Full video of injured shark shows numerous natural injuries

Junior the Great White shark, before and (long) after being caught by Dr. Domeier's team. Image courtesy FijiSharkDiving.Blogspot.com

Several months ago, still photographs showing an injured great white shark surfaced. The shark in question was previously captured by a shark research team lead by Dr. Michael Domeier on the TV show “Shark Men” – and the capture of this shark didn’t go as planned. These still images were taken from a video, and in response to the ensuing controversy, Dr. Domeier’s team claimed that when the full video is viewed, you can see that the injury comes from another shark and not from capture injury. No clear sharkbite injuries are visible in the original still image.

I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the full video, which had been in the possession of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries pending an investigation.

Here, for the first time available to the public, is the full video from which the above images were taken.

This is the entire video that NOAA sent me, I have not edited it in any way. The first 45 seconds show Junior completely uninjured before he was captured by Dr. Domeier’s research team. The rest, taken much later, shows the injury seen in the image above.

The latter part of the video also shows Junior with numerous injuries near the wound on his jaw. These injuries are clearly bites from other sharks, and were not visible in the previous still image.

Still from the full video. Arrow points to sharkbite injuries

Still from the full video. Left arrow points to clear sharkbite injury, right arrow points to originally seen jaw injury

Still from the full video. Left arrow points to clear sharkbite injuries, right arrow points to originally seen jaw injury.

The full video clearly shows that Junior’s injuries are caused by intraspecies conflict and not a direct result of the capture method. The concern that the tagging method seriously injured this shark is not supported by the evidence at hand.

Dr. Domeier’s team was able to attach a satellite tag to Junior during his original capture. Data from that tag shows that Junior is still swimming.

UPDATE: The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary has posted the video on their website along with some background information. This was done partially in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by myself and others.

101 comments

  1. Southern Fried Scientist · May 3, 2011

    Please note that we will continue to moderate comments as we did in the previous thread: Severely injured great white shark found, are scientists responsible? Everyone is encouraged to read through those comments and take a look at our comment policy before posting.

  2. Craig · May 3, 2011

    Hello

    Well I think you all know my thoughts concerning the methods employed by the sharkmen team. However, many of those wounds have been inflicted by another shark. Much of the white sharks behaviour is centred around non combat so severe injuries from another white shark are relatively uncommon.

    Is it possible that this shark was bitten while on the line? Is it possible that due to the hooking and fishing of the animal, the shark was vulnerable to attack after it was released?

    Craig

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      “Is it possible that this shark was bitten while on the line?”

      No. The researchers on the other end of the line would have certainly noticed this. Also, the bite marks were not visible yet once Junior was brought on board the vessel. They occurred sometime after Junior was caught. I don’t know how quickly wounds heal on great whites, but if it was a sandbar shark, I’d estimate that those wounds were not years old but were more recent.

      “Is it possible that due to the hooking and fishing of the animal, the shark was vulnerable to attack after it was released?”

      That’s possible, but we’ll never know it for sure. Also, biting each other is common among sharks, and it isn’t usually associated with attack or aggression (in some species, it’s a social behavior, in others it’s associated with mating). There’s no reason to suspect that a great white would bite a weakened conspecific that it encountered.

  3. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 3, 2011

    The question is about whether or not the shark’s overall diminished condition is the result of the harmful hook and line method.

    The shark was injured by being hooked in the throat, not the face. I dont know anyone who asserted the tumorous looking injury to its lower face and jaw was from the hook; the concern was that the hook injury to the sharks throat caused the shark’s weakened condition that resulted in being attacked by another shark.

    Below is an image of a white shark that was attacked by another shark while in a weakened/vulnerable condition.

    In the image below one can see what happened to a white shark hooked on drum line; the disadvantaged shark was attacked because the hook and line capture made it vulnerable to attack.
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/10/28/article-1223001-06FA4652000005DC-17_634x415.jpg

    Lets not pretend or accuse the reseachers who documented the fact that shark is in really bad shape and wandering way off course; very likely because it cannot now compete with its uninjured con-specifics.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vb9CvARdJs

    The huge barbed hook that was lodged in the sharks throat is a serious injury and the shark did injure its jaw when it swallowed a large ball float– something that has not been sufficiently touched upon in this debate.

