Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Use of whale blubber to chum for sharks for TV and "research" purposes


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

Poll: Okay to use whale blubber as bait/chum in shark research/TV production? (4 member(s) have cast votes)

If you found out that a popular shark-themed television production used whale blubber (used and procured legally) to attract sharks, would you be okay with that?

  1. Yes (1 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  2. No (3 votes [75.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 75.00%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 danielandrewclem

danielandrewclem

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 376 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Interests:writing, photography, fish

Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:53 PM

What do you all think: Is it okay that a well-known television production uses whale blubber to attract great whites? (Let's assume that the whale blubber was procured and used in perfectly legal—albeit loopholish—ways.) Do the ends ("raising awareness," getting new data) justify the means or is this taking things too far?
Flickr 5D Mk II & 20D | Ikelite

#2 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10595 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:32 PM

I'm guessing you're talking about Shark Men. They harvest from dead whales washed up on the beach. Unless they are sourcing the meat from other sources, I don't see the issue?

http://natgeotv.com/...deos/whale-meat

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#3 danielandrewclem

danielandrewclem

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 376 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Interests:writing, photography, fish

Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:36 AM

Indeed I am talking about Shark Men, Drew. I don't have a strong opinion about their use of legally-procured whale blubber, but I do wonder what other people think about it, especially in cases when the Shark Men are operating in U.S. waters, as they were the last two weeks.
Flickr 5D Mk II & 20D | Ikelite

#4 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10595 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:32 AM

Oh. Well, it lessens the load that needs to be disposed of. The cost of towing it back out to sea isn't cheap, unless someone wants to shoot sharks chewing on it and pays for it (BBC and a few other productions did). Certainly leaving it on the beach isn't an option. Why waste an opportunity? It's not like it's in Africa where I know in a certain place, people devoured a washed up whale, meat and even bones!

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#5 gina

gina

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:26 AM

Indeed I am talking about Shark Men, Drew. I don't have a strong opinion about their use of legally-procured whale blubber, but I do wonder what other people think about it, especially in cases when the Shark Men are operating in U.S. waters, as they were the last two weeks.


Although I voted "no" I did so because I did not know the source of the blubber. Remember, the Japanese procure whales "legally", and I do have a huge problem with what they're doing. In contrast, I don't have a problem with essentially re-using found dead animals.

I am not familiar with the show Shark Men, but if they are operating in US waters then I believe what they are doing is illegal. My understanding of The Marine Mammal Protection Act is that it is illegal to possess any marine mammal or part thereof without express written consent from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as doing otherwise would encourage wrongdoers to kill animals and then insist they "found" them dead.

What is the goal of the Shark Men show? Is it to promote conservation, and they chum in order to film and show the beauty of sharks? Or are they chumming in order to film "vicious, man-eating, horrible" sharks? I do feel the latter is wrong and would not support anything working towards that end.

-Gina

#6 danielandrewclem

danielandrewclem

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 376 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Interests:writing, photography, fish

Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:16 PM

Gina,
I'll leave it to you to read up on "Shark Men." There are things about their techniques that are both spectacularly telegenic and extremely useful to shark biology (such as allowing scientists to walk right up to an 18-foot white shark for all kinds of sampling and sophisticated tagging), but there are also some things that have been called disconcerting, dangerous, and appalling. How you perceive their operation will depend on a lot of factors. Personally, I wish there weren't so many shark diving and shark filming operations that weren't so dependent on manipulating or capturing sharks to achieve their goals, and I think the degree to which any of these things "promote conservation" tends to be exaggerated by the operators so they can justify what they do—both to their clients and to themselves. If all it takes to justify a shark interaction—whether it's hooking and landing a large great white on "Shark Men" or cozying up to Emma at Tiger Beach to take photos—is to say "I like sharks" or "I think my photos/videos/writings will promote conservation," well, then it's going to be awfully easy for people to justify what they do because the ends justify the means.

