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Shark Safety

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
315
175
58
We have lost two folks down here in the last week to GWS. It's time to look at the "Pavlovian responses" due to caged shark dives. IMO it is reckless & risky to associate divers/humans & an easy meal. I hate to see anything banned, but if we want to improve "shark safety" & we want to stop the deamonisation of sharks then we need to stop training them to associate divers with easy meals.
 

grantl

Well-Known Member
Dec 5, 2005
694
315
153
Scotland
Don't know where you're based Sharkey - SA perhaps?
I was amazed at how the cage diving business has exploded last time I was there. There was someone badly chomped by a gws at Rooikrans ( right where we had been advised to dive :)).
The news reports were mentioning how many '00s of litres of blood and offal had been chomped in the area for cage diving. First poor viz day and someone got mauled :-(

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Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
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qld
We have lost two folks down here in the last week to GWS. It's time to look at the "Pavlovian responses" due to caged shark dives. IMO it is reckless & risky to associate divers/humans & an easy meal. I hate to see anything banned, but if we want to improve "shark safety" & we want to stop the deamonisation of sharks then we need to stop training them to associate divers with easy meals.
As soon as I seen that:rage:
 

Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
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qld
When I was working the trawlers,The sharks(mainly bronze bull whalers and tigers)would line up in massive groups behind the vessel.And that was before we had dropped any gear,they were on us the moment we left port.
They associated the droning sound of a low revving diesel engine with an easy food source .
Now the GW's will learn to associate the sound of an out board motor as a food source.
 
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landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
339
160
83
South Africa
Don't know where you're based Sharkey - SA perhaps?
I was amazed at how the cage diving business has exploded last time I was there. There was someone badly chomped by a gws at Rooikrans ( right where we had been advised to dive :)).
The news reports were mentioning how many '00s of litres of blood and offal had been chomped in the area for cage diving. First poor viz day and someone got mauled :-(
Rooikranz is a special spot. One of the few places on the SA coast where shore based fishermen during summer months can actively target Yellowtail. This of course also means that its one of the few places where spearos can target them via shore diving. I've had to date my closest call with a shark there (Bronze Whaler) and on the same day another spearo was badly bitten on his fin / foot also by a Bronzy.

While I agree that there may be a correlation between shark cage diving and sharks associating boats and divers with food, I don't think it plays a major role at Rooikranz specifically. Those big Bronzy's follow the Yellowtail shoals as they move in and out of Falsebay, the Great Whites in turn feed on the Bronzy's and also the Yellowtail so there is a natural influx of sharks into the bay. But I think the main reason why the sharks hang around the Rooikranz area is because of guys fishing from Rooikranz. On a good day the ledges from which the guys spin will be completely covered in Yellowtail blood as they clean their fish there. All of the blood and guts are discarded into the sea right in front of the Rooikranz ledges so the area is a magnet for all sharks and other predatory fish.
 

grantl

Well-Known Member
Dec 5, 2005
694
315
153
Scotland
Yes. It's a special spot for sure - I caught my first yellowtail there and saw a huge shark breaching out the water at daylight right beside the boat.
Im getting my spots mixed up though - the place I mean is closer to Buffels bay Rooi something. Rooiels maybe?

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landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
339
160
83
South Africa
You're spot on :) Rooikranz is just around the corner from Buffels Bay - all in the Cape Point nature reserve. Rooiels is right across on the other side of Falsebay.

You weren't by any chance there this year? We met some UK based spearos that where shore diving close to Buffels Bay, if I remember correctly it was around April.
 

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
315
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I'm in Aus. The diversion to SA & particularly your "experience" with Bronze Whalers there isnt appreciated in regards to the true risk. No comparision with GWS or the reckless use of wildlife, which trains these apex predators to associate divers with easy meals can be made to whalers or tigers. Last week in Aus two folk were "killed" by GWS. Tigers & whalers arent the problem here. Ok? That is just one week! Protection of GWS sharks needs to be removed & the abundance needs to be lowered significantly!
 

