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Drew

Are WE part of the problems with overfishing?

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I've been pondering a certain question ever since I heard reports of the Eastern Fields being pillaged by longliners of Japanese origin. I remember NHK had been to the Eastern Fields a few years back for a broadcast program. Several reports of the healthy shark populations were also online. With the exposure of national TV and international online access, could it be that our quest to find and report on the best untouched areas was partially the cause of the decline of places like the Eastern Fields? Largely unprotected areas like the fields are easy targets for long liners and other fishing boats. Can't the fishing industry google for information about new areas since all the known areas are either protected or exploited? Are we so naive to think they are run by unsophisticated fishermen and not by smart people who know how to control supply and make it a multi-million dollar industry?

Even the dive operators, in their eagerness to promote their business, release information of areas with good shark populations. Now one can say that's a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but is it really?

Everytime a picture denotes where there are schooling sharks in the hundreds, would it not attract the shark finner as well? Could it be coincidence that the longliners are systematically going around unprotected areas looking for sharks and stumbled upon the Eastern Fields sharks serendipitously?

We, as image seekers, obviously will look for the best areas for our photographs. And no doubt word will get around somehow but with the internet and TV, it's almost instantaneous. Do we have a responsibility to protect those areas when we publish images from the area? This post is not to promote paranoia but for us to consider our actions and how it could affect those remote areas we love so much. Just a thought.

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This post is not to promote paranoia but for us to consider our actions and how it could affect those remote areas we love so much. Just a thought.

 

Very good point Drew, and it has probably been going on for quite awhile (people looking for information.) In the past fisherman and others would keep sites a bit quiet "for themselves" but now information becomes disseminated so quickly that the horse gets out of the barn mighty quickly.

 

As to paranoia, I am not sure. There are places that I have been going to for awhile that I see declining, yet some sites in the area are a bit better off than others. And if somehow I have a shot of a few large groupers or a school I do not feel comfortable exactly where I had found them. I would assume the people in the area probably know, but if it helps stop things a bit....

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I met a guy at a party on Friday who told me that scuba divers were not eco-friendly and that people should only be allowed to snorkel. He was a tour operator. I asked him how he got his clients to locations abroad. Did he give them directions and expect them to start walking? He didn't get it. Yes, we area ll to blame - for everything. So do the planet a favour. Dig a hole, take off all your non-biodegradable clothes, climb in and cut your wrists thereby contributing to the biomass without polluting it! Not realistic? You're telling me!!!

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Johnny "Short Lens" Bantin, now that I know who works for you, I guess burying people is a past time huh? :uwphotog:

 

Being realistic is that we're not about to wipe out 5 billion (I think that's the number Paul Watson wants off the planet, although if he gets to choose, we're all dead). Many of us fly and a lot more use electricity on a scale never imagined just 30 years ago. Who left their computers on 24/7 in 1978? Obviously we all have a mark and to say we'll either shoot yourself or shut up and join the in is sorta a cop out for doing nothing. On topic of publishing locations to dive for sharks, it's not a hardship to keep it quiet. Of course we'd all like to share our finds with kindred people who'd appreciate things in a non-fatal way. However, there are people who don't quite share the same priorities and have the same intellect to use knowledge to further their cause, to kill sharks for fins. All I'm saying is why give them this info? Information on sites has always being an exchange of sport fishermen, divers and scientists. Unfortunately, now the information can be misused to wipe out a species, what's wrong with trying to limit access to the info to at least slow the slaughter, especially in unprotected areas?

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I think keeping anything quiet is in the long run impossible though it may buy some time. Crews on boats, anyone, can ultimately be a source of information. In the short run, keeping things quiet may not be a bad idea; but in the long run conservation measures are the only option. We are all part of the problem unfortunately, the only folks who seem to keep their impact to a minimum seem to be the Amish.

Edited by loftus

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In the UK we undertake volunteer survey diving - Seasearch. I NEVER report commercial species on the survey forms as to do so supplies information to those who may exploit them. Seasearch information eventually ends up on the web via various routeways and as such becomes publically available. Whilst not repoting some species means that records are incomplete, I personally consider that this is the better scenario.

