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Do you think Ocearch really love sharks?

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#1 wahlaoeh

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 04:17 PM

Seriously, do you think these guys are doing any good to the sharks? I recently started a conversation on their Facebook page. They claimed that they execute 12 different research projects on each shark using SPOT tag which is known to cause damage to the dorsal fins of the tagged sharks. Also, the trauma that the shark has to go through during the tagging process is unbelievably cruel.

Great white grab: OCEARCH tags first shark of the summer - CBS News Video

 

When I question them on their inhumane method, they emphasized that they are helping the sharks and said that sharks do shed the tags and the fins heal in time. Haven't they really not seen a damaged dorsal fin caused by their method? They also mentioned that 200K sharks are finned each day and they must pioneer research as fas as they can to find breeding sites, nurseries and migratory paths etc. so they can protect them.

http://www.whiteshar...-the-enemy.html

 

 

I further question them if they also think that shark finning is the biggest thread, why not spend the money on more beneficial projects like educating the fishermen etc. .

Frankly, I don't undestand why tagging will help. Wouldn't tagging the sharks and tracking them (if their data is correct and sharing it so publicly) make the sharks more vunerable? Now, the crafty fishermen can track and fish them easily and destroy whatever breeding grounds that these guys found and wept them out completely?

 

They STOP answering my queries.

 

 

 

 



#2 danielandrewclem

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 03:03 PM

There are some legitimate questions to be asked about how tagging affects organisms. There was recently an experiment done in a wind tunnel using sea turtle shells that had some typical sat tags mounted on them. The results showed considerable drag on the turtles, which means mounting these devices on animals for the purpose of monitoring their "natural" behavior could be leading to some bad conclusions. I have my doubts about the overall value of Ocearch's work, but shark biologists seem to appreciate the opportunity to get new data, and as usual there's a "could be worse!" defense at work, wherein everything gets compared to the evils of shark finning and therefore all other activities with sharks seem relatively benign. That's exactly why Ocearch responded to you with the (exaggerated" estimate of 200,000 finned sharks per day. My two cents: Ocearch enjoys what it does and is going to keep going as long as they can afford it. They are pretty good at promoting themselves and the notion that whatever they're doing—even the sloppy days when a shark gets gut hooked—is a net positive for science and for sharks. But then again, hundreds if not thousands of people do this as well, justifying whatever they do by comparing themselves to shark fin traders or positing that they're "changing hearts and minds" by making pictures and videos. Let's face it: There's lots of money to be made, and if people think they can make a living off sharks while "helping" them—or at least not killing them—a lot of people will try to do just that. I do wish web sites such as the one you pointed to and others (Shark Savers, for example) would stop disseminating ridiculous generalizations about sharks—a group that spans seven different orders—as though they're all at the tops of their food chains and all of them are "cleaning the ocean" (ugh) and all of them deserve to be protected because "sharks" have been around for 400 million years. But I won't hold my breath.

 

I don't think educating fishermen about sharks' ecological roles would do much good. Again, there's a lot of money to be made, and as with so many natural resources many of the people who are in the business of extracting those resources are just doing what they can to survive—not so different from folks who are mining diamonds in Africa or cutting down rainforest in Brazil. The resource either needs to be physically protected (area closures, patrols, enforcement of fishing regs, control of international trade, etc.) or people need to stop paying for the extraction of the resource. As long as shark fins fetch a good price, people around the world will be willing to provide them—even if they know the resource is in trouble.


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#3 gina

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:20 PM

My personal belief is that Ocearch is not a true scientific research institute, but rather, a bunch of fishermen who think it's cool to catch and tag sharks, and they found a loophole that allows them to do this.

 

But, I am also a scientist and require proof.  So I started looking around for hard evidence, one way or the other.  The information I got on Ocearch was from their own website, http://www.ocearch.org/.  