    Sure other sharks bit the injured shark, it was made vulnerable by the injuries that occurred.

    The hook and line method was hugely flawed, as was the attachment method which bolts on the transmitters in a way that deforms the fins (established fact) and burdons the shark with debri.

    Cordially,
    Sean

    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      “The question is about whether or not the shark’s overall diminished condition is the result of the harmful hook and line method… I dont know anyone who asserted the tumorous looking injury to its lower face and jaw was from the hook; the concern was that the hook injury to the sharks throat caused the shark’s weakened condition that resulted in being attacked by another shark.”

      That’s not entirely correct, Sean. The original e-mail that included the still image seen at the top of this post stated:

      “The shark has a tumor-like lesion where it had been man-handled by the team [Domeier’s team]”

      Whoever leaked the original still image claimed that the injury was caused by Junior’s encounter with Dr. Domeier’s team, not as the result of other sharks encountering a weakened Junior and attacking him.

      Again, based on what little we know of great white shark behavior, there’s no reason to suspect that another white shark would bite Junior after encountering him in a weekend state. The news report you link to is not a good analogy- that animal was immobilized on a drum line.

      Also, there’s another important difference between the shark in the news report you link to and Junior’s injuries. That Australian shark had enormous chunks taken out of it. Junior had small bite marks. The other shark was not trying to eat Junior, if it was and Junior was as weakened as you claim, Junior would not still be around. Small bite marks heal, having chunks bitten out of your side does not heal.

  4. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 3, 2011

    Craig,
    At the time of release the shark was unbitten but bleeding heavily from the hook lodged in its throat and the large ball float that it subsequently grabbed and got stuck in its jaws. It was a big problem, when the shark was released it moved off shore and then returned the following season all murphed up and skinny. Now its wandering around in a totally atypical manner that likely reflects its tattered and diminished condition.

    The problem was the barbed hook damage and the way the transmitters were being attached.

    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      Are you really suggesting than an animal whose jaw is so injured that it cannot eat would be capable of swimming thousands of miles and living for over a year?

  5. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 3, 2011

    Hooking and hauling and harming the sharks is not necessary if one is interested in tracking them, let alone conserving them. The lance and lure method is superior and more efficient and does not injure or make the shark vulnerable.

    http://youtu.be/nn0kWWyGk3A

    Here (as above) is more video documentation regarding the way these large macro apex predatory sharks react to other sharks that are injured. This dynamic and concern is well understood to many (apparently not all) who are familiar and experienced in regards to the behavior of these massive sharks.

    Tissue samples ARE NOT difficult to gather under the proper conditions.
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/FEB03/sean.jpg

    Cordially,
    Sean

    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    http://www.pelagic.org/research/stranding.html
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

    [Sean, please take a break for a bit and let other people have their say before you fill up the comment thread. You’ve gotten over 40,000 words in on this issue and when you post comment after comment it becomes impossible to follow the thread ~Ed.]

  6. Dar · May 3, 2011

    I’m glad to see critical thinking going on here by David Shiffman. It is to your credit that these sorts of things be fully investigated before assigning blame wrongfully. That can damage credibility to what could otherwise be a great educational opportunity.
    For what it’s worth, the sharks I’ve seen “sharkmen” run tests on, are handled with the utmost of respect that one can accord. This is hardly an easy task but the information that will be gained is priceless.

    I think ego’s should step aside on this

  7. Josh C. · May 3, 2011

    It does appear that whoever leaked the image “conveniently” may have intentionally chosen a frame which would support their case. However, finger-pointing and ulterior motives aside… Sean makes many logical points on the handling of this creature.

    Regardless of whether the hook damage led directly to the jaw wound, or if it indirectly contributed by making this individual more susceptible to attack, or if it was entirely coincidental – I still believe the massive hook-and-haul method is unnecessary and should be disallowed when equally effective methods of tagging and collecting blood samples from free-swimming sharks are available and proven.

    We all know hauling a 2K+ pound shark out of the water gets much higher ratings than studying it the old-fashioned way… but the well-being of endangered species should not be sacrificed in order to make “Extreme TV”. The stress of hooking it, tiring it out and hauling it out of the water, not to mention having to shove bolt-cutters into its gills when something goes awry, may threaten its ability to regulate its body temperature as other scientists have speculated, or weaken it in other ways we do not yet understand.

