Articles in Category: SFMI News

The World Renowned Cape Eleuthera Marina now a Shark-Free Marina

on Saturday, 16 May 2009. Posted in SFMI News

The World Renowned Cape Eleuthera Marina is now a Shark-Free Marina. I am personally excited about this site as they have a rich history of sport-fishing, luxury and affection for the ocean. It's great to see a forward thinking operations out there and I can't wait to visit you guys!

A little about the site:

The Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club features Eleuthera’s only deep water, surge-proof, full-service Blue Flag marina. The marina is designed to provide ample berth for all types of watercraft–from the smallest fishing boats up to 200’ yachts, with world class amenities and services. Our mission is to deliver yachting and sport-fishing enthusiasts the friendliest and highest quality customer service and ensure that Cape Eleuthera Marina is your premier destination in the Bahamas Out Islands.

Please show your support and visit their website here: http://www.capeeleuthera.com

Luke Tipple
Director of Shark-Free Marinas

Threatened Species (Hammerhead) killed for a 'record'

on Monday, 11 May 2009. Posted in SFMI News

13 Ft Hammerhead shark hauled into marinaShark Free Marinas openly supports Catch and Release fishing. In saying that we are not encouraging every want-to-be shark hauler to buy tackle and hook in, but we are recognizing that the sport of Shark Fishing is a thriving and money making industry. In fact many shark fishing competitions and helpful fishermen aid in our scientific knowledge of the populations and health status of these animals by allowing us to study them up close and implant tags.

That said the existence of IGFA records essentially puts a bounty on the heads of mature sharks and we find this to be in contrast to the usual respect fishermen have for the ocean:

Englewood Capt. Bucky Dennis believes he has caught another world record hammerhead shark at Boca Grande Pass. It’s not as big as the all-tackle record 1,280-pounder he caught two years ago, but at 1,060 pounds, it should smash the current record for 80-pound test line by 440 pounds.

Dennis speculated it will be the last big hammerhead he kills.

“The record was 620 pounds, and I let a lot of sharks go that are bigger than that every year. I figured if I could do it, I’d just go ahead and do one more, and top off the record.

“If I could catch an 18- or 20-footer, I’d probably do that to make sure no one could break the (all-tackle) record. But other than that, I think I’m through with killing the big sharks.”
Dennis is aware of the controversy he stirs by killing the large female hammerheads that come to feed on tarpon at Boca Grande. When scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota dissected his previous record, a 14-footer, they found 55 unborn pups inside. Source

This Hammerhead shark is a 13ft gravid (pregnant) female. There is no scientific reason for this shark to be killed and due to it's size it would not be good, or even healthy, to eat. This is a total waste of a breeding adult Hammerhead... a species currently listed as Threatened

The shark was 13 feet, 6 inches long, with a girth of 7 feet, 2 inches. It was officially weighed on the certified scale at the Boca Grande Causeway, by first weighing the boat trailer on which it was transported, and then weighing the shark on the trailer.

Regardless of the captains donation of the carcass to science and his long history of catch and release fishing it is acts such as this that will be prevented by a Shark Free Marina. Without the marinas permission to haul and weigh the fish we anticipate records being measured in different ways such as official photos or boat side measurements.

This incident is not necessarily as sad as it is an example of the need for responsible management of our shark poulations. We can be as empathetic as the next shark lover but we are opposed to this on a very simple and basic level: This shark belongs to a Threatened Species and was of breeding age (pregnant in fact), it should have been released.

Bad News and Good News: article from Saveourseas.com

on Friday, 01 May 2009. Posted in SFMI News

Article by Edd Brooks

Original article here

The Bahamas is essentially a haven for shark life as longline fishing was banned here in 1993, however that's not to say illegal longlining by foreign vessels doesn't go on in remote parts of the archipelago. The end result is that the diversity and abundance here is as close to a baseline level as you will find anywhere in the world..... an amazing thing given the endangered nature of sharks. And that is what makes this story so sad.....

So a little while ago the son of one of our visiting scientists was wandering the docks of the local marina and spotted a large bull shark. Unfortunately the shark was dead, killed in the early hours of the morning by a group of guys who were having a party in which the side entertainment was killing this young female shark.

The recreational fishing of sharks represents a small but significant source of mortality, In 1999 approximately 5.7 million sharks were landed by US recreational anglers with a large proportion of that catch released alive. There are no figures available for The Bahamas. Sharks are arguably the most threatened group of species in the world and the killing of this animal represents a huge waste, no part of the animal was used, the only goal was killing for the sake of killing.

