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Monterey gets their second great white...


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#1 Seriola

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 12:14 PM

Very cool... Monterey Bay Aquarium has put their second great white shark on display, last night.

White Shark 2006

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#2 Drew

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:06 PM

I personally do not approve of this. It's a big fish and a small aquarium is just not the place for it. I'm against zoos as well.:)

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#3 Kelpfish

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:15 AM

Zoos as a whole exploit animals for profit. But something like the GW at Monteray Aquarium is for science and if it means studying the animal for longer term benefit to the species, my opinion is that it's not exploitation even though the public can pay to go see it.
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#4 ssra30

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:53 AM

I am not sure exactly how putting a great white in a tank helps us learning more about the shark. Putting it in an artificial environment certainly won't let you learn much about its nature in its native environment. It does not teach us about breeding, migration pattern etc and any kind of behavior that it may show may be influenced by its artificial surrounding. I think it is just like whale shark in captivity in a net that you can go dive with. They say it is mainly for research purpose just to make it somewhat PC but in reality it no more than a tourist attraction to make quick cash. May be it may help to raise cash for the field research but I doubt that putting a shark in a tank will contribute to science directly. Also I am rather tired of the same old line of raising public awareness. Just because you can see it up-close, especially its teeth is probably unlikely to make people change their mind about it being a huge maneater and dangerous :)

Just my opinion of course, and I would be glad to hear if my impression is wrong :blink:

Edited by ssra30, 02 September 2006 - 07:03 AM.

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#5 Kelpfish

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:13 AM

I agree. I am not saying that great whites can be easily studied in captivity because I don't know. What I am suggesting is that if you can gain species knowledge that would otherwise be impossible to attain in the wild, and it is useful to the long term longevity of the species, I am all for captivity. As far as the great white is concerned, Monterey Aquarium's only real claim to justify captivity of the shark is to "bring awareness" to destructive fishing efforts across the globe. They generate 30 plus percent more ticket sales and are therefore "educating" 30 percent more people than their avergae baseline ticket count without a great white. Don't know if that justifies captivity, however.
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#6 Rocha

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:26 AM

They also have a Whale Shark at the Georgia Aquarium, I think that is a lot harder to keep.

http://www.georgiaaq...eanVoyager.aspx

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#7 JackConnick

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:41 AM

I think you all are missing the point.

Raising awareness and changing people's perceptions is a huge part of this. Most people are not divers, don't have any of awareness that you guys possess. 95% of the visitors still think of sharks, particularly great whites as "Jaws" (may Peter Benchley rot in hell). Kill them before they kill you...hundreds killed by sharks...all the media hysteria.

Showing a small shark like this does raise and change public perceptions and inspires many to be more careful and value the uw environment. Last time they kept it for like 6 months or something until it started eating too may of the the rest of the exhibit.

And yes, they are learning from it, sharks like this have very little data on rate of growth, interaction, how electrical impulses work with it, etc. Most information is off of dead sharks or tracked sharks.

Make money, scarcely. Keeping animals is very very expensive, most rely on donations to keep afloat. Just feeding one sea otter costs $4k a month, we have about 7-8, and are set-up to accept more injured animals.

I see all of this every time I work at the Seattle Aquarium once a week.

Jack

Edited by JackConnick, 02 September 2006 - 09:43 AM.

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#8 Rocha

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:45 AM

That's a great post Jack, I agree with you that raising awareness to conservation is the single most important function of aquariums and zoos. Those places receive millions of visitors (mostly non-divers) per year and everybody comes out with a different perception of nature.

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#9 ssra30

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 02:53 PM

I just wonder how effective can an aquarium raise people's wareness. My feeling is that if anything, their plan to raise awareness about destruction of the ocean might actually backfire like Finding Nemo. Good movie, good message but somehow most people got the wrong idea from the movie :(

I think seeing a great white upclose and personal, seeing the way it swims and hunts will not make the general public think any differently from Jaws. I never see a real great white but on TV, the way it powerful body swims with all those teeth, people can respect its power and beauty but I don't think anyone will miss the point of being in water with it is a bad idea :) (unless there is a cage!)
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#10 Seriola

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 05:30 PM

I am not sure exactly how putting a great white in a tank helps us learning more about the shark. Putting it in an artificial environment certainly won't let you learn much about its nature in its native environment. It does not teach us about breeding, migration pattern etc and any kind of behavior that it may show may be influenced by its artificial surrounding.


Well... obviously my opionion is biased here... just a little :-), especially as a former employee of MBA. But how about growth rate and metabolism? To understand a population of animals... understanding their growth rate is pretty darn important. MBA is collecting extremely valuable data on this and I expect a pretty cool and exciting publication to come out of it.

As for Georgia and their management of sharks... along with some other things that go on there... I am very skeptical.

"I think seeing a great white upclose and personal, seeing the way it swims and hunts will not make the general public think any differently from Jaws."

