto the platform for no apparent reason other than TV drama.
- LIE / MISLEADING STATEMENT 4 “Back in the day when these scientists wanted to study sharks they would go out and kill them all and sample them. Now at least we have a way to study them and let them all go alive.” - CF
- This is directly misleading. Fischer insinuates that his method is the only method that is used to study sharks without killing them (when in fact his method is the only one that has killed them).
- Fischer basically says that until he came along all scientists killed sharks in order to study them and his method is the only one that releases them alive. I think some scientists might like to argue that one.
- MISLEADING STATEMENT “We don’t know where they mate or give birth”.
- No, it's not on film, but scientists have a pretty good idea of where birthing happens based on the size and number of small white sharks found in specific areas. These are the waters that already need protection. More data from OCEARCH won’t change that. In the meantime OCEARCH is hooking, dragging, and hauling out of water adult female white sharks that are essential for the next generation of white sharks. This action can cause pregnancy issues or disrupt mating habits.
- Honestly, I'd hate to see what organizations like OCEARCH will do if they find out where birthing and mating take place.
Let’s put this in a best case scenario...
- Let’s say Fischer and crew are allowed to do this do white sharks for another decade. Let’s say every shark in the ocean is tagged. Let’s say we know their blood types and can call them by name. How will that change the future of the sharks? How will that stop sharks from being caught in long lines or drowning in nets? Tagged sharks are already dying in nets just offshore of areas we already know they migrate to. More data is not what we need. Action is what we need!
- Put the shoe on the other foot and now provide data against my argument. Please give me an example of how and why data from OCEARCH’s tag collection will change the status quo for sharks.