Now this story has a happy ending for two reasons.

Number one, we retrieved the shark and the students from The Island School and the Spanish Wells All Age School were given an impromptu dissection and lecture on shark anatomy, conservation and biology.

Number two the General Manager of the Cape Eleuthera Marina and Yacht Club has agreed to join the Shark Free Marina Initiative. This initiative was designed as an open source concept by Patric Douglas of sharkdivers.com and is a voluntary scheme to which any marina or yacht club can join. Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina has now adopted this scheme and no more sharks can be landed there. Thank you CapeE!

Man falls in while shark fishing for an ESPN show

on Wednesday, 29 April 2009. Posted in SFMI News

We found this Youtube entry while trolling the web for "Catch and realease". Have to guve these guys a nod for attempting to let this little guy go but I'm a little dubious as to wether a professional fisherman really would fall in that easily! I'll let you be the judge.

In any case, kudos to espnoutdoors.com for some "Shark Free Marina" friendly programming.

Nearly half of the world’s recorded fish catch is unused, wasted or not accounted for

on Tuesday, 28 April 2009. Posted in SFMI News

Download

Broadbill swordfish (Xiphias gladius) dead in fishing net. The net is used for Bluefin tuna in a Mattanza fishery (ancient fishing ritual). Swordfish are sometimes caught by accident (bycatch). San Pietro, Italy.

© Brian J. Skerry/National Geographic Stock/WWF

Related links

15 Apr 2009

Gland, Switzerland - Nearly half of the world’s recorded fish catch is unused, wasted or not accounted for, according to estimates in a new scientific paper co-authored by WWF, the global conservation organization.

The paper, Defining and estimating global marine fisheries bycatch, estimates that each year at least 38 million tonnes of fish, constituting at least 40% of what is taken from our oceans by fishing activities, is unmanaged or unused and should be considered bycatch.

“The health of our oceans cannot be restored and fisheries sustainably managed if 40% of the global fishing catch is unused or unmanaged,” says James P. Leape, Director General, WWF International.

When fishing vessels go to sea, they go after their so called “target” catch, but as most fishing gear is unselective, fishing fleets also catch millions of tonnes of other marine life, commonly known as bycatch. The catch of so called “non-target” fish and marine creatures often occurs with no oversight or management.

In redefining bycatch as anything fishers take from our oceans that is “unused or unmanaged,” the paper’s estimates go well beyond previous global estimates, which focus mainly on catch which is thrown away and vary from 7 to 27 million tonnes a year.

“In many cases, fish and marine animals are thrown back to sea dead or dying and currently even if bycatch is used there is no way to tell whether it was sustainable to remove it in the first place. It is an insidious and invisible form of over-fishing.” says Amanda Nickson, Leader of WWF’s Bycatch Initiative and co-author of the paper.

(C) Brian J. Skerry/National Geographic Stock/WWF

The paper, to be published in an upcoming edition of the leading journal of ocean policy studies, Marine Policy, estimates the proportion of bycatch in 46 fishing countries and two global fisheries, tuna and shark fin.

In the north-east Atlantic, for example, a fifth of that region's total marine catch is tossed overboard. It is likely that the worst case of wasteful fishing is seen in fisheries that target sharks exclusively for their fins where 92% of what is caught is discarded back in the ocean.

“In addition to ensuring that all fishing activities are appropriately managed, simple, proven methods, such as more selective fishing gear and observers on fishing vessels, already exist to reduce bycatch.” adds Ms Nickson. “But they must become the rule, as part of long-term sustainable marine management, and not the exception.”

According to WWF, bycatch costs fishers time and money contributing to overfishing, jeopardizing future revenue, livelihoods, and long-term food security. It’s also a major killer of marine wildlife, putting several species at risk of extinction and drastically altering the sensitive balance of marine ecosystems.

The conservation organization believes that every form of fishing, and the removal of all marine life from our oceans, should be managed for sustainability, and that anything taken from the ocean by fishing activity is considered part of that fishing effort.

SourcedFrom Sourced from: WWF (CC-BY-SA)

Indian Ocean tuna commission a failure - again

on Monday, 27 April 2009. Posted in SFMI News

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission is continuing in its unbroken record of failure to regulate one of the world's largest tuna fisheries.

© Ezequiel Navio

Related links

03 Apr 2009

Bali, Indonesia: The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission – in the spotlight as some coastal fishers whose stocks it has failed to protect turn to piracy instead - is continuing in its unbroken record of failure to regulate one of the world's largest tuna fisheries.