"Shark Men" has had some bad outcomes, and sometimes those are captured in the Nat Geo shows, such as the expedition to the Farallons when one of the sharks was released with a hook still embedded in its mouth. And earlier this year there was a fatal white shark attack not too far from where a production was underway in South Africa. (Probably a coincidence, but it didn't look good.) The reason I posted this poll about the use of blubber is to see if this is an aspect of this production that would rub people the wrong way if they knew about it. (I'm particularly interested in the Chatham production because I've spent a lot of time there in my life.) The upside, we're told, of using blubber is that it works better than anything else to get sharks to the boat—and that's what the show is about. But it's easy for amateurs to follow the leads of these shows and start doing really stupid things because they see something work well. Earlier this summer someone was caught by the Chatham Harbor Master towing a dead seal. Was this person just bringing in the dead seal as a favor (as he claimed) or was he trying to have his own Chris Fallows/Air Jaws adventure?

And like you said, what happens when non-permitted fishermen or amateur filmmakers decide to start chumming for white sharks themselves? Do they look for whale carcasses?
Flickr 5D Mk II & 20D | Ikelite

#7 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10595 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:16 PM

Gina,
If you watch the first link in my post, that should answer your question re: legality of whale meat source.

Daniel
What you've brought up is the fundamental issue on how entertainment media influences humans. There certainly has been many cases of monkey see monkey do. Quite a few dissertations on the subject and all worth reading. There's no denying the influence of media (TV, film etc) on humans, but there's also no denying that we ain't going back to cave drawings either.
As for the Shark Men South African adventure:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=45886

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#8 Paul Kay

Paul Kay

    Giant Squid

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1723 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Wales, UK

Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:23 PM

The upside, we're told, of using blubber is that it works better than anything else to get sharks to the boat—and that's what the show is about. But it's easy for amateurs to follow the leads of these shows and start doing really stupid things because they see something work well. Earlier this summer someone was caught by the Chatham Harbor Master towing a dead seal. Was this person just bringing in the dead seal as a favor (as he claimed) or was he trying to have his own Chris Fallows/Air Jaws adventure?

And like you said, what happens when non-permitted fishermen or amateur filmmakers decide to start chumming for white sharks themselves? Do they look for whale carcasses?

This is the crux of the argument. Utilising dead animal parts is not in itself a problem, but doing so and publicising the usefulness of those dead animal parts in this sort of way could well have knock on effects that are far less desirable. I agree that there do seem to be an awful lot of shark based operations at the moment - its an 'in thing' - and whether this is positive or negative only time will tell.
Paul Kay, Canon EOS5D/5DII, SEACAM/S45, 15, 24L, 60/2.8 (+Ext12II) & 100/2.8 Macros - UK/Ireland Seacam Sales underseacameras & marinewildlife & paulkayphotography & welshmarinefish

#9 johnjvv

johnjvv

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 254 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Frankston, Australia

Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:05 AM

I previously saw footage of sharks eating a dead whale while there was a guy standing on the whale...pretty cool doco...as controversial as it looks they are essentially fishermen in the name of conservation" using the right bait....

I dont think you will be seeing many people copying them, you would have to be super keen to hack bits off a decomposing whale... Posted Image

#10 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10595 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:17 AM

I dont think you will be seeing many people copying them, you would have to be super keen to hack bits off a decomposing whale...

Or live in Iceland, the Faroes and Norway, where whale meat is available in the local markets. :)

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#11 danielandrewclem

danielandrewclem

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 376 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Interests:writing, photography, fish

Posted 19 September 2012 - 12:16 PM

Or live in Iceland, the Faroes and Norway, where whale meat is available in the local markets. Posted Image


or certain places in East Asia, where cetacean flesh makes appearances at seafood markets. http://www.flickr.co...lem/2088863477/
Flickr 5D Mk II & 20D | Ikelite

#12 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10595 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:39 PM

Well the point was it's not very accessible, hence it's pretty much a non-issue.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.