Posts posted by jimabernethy
I forgot to mention that Eli from Shark Diver Magazine has already requested that the story be published in his magazine in one of the future issues for those of you that want to see it for yourself. Those of you on Eric's trip with us, please bring extra cameras so we can try to see if "Spot" is interested in improving his photography skills. HA HA!
I just thought I would clear things up about the tiger shark taking a photo. It is true! One of our regular tiger sharks at tiger beach by the name of "Spot" (Because of a white spot on his dorsal fin) approached professional photographer Manu San Felix from Spain like he has on many times before during the previous two weeks, usually just bumping people in as a friendly kind of way. But this time he opened his mouth wide and took the housed Nikon D-100 with two strobes in his mouth and proceded to swim around with it for about one minute. During this time he moved it around in his mouth and took a perfectly exposed and level image of our tiger shark spot called tiger beach, which is ten feet deep. I was watching this all with my crew from the boat, as the strobes fired. :shock: The water was crystal clear. In the image taken by "Spot" you can see the surface as well as the bottom with some turtle grass, perfectly exposed. There were 7 other tiger sharks in the close vicinity as well as a handful of lemons and bull sharks. The ten divers from Spain that were in the water watching, immediately stampeded for the boat and got out of the water, never to return at that site. I went in to retrieve the victim (Camera) which was not flooded, but the dome is now a total loss due to all the teeth marks. There were also deep scratches in the aluminum housing. Needless to say only the crew did the night dive there that evening. Manu did get back in the water the following morning to enjoy some more time with the tigers.
Although many believe sharks to be dumb eating machines, it is nice to reflect espiacially on this forum how "Spot" did choose to go digital for his first camera. :shock:
Beautiful image. Water color is gorgeous. Where was this taken? Is that red algae on the rear of the shell?
I just want to thank you for your tips with Adobe premiere on the web page. They are very helpful. Did you teach yourself Premiere? I am currently editing two short films for the San Diego Undersea Film Festival, which I will be attending this September. You very knowledgeable so if it is alright I might be seeking your advice. I will look forward to the day when I can spend time with you diving some time in the future. I use Sony's trv 900 with a Aqua Video housing and their largest (forgot their name) lighting system (twin 340 watt bulbs). Thanks very much and I will look forward to your future tips. I will try to recruit a few of my friends that shoot video as well to this forum.
My whole purpose of expressing the other side of this controversy was to show that things are not always as they are perceived just because some government makes a law about it, as is the shark feeding law in Florida and many other laws as well. I was not attacking your husband, only asking him to show me the evidence, he so easily spoke of that I believe makes people think that such scientific evidence exists. If it does, produce it, if it does not, very simply apologize for misleading this forum with garbage that does not exist. It is the correct thing to do, especially seeing that he is a moderator. He should not be saying misleading information, just to start a debate in my opinion. Why would I purposely attack someone I haven’t even met? This is ridiculous! I was only trying to educate people on what I feel is the truth about sharks, as I have been for many years. Constantly I run into people that try to portray this animal with the Jaws mentality. Jaws aired in 1971. I believe and it’s depiction of sharks was way off, and many others do as well, including the author. In fact more people are killed by almost every other animal on the planet, including ant’s, bats, tigers, bears, alligators, elephants, pigs, dogs, cats, rats, etc, etc. Falling coconut in the Caribbean alone account for roughly 400 deaths a year. Should we cut them all down? Do to the fact, that being consumed by a shark is man’s worst fear; some people still portray this animal in the wrong light, including the media. Most of the world believes it, which is even worse. I am not saying that they don’t bite people and sometimes it kills them. What I am saying is that it is an accident, and it very rarely ever happens. I believe the average number of people killed by sharks over the past 15 years is roughly 8 people a year. 9 people died last year in the state of Florida trying to get money out of a vending machine. Shark attacks are not a problem, only a perceived problem and the media feeds on your fears. I love sharks and that is why I am doing my best to represent them truthfully. If there is truth in your husband’s statement of having a scientific report, please share it with the forum. If their isn’t any scientific report that he spoke of, tell us, so we will look at sharks properly using the truth as our guide.