The commission, which has just concluded its 13th meeting in Bali, failed to set catch limits for any of the fisheries it is supposed to be regulating, failed to agree any new measures to restrain rampant over-fishing, failed to set effective rules on shark finning and put off a much needed decision to reform itself.

IOTC scientists, grappling with dangerously inadequate information on all stocks, had warned that yellowfin tuna was “probably” overfished..

"Most of the world's large tuna fisheries are poorly managed by bodies that commission scientific assessments and then set catch quotas that ignore them, but the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission is the most dysfunctional of all," said WWF International Marine Director Miguel Jorge.

“Another stumbling block in the negotiations has been EU intransigence on large Spanish and French fleets maintaining their swordfish catch levels at dangerously high levels.

“At the same time the commission has just been wringing its hands on the piracy issue, with a resolution failing to note that the pirates now attacking merchant shipping are from coastal communities that got into the aggressive habit of trying to defend their fishing livelihoods from illegal fishing by foreign fishing boats.”

The meeting also failed to make adequate progress on proposals to ban shark-finning by requiring sharks to be landed whole – with fins naturally attached - rather than with the existing limited restriction of having a whole shark to fins ratio of just five percent, making it hard to identify how many sharks of which potentially endangered species are being taken in what may be one of the most wasteful and unsustainable fisheries.

Other controversial measures were a failure to extend the high seas large scale drift net ban to coastal waters, deferring consideration of vital Catch Documentation Scheme improvements and failure to adopt a realistic observer program.

“Many member States appear to be operating on a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil basis which supports continuing rampant non-compliance with even a lax management regime,” said Jorge.

“No-one knows what is really going on, few seem to care, States report their catches late or not at all and the scientists that are supposed to be the cornerstone of the system are doing the best they can with the scraps of data they are given.”

While some regional fisheries management organizations are functioning better than others, WWF is taking its dissatisfaction with the workings of some of the flagship commissions such as the IOTC to the marketplace and work with the seafood industry to demand better management by RFMOs and sustainable tuna fishing

SourcedFrom Sourced from: WWF (CC-BY-SA)

Rare megamouth shark caught in Philippines

on Monday, 27 April 2009. Posted in SFMI News

Megamouth 41, as the Florida Museum of Natural History has named the Donsol shark, measured four meters and weighed an estimated 500 kg.

© WWF-Philippines/Elson Aca

08 Apr 2009

Donsol, Philippines: An extremely rare megamouth shark was caught by Filipino fishermen, marking only the 41st time the species has been seen in the 33 years since its discovery and giving new insight into the elusive shark’s behaviour.

Fishermen based in Donsol were trawling for mackerel along the eastern coast of Burias Isle on the morning of 30 March when they caught a large shark from a depth of approximately 200 meters.

The shark was brought to shore in Barangay Dancalan in Donsol, Sorsogon and WWF Donsol Project Manager Elson Aca immediately arrived to assess the haul and identified it as a megamouth shark – considered the world’s rarest shark.

Megamouth 41, as the Florida Museum of Natural History has named the Donsol shark, measured four meters and weighed an estimated 500 kg.

Last week’s megamouth encounter underscores the importance of the Donsol-Masbate region – part of the Coral Triangle – as a haven for rare marine life, according to WWF Philippines.

The discovery follows last month’s rescue by WWF of a 38 cm baby whale shark – considered the world's smallest of its kind ever discovered.

"The presence of two of the world's three filter feeding sharks warrants special attention for the Donsol-Masbate region," Aca said. "Whale and megamouth sharks, manta rays, dolphins and other charismatic giants indicate that the region's ecosystem is still relatively healthy.”

“By protecting megafauna, we help maintain the dynamic balance of our seas, and ensure the entire ecosystem's resilience and natural productivity,” Aca said.

WWF works with a host of partners to protect the megafauna of the Coral Triangle which is considered a major center for marine biodiversity.

WWF's satellite tagging initiatives have already shown that pelagic filter feeders such as whale sharks and manta rays regularly prowl through the region.

The megamouth (Megachasma pelagios) is a fairly recent scientific discovery, with only 40 recorded encounters worldwide until the latest find.

The first specimen was caught off Oahu, Hawaii in 1976. The discovery led to the creation of an entirely new family and genus - prompting the scientific community to hail it as the 20th century's most significant marine find and rivaling the rediscovery of the coelacanth in 1938.

The megamouth shark is so named for its enormous maw - almost a meter

wide and lined with a brilliant silver band to attract planktonic prey. It has been found roaming throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Males average four

meters while females - which give birth to live young – can grow to five meters long.