    Let’s put egos, spotlights and big-budget TV on the back-burner, err on the side of caution and treat these animals with the caution and respect they deserve.

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      ” equally effective methods of tagging and collecting blood samples from free-swimming sharks are available and proven.”

      There are no existing methods to obtain blood samples from free-swimming sharks.

      You can tag a free swimming shark, but with a different kind of tag- a tag that has a much shorter battery life and does not transmit real-time data.

      Reasonable people can disagree over how high-resolution we need the data to be and if getting higher-resolution data is worth possible risks to the shark, but to claim that the lower risk methods produce data that is equally high resolution is simply incorrect.

  8. Michael Domeier · May 3, 2011

    Thank you, David, for seeing this through and having the guts to say it like it is. For me personally, it takes a lot of patience and tolerance to endure what is stated (and re-stated, and re-stated) over the internet by just a few people. Many of these statements are misleading, or outright lies, but if I defend myself it just feeds the fire. You have in fact confirmed what I originally stated when these photos came to light.

    Now that the door has been cracked, let me correct some of the other untruths that have arisen during the course of this controversy.

    Popup tagging cannot determine the 2-year migratory cycle of adult female white sharks. Period, end of story. SPOT tagging is currently the only technology that can achieve tracks of this length. In the next few weeks you will see some of the new adult female results on TV, before I am even able to publish (TV happens much faster than peer-review!). Hopefully we will document a few more 2-year migrations from other adult females this spring/summer.

    Lifting sharks out of the water, and exposing them to the force of gravity, does not result in the destruction of internal organs. If this was so my sharks would have died. Since sharks do not have lungs or a swimbladder they are relatively incompressible. Furthermore, they are an order of magnitude smaller than killer whales which can survive periods out of water (and they have lungs).

    The blood I draw is not to test stress levels, it is used to study the reproductive cycle of this species. The only other way to do this type of work is to kill the shark and cut it open; that is unacceptable under any circumstance.

    We did not break the jaw of “Junior.” Yes, his jaw is screwed up now, but again, it was not a result of our capture and release.

    Sean Van Sommeran has crushed this blog with a tonnage of text and I expect to see the same here. I’ve never even met the guy, but let me put a few things in perspective. Sean has created some new terminology that does cause me to LOL. “Long term resident researcher.” What is that? Do any of us really live in the same habitat as these awesome animals? I am a resident of California…does that count for something? In 2003 Sean took a trip to Guadalupe Island and initiated a tagging study…is he a resident of Guadalupe Island as well?

    Sean states that tags become “harmful marine debris.” Does this include the license-plate-sized plastic things he plastered all over white shark at Guadalupe Island? These license plates were not treated with any sort of anti-fouling paint and they soon looked like artificial reefs bouncing off the backs of the sharks. But Sean does raise a good point; bio-fouling of electronic tags is a huge issue that not only effects tag performance but it can cause lesions, particularly in association with tethered tags. I have had many discussions with tag manufacturers about bio-fouling and it is not an easy problem to solve.

    Sean also states that my work interferes with “long term resident researchers.” I disagree; what I am doing will collect data that is complimentary to ongoing studies. Sean forgot to mention that he directly interfered with my Guadalupe study by instructing a camera operator to physically remove one of my popup satellite tags from a white shark during a Shark Week shoot. It was pretty interesting to track that tag, via ARGOS, right past my lab on the I-5 on its way to Sean’s house.

    This post is going to result in an avalanche of contradictory posts, and in advance I apologize to the world for that. I do think, however, that the people who visit this site deserve to hear the truth. In fact, I have found that many people like to criticize my research, or the show Shark Men, without ever watching the program. Watch the show….you might learn something. Check the Marine Conservation Science website (www.MarineCSI.org) or Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marine-Conservation-Science-Institute/182652741786358)…you might see interesting updates. We are doing our best to contribute to the long term survival of one of the ocean’s most magnificent predators. Don’t let a very few vocal detractors keep you from making some new discoveries through our eyes.

    Michael L. Domeier, Ph.D.
    President
    Marine Conservation Science Institute

    • Marie Pate · May 3, 2011

      I watched Sharkman Sun. night. During the show, you mentioned this accusation. You said, and showed, that ya’ll have changed to a barbless hook. Why didn’t you mention that in your comments? I think that’s significant and shows that ya’ll are serious about taking good care of the sharks.