Did you know that more people are attacked and bitten in the state of New York, every single year by people, than in the whole world by sharks? On average, 1600 people are bitten by people in the state of New York alone every year. Sharks bite roughly 75 people a year. Should we stop feeding the people of New York, because of their aggressive behavior? I think not. It has nothing to do with feeding people. In my opinion, when a shark attacks a person, what really happens is the shark made a mistake, usually it is because of murky water (can’t see what it is biting) and/or the presence of some stimulus that puts sharks into a predator mode, such as the stimulus (both vibration and electrical) put out by a wounded or hooked fish. Neither of these stimulus can any human detect. I have done a great deal of research with shark scientist and experiments with these sharks in the wild.
According to the Global Shark Attack File, (public record) 90% of all shark attacks are related to some type of fishing (spear or fishing pole) This would explain why organized shark diving has such an impeccable safety record, as most of them only use dead bait which only emits a sense of smell, not enough to put sharks into the predator mode. If you looked more closely at these organized shark dives as I have, you would find that the majority of the accidents involved someone feeding the shark by hand, same as you would a dog or parrot. Lot’s of accidents happen that way to people with pets, but very very few happen with sharks, because this animal is very smart and the water is usually very clear where these shark dive exist.
In closing, I would like you, to tell your husband to relax about all this as we are only debating a controversy, nothing more. Why don’t we work together toward helping sharks for our future generations? They really need it! If you don’t like organized shark diving with bait, simply don’t attend them. No big deal! But please don’t misrepresent this beautiful animal any more.
While we all wait for cybergoldfish and mokarran to substantiate their claims that shark diving is bad, by at providing us with information so we can check out their claims, I thought you might be interested in checking out what a shark attack victim noticed while she was being attacked by a shark. This can be viewed at
I think you might see some of the real problems with shark attacks and aggresive behavior, right where the attacks happen as this victim did!
Finally located the video I was looking for last night. For those of you interested in seeing the type of people associated with the commercial spearfisherman against shark feeds - aka marine safety group - aka CDNN, watch this streaming video - http://acw.activate.net/vnetworker/sharkfeed.asx
Warning the end of the video contains a shark being killed for no reason, except stupidity. According to the Floida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision this does not alter their behavior and is perfectly legal.
Still waiting for a reply from cybergoldfish and mokarran to provide facts for us to evaluate.
Thanks so much for your compliments! It just goes to show you that even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every now and then!
I came across this article on CDNN. It sets out a chronology of key shark events and also references your operation Jim (Late 1990's).
"Late 1990's - South Florida Dive Headquarters, Jim Abernethy Scuba Adventures and Shark Dive USA jump on the bandwagon with high-profile, thrill-seeker shark feeding promotion. Divers begin to notice unnatural and aggressive shark behavior near feeding sites".
What are your comments on the last sentence Jim?
Hi Mark and others,
It is my belief that the web site cdnn.info has been put up by three commercial spearfisherman that have started a group they refer to as the "marine safety group." This name is much better for their image than the "commercial spearfisherman." (By the way this group was arrested last year for illegal fish (undersize, babies). It is public information, if you want me to produce it.) They started all the fish feeding controversy and have so far been successful in banning fish feeding in the state of Florida on the basis that it changes the sharks' behavior. No one ever said that it changes it for better or worse, only that it changes their behavior. It is clear to see from looking at the web page that the site is clearly against the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI), Divers Equipment Manufacturers Association (DEMA), Divers Alert Network, Peter Hughes, Aggressor Fleet, Scuba Radio, etc, etc and of course myself and the other two Florida shark operators. The list of people they slander is longer than I can remember. On this web page are pictures taken by professional photographers without their permission, which is against the law. Unfortunately, no one so far has been able to link anyone to the site, which shows you exactly how credible it is. Who is behind the site? No one really knows. If any of you can find someone behind this site, please contact me privately. The name of the "marine safety group's" boat is "SEA KILL." Need I say any more? I have video -- which some of you have seen -- of their team shooting sharks with a hand gun, which is perfectly legal in this state, as the state does not recognize this act as changing the sharks behavior. Yes, it is true.
