I'm taking a break.
Blogging will resume when it will resume. :)
C'ya at DEMA!
Blog about "The World's best Shark Dive" by Beqa Adventure Divers. Featuring up to eight regular species of Sharks and over 400 different species of fish, Shark diving doesn't get any better!
DEMA Show 2013
Friday, November 8
A scientific analysis of shark provisioning within the Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji. Presentation by Dr. Juerg Brunnschweiler, Shark Behaviorist and Marine Biologist.
“People said it was impossible to change China, but the evidence we are now getting says consumption of shark fin soup in China is down by 50 to 70 percent in the last two years,” said Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, a San Francisco-based group that has promoted awareness about the shark trade. The drop is also reflected in government and industry statistics.
“It is a myth that people in Asia don’t care about wildlife,” Knights said. “Consumption is based on ignorance rather than malice. ”
Recently, we have been hearing persistent claims of declining shark fin imports into Hong Kong. But many of the reports - both in local and international media - have been guilty of peddling misinformation, which has created confusion around the real issue.Claims from the shark fin industry of a drop in imports of some 30 per cent - and even one report of 70 per cent - are exaggerated. Data from the Census and Statistics Department clearly indicates a 19.8 per cent drop in imports from 2011 to 2012. What's more, for the 15 years up to and including 2011, shark fin imports have remained relatively constant at about 10,000 tonnes a year, albeit with some fluctuations.That contrasts significantly with the figure of 1,162 tonnes recently reported for 2012. The exaggerated drop in the 2012 figure, which was widely reported, is probably a result of the fact that the codes under which shark fin products are reported were revised in the 2012 government data.A large quantity of fins were recorded against a previously rarely used code and omitted from the total figure reported.The decline also started well before major airlines, led by Cathay Pacific last December, took the bold and much welcome step of banning the carriage of shark fin. About 15 per cent of all shark fin is imported into Hong Kong by air; the majority still comes by sea.Yet, despite the 2012 decline, Hong Kong has retained its leading and historic position representing about 50 per cent of the global total, indicating that the drop is likely to be global in nature. The good news could be that demand and consumption are falling - which has also been widely reported. The bad news could be that there are simply fewer sharks in the oceans, a very real possibility according to scientists. Or, it could be a combination of both.Whichever way, until we see a significant downward trend that can be attributed to reduced consumption, there is much reason for concern. Overfishing is driving many shark species towards extinction and by the time we see such a trend emerge, it will probably be too late to do anything about it.
A number of migratory fish stocks that are caught in U.S. waters are subject to management under international agreements. The MSA contains an exception to the 10-year rebuilding requirement when management measures under international agreements dictate otherwise. Though multiple factors are at play, this weaker approach to rebuilding has not proved a conservation success: Of the 19 Atlantic highly migratory species of known status managed by NMFS, including multiple tuna, billfish, and shark stocks and stock complexes, 8 are overfished and 1 is approaching an overfished condition—about half of the total.
One relative bright spot is North Atlantic swordfish, which, after becoming overfished by the late 1990s, was put into a rebuilding plan and ultimately declared rebuilt in 2009.
Victoria - How do you test a shark proof wetsuit? It sounds like it could potentially be a very terrifying test.
Nathan - Well, we have lots of PhD students who are willing to swim with these suits on (just joking!).
Really, it is very hard, in actual fact for all shark deterrents to test these things. Limited testing can be done in the lab, but ultimately, you have to take the product out into the wild, try and induce sharks to come up and investigate. Then you have to see how effective it is. We’re at the very early stages of helping the company to test their wetsuit and it would be really nice to validate it and see if the science really works. There's likely to be no downside of the suit, but it would be really nice to know whether it decreases your chances.
Victoria - Does that really involve putting dummies in different wet suits underwater and inducing sharks to come and investigate and see what happens?
Nathan - Well obviously, there are ethical problems in putting either a person or even just an entire wetsuit, a mannequin in the water. So, we have to do it in a slightly more controlled way which is to use a piece of the wetsuit material, wrapped around something which doesn’t resemble a human because obviously, we have to be very careful that we don’t want to make any association between humans and food in an area where there are sharks.
Activist and nonactivist perceivers may, however, respond differently to activist targets.
Indeed, because individuals generally view ingroup members positively (Sherif, Harvey, White, Hood, & Sherif 1961; Tajfel & Turner, 1979), activist perceivers may respond relatively favourably to ‘typical’ activists. On the other hand, because individuals have especially unfavourable impressions of group members who perform undesirable behaviours (Marques, Yzerbyt, & Leyens, 1988), activist perceivers who condemn the use of militant methods to promote social change (e.g. ‘atypical’ activists) may react particularly negatively to ‘typical’ activists.
For many activists, the willingness to take a radical stand without regard for mainstream sensibilities is a point of pride.
Indeed,environmental activist and author of ‘Tree Spiker’ Mike Roselle (as cited in Olafsson, 2009) defends his militant efforts to protect the environment, noting, ‘I don’t think there’s anything extreme about saying we have to stop pumping carbon into the air. If we’re extremists, so be it. The stakes are too high’ (para. 6).
The present research suggests, however, that such seemingly zealous dedication to a social cause may backfire and elicit unfavourable reactions from others. Indeed, individuals avoid affiliating with ‘typical’ activists and adopting the pro-change behaviours that these activists advocate because individuals associate them with negative stereotypes.
Ironically and despite good intentions, therefore, the very individuals who are most actively engaged in promoting social change may inadvertently alienate members of the public and reduce pro-change motivation.
We simply cannot trust non-experts to grasp the nuances necessary to discuss scientific research and engage in science communication.Their lack of accountability for their opinions as compared to “traditional” outlets is downright dangerous, and thus we must do our best ensure that journals and magazines with wide readership do not give credence to unsupported remarks without proper review. While we cannot stifle “free speech”, we have to do what we can to prevent unscientific attacks from damaging the careers of hardworking scientists and writers. This means that major journals should be wary of criticisms, even internal ones, if they have not been properly vetted.
You also have a history of secretly obtaining research permits without proper public consultation and awareness, and of then barging in on commercial GWS diving sites whilst disregarding the concerns of the local shark diving operators - and from what I hear, you are attempting to do the same right now in Australia.
As a fellow Shark diving operator I cannot but disapprove of that MO.
If you're so convinced of the validity of what you do, you should at least be willing to engage with all stakeholders, defend your POV and adapt your procedures in order to address any valid concerns.