 

There are places that I have dived which I will NOT write up either. Some sites are best appreciated, then left well alone and not publicised.

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I think keeping anything quiet is in the long run impossible though it may buy some time. Crews on boats, anyone, can ultimately be a source of information. In the short run, keeping things quiet may not be a bad idea; but in the long run conservation measures are the only option. We are all part of the problem unfortunately, the only folks who seem to keep their impact to a minimum seem to be the Amish.

Of course, it's a stopgap measure. Buying time to get the conservation measures in is all that is needed. And the advertising works to protect certain areas. Look at Micronesia and Tahiti, which protect their waters from finners because it makes more money in the long run to keep them alive. But some places are just too remote for the authorities to patrol. I know a shark fins distributor who actually dives and had pictures of sharks in areas like Mexico and FL when there were sharks everywhere. I'm quite sure he was directing the shark fin mafia to the shark rich areas.

 

There are places that I have dived which I will NOT write up either. Some sites are best appreciated, then left well alone and not publicised.

Cool paul, but you can tell me about them. :uwphotog: It does sound selfish but really we do need more protection for the ocean than what is afforded right now.

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I think it is far beyond just googling for sharks locations. The Asian shark fleets know about most locations long before us photogs. I have it directly from shark fin traders that they have sources in major universities including Hawaii, Queensland AUS, and UK. These sources that are being FUNDED by the institutions to do shark research release shark locations and migration information long before the common folk learn about them. The fleets target these spots. I had a researcher who didn't believe me so I told her to check it out. Should tracked the traffic to her research site that shared information on shark densities and learned that over 90% of the traffic was coming from Asian IP addresses that had nothing to do with research or academics. She then pulled these particular facts down and the traffic disappeared.

 

So, sadly all this research being published on shark corridors, highways and breeding sites WILL wipe out shark populations.

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I think it is far beyond just googling for sharks locations. The Asian shark fleets know about most locations long before us photogs. I have it directly from shark fin traders that they have sources in major universities including Hawaii, Queensland AUS, and UK.

 

I know a few people that work within the shark lab at Uni of Queensland, I'm interested to hear how aware they are of this (my guess is not likely). If I hear anything, I'll post it.

 

Ryan.

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Fortunately there are still a few places left where researchers haven't gone that some fishermen know about. it is why I brought this up because the dive boats with their exploratory trips can still find last bastions of shark populations. It doesn't stop at sharks but any type of fish.

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Chuck with CNN you need to use the embed code to link otherwise it'll throw you to the general page:

 

This is the link to the video:

http://edition.cnn.com/video/savp/evp/?loc...ark.finning.cnn

 

And yes that is our own Shawn "the squealer" Heinrichs screeching in the background. And he claims the bubbly shot wasn't his. ;)

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It's one thing to film on such a difficult project as this and quite another to risk one of the very creatures you are trying to save. After 12 hours on the line (prior to us locating the line), this shark was completely spent. I was rightfully concerned that getting the story might jeopardize the life of the silky. Honestly they were working as fast as possible to release the shark but lacked sufficient cutters for the wire leader on the hook (especially designed to prevent sharks form biting through and feeing themselves).

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Chuck with CNN you need to use the embed code to link otherwise it'll throw you to the general page:

 

This is the link to the video:

http://edition.cnn.com/video/savp/evp/?loc...ark.finning.cnn

 

And yes that is our own Shawn "the squealer" Heinrichs screeching in the background. And he claims the bubbly shot wasn't his. ;)

 

Thanks for the post info Drew! I'll keep that in mind

:-)

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It's one thing to film on such a difficult project as this and quite another to risk one of the very creatures you are trying to save. After 12 hours on the line (prior to us locating the line), this shark was completely spent. I was rightfully concerned that getting the story might jeopardize the life of the silky. Honestly they were working as fast as possible to release the shark but lacked sufficient cutters for the wire leader on the hook (especially designed to prevent sharks form biting through and feeing themselves).

 

Wow, Shawn. sounded like quite an ordeal.... Poor animals, the line fishing is a terrible thing..So Inhumane.