As to your question, "does my activity with sharks change their behavior?" Without question it changes their behavior. A boat driving overhead changes their behavior. A snorkeler swimming, changes their behavior. In fact everything we do in the water effects the behavior of almost every fish in the ocean. The question should be, "does it effect their behavior in an aggressive way that endangers my divers?" Absolutely NOT! In fact statistics show that organized shark diving is safer than bowling. But I have already been through this. Check the undisputed facts published by a credible web page (With people that actually can be contacted) at www.welovesharks.com Or better yet check the statistics on shark attacks worldwide at www.sharkattackfile.com There has not been a single accident at any shark dive in Florida that I know of. While we are on this subject of defending shark dives once again, I must say, I am still waiting for all the scientific evidence from Bob (It has only been since March 2 that I have been waiting for it) and also the name of the "good friend" victim, shark diving organization etc - from mokarran (It has only been since March 5 that I have been waiting for his "Good Friends" name), so I can check up on the truth in your statements. While you are at it, how about giving us the list of scientist that are on the payroll from the dive operators, as you said! Both of you guys were very quick to put me on the front burner, but when it came time to defending your own words, you closed up tighter than a clam shell. That makes me wonder if what you are saying is actually true. I have come forth with answers to all of your questions, because it is easy for me -- what I have said is true. The ball is in your court now! We are all waiting for you to substantiate your claims by providing evidence to what you have claimed. The truth is, sharks have been eating the same thing for 400+ million years and it is not people. If your claims were true, wouldn’t it make sense that they would eat my divers first?
My feeling are the same as Jean Michel-Cousteau, who said:
"Sharks, worldwide, are being threatened... we as humans do not appreciate their value... I have observed that people who have a personal experience with sharks come away from the interaction with a different attitude toward them. I have also observed that when they go home they share experiences with friends. It is my belief that many divers who have had controlled encounters with sharks become ambassadors and educators who speak out on behalf on sharks.... when I weigh the possible disruption of shark's normal lives by feeding them, against the benefits of creating a constituency who respect and speak out for them; I choose feeding sharks under certain conditions."
I am not asking you to agree with me. If you don’t like shark diving, please don’t go! However, if you are interested in having a debate, please substantiate your claim with facts.
I will leave you all with something to think about.
In the state of Florida under the present ruling:
It is perfectly legal to feed a shark, at the public beach on a fishing pier.
It is perfectly legal to feed a shark, if you want to catch and release it or take it home to eat.
It is perfectly legal to feed a shark, if you want to catch it to take a trophy picture and then push it in the water dead.
It is perfectly legal to feed a shark, if you want to shoot it with a gun.
But it is not legal to feed a shark if you want to view it with a mask or use it as an educational tool to help protect the species.
- Jim Abernethy
I thought you might be interested in seeing some of Anna's and my images from the past shark expedition. Here is the link:
Hope you like them.
Here is my first attempt at putting images on the web, with Eric's help of course! Hope you like it!
The Imax Coral Reef Adventure film by Howard and Michelle Hall is beautiful. Not only are the scenes breathtaking but the whole underlying meaning is superb and should not be missed! As usual Howard and Michelle are without question, the best underwater film producers on the planet. (My opinion) If you have the time, spend it wisely by seeing this. www.coralfilm.com
If some crazy scientist says its ok then the world is put to right; I reckon he gets a cut of the takings. I think you might find that it has more to do with the thousands of dollars a day going through companies turning sharks and other marine creatures into circus animals. This is not natural. It might save a few sharks cos the fishermen get a cut also, but long term they will still go... All this talk about global - I presume this is USA like Mr Universe - Any other place has had it condemned and stopped. And yes people have died feeding sharks, a good friend here in Durban three years ago, and various places in the IO islands. Throughout the 90's some german idiot fed silvertips and grey sharks in the Red Sea until he was prosicuted when people were getting bit.
The gentleman above who said he does not feed sharks. Strange I have seen hundreds of pictures on various websites of you doing just that, it even has your name by the pictures. Whatever way you are doing it mate you are causing un natural behaviours in the animals. You are preying on the fact that people want to get close to sharks and I think you are loving the money more than you are the animals that feed you.
Just my couple.
Thanks very much for your opinion. Do you have any evidence at all, that these scientist from around the world are all on the take or is this just something you think? Who is paying them? I can't believe that scientist spend all that time and money on there education so they can do years of research to find answers to unanswered questions,only to be told what they need to say at the end of this, as if they were nothing more than a puppet with a degree. Are you implying that the fisherman are on the payroll of the dive operators as well? If not,who is paying the fisherman?