 

Chris Fischer is the "expedition leader and founding chairman" of Ocearch.  While it appears he has gone to college, I cannot find any information about what he studied.  Presumably if he had studied something like biology that would relate to legitimate research it would have been mentioned.  He has, however, been an avid fisherman since childhood.  Fischer's Facebook page,  https://www.facebook...HEROCEARCH/info, says "By breaking down institutional barriers, the resource-focused projects of his non-profit, OCEARCH, facilitate research progress at a rate otherwise not possible."  I interpret that to mean, "Since we have no one to answer to, we can do what we want," but you may read it differently.

 

Under the "Partners" section of their website they list:

  • Cat[erpillar] tractors & engines
  • Costa sunglasses and apparel
  • Landry's dining, entertainment, and gaming
  • Contender boats
  • Yamaha outboards
  • Yeti coolers
  • Safe boats
  • Xavient Information Systems
  • The Billfish Foundation (sportfishing)
  • LightHawk aircraft

None of these organizations are conservation or scientific organizations.  Thus we are forced to assume that no legitimate scientific organizations have partnered with Ocearch.  However, please note they are partnered with a sportfishing company, on whose board Chris Fischer previously served.

 

There is a question in the FAQ section, "Does Ocearch decide how sharks are handled?"  Their answer is, "The tagging, handling and sampling procedures employed during the expedition follow the standards of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC.org) of each institution, which are made up of scientists and veterinarians."  Having previously worked in Stanford University's Human and Animal Research Compliance Office I know a little bit about how organizational IACUCs work and how research protocols are approved.  Any time an animal research project protocol is sent for review the reviewers (which do include peer scientists and veterinarians, and usually a lay community member) will scrutinize and approve or disapprove the methods being used by the researcher.  However, what I do not know is a) if Ocearch's methods are reviewed and approved by institutional IACUCs, since they are a third-party, and if they are b) how detailed are the descriptions of Ocearch's methods, and c) does the IACUC have the ability to have Ocearch change their methods.  And of course, there is always the possibility that some research, especially if the institute is based outside the U.S., is done without IACUC review or protocol approval.

 

Under the "Science" section of their website they throw out words like methodology but do not provide any actual information.  As I was looking at this their website went down so I was unable to access the "Scientific Papers" section, but please see below. 

 

Ocearch states, "There are approximately 40 research papers currently in preparation or completed based on OCEARCH expeditions and resulting studies."  This is what really matters, right?  Is what they are doing to the sharks worth it?  So I did a literature search using Google Scholar through my university.  I found seven mentions of Ocearch:

  • 1 in Russian, appears to be about the Cat company
  • 1 article was not available, but is not from a peer-reviewed journal and appears just to mention that Ocearch does tracking
  • 4 blog entries and non-peer-reviewed papers
  • 1 legitimate peer-reviewed scientific paper.  Ocearch was given a citation here, and the tracking information used within was a brief mention not directly related to the research topic

Fischer's Facebook page lists five "Published Scientific Papers."  All five references are mentions in one book, "Global Perspectives on the Biology and Life History of the White Shark," edited by Michael L. Domeier.  The only place I could find these papers published was in this book; these are not peer-reviewed scientific papers.  All papers listed Michael Domeier as an author.

 

Yes, there may be more research papers that have not yet been published, but their track record isn't good so far.  I can say with confidence that, as of today, there have been no legitimate, peer-reviewed research papers that have used data collected by Ocearch to support their hypotheses.  (Ocearch founder and leader Chris Fischer has zero shark research papers to his name.)

 

I welcome any additional information about Ocearch.

 

-Gina


Edited by gina, 17 November 2013 - 03:22 PM.


#4 wahlaoeh

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:55 PM

@Daniel and Gina, thanks for your responses.

 

I also have my own doubts on Ocearch's work and value. For the record, I'm just an avid diver who care and love sharks so have not read any scientic papers on their work. I've recently just got back from a great white shark expedition and have learned about their unethical tagging methods causing damage to the sharks and so that has started my interest in this subject.  

