Just because we can doesn't mean we should
With the help of California photographers I've put together an image sequence that shows the sad story of the white shark, Frodo, tagged by the OCEARCH crew in 2009. While other sharks have suffered much worse, this image sequence shows the sad mutilation of Frodo’s dorsal fin over a short period of time. Within months his fin became an ugly mess of growth with a tag that was no longer working (keep in mind one of the arguments for these tags is their proclaimed 5 year lifespan). Image 3 shows the 4 large bolt holes coming through the other side of the fin. A season after those images were taken Frodo was spotted again...this time missing a section of his fin wear the tag had torn away. This shark is permanently damaged with nothing gained from the “data” that was slated as justification for subjecting this animal to trauma and mutilation.
The technology isn’t ready. The methodology isn’t ready. The long term effects of the hook and haul method and the tag mutilation are unknown, but have raised enough concern that studies are now underway. These sorts of questions MIGHT be acceptable to learn while in the field conducted on a common animal, but even then the ethical treatment is debatable. Yet here we are, with a protected and magnificent species whose numbers are unknown, being subjected to faulty, harmful, unproven, experimental methods conducted by individuals more concerned with their careers than the animals. Worst of all, they are applauded for their work as pioneers in the field thanks to a slew of lies spewed forth in front of the hungry media.
On October 3rd White Shark Video will be featured at the California Academy of Sciences and this image, among others, will be on display. The next night White Shark Video will be holding a fundraising event at which the film trailer will be premiered and shark diving trips will be auctioned off for a good cause.