The term "Global" refers to exactly that - the whole world. The board of the Global Interactive Marine Experiences Council was assembled to help fight issues for divers worldwide and was represented by individuals from many different countries, not just the US. I don't actually know how many countries had representatives at the meeting, but if you are interested I will look into it for you. It was assembled to fight for divers rights. Shark feeding was just the cause that brought them together.
If what you are saying is actually true about someone getting killed at an organized shark dive, please tell me the name of the victim (your friend), the name of the dive operation that ran the organized shark dive and the year it happened, so I can look into it. This is the first I have heard of anything like this and I will be happy to share my results (good or bad) with everyone, after you give me this information and I look into it. I agree with you that people have died feeding sharks, in fact the global shark attack files is on record saying that "90% of all shark attacks are directly or indirectly attributed to fishing which is one form of feeding." According to this organization (GSAF), directly means they were holding the fishing pole or spear gun themselves when they were bit and indirectly means their friend got bit, while they were hold the fishing equipment. In fact, all of the fatality's in the US were indirectly attributed to fishing. Presently according to both the Global Shark Attack File and the International Shark Attack File, their has NEVER been a fatality at any organized shark dive worldwide.
Let me shed a little light on the topic of what I meant by saying that I do not feed sharks because that is incorrect. I apologize for not being more precise. I have fed sharks for many years, until I realized that it is much better not to feed them if you want them to stay around. This happened roughly 3 years ago. I do not let the sharks feed during shark expeditions or shark dives in order to keep them around as long as possible, sometimes for three or four days. Occasionally they will steal some of the bait, if my crew is caught by surprise. I do release the fish to them, when we leave the area. If I am planning to leave this site to go to another site, usually because the big sharks are not their, I usually feed them at that point as well! I have fed sharks by hand on many occasions for fun, although usually we don't feed them, in order to keep them around longer. I also feed sharks and many other fish as well while I fish, as I am not very good at fishing. Let me restate that - I am an excellent fisherman - it is catching that I seem to be very poor at.
As to the subject of loving the money more than the animals I feed. You obviously don't no me very well, as I love all animals. I didn't get into the scuba business to make money, no one does with any brains! I got into this business because I love animal encounters of all types, especially in the ocean. Anyone who has spent anytime with me will tell you what I live for.
As far as loving money more than animals is concerned, you should know that I support many conservation efforts: I support Sea Shepard Conservation Society financially every year and have since I learned about this organization many years ago. In my opinion they are the most aggressive conservation society on the planet and our animals need this. If you haven't heard about them previously, please check them out. They make a big difference with many types of animals, including sharks. ( www.seashepherd.org ) I also support with both time, work and money (as a volunteer) the Marine Life Center of Juno Beach ( www.marinelife.org ) and the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary ( http://www.jupiterparents.com/buschws/buschws1.shtml )in Jupiter, Florida. I have been a volunteer at the Marine Life Center for roughly 20 years. I have a turtle permit for the state of Florida, to allow me to help in the care for these animals for roughly fifteen years. This past year I donated money, time and work to the National Marine Fisheries Service under their Goliath Grouper division ( http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/species/...th_grouper.html ) in order to help with the continued protection of the Goliath Grouper. I have already volunteered my services to them again for this year. I also support financially the Save the Manatee Club ( www.savethemanatee.org ) to help out with these poor animals. I have worked as a volunteer, donating money and my time collecting water and algae samples for the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution ( www.hboi.edu ) for the past two years. I did this two see if our scientists can help figure out why a new strand of algae are choking the reefs in the Bahamas at an alarming rate. I feel very fortunate to be able to help animals that need our help so desperately! Sorry to get so defensive, but you were way off base with this one! I will not hold it against you, because I know you don't know me. Please don't consider this any type of attack either, just debate and defense!
I thought you might be interested in hearing a few quotes by some reputable people (conservationist and shark scientist) on the subject of shark feeding.