 

@Daniel, from my experience diving with sharks, I can say that not all shark expedition leaders/operators are doing it for the money. I have met many shark enthusiasts who love sharks and are doing the chumming activities to promote the sharks.  There are certainly many here at Wetpixel that have use their photographs and videos to promote the love for these beautiful animals. Regarding educating the fishermen as not the only means or will not do much good for the shark finning industry, I think you're right. I'm just quoting that as an example that if Ocearch really wants to help, they should focus their effort more on the shark finning activities instead of employing such publicity stunts and calling themselves "Sharkmen" etc.

 

@Gina, I know that there is definitely one shark that was murdered by the team and they claimed that that shark was anemic. From what I know, they filmed their own shows and do not allow any other film makers on their boat so I'm not sure how many more sharks perished. Under the IACUC reviews, shouldn't they be penalized?

This shark Ocearch claimed they saved??

http://sharetv.com/watch/451994



#5 Drew

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:19 AM

I happen to know people attached to the Ocearch projects so I won't comment about the scientific option.  What I will say is that the Fischer production, like ALL shark feeding/chumming companies, is about making money.  So productions like "Sharkmen" and other programs from Fischer are "entertainment" oriented first.  The science is secondary and a beneficiary of the funding for expeditions.  I happen to know a few of the scientists who have been onboard the Ocean on several of those expeditions and they feel the data collected is invaluable.  There is a reason why Fischer and Domeier aren't mentioned in good light from each other.  Besides Michael, try searching for Alison Kock's research aboard the Ocean last year.
Ocearch, like any other enterprise, may not be totally dedicated to science, but as a NPO,  it has money to run expeditions that possibly benefit the long term survivability of sharks. Just like the shark diving operators, who may love the sharks, but also profit off them.  There shouldn't be pretense that it's not about money at some point.


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#6 danielandrewclem

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:53 AM

If you can access it, there's a recent article titled "Cape Fear" in The New Yorker about Ocearch's recent expedition off Cape Cod. Not a lot of new info in there—it's a fairly dull ride-along story about the Chatham expedition, and it seems to take what Fischer says at face value—but one interesting bit: Fischer mentions not being reliant on TV anymore to finance the expeditions:

 

Keeping the Ocearch on the water costs a few million dollars a year, which Fischer initially paid for by making television shows, something he says he never much liked doing. In 2012, he struck a sponsorship deal with the heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar and several other sponsors, and now, he says, "I'm a totally funded explorer, which allows me to be on mission a hundred percent of the time."

 

I guess we'll know if that was true or just semantics if/when there's another Ocearch-based show on cable next summer. Maybe he just hires his own film crew at this point and makes his own shows, with the obvious benefit being the editorial control he can exert if things go awry?

 

But Fishcher is certainly not having trouble getting researchers aboard his boat to lend credibility to these expeditions and do something legitimate with the research opportunity that his boat affords. Greg Skomal of the Division of Marine Fisheries has been active with them off the Cape and others have flown up to participate as well. Some biologists like the attention, and there's certainly something to be said for the data collection possibilities that Fischer's techniques allow. It also doesn't surprise me that it's taking a while to see the peer-reviewed papers that Fischer has been foreshadowing, as these things tend to take time. Skomal has done some public presentations of some preliminary tracking analyses, and of course Ocearch makes data publically available on its site, but whether anything really amazing emerges from the data has yet to be seen. And obviously Fischer can't promise X number of papers will be published, given that it isn't up to him whether journals accept papers for publication.

 

"In two or three years, you'll see the extent of his contribution," Skomal says.


Edited by danielandrewclem, 19 November 2013 - 03:07 PM.

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#7 BottomTime

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:11 PM

There are plenty of organizations that support conservation and do good work even though I may not be a fan of their underlying motivation. Ducks unlimited is a very large conservation organization that does some really positive things for wetlands and waterfowl conservation. It’s all done so they can kill them…errrrr… enjoy and preserve the sport of hunting.