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
315
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58
GWS are not a treatened or vulnerable species. If they were ever threatened or vulnerable 20 years ago, when they recieved protection, their numbers could never have been able to explode to the current levels of abundance. Think about this? the science was biased! They were never in threat even at the levels of relative abundance in the 80's , if they were they could not have increased to a relative abundance which is ten fold from then so quickly. We now need to work out a sustainable level/abundance of GWS which sees them here for perpetuity & at the same time balances the level of risk & percieved value of the shark to public perception. ATM protectionist conservation is failing GWS, because when they can kill with impunity thier conservation value soon fades.
 

grantl

Well-Known Member
Dec 5, 2005
694
315
153
Scotland
You're spot on :) Rooikranz is just around the corner from Buffels Bay - all in the Cape Point nature reserve. Rooiels is right across on the other side of Falsebay.

You weren't by any chance there this year? We met some UK based spearos that where shore diving close to Buffels Bay, if I remember correctly it was around April.
No. Wasn't me......unfortunately. I'll likely be out next year though.

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Pinniped72

Well-Known Member
May 18, 2013
391
206
83
Hampshire
GWS are not a treatened or vulnerable species. If they were ever threatened or vulnerable 20 years ago, when they recieved protection, their numbers could never have been able to explode to the current levels of abundance. Think about this? the science was biased! They were never in threat even at the levels of relative abundance in the 80's , if they were they could not have increased to a relative abundance which is ten fold from then so quickly. We now need to work out a sustainable level/abundance of GWS which sees them here for perpetuity & at the same time balances the level of risk & percieved value of the shark to public perception. ATM protectionist conservation is failing GWS, because when they can kill with impunity thier conservation value soon fades.
I totally agree with your point about sharks associating cages and people with an easy meal but not the sustainable GWS point, sustainability is not something that we as one species amongst tens of millions should be dictating, that should be dictated by food supply and the Darwinian principles that have managed to find balance for the over 500 million years before we even existed. We go into the sea, I haven't seen a shark chase anyone down the high street before and I doubt I ever will, its our choice and we know that a surfers outline on the surface is a magnet to sharks and we know that statistically spear fishing increases your chance of a shark attack so we know the risks, why should sharks have to die so that we can pursue our leisure activities. Sharks are killing to survive, its that simple, no malice, its not personal and shark attack is statistically still a very rare event. Sure that is no consolation to anyone that has been attacked but don't kill an animal because it follows what nature has designed it to do and there is only one species that kills with impunity and often with malice, that is obviously us.
 
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sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
315
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58
"Sustainable" how do we qualify this in respect to GWS?

Well, we already have some knowledge in regards to this species. Around the 80's & 90's they were thought to be threatened & protection was given to them. Given that the increase in abundance has been remarkable, we know that population level was sustainable. My point is that we can safely lower the population to this & even double it for extra safety. There is no need to maintain the current high populations of GWS either for "sustainability" or conservation.

People who share the landscape with these big fish are quickly loosing their patience with them, when people no longer see the value in protecting wildlife it is the inverse of conservation & sustainability. A reduction in population is consistent with long term conservation.
 

Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
123
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qld
Hi Sharky.
I know bugger all about the population of GW. I Don't think anyone really knows.The best idea I can come up with.We need to start tracking them some how.All of them need track tags,so we have an app that tells us what GW's are in the area.I disagree that GW's are the only problem,one bite from a bull shark or tiger will have you bleed to death.They say that we kill too many sharks and they are a dying breed,well were I dive they are every were, all the time ,1000's of them and some times in packs.As you already know.
 