Ocean Futures Society, President
"Sharks, worldwide, are being threatened…we as humans do not appreciate their value… I have observed that people who have a personal experience with sharks come away from the interaction with a different attitude toward them. I have also observed that when they go home they share experiences with friends. It is my belief that many divers who have had controlled encounters with sharks become ambassadors and educators who speak out on behalf on sharks…. when I weigh the possible disruption of shark's normal lives by feeding them, against the benefits of creating a constituency who respect and speak out for them; I choose feeding sharks under certain conditions."
Dr. Samuel H. Gruber
Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences University of Miami, Bimini Biological Field Station
"Today, sites all over the world conduct controlled shark dives safely offered by professionals to thousands of tourists without injury. More people have been killed by coke machines falling on them than by sharks. No tourist has been killed or even seriously injured while participating in a well-established shark dive. Elephants kill ten times more people than sharks, crocodiles a hundred times more, and dogs injure hundreds of thousands each year. The image of sharks as killing machines is OBSOLETE!!"
Marine Biologist, Shark Researcher, author, marine photographer &
professional spear fisherman
"There is no scientific evidence to suggest any danger to divers, surfers, or swimmers in feeding areas. The very few public complaints that have surfaced from around the world have been remarkably rare. In fact, feeding dives have been conducted for more than 20 years at hundreds of sites around the world without a single report of any fatalities to divers, surfers, or swimmers. Furthermore, shark feeding does not attract sharks from very far away. Any sharks that are attracted to a feeding operation close to shore are already close to shore."
Dr. Eric Ritter
Ph.D., Hofstra University, Senior Scientist, Green Marine,
Scientific Board of Shark Foundation, Investigator for Global Shark Attack File
"There are over 300 organized shark, stingray, and fish feeding operations in 40 countries around the globe. The vast majority of these managed shark and fish feedings operate with extremely low risk to humans and little or no risk to the animals. There has been no scientific evidence presented that proves otherwise. Comments to the contrary are only opinion and blind speculation. Conditioning of sharks with regards to organized feeding has never been shown or proven by the scientific community. Responsible feeding programs have been in existence around the world for over 30 years with an impeccable safety record."
This morning I am off to Shark Canyon, Florida's best shark dive. Like many areas that are not allowed to feed, the sharks are still their. I am sure we will get good images of them, but not nearly as many or as great as they could be if we were to bring bait. Directly inshore from the sight is a 24/7 shark feed (fishing pier) in the middle of a public beach. However their is a sign that says "No Shark Feeding". A fisherman on camera pointed out to me " I usually catch 3 sharks a day! The sign was put up to calm the fears of bathers at the beach. Everyone know sharks can't read sign, at least not where it sits up on the road!"
Going diving with my camera,
I would be interested to know, from your experience, since shark feeding trips started operating in the bahamas (what year?)whether locally the shark population has decreased or not. It is interesting to read a recent article from Science magazine that shark populations worldwide have reduced drastically in the last 15 years. Hammerheads are down by a staggering 90%, great whites & thresher down by 80% and tiger sharks down by 65%. although blame is targeted at intense fishing of the food chain i.e. tuna & swordfish I wonder whether other activities may be contributing without being substantiated.
I would appreciate your thoughts.
First, I want to mention that you stole my first choice for a name on this forum (Great Hammerhead). I guess the early bird gets the worm and the second mouse gets the cheese! (Canadian Hammerhead)! I am envious!
I believe shark diving started in the Bahamas at Long Island, by a diver named Jorg Friese in the dive resort Stella Maris. I believe they are still feeding them today at a spot called "Shark Reef" Skin Diver magazine did many stories on them back then when they were very popular.
I was saddened by the report you read as well. I hope it is not true, although I fear it is. I have not noticed any decline in the number of reef sharks at any place in the Bahamas, but long line fishing ban and shark parks are in for force their. That country has unfortunately depleted the supply of grouper and snapper populations drastically. In addition a strange new algae is covering many of the reefs, essentially choking the life out of the existing life their. I have not yet noticed a decline in Great Hammerheads or tigers at my shark expeditions.
On the same subject of shark depletions worldwide, the main culprit is the high price for shark fin soup. A simple fact that I wish more people new is that sharks along with many other fish carry high levels of mercury (poison). Although some cultures consider this dish as a means of impressing their guests, they are essentially serving them poison. Mercury levels once ingested stay with you for life! It causes brain damage and deformity's in new born. I would think that this knowledge alone would plummet prices of shark fins making fisherman seek out other species for income. Please spread the word. To read more on this try this link.