 

I’m not a big fan of some of the methods Ocearch uses and I certainly would not call them a research organization. I have no time for “Shark Men” but it’s not the worst shark drivel on TV. But, just because I don’t care for their show and have concerns about some of their methods doesn’t mean that their work isn’t valuable. Biologist are tagging all kinds of animals all over the planet trying to understand their movements, so clearly this kind of data is something that the science community values. I only hope that the value of the data Ocearch’s work yields outweighs the negative consequences that all work of this nature brings.

 

Yes, they are responsible for the mortality of at least one shark. But we can add many more organizations to that list. The first White shark the Monterey Bay Aquarium ever put into captivity died after 10days so they are responsible for the death of at least one Great White.

 

The TOPP project used long line fishing equipment to capture and tag Blue sharks and Short Fin Mako’s. They mentioned in a blog that they “occasionally lose a shark” and that they try to part out various organs to support different research projects when that happens. I’m guessing that they have more than one in their tally.

 

And of course, I keep reading disconcerting reports of White sharks accidentally getting stuck in shark cages. I fear that if it hasn’t already happened, it’s only a matter of time before a shark dies or is seriously injured after being entangled with a cage. If that comes to pass then everyone who has supported cage diving through their participation (including myself) will assume part of the responsibility for that event.


Mike

 

"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible"

 


#8 danielandrewclem

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 09:55 AM

The TOPP project used long line fishing equipment to capture and tag Blue sharks and Short Fin Mako’s. They mentioned in a blog that they “occasionally lose a shark” and that they try to part out various organs to support different research projects when that happens. I’m guessing that they have more than one in their tally.

 

This is a good point. Plenty of research that's wholly directed by biologists does indeed result in mortality, especially when Murphy's Law comes into play and a gillnet or longline soaks for longer than intended. (If you catch a ton of fish it's much harder to finish the haulback in a timely manner, which means you end up with more mortality through exhaustion or asphyxiation, whereas in a "normal" set you may be able to catch and release everything.) I think the distinction we may be reaching for—perhaps unfairly—is the one between mortality that results from "pure" science (a NMFS survey, for example) and the mortality that results from non-scientists employing methods that are aimed at two different objectives: getting data and making good TV. I'd be curious to learn if Ocearch does things differently now that they are no longer reliant on TV production.


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#9 wahlaoeh

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 04:47 PM

Well, I have just learned from my friend that NatGeo has pulled out all his anti-OCEARCH videos showing evidence of DAMAGES done to the sharks during their MISSION. NatGeo has also filed a complaint to Facebook and Facebook has issued a threat to terminate his account. I know that there are copyright issues on the NatGeo videos but what’s up with Facebook on video/photo sharing?? Every second there are people posting racist craps and other worse stuff but they do not take action. Now they are against someone stating facts (with real evidence).  Again, my point is, if Ocearch (CF) and NatGeo are trying so hard to cover up the evidence, then they must realize that what they are doing is tantamount to animal abuse and not about scientific research and protecting sharks.

 

BTW, Chris Fischer is live on New Talk 6PR 882 in Perth West Australia just this morning. Is NatGeo and Ocearch teaming up again? Seems they are trying very hard to invade Australia. Be warned!!!



#10 WhiteSharkVideo

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:00 PM

To the person who asked about Fischer's credentials; he studied "entrepreneurial studies", nothing scientific and comes from a wealthy, entrepreneurial family .

Regarding his research being "invaluable", I think you may find that the scientists claiming so primarily consist of people trying to justify similar tactics (Domeier) or that were directly involved on the boat (Skomal, Kock, etc.), which of course benefitted these researchers with funding, research equipment, and the limelight, even if it was brief. I'm certain Skomal has been on more TV shows about white sharks than papers he's published about them. Careers are careers and we all need funding, so I'm not attacking them for taking a competitive edge, but I am criticizing them for giving more value than is appropriate to this data.  I've spent the last year pursuing scientists and reading their papers to find out what's true or not.  Guess what?  We knew GLOBAL locations and migrations of white sharks before OCEARCH even existed.  There are multitudes of papers and detailed maps showing where the white sharks go and aggregate, all of which were achieved WITHOUT SPOT tags.  Does that mean SPOT tags don't provide data or that SPOT tag maps aren't also published. No.  Is the data from SPOT tags different than from other tags?  Yes. Did the difference in that data lead to the discovery of new locations of white sharks? No (despite what Domeier and Fischer try to tell you). Are SPOT tags more expensive than other tags with a higher rate of failure?  Yes.  Can sharks and other pelagic animals be studied without SPOT tags?  Yes.  Is the data from SPOT tags crucial to the future of white sharks? No.  Do we need to protect sharks right now? Yes.  Do we need more data?  Only for the sake of research careers, because but I don't think anyone on here can say that we don't need to change our approach to pelagic species of sharks immediately.