      I have mixed feelings about all of this. But, I know that sharks are in extreme danger of disappearing, mostly because of human ignorance and disrespect. I love all of earth’s creatures dearly. I would much rather see everyone leave them alone completely, but it’s far too late for that. Good luck.

  9. Chris Fischer · May 3, 2011

    There was no tv gig when I personally funded this research in an effort to figure out where Farallon GW females were giving birth. So we could protect their future.
    This whole ridiculous connection between the research and tv did not exist. There was no tv gig when this research was conducted.
    Make sure you guys watch Shark Men two Sundays from now to see where Amy a mature female leads us.
    We believe it to be the GW birthing ground, thousands of miles from where it was expected to be.
    Remember, we are all after the same thing, a robust future for all shark.

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      Thanks for joining the discussion, Chris, and for all that you do with OCEARCH.

      I, for one, will be tuning in to see that episode.

  10. Gillian · May 3, 2011

    Thankfully we all got to see the video for ourselves…after seeing the video its obvious that Junior’s condition is not a result of Dr. Domeier’s research. I’m not a scientist, but even I can tell that Junior got in the way of another shark. Better to see the “The big picture” before throwing stones in a glass house!! Shame on those who started these rumors.

  11. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 3, 2011

    Michael Domeier wrote:
    ‘Sean has created some new terminology that does cause me to LOL. “Long term resident researcher.” What is that?’

    Greetings Dr Domeier, Finally! we can engage each other in open and free Socratic debate. Thank you for presenting the SFS readership to learn from this opportunity and exchange.

    To answer Dr Domeier’s question regarding the definition of ‘resident long term researchers’ (and/or long term monitoring studies) I offer you the following explanation.

    Long term monitoring studies are uniquely valuable in that the researchers are on site over a long duration, decades in the case of Central California’s ‘resident researchers’ who worked at the seal colonies at Farallones or Año Nuevo Island. The long term monitoring program provides a depth of understanding of both the site and its denizens; this approach is in keeping with Dr Jane Goodall or Diane Fossey et al. This kind of approach is more productive than are the safari or expeditionary type of approach.

    Michael Domeier wrote:
    ‘In 2003 Sean took a trip to Guadalupe Island and initiated a tagging study…is he a resident of Guadalupe Island as well?’

    No, our visits to Isla Guadalupe were expeditions; these was useful/successful in that we acquired valuable tissue DNA samples with which Mahmood Shivji’s lab was able to DNA signature/fingerprint eastern pacific white sharks.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/great-white-shark-uncaged-saving-the-sharks.html

    At the time of our first expedition to Isla Guadalupe no DNA had ever been gathered from white sharks there, and these samples were needed. Had another researcher at that time been gathering DNA I would have gone through that channel to get the samples; would have saved us quite a bit of fuel money.

    That data was published (NOVA South-Eastern U) in scientific literature and is used by forensic biologists to track the shark fin trade which we are now in the process of eradicating from Hawaii, the Marianas, the Marshalls, Palau, California, Oregon, Washington state as well as Canada and Chile. We were at Isla Guadalupe for weeks and did not harm.

    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/dec_2003_2/dec-2003_002.html

    Michael Domeier wrote:
    ‘Sean states that tags become “harmful marine debris.” Does this include the license-plate-sized plastic things he plastered all over white shark at Guadalupe Island? These license plates were not treated with any sort of anti-fouling paint and they soon looked like artificial reefs bouncing off the backs of the sharks.’

    In the above assertion about the temporary ID tags we attached to the sharks we had DNA sampled Dr Domeier is either joking and gleefully exaggerating that facts or is fiendishly make false allegations. The ‘License Plate’ sized tags he refers to are less than 4 inches long and 2.5 inches across, they were temporary tags designed to detach and float (hopefully to be recovered later) like a message in a bottle. I have provided images of the tags for the SFS readership to peruse for themselves; and with this example I hope the SFS readership may gauge who is actually the one bending the truth, harming sharks while gathering data that is largely redundant. Dr Domeier also neglects to mention the latest Microwave telemetry designed pop-up (detachable) PAT transmitters which are rivaling the bolt on SPOT tags which deform the sharks fins and become (as