I am sorry you felt, as if you were attacked. Please accept my deepest apology for what you are calling an attack. I never intended to attack anyone. I was only trying to show the other side of the controversy of feeding fish. Everyone is entitled to make and express their opinion, which is why I have expressed mine, the same as you have expressed yours.
I am quite interested in reading the scientific report you spoke of, on how shark behavior has been altered negatively due to shark feeding. I hope this will be included in your next post.
Last night, I forgot to address your mentioning of "bad bait", that was being used at these shark feeds. I have a great deal of information regarding different types of fish bait, for completely different reasons. If you want to know my reasons let me know and I will put them up in another post. But first I will cover your reasons. As a member of the Global Interactive Marine Experiences Council, which drew up guidelines for these types of dives with sharks, we interviewed many shark diving organizations from around the world. Most of my information comes from these interviews not only with the dive operators but also with divers who charter them. To date, I do not know of any operation world wide that uses as you say "bad bait". In fact all of the operations questioned used fish of some type. I use fresh, tuna, snapper and grouper, as any of my divers will testify. My opposition here in Florida said that I use cheese wiz in a can! I thought that was quite humorous! All of the shark diving operations that I have been to, express and exhibit a deep caring nature for their animals! In fact one of these operators was responsible for learning how to immobilize (catatonic immobility) sharks in the water, so they could quickly and safely remove fishing hooks from their jaws. since then many of the other operation have started this process of helping sharks as well! If any of you on this forum know of anything bad happening to sharks from shark dives from any operation, please let me know, so I can look into it.
On your subject of getting "far more valid and memorable photographs", I thought I should mention that so far we have had dive operators and divers from the Maldives and Cocos already on our boat trying to get "valid and memorable photographs" from my operation where we feed them. Many of them have already been published, some pushing for more conservation efforts with sharks.
If you would like to know why the state of Florida has banned fish feeding, I would be happy to share my views with you, but it has nothing to do with sharks or changing shark behavior (my opinion once again). I believe I am quite qualified to explain this, since I have been involved with this controversy, since the very beginning and presently I am involved in two law suits against the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. By the way, the first one we have already won! I honestly believe that we will have this fish feeding law overturned after the next hearing.
Once again, NO ATTACK was intended!
Arguably the practice of feeding sharks encourages diving tourism, but what about the negative side - the angling fraternities and their soft trophies? In spots around the world fishermen often jump into the spot left by the dive boat that has just encouraged the sharks with bad bait (Bad Bait is worthless food scraps like fleshless fish bodies). After this just half a Barracuda will attract everything blindly onto a battery of hooks.
According to Scientific reports this feeding has other adverse effects on the character of sharks - Some of it bad for tourism, with sharks turning on the 'feeders' or watcher's' because scraps are not enough to pacify their artificial arrousal (Maldives, Australia & Red Sea on several occasions), another that the sharks no longer need to carry on the role of predator and carrion removers. I think these are just some of the reasons the practice is getting banned all around the world.
One thing I cannot personally get over is seeing Hammerhead sharks conned upto the surface to take bad bait just so a bunch of photographers can grab a holiday snap, or a pro get an easy shot... Maybe a necessary step?
If you want to see hammheads on natural feeding cycles go to the Red Sea, Maldives, Cocos etc. A photograph from these locations is far more valid & memorable.
The tourism angle in the protection arguement is a very valid, but if it is at the expense of affecting the shark in other ways then banning feeding after protection is warrented.