Now, everything I said before aside, why would a purely intentioned individual or organization knowingly put forth false information to the public?

Also, please tell me why a struggling (financially) white shark PhD spilled his guts to me about OCEARCH then begged me to not use the interview when he found out his funding would be pulled?  Does that sound like honest science to anyone?  I have a long list of scientists in my film who will speak about OCEARCH, but I won't reveal anymore of their names at this time.  But I can tell you the difference between the ones who agree with me and the ones who agree with OCEARCH.  My scientists don't have anything to gain financially from their opinions, and that says it all right there.



#11 Drew

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 08:39 PM

WhiteSharkVideo, I do have to question the innuendo you have raised, especially since you won't name sources etc.  It does not enhance the discussion and even removes credence of your assertions as per the research.

The efficacy of the Ocearch research by the various researchers is somewhat subjective.  SOFA, aggregation and migration patterns of different populations of great whites via SPOT/PAT tagging by various researchers (non Ocearch as well) means this sort of tagging is almost ubiquitous in terms of long term tracking.  Michael Domeier's recent paper, with data garnered from the TV program, is from the Guadalupe population.  While there is some cross relevance with Pyle et al's research of the Anos Nuevo/Farallones etc population, it does "reinforce" the SOFA and other migratory patterns, with more clarity.
As for the South African project, I suggest you read up on Shark Spotter and the problem of False Bay shark attacks on swimmers and surfers.  Movement data of that population (I believe up to 40 GWS were tagged) has been deemed important to protect the species there because locals tend to fish GWS when there's an attack, even if it is illegal.  By knowing the movement patterns, beach closures etc could be managed better.
So it's not as clear cut as one would like it to be.  The original poster also questions the validity of OCEARCH using SPOT tags.  This study settles the issue.  As long as it's not longer than 24 months, the tags tend not to do much permanent damage at all.


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#12 WhiteSharkVideo

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 11:41 PM

WhiteSharkVideo, I do have to question the innuendo you have raised, especially since you won't name sources etc.  It does not enhance the discussion and even removes credence of your assertions as per the research.

The efficacy of the Ocearch research by the various researchers is somewhat subjective.  SOFA, aggregation and migration patterns of different populations of great whites via SPOT/PAT tagging by various researchers (non Ocearch as well) means this sort of tagging is almost ubiquitous in terms of long term tracking.  Michael Domeier's recent paper, with data garnered from the TV program, is from the Guadalupe population.  While there is some cross relevance with Pyle et al's research of the Anos Nuevo/Farallones etc population, it does "reinforce" the SOFA and other migratory patterns, with more clarity.
As for the South African project, I suggest you read up on Shark Spotter and the problem of False Bay shark attacks on swimmers and surfers.  Movement data of that population (I believe up to 40 GWS were tagged) has been deemed important to protect the species there because locals tend to fish GWS when there's an attack, even if it is illegal.  By knowing the movement patterns, beach closures etc could be managed better.
So it's not as clear cut as one would like it to be.  The original poster also questions the validity of OCEARCH using SPOT tags.  This study settles the issue.  As long as it's not longer than 24 months, the tags tend not to do much permanent damage at all.