Onward,

Chuck

Edited by Chuck Jensen

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Thanks for the post info Drew! I'll keep that in mind

:-)

 

Sorry to "jump" into this discussion SO late...

Thanks for sharing the link! It is very sad - the long-lining problem has been featured in Sharkwater! So this is a problem that can't be solved?!

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If all dive related entities and individuals remained silent, the finners would still find the information.

 

But just in case

 

Come to Somalia! Billions of sharks spotted!

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George, you're assuming those guys are as dumb as some of our government officials... they're smarter :)

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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

I wonder if perhaps certain shark species may be better off in Somali waters because the shark poachers are fearful of being poached themselves by pirates. Or, perhaps the pirates are poaching sharks as well as boats.

Anybody dive Somalia recently?

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Well I'm a bit late jumping in on this, but undoubtably scientists, researchers and divers/photographers/videographers/reporters do provide information that is highly valued by long liners and other commercial fishing operators.

 

As some of you may already know we ran a Porbeagle research trip last year in the UK and we initially guarded the exact locations that were surveyed very close to our chest. Yet somehow, someway within 2 weeks of running the expedition a long liner was working in exactly the same spot that we had seen sharks. Coincidence? No.

 

Commercial fishing is a business and as resources dwindle information on stock locations and movements becomes more and more valuable. As an industry commercial fishing is out of control and unless heavily regulated it almost always eventually leads to massive depletion and in some circumstances complete collapse of the targeted species. It's happened for the last 400 years or more so this is nothing new, yet as a species we just don't seem to want to learn. A good farmer looks after his lifestock and his land because he knows that his living depends on it. A good gamekeeper does the same. Why it should be so different for our oceans has always baffled me and it continues to do so.

 

Locally you can protect some coastal and continental shelf areas from over exploitation, but how do you legislate and patrol what goes on with pelagic fisheries? Roll in lack of political will to alienate whole communities who's votes you depend on for re-election and it is a vicious ever decreasing circle. Through history commercial fishing only leaves a species alone when it becomes uneconomical to fish it. The same will happen to sharks. Yes we probably should watch what we say and to whom we say it, but ultimately it will make little difference to the reality of the situation. It makes me want to cry with frustration and at times it does make me despondent, but it wont make me stop trying to save them, even if I end up on the loosing side.

 

Sorry for the rant.

 

Cheers, Simon

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Well I'm a bit late jumping in on this, but undoubtably scientists, researchers and divers/photographers/videographers/reporters do provide information that is highly valued by long liners and other commercial fishing operators.

 

As some of you may already know we ran a Porbeagle research trip last year in the UK and we initially guarded the exact locations that were surveyed very close to our chest. Yet somehow, someway within 2 weeks of running the expedition a long liner was working in exactly the same spot that we had seen sharks. Coincidence? No.

 

Commercial fishing is a business and as resources dwindle information on stock locations and movements becomes more and more valuable. As an industry commercial fishing is out of control and unless heavily regulated it almost always eventually leads to massive depletion and in some circumstances complete collapse of the targeted species. It's happened for the last 400 years or more so this is nothing new, yet as a species we just don't seem to want to learn. A good farmer looks after his lifestock and his land because he knows that his living depends on it. A good gamekeeper does the same. Why it should be so different for our oceans has always baffled me and it continues to do so.

 

Locally you can protect some coastal and continental shelf areas from over exploitation, but how do you legislate and patrol what goes on with pelagic fisheries? Roll in lack of political will to alienate whole communities who's votes you depend on for re-election and it is a vicious ever decreasing circle. Through history commercial fishing only leaves a species alone when it becomes uneconomical to fish it. The same will happen to sharks. Yes we probably should watch what we say and to whom we say it, but ultimately it will make little difference to the reality of the situation. It makes me want to cry with frustration and at times it does make me despondent, but it wont make me stop trying to save them, even if I end up on the loosing side.

 

Sorry for the rant.

 

Cheers, Simon

 

A rant but a heart felt and true rant... Its all down to money in the end... We are a virus and we rape this planet... But one day it will backfire and we will be in deep shite... Lets just hope our children or their children do not suffer too much at our stupidity...

 

Cheers Simon

 

Dive safe

 

DeanB

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