I was just reading your post and I thought you might have left off quite a bit of the positive side of organized shark dives that use bait as an attraction. Just a few facts to think about. In the Bahamas, the divers that attended these shark dives were directly responsible for eliminating long-line fishing from their waters as well as establishing "Shark Parks" where these sharks could no longer be killed legally. They did this through letter writing campaigns to the Bahamian government showing them the monetary value of sharks in tourism dollars. Roughly one year ago, the council fighting for shark feeds in Florida counted 340 organized shark dives in roughly 40 countries worldwide. Imagine what would happen if these countries realized the economic value of sharks and followed the Bahamian government in trying to protect them. It is well documented that putting divers close to sharks turns ordinary people into so called "shark huggers". If we could only get the rest of the world to look at sharks as we due, are chances for saving them would be much better. In Florida, where I live there were 3 shark feeding operations feeding sharks roughly 2-3 times a week sometimes as much as 10 lbs of fish each time. Fisherman feed sharks all the time. Sometimes they catch them, sometimes they don't, but the shark cannot tell the difference between a dive boat or a fishing boat. Fishing is so popular in Florida that bait is sold everywhere, the gas station, some restaurants, even my local publics grocery store carries no less than seven different types of bait, including chum. Of the seventy fishing piers in Florida, roughly 50 are located directly in the middle of a public beach. These fishing piers are dumping hundreds of pounds of bait (the same type I use) into the water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I like to refer to the as the "unannounced 24 hour shark feeds". Their is no documented evidence anywhere that sharks are turning on divers at these shark dives as you have mentioned. If you indeed know of some scientific evidence as you mentioned, please produce it so we all can see it. I am not saying that sharks have not bitten people at these dives, as I know of 7 incidences in the Bahamas where people usually the divers feeding them by hand, have been bitten. But no one would actually say that the sharks have changed their diet to include people, after 400 million years of evolution. It was very simply an accident that the shark miss judged where the fish was. Even with these accidents if you looked at the statistics of accidents at shark dives in the Bahamas, it would put shark diving as a little safer than bowling! A whole lot safer than organized sports such as baseball, football and basketball where we have accepted deaths even at the high school level. In 30 plus years of shark diving world wide, their still has not been a single fatality! Just a little more information for you to ponder!
I almost forgot to mention that I do not feed sharks at my shark dives. Although my reasons are not because I think it changes their behavior in a negative way. They have been eating fish for 400 million years. That is all they want, not us, even after the food is removed from the water at the end of the day. I use bait to attract them, not feed them. My goal as a shark dive operator is to get divers like you, as close to sharks as possible for as long as I possibly can. I have found that if I feed them, they leave as soon as they are full. By not feeding them, but using the bait as only an attraction I have been able to keep the same sharks their for days.
I could go on and on about this, but I type at a snails pace, so I think I should end this with one final thought!
If you truly love sharks as I do, wouldn't it be wiser to spend your time trying to save them from being needlessly slaughtered, by educating people who don't know the truth about sharks! Why not use these "holiday snaps" you all take, along with your personal experiences, to help spread the facts about sharks so we can stop this JAWS mentality that some people still believe. Sharks are wonderful, magnificent animals that are essential to keeping are oceans in balance. Without them are ocean ecosystems will certainly fail. I have put allot of work on this subject on a web page at welovesharks.com if you would care to read and see more!
My name is Jim Abernethy and I am new to this forum. I operate three local dive charter boats in Palm Beach, Florida and one liveaboard dive vessel in the Bahamas. I shoot roughly six days a week with a digital sony trv-900 video camera in an Aqua Video housing with two large lights or a Canon d-60 still camera in a sea & sea housing with two strobes. On my days off I usually fly with a photographer in a flying inflatable boat in search of aerial marine animal images! We just started using the still camera underwater so my wife and I still have a lot to learn! I am really looking forward to learning more about what we love (images) from all of you. Presently I have "hired" Eric Cheng to teach my wife and me about digital imaging and web design. Immediately I ran into a problem that I am sure many of you have experienced with your computers. However, I was experiencing it with my brain. I was attempting to download massive gigabytes of information from Eric during our classes, when I quickly discovered that my processer was incredibly slow, my connection wasn't any where near fast enough and my hard drive was definitely way to small for that much data. For those of you that know Eric personally, I am sure you know exactly what I mean!
[Web Coverage of West Palm Beach/Bahamas trip]
I'm having fun out here. I will be posting photos until we leave on the live-aboard on Wednesday.
(OOPS! It's actually Eric here at the computer. I'm accidentally logged in as Jim Abernethy.
JASA-Blue Sphere Media-Wetpixel Mexico Whale Sharks
in Trip Reports and Travel
Whale Shark Feeding while Lisa Campana watches
Whale Shark with Lisa Campana
Whale Shark in vertical feeding position
Whale Shark silhouette
Whale Shark with Lisa Campana
Whale Shark with Conner Nolan