 

1. Show me evidence that OCEARCH's tags are being used to close beaches in a more effective manner in South Africa.

2. Your Plos One paper is from before OCEARCH's arrival in SA, featuring smaller SPOT tags than the ones OCEARCH used in South Africa.  Three points here.  I have seen personally, and have an entire catalog of images of tags placed on white sharks by OCEARCH that have been donated by friends of mine in the field. The damage is excessive and the majority of them are under the 12 month mark.  Next, OCEARCH's claim to fame on their tags is the 6 year life-cycle, which completely undermines your point about tags in the 12-24 month range not causing permanent damage since their intention is to last longer than that. It is not even disputed that bolting through developing juvenile fins is damaging and alters growth, yet the vast majority of their tags are on juveniles. So, no, the study does not "settle the issue". 

3. I also had already read the Domeier paper prior to your suggestion. I even discussed it with him.  His sample set is small, his failure rate on tags is high, and his conclusions are premature.  You might be interested that he already published a paper in 2007 about his "discovery" of Guadalupe white sharks going out to the "Cafe", or "Sofa", so if anything his SPOT tag data is redundant even if it's more detailed.

 

Now, considering how poor your research was while trying to discredit me I'm going to say it is you, not me, who seems to have an innuendo.  As far as losing credit by not naming my sources: 1. Forget I ever mentioned the sources.  Whether I have them or not doesn't mean I don't have valid points.  PhD's aren't required to possess common sense, in fact, in many cases it seems to be lost along the way of obtaining such as degree.  2. I hope you'll catch the film once released so you can see that my sources do exist.  At least one member on here witnessed my interview with a now "gagged" PhD, so I assure you, I'm not making it up.



#13 wahlaoeh

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:38 AM

Drew: the damage is not only subjected to the dorsal fins. The method of capture is obviously stress inducing (which they claimed is not). True science/research does not need/allow human to cause harm to another species right?

At least one member on here witnessed my interview with a now "gagged" PhD, so I assure you, I'm not making it up.
 

I was on the same trip and I can vouch on that.

#14 Drew

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 05:33 AM

Skyler
I think you are reading my points too personally and I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way.  I'm not discrediting or crediting you for anything.  But facts are facts.  The fact that the PAT tags are shown to have leave permanent damage on dorsal fins after more than 12-24 months, means any period longer means permanent damage to the shark. So that issue is settled, at least to me.
As for innuendo, when you say you have scientists that discredit this or that, but won't name or list their works which does prove something is inaccurate or wrong because your film isn't ready yet, then it's nothing but unproven conjecture at best.  That's not how one constructs factual points in a discussion.  I'm not invalidating your points, I'm just asking for clarification.
It's your opinion that Michael's research is "redundant" and that's fine.  If you are saying that there are scientists who agree with your assessment, then name them or link where they say this.  Reinforcing your points with proof is akin to having peer reviewed papers published.  Otherwise, it's just another opinion.  
Similarly, you can't publicly say a PHD student was "gagged", alluding that it's some nefarious act of the people mentioned here, without proof.  That's a serious accusation.
Finally, regarding the tagging South Africa sharks and their movement habits, I believe Kock et al released a paper on Muizenberg and Fish Hoek, with some of the data from the Ocearch tracking.  Sharkspotters act on such data and also release such data to the public so the public are aware of the shark habits. 
 

'For example, in the False bay area, we know that sharks are here year-around, but in winter time they tend to aggregate near the seal colony and in summer time, they tend to be around the beaches. There is a changeover period, so what we try and do through Shark Spotters and through the city is give people forewarning. We want to remind them when it’s shark season.

What those satellite tags will tell us is when we start seeing the movement away from the seal colony and closer to the beaches. At the same time, we can also tell people if there is an area with high-shark activity.'

 

So basically, when people online to see if a tagged shark is, say at Muizenberg or Fish Hoek, they can make the informed decision to go to another beach.  It's not ideal and we could say well leave the sharks alone.  However, we know that is not going to work. I hope this clarifies any issues you have.
 

