The application to continue the shark cull another three years was rejected by the Environmental Protection Authority in Western Australia. However, the imminent threat policy was. The EPA justified this decision claiming that the targeting of a few sharks was not likely to play a large impact on the environment. In this interview, scientists Malcolm Francis and Jessica Meeuwig explain how our lack of understanding of the reproductive nature of sharks, particularly white sharks, might prove the EPA's reasoning to be flawed. Jeff Hansen of Sea Shepherd contributes commentary on the Imminent Threat Policy.
Footage by Rohan Sibon and Skyler Thomas.
This is a scene from the director's cut of #GreatWhiteLies
The upper jaw of the white shark is not fused to the skull. Instead, the jaws are slung loosely beneath the skull, held in place by flexible connective tissue and braced by accessory cartilages. Special muscles pull the jaw forward and down, riding on grooves on the undersurface of the skull. This arrangement allows this shark to protrude its jaws outward from the head, extending the reach of its teeth and creating a partial vacuum that helps suck in prey. This comes into play when one considers the teeth. The teeth have broadly triangular blades with coarsely serrated edges. The upper teeth are broader and flatter than the lower teeth, which reflects their different roles during biting. The lower teeth stab into and hold secure a food item while the saw-like upper teeth gouge out a hunk of flesh as the detached jaw extends forward and crashed down to meet the teeth holding the target in place. This dental arrangement allows the white shark to feed on prey too large to swallow whole as well as scoop out calorie-rich blubber from whale carcasses.
The two photos (by #WSV cameraman MJ Billen) featured here show how a white shark's upper jaw can appear almost toothless until the jaw moves forward and down to reveal the impressive teeth waiting within (image 2).
"Strongly directional swimming" is my new favorite "scientific" term. Apparently sharks are heading in a direction while they swim and that was worth publishing another paper about the White Shark Cafe. Or maybe this is an example of "publish or perish" or an attempt to justify the use of SPOT tags. I know Bonfil has made strong contributions to white shark research over the years, but I'm not too impressed by this paper analyzing someone else's data. The first image is the map provided in Bonfil's paper and a link to the paper. Make your own conclusions of the significance of the new map to the old SAT tag maps. Next do a Google search for any conservation measures that have been put in place thanks to SPOT tags on white sharks. Leave your conclusions in the comments.
Debra Canabal of Epic Diving in the WSV hoodie. Get yours!
About the Author
Skyler Thomas is the primary blog contributor, cinematographer, and lead editor at White Shark Video.