As for awareness... have you ever seen someone's face/expression after seeing a great white in captivity? I think it gives a different view of this misunderstood shark. Coming so close to such a great predator, some people find it inspirational.
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#11 Drew

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 05:51 PM

Jack
If you had met Peter Benchley before his death, you'd have seen him campaigning for the conservation of sharks for the last 10 years. His own activity has brought more recognition to great whites than the monterey and georgia aquarium combined. If anything the aquarium feed off the sensation of Jaws more than Peter ever did. So take it easy on the anti-Benchley rhetoric.
Also remember Jaws the book didn't do half as well as Jaws the movie, and I don't see Steven Spielberg campaigning for sharks openly like Peter. Sure 20th Century Fox would not like the income from Jaws to stop if Steven went negative on Jaws.
As for captivity, there was only one time aquariums managed to keep great whites alive in long term captivity (198 days). And they released it only because it started chowing on the other exhibits. In that time, traffic was up 30% in the aquarium. While it is non-profit, they still have to bring people in to justify the aquarium's existence. They go out to catch their own sharks vs nursing the ones caught in fishing nets etc. To me, the aquarium is adding to the problem.

Raising awareness and changing people's perceptions is a huge part of this. Most people are not divers, don't have any of awareness that you guys possess. 95% of the visitors still think of sharks, particularly great whites as "Jaws" (may Peter Benchley rot in hell).


Boi, being in the water outside of a cage with a great white (non-chummed) is probably the best way to gain perspective. Having had 3 separate encounters on regular dives, it shows they are not interested in humans per se. The first time I was on my rebreather check out dive in South Africa and it wasn't turned away by my bubbles but my ugly not-on-the-menu mug. It just came in, buzzed one round to ascertain the cause of commotion and left.
Seriola, I accept that some experiments may be easier to obtain results in captivity vs in the wild. But in captivity, feeding patterns are changed as well as what the sharks do to get their food. How accurate are the figures going to be for essentially a sedentary shark vs one in the wild? Is it worth going out to catch a healthy shark (which would otherwise be a reproductive individual in the wild) to find out?

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#12 ssra30

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:21 PM

Well... obviously my opionion is biased here... just a little :-), especially as a former employee of MBA. But how about growth rate and metabolism? To understand a population of animals... understanding their growth rate is pretty darn important. MBA is collecting extremely valuable data on this and I expect a pretty cool and exciting publication to come out of it.


I see your point but how would one insure that growth rate/metabolism of captive fish would be the same as in nature. The amount of food available, room to move around, variation in ocean temperature at various depth, current etc etc cannot be duplicated so the reading that you get in the aquarium is not neccessarily the same the real thing. Of course I realize that trying to obtain such data from animal in the wild is next to impossible so reading from an aquarium is the next best thing but I wonder how valuable the information is beside filling the curiosity of an enquiring mind.

As for Georgia and their management of sharks... along with some other things that go on there... I am very skeptical.

As for awareness... have you ever seen someone's face/expression after seeing a great white in captivity? I think it gives a different view of this misunderstood shark. Coming so close to such a great predator, some people find it inspirational.


We don't have great white in aquarium over here but there are other kind of sharks and yes, for someone to see a real shark up close for the first time, it could make quite an impression but I am not sure that the impression they get out of it is for conservation.

I am not trying to be a pain but often I see zoos, aqauriums etc trying to explain what they do as raising public awareness about endangered species, conservation of environment etc, somehow seeing captive animal in a cage or tank just does not seem to do anything for me (or my biased preconception ) :)
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#13 Rocha

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:45 PM

We don't have great white in aquarium over here but there are other kind of sharks and yes, for someone to see a real shark up close for the first time, it could make quite an impression but I am not sure that the impression they get out of it is for conservation.


We (or at least I) are not trying to say that everyone will have a different view after visiting an aquarium, but I think it will affect lots of people. If say 10% of the people that visit an aquarium think they are beautiful and gets convinced that the world is better off by protecting the oceans, that's a great achievement, I think. Think of it on another perspective, two people go to a restaurant and shark fin soup is in the menu, which one do you think is more likely to order the soup? The one that has visited the aquarium and saw the great white or the other that has never heard anything about sharks?

Also, along with keeping the sharks, most of these aquariums sponsor real world conservation programs. The New England Aquarium had a great influence in the creation of the marine sanctuary at the Phoenix Islands, the Monterey Bay Aquarium funds satellite tagging and behaviour observations of real great whites, and so on. I am not saying it is fair for a great white to be in a tank, but keeping one is not all that bad and in the end can help "save some souls".

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#14 ssra30

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 08:05 PM

We (or at least I) are not trying to say that everyone will have a different view after visiting an aquarium, but I think it will affect lots of people. If say 10% of the people that visit an aquarium think they are beautiful and gets convinced that the world is better off by protecting the oceans, that's a great achievement, I think. Think of it on another perspective, two people go to a restaurant and shark fin soup is in the menu, which one do you think is more likely to order the soup? The one that has visited the aquarium and saw the great white or the other that has never heard anything about sharks?