1. Show me evidence that OCEARCH's tags are being used to close beaches in a more effective manner in South Africa.
2. Your Plos One paper is from before OCEARCH's arrival in SA, featuring smaller SPOT tags than the ones OCEARCH used in South Africa.  Three points here.  I have seen personally, and have an entire catalog of images of tags placed on white sharks by OCEARCH that have been donated by friends of mine in the field. The damage is excessive and the majority of them are under the 12 month mark.  Next, OCEARCH's claim to fame on their tags is the 6 year life-cycle, which completely undermines your point about tags in the 12-24 month range not causing permanent damage since their intention is to last longer than that. It is not even disputed that bolting through developing juvenile fins is damaging and alters growth, yet the vast majority of their tags are on juveniles. So, no, the study does not "settle the issue". 
3. I also had already read the Domeier paper prior to your suggestion. I even discussed it with him.  His sample set is small, his failure rate on tags is high, and his conclusions are premature.  You might be interested that he already published a paper in 2007 about his "discovery" of Guadalupe white sharks going out to the "Cafe", or "Sofa", so if anything his SPOT tag data is redundant even if it's more detailed.

 
Wahlaoeh,
I don't know about true science, but I do know that there is always some sort of unwanted collateral damage much of scientific research.  It's somewhat similar to eco tourism. With increased tourism means additional human damage (eg. the Nabire/Oslob Whalesharks), but it also means they are protected and aren't hunted.  On the same vein, if we don't study the sharks, we don't understand them enough.  GWS may be protected under CITES and many countries have also made it illegal to kill them.  We all know that culls happen and fishermen still land them for fun.

With respects to OCEARCH, if quite a few, in my opinion, respected researchers like Michael Domeier, Alison Kock, Ryan Johnson, Malcolm Smale and Matt Dicken among others etc are using the boat and facilities for their research, then obviously they feel such techniques are necessary.  The tags will be giving data for a while, so the data may not be fully presented anytime soon.
As for being witness, just to be clear, what exactly were you a witness to? The interview or the PHD being warned by someone who gave him/her the grant?


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#15 wahlaoeh

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 06:31 AM

As for being witness, just to be clear, what exactly were you a witness to? The interview or the PHD being warned by someone who gave him/her the grant?

 

Drew: I was on the boat and the scientist was invited to present his research to all the guests on one evening. During the Q&A session, questions were rasied about Ocearch and he said that he does not support their methods and also mentioned that Ocearch is not willing to share scientic information (if they have any) with him. Skyler filmed the whole interview but was told not to name him for fear of losing his funding.

 

Again, I want to stress, I am not against tagging and shark research, but using such invasive methods are totally unnecessary. IMHO.

 

BTW, Ocearch posted today on their Facebook page that New Blood Indicator Confirms Low Stress Levels with OCEARCH tagging Method. The comparison was made on ONE GWS to various other sharks. Talk about scientic research there. LOL!!!

 

Oh, and there is a closed group WHITE SHARK ADVOCACY on Facebook aim to advocate the conservation, protection, education, and ethical treatment of the Great White Shark globally. There are plenty of discussion by scientists/researchers on these subjects on there. If you're interested, I can add you if you pm me your email address.


Edited by wahlaoeh, 23 November 2013 - 06:53 AM.


#16 Drew

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 06:53 AM

So the PHD student asked not to be named because of perceived fear of complications to his funding, and was not "gagged" by someone else?  Without being too pedantic, that's a big difference as far as I'm concerned.  It gives too much credit and power to OCEARCH, unless he IS funded by OCEARCH related funds.
By unwittingly "outing" him in the forums, Skyler has done this PHD student no favors as it's now possible to figure out who this is.


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#17 wahlaoeh

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 07:22 AM

By unwittingly "outing" him in the forums, Skyler has done this PHD student no favors as it's now possible to figure out who this is.

 

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
George Orwell, 1984

ps: He didn't ask me not to name him but the whole trip was so secretive. Oops, would I be blame for naming the trip now. Ssshh!!! BTT.


Edited by wahlaoeh, 23 November 2013 - 03:23 PM.


