Sharks continued…

As you can probably see, I’ve been having significant problems with running the powerpoint in the previous post.  Sometimes when war is waged over technology, technology wins… at least, it has in this case. 

So, in lieu of a fancy little powerpoint presentation, I’ll just have to admit defeat and put the information in blog form… not nearly as cool.

Carcharodon carcharias - White Shark

photo courtesy of Bruce Goorney, copyright 2009

On better, more interesting notes, I have had the express pleasure of meeting the trustees of the White Shark Conservation Trust at a private screening of Sharkwater last week. ***Side note: if you haven’t seen this documentary, you must. If you care about the future of our marine ecosystems and our own future, this doco will open your eyes.***

I picked Bruce’s brains for a bit to get more information on what they were doing in regards to the future of our chondrichthyan friends here in New Zealand. One of the current endeavours WSCT are working on is raising funds for the ongoing white shark conservation and research projects run by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research).  The project itself  now has funding for the next 6 years, however this funding does not cover the crucial tags.  A PAT (pop-up satellite archival) tag is $6,000 and a SPOT (Single Position Only Tag) tag is $4,000.  These tags are tracked using satellite technology, so the position of the tagged shark is accurately and consistently monitored, and the data they will send back is vital information. I’m sure you’re all wondering: why is this so important?

As the old adage goes: knowledge is power. In order to help save a species, we must understand it, and learn as much as we can about it. So little is known about the white shark; the media and entertainment industries have made a fortune on promoting an ignorant and ill-informed caricature of the white shark (and sharks in general), labelling it as a mindless, human-killing machine. Simply put, research shows this to be unequivocally false. White sharks are around us much more often than we actually know – the majority of their time is spent at the surface – yet so few attacks happen. When they do, it isn’t a bloodthirsty, murderous animal coming for your jugular; white sharks bite out of curiosity, they don’t know what we are, and they don’t have hands to use in order to gain tactile information. They use their sensitive heads and mouths to understand what we are.  When people die (and they rarely do) from shark bites, the primary reason is loss of blood.

The research that WSCT is supporting is vital information to the migratory behaviour of white sharks and could possibly provide clues about their breeding behaviour as well. When we understand more about where they go, why, how, and where they breed, we’ll understand how we can better protect them. Please offer your support in any way you can; education and raising awareness are the cheapest (and some of the most effective) ways we can help the white shark. For those who feel inclined to give a little more, have a look on the White Shark Conservation Trust website or email Bruce or Kate at whitesharkconservationtrust@gmail.com for more information on donations, or helping out.

White Shark Conservation Trust

Mission:

To contribute to the worldwide conservation of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias.

To increase public awareness, dispel the myths about the great white shark and provide some hope for the species survival.

photo courtesy of Bruce Goorney, copyright 2009

photo courtesy of Bruce Goorney, copyright 2009

And now, on to conquer this ridiculous powerpoint presentation. I shall prevail.  Stay tuned for more educational resources on sharks and how we can do our part to protect them.

-Diverkat

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