Make sense to me but I have no idea if 10% is overestimating or underestimating the impact. You know, being a skeptic that I am :( I had my share of running around a dairy farm, playing with cutsey calves as a child but that did not stop me from eating beef :) I hope the general population is more impressionable than I am :)
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#15 ce4jesus

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:14 PM

"Zoos as a whole exploit animals for profit." Zoos do more good than harm. I think you need to keep in mind that children are the the most frequent visitors to zoos and aquariums. Adults have long standing prejudices that are difficult to change. Children, on the other hand, are open to being taught the values of conservation. If Great Whites, or any other animal for that matter, are to have any chance in an uncertain future, they need the hearts and minds of children today. Zoos help to provide children with a healthy foundation of conservation. Just my 2 cents on the matter,
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#16 ssra30

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 12:25 AM

\I think you need to keep in mind that children are the the most frequent visitors to zoos and aquariums. Adults have long standing prejudices that are difficult to change. Children, on the other hand, are open to being taught the values of conservation....... Zoos help to provide children with a healthy foundation of conservation. Just my 2 cents on the matter,
Cheers



Hmmm, zoo has been around for a long long time. It did not convince most of children from my father's generation about conservation nor did it convince most children from my generation very much (at least that's what indicated in your post since now I have to wait for my children's generation to be the champion of conservation). I don't see much differences between the zoo now in comparison to 50 years ago except less cage and more natural boundary which only looks more appealing to the audience rather than the captive animals, I think. Sure some zoos make more effort to promote conservation but the overall premise of zoos/aquariums had not changed much in my opinion.

Edited by ssra30, 03 September 2006 - 12:35 AM.

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#17 Drew

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 01:44 AM

Gary
Those parents with longstanding prejudices also teach their kids to have those longstanding prejudices. It's called culture.
As Boi said, somethings are too much into the culture to be changed by persuasion. For example, Thailand (Sorry Boi but it's so easy to pick on BKK government:)). Sea Shepard spread the word about high mercury levels in eating apex predator fish too much, Thai government says it's fine. And the world's biggest consumer per capita of fins, Hong Kong is even tougher. 3 ad campaigns lowered sharks fin consumption, including getting some celebs to say no more sharks fin. 6 mths later, consumption is back to normal.
Then we get to seal captivity. At the aquarium in capetown, you can see cape fur seals lying around at a few places around the harbor. But the aquarium still keeps a seal exhibit because it attracts people. Whereas the africa penguins get their own beach area to do their thing almost naturally. Which one do you think is more mutually beneficial?
I join Boi's skepticism on the effectiveness of zoos and aquariums, but I'm sure we are in the minority.

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#18 ssra30

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 07:29 AM

(Sorry Boi but it's so easy to pick on BKK government:)). Sea Shepard spread the word about high mercury levels in eating apex predator fish too much, Thai government says it's fine.


Drew, that's ok, everybody else is criticizing the Thai government right now, so why not you :)
At least they are not being hypocrites. The other day, I went to a Chinese restuarant for my friend's birthday party, one of the deputy prime ministers was at one table, minister of finance at the other table (no, they weren't at my friend's birthday party) all chowing down sharkfin (no sharkfin at my table though).
I am not sure how would one ever convince a culture that have been consuming sharkfins for a long long time that they should stop.
Since you mentioned those ads, may I comment on Wild Aid campaign a couple of years back about sharkfin soup. They sacastically talked about Thai style sharkfin soup or something to that effect. While sharkfin is consumed in Thailand, it is not par tof traditionally Thai food and the soup is only found in Chinese restuarant. I mean, why would I care enough about such campaign if they can't even get their facts straight and why single out Thailand when it is not even the biggest consumer of sharkfin by far!

Now back to the topic....
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#19 ce4jesus

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 01:43 PM

Boi,
I guess you'd have to have a perspective of life before zoos to make a correct analysis. For example, would you say that conservation is better today, than it was 200 years ago? 100 years ago? 50 years ago? I would answer yes to all 3. I would further say that zoos have played a lare role in that turnaround. I would say the children that visited those zoos are also more empathetic to the plight of endangered animals. I'll point out the American Alligator and wolf as an example of that success.
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#20 jarhed

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 02:05 PM

Just returned from the Monterey Aquarium, as members, I visit often and today was very special. The Great White is awesome. Visitors are lined up around the block for a chance to see it and it is well worth the wait. For those of us that do have not yet had the oppertunity to see them in the wild this is the next best thing, and as far as I could tell, the masses gathered at the tank were awed by such a great site.

I cannot think of a better way to inspire people to be better custodians of our planet than to offer them awe inspiring site like this.

Kudos to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the hard work and dedication to make this possible!

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