Relatively little was known of their habits until researchers fitted a megamouth – the sixth one discovered – with a pair of ultrasonic transmitters and tracked it for two days in 1990. The research indicated that the sharks spend the daytime in waters up to one kilometre deep and surface only at night to feed on plankton, small fish and jellyfish - usually at a depth of around 15 meters.

Eight megamouth sharks, a full fifth of all recorded encounters, have been caught in Philippine waters. Four were caught in Cagayan de Oro and one each in Negros, Iloilo and Cebu. Megamouth 41 is the first megamouth shark to have been caught in Luzon, which is the Philippines’ largest island.

Sadly and despite protests from Aca, the megamouth shark caught near Donsol was later butchered and eaten. Its stomach contents revealed it was feeding on shrimp larvae.

For more than a decade, WWF has worked in Donsol to establish community-based whale shark eco-tourism, transforming the once sleepy town into one of the Bicol region's busiest revenue generators.

Current initiatives funded by WWF-Denmark and supported by the local government include researching whale shark migration routes and numbers through state-of-the-art photo-identification and satellite tagging techniques.

The waters around Donsol are part of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas ecoregion, one of WWF's Global 200 ecoregions — a science-based global ranking of the world's most biologically outstanding habitats and the regions on which WWF concentrates its efforts. The also make up part of the Coral Triangle, a major area of marine biodiversity.

Leaders of the six nations that make up the Coral Triangle – Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste –will meet on May 15 in Manado, Indonesia for the World Oceans Conference where they will announce a comprehensive set of actions to protect ecosystems and food security in the region.

SourcedFrom Sourced from: WWF (CC-BY-SA)

Tiny whale shark gives clues to sea giant’s behaviour

on Monday, 27 April 2009. Posted in SFMI News

The rescued shark was the smallest whale shark ever recorded in the Philippines, and possibly the smallest ever found in the world. 7 March 2009.The rescued shark was the smallest whale shark ever recorded in the Philippines, and possibly the smallest ever found in the world.

© WWF-Philippines

09 Mar 2009

The shock discovery in the Philippines of a tiny whale shark – possibly the smallest of its kind ever recorded – has given scientists new insight into the breeding behavior of these mysterious fish.

Scientists from WWF-Philippines, working with local police and government officials, freed a 38 cm whale shark over the weekend captured by a fisherman in the Philippines province of Sorsogon, near the coastal town of Donsol, a hub where whale sharks congregate.

The rescued shark was the smallest whale shark ever recorded in the Philippines, and possibly the smallest ever found in the world.

The whale shark is the world’s largest living fish, measuring up to more than 12 meters and weighing up to almost 14 tons, making the weekend encounter by scientists with the miniscule captive whale shark a unique opportunity to learn more about the huge fish species.

Despite all the ongoing research on whale sharks, little is known about where they breed or give birth.

Because of its small size, the whale shark found in the Sorsogon Province was likely born near the area. This indicates that the Philippines – at the apex of the Coral Triangle – likely is one of the places where these giants of the sea are born, according to WWF-Philippines.

For many years, scientists thought that the Sorsogon coastline was merely one of many stops along the global network of marine highways traveled by whale sharks. The recent discovery of the small whale shark could change that long-held belief and instead establish the coastline as a birthing area for the sharks.

After being tipped off that a whale shark had been caught to be sold, researchers from WWF-Philippines alerted local authorities and together they located and freed the shark, which the fisherman had restrained with a rope tied around its tail.

The rescuers then checked to make sure the shark had not been injured, and documented and measured it, before transferring it into a large, water-filled plastic bag to allow it to swim freely prior to its release. They eventually took the shark out to deeper water, where it was less likely to get entangled in a fish net, and set it free.

Although listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a status which strictly regulates the trade of the species based on quotas and permits to prevent their unsustainable use, whale sharks continue to be harvested for a variety of products, including their liver oil and fins.

The waters around Donsol are part of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas ecoregion, one of WWF's Global 200 ecoregions — a science-based global ranking of the world's most biologically outstanding habitats and the regions on which WWF concentrates its efforts. The also make up part of the Coral Triangle, a major area of marine biodiversity.

Leaders of the six nations that make up the Coral Triangle – Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste –will meet on May 15 in Manado, Indonesia for the World Oceans Conference where they will announce a comprehensive set of actions to protect ecosystems and food security in the region.

(C) WWF-Philippines

SourcedFrom Sourced from: WWF (CC-BY-SA)