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#1 ozanners

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 11:32 PM

This gallery shows the sight that greeted us and and our customers as we prepared for departure to Thailands Similan Islands between Xmas and new year. We counted around 30 sharks, all but one of them was around 2m or bigger, mostly females. Obviously this is legal, and I guess the fact that they took the whole shark as opposed to just the fins is something. Having never seen sharks this big in the ocean, and in these numbers, makes this hard to swallow.

Can any one ID what kind of sharks they are?

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#2 Drew

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:06 AM

The big one possibly looks like a shortfin Mako (Isurus Oxyrinchus) or (less likely) young great white (Carcharodon Carcharias) but it's difficult to say. The other is impossible to even guess as it's obscured. Maybe if you post 100% crops? How about a custom WB so the yellow from the halogen is removed too? Coloration should tell the 2 apart.

Was this out of Tap Lamu? I know that the Thai government have been enforcing the whole shark thing in theory. Nice to see it's sunk in.

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#3 MikeVeitch

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:27 AM

i would also say Mako.. didn't know they still had those in SE Asia ^_^

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#4 Drew

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:39 AM

There's even tigers and bulls if you know where to look Mike. ^_^
So little is know about the Mako except for distribution, but being a pelagic shark, it may travel the same distances as a carcharias and then some.

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#5 danielandrewclem

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 10:21 AM

There are no makos or whites or any other lamnid sharks in these photos. They all look like requiem sharks to me. Here's why:

The lobes of the caudal fins (tails) are quite asymmetrical.
Gill slits aren't very big.
On the most visible shark in the first image, the anal fin is fairly prominent and you can see black at the tip. And some of the pec fin tips are black on the underside.
The eyes don't appear to be black.
The snouts, while fairly sharp at the tip, aren't as conical as a mako's, and the bodies aren't spindle shaped.
The sharks with open mouths seem to have very small teeth, especially the one in the second image. If that were a mako its teeth would be easy to spot.
No signs of prominent caudal keels on any of these sharks.
Here's a dead shortfin mako for comparison.

I'd say most of these are Carcharhinus spp. Maybe silkies? But definitely requiem sharks.
But there's something about the shark on the right in the second-to-last image that makes me think it's a tiger. Too hard to say just from the tail and dorsal.

Did you happen to notice what kind of gear this boat have on its deck? Presumably some kind of longline, but could be demersal (bottom) rather than pelagic.
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#6 shark8matt

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 09:27 PM

I'd say most of these are Carcharhinus spp. Maybe silkies? But definitely requiem sharks.
But there's something about the shark on the right in the second-to-last image that makes me think it's a tiger. Too hard to say just from the tail and dorsal.


As a shark biologist I concur with daniels assessment - these are requiem sharks though actually species identification would be difficult as many species are very similar. Their position hanging down also distorts their bodies so that the usual fin placement ratios used to identify many species will not work too well here. Makos have very pronounced caudal keels just before their tails and this would be evident in the photo, as the keel would either have to be above or below the line stringing it up. As far as there being a tiger, it is difficult to tell from the images but I would doubt it. Most likely these are all requiem sharks - and ones that school such as silkies or a whaler species which could easily be all caught on the same gear deployment.

When I left port in Puntarenas to go to Cocos in 2003, we steamed out past warehouses of crated shark fins and past incoming longliners. Several years later images of this were exposed in many places including the Sharkwater movie. Fishing for sharks is probably one of the most devastating ways we are changing the ecology of the planet and this experience is unfortunately a quite regular occurrence. Hope it didn't ruin your trip and thanks for sharing - the more exposure this problem gets the more evidence to evoke change we have...

cheers!

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#7 Drew

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 09:57 PM

Thanks Daniel and Matt for really examining the pic. Obviously I just glanced without much thought.

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#8 danielandrewclem

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:50 AM

Thanks Daniel and Matt for really examining the pic. Obviously I just glanced without much thought.

Oh you thoughtless glancer, you!

I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's today, thumbing through the current National Geographic. The article on illegal wildlife trade in SEA has a photo of an Indonesian boat offloading a bloody requiem shark, and it reminded me a lot of the photos we're talking about here.

http://ngm.nationalg...ong-photography
Click the 4th thumbnail. Looks a lot like the sharks in the images above, but like Matt wrote, it's hard to differentiate one requiem species from another without a closer look at the morphometrics.
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#9 TimLee

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:22 AM

Hi all,

I'm no pro, but I am interested in Sharks so i'd appreciate your thoughts.
There are some distinctive black tips on the lower Caudal fins that seem to run up the edge of the upper caudal fin. There are also some on the underside of the pectorals fins and on the anal fins. These are consistent with the Black-tip shark (not to be mistaken for the Black-tip reef shark). http://en.wikipedia....mbatus_nmfs.jpg
The black markings of the shark that I've linked (above) do vary a bit (e.g this pic has no black on anal fins but other pics I've seen do), but the shape of the body, overall size, colour, fin positions and shape, all fit. Even so, I am only 95% sure.
The Silky and the Whaler are a pretty good match for these, but they lack the specific markings that these sharks have. I think the Black-Tip, however, matches the specs quite nicely..
Let me know what you think.

Tim

Edited by TimLee, 04 February 2010 - 11:18 AM.


#10 xariatay

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 07:36 PM

This appeared in the Bangkok Post Bangkok Post

Illegal fishing depletes fish in national park

* Published: 29/01/2011 at 02:58 AM
* Newspaper section: News

"In light of recent stories regarding the coral bleaching at Similan Islands and other areas of southern Thailand, I want to bring to the world media's attention a problem that may have even more severe consequences for the future of Similan National Park. The problem is illegal fishing within the marine park and the plight of the shark population.
.......
The national park wardens do not seem to do anything to stop any of these fishing activities. On the contrary, they are often seen visiting fishing boats and returning with fish or crabs. When on occasion the wardens are questioned as to illegal fishing activities, their standard answer is that they do not have the resources to police the marine park.

At present Similan is Thailand's premier national park which earns the Thai National Park Service hundreds of millions of baht every year, yet illegal fishing activities are destroying the park's resources. Islands are vital breeding grounds for fish stocks and if fishing is allowed to continue around these breeding grounds, then the future of this vital eco-system is in severe jeopardy."
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#11 xariatay

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:29 AM

Please help the sharks in Thailand! Dive Tribe - Save our Sharks The petition "Stop Shark Fishing & Finning In Thailand" to Suwit Khunkitti -Minister for Natural Resource and Environment is here Petition Site
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