#18 wahlaoeh

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 03:09 PM

As for innuendo, when you say you have scientists that discredit this or that, but won't name or list their works which does prove something is inaccurate or wrong because your film isn't ready yet, then it's nothing but unproven conjecture at best.  That's not how one constructs factual points in a discussion.  I'm not invalidating your points, I'm just asking for clarification.
It's your opinion that Michael's research is "redundant" and that's fine.  If you are saying that there are scientists who agree with your assessment, then name them or link where they say this.  Reinforcing your points with proof is akin to having peer reviewed papers published.  Otherwise, it's just another opinion. 

 

Drew: Can't speak for Skyler but from my sources on public forums.

 

"Quote Dr. Bill on a reply to Ocearch's Mission on Scubaboard:  Well, at least they haven't been back in 8 months... that's a good thing IMHO. I've been really disappointed to see some research instityutions that I respect getting involved with these folks (and have written to tell them so)."

 

"Quote Jeff Reinhardt on Ocearch page: Chris, I hope one day you see the light. As a marine biologist, I would not touch Ocearch with a ten foot pole unless it was a gaff to rip them off stage. But you can go on supporting these clowns."

 

Do take up my offer to add you to the WHITE SHARK ADVOCACY group, I know that there are many other scientists who don't think that their research methods is necessary to solve the 400 million year old puzzle.

 

The problem I have with Ocearch as a layman (from my short time learning about them) is that they are very good at promoting themselves as a NPO wanting to protect/save sharks and is constantly sharing mediocre and misleading information but when someone wants to interact and ask valid questions on their page, questions are either left unanswered or even worst, the person's post will be deleted and the person blocked.



#19 Drew

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:24 PM

Thank you for listing those sources.   Seems to me this is a philosophical argument which doesn't nearly interest me. The ecological devastation of the Sea of Cortez and adjacent areas with shark removal, resulting in the meteoric rise in humboldt squid populations and spread of territory is more important to me.  I'd rather waste my breath on curtailing long liners and trawl fishing in the oceans, than worry about who is right or wrong about methodologies of tagging sharks.  I've seen it done, and don't think it's an issue.
I haven't read of any scientist who opposes such methods offer an alternative to data collection.

With respects to the data from Ocearch projects, I can see that the movement data from the tags in False Bay is useful for managing the balance of public beach use and shark protection.  It's not ideal but what situation is?  Is Ocearch a WHOI or Smithsonian?  Obviously not right now.  Only time will tell if it can become as significant or join the plethora of other mediocre institutions, many of which lack the funding of Ocearch.  I suspect some of the objections may be based on envy rather than scientific objection.  But that's just my opinion.


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#20 wahlaoeh

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 01:43 AM

Drew: Since you'd rather not waste your breathe on this subject anymore but I'm still going to state my opinion. First of all, you were the one pressing Skyler to name sources (as you need validation) and when I did list you two names who publicly voiced their opinions that discredited Ocearch, you said that it doesn't interest you anymore. From what I know, there are scientists who truly care for sharks and are using less invasive methods for tracking sharks.  These scientists do not go around portraying themselves to be sharkmen on TV/media but are doing their jobs as scientist should do. What you didn't know doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I'll save my breathe on this one.

 

The shark safe barrier IMO is a better barrier system to protect both marine life and people. At least that is better than shark nets used previously.

http://www.sharkdivi...rks-and-people/

 

You have hit the nail on the greatest thread to shark species, which is the removal by shark-finning. Ocearch was the one stating that 200K sharks are finned each day and they must have agreed to that one too (I have print-shot of my conversation with them on their page which they probably have removed, I'm not sure). These sharks that were taken from places like Cocos, Galapagos and Sea Of Cortez etc. are mainly the smaller schooling shark species. The Great White shark is usually solitary so why would tagging a few helps. I have asked them this question but it was left unanswered. You should be persuading the scientists who you know have worked or are still working with Ocearch to join effort with you in tackling this issue and probably request funding from Ocearch. That will be killing two birds with one stone. IMHO.


Edited by wahlaoeh, 24 November 2013 - 02:14 AM.