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
315
175
58
We have a very good idea about the "trends" in the population of GWS. They are trending well & the relative abundance is many times higher than 20-30 years ago. We don't need an absolute abundance figure to manage wildlife populations. There has been tagging going on for many years & we do have some "absolute abundance' figures from this using the "capture, mark, recapture" method. If we know there are 20 tagged sharks in an area (satellite tags) & we catch 20 in a row without tags is it fair to assume there are at least 400 sharks. this is simple, but you get the idea. If next time we catch 40 for the same effort, is it fair to say there are twice as many? this is relative abundance. The population trends for GWS are known, there is not as much guess work in measuring wildlife as some will try to have folks believe. The trick is getting to the raw data & checking it for rigour & bias. Bias is everywhere in research when politics, funding or tenure is involved.
 
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Andrew Fogarty

Active Member
May 17, 2016
62
36
33
50
Australia
Sharks, the biggest fear that confronts a person that enters there realm. I look at sharks as I approach driving on the road, "they all want to kill me". I dive in areas where sharks exist but do not practice, keeping fish in the water, flashers, burley, low light conditions and areas of Pelagic fish activity. I am like playing the Pokies in reverse in that percentages are on my side if I don't behave in a manor which stimulates the feeding response of these beautiful animals. If you consider us Humans have only had the opportunity and the balls to swim with these creatures (which have existed since the Devonian times), in the last 50 years we seem to overate ourselves to an incredulous extent.
 

Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
123
47
43
40
qld
Sharks, the biggest fear that confronts a person that enters there realm. I look at sharks as I approach driving on the road, "they all want to kill me". I dive in areas where sharks exist but do not practice, keeping fish in the water, flashers, burley, low light conditions and areas of Pelagic fish activity. I am like playing the Pokies in reverse in that percentages are on my side if I don't behave in a manor which stimulates the feeding response of these beautiful animals. If you consider us Humans have only had the opportunity and the balls to swim with these creatures (which have existed since the Devonian times), in the last 50 years we seem to overate ourselves to an incredulous extent.
That is a really great statement Andrew.I always have wonderd how spearo's could burley water to bring in fish,and most pelagic schools here ,always Always have sharks around them.I wont use flashers,but I will take a single spoon.
My only drama is dead fish and cray on my float.Just think of the old hunters facing lions and cape buffalo in Africa.We must be brave to do what we do,but we are not stupid.
 

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
315
175
58
Sharks are certainly not my biggest fear when entering the water. It is boat drivers which pose the greatest risk to spearos by a long shot. I also know that sharks dont want to kill me, not intentionally anyway. If we are talking percentages, will twice the amount of GWS undo all the odds you are trying to bet with, like not burleying or diving in low light. Will a tenfold increase in GWS abundance, increase the odds of being bitten tenfold? At what point would you consider GWS "overabundant? Whatever idealistic or eutopian "kumbaya" argument one may raise, the simple fact is GWS are becomming overabundant & there is no apparent management strategy in place in most countries to manage them, or the increasing risk they impose. We could safely knock them down to twice the abundance they had in the 80's, reduce conflict with them & maintain the social value & level of acceptance they now have without impacting on their sustainability.
 

Andrew Fogarty

Active Member
May 17, 2016
62
36
33
50
Australia
Hey Dan, its just a numbers game, if you don't have a very healthy respect for the animal you may choose to constructs an argument to blame a very "simple creature" for a survival response initiated by the victim. Don't get me wrong I have taken my kids diving since they were 3 and it has been very stressful at times but I believe the impact of introducing them to an environment where we must consider other creatures, has had a beneficial impact on there development as individuals. Here's a simple question ?. Do you think you are at more risk of Shark attack at day break, or midday.
 

Danny.c

Active Member
Jan 23, 2015
123
47
43
40
qld
Hey Dan, its just a numbers game, if you don't have a very healthy respect for the animal you may choose to constructs an argument to blame a very "simple creature" for a survival response initiated by the victim. Don't get me wrong I have taken my kids diving since they were 3 and it has been very stressful at times but I believe the impact of introducing them to an environment where we must consider other creatures, has had a beneficial impact on there development as individuals. Here's a simple question ?. Do you think you are at more risk of Shark attack at day break, or midday.
Late afternoon is the only time sharks cross my mind. a long days dive,swimming back to shore in the near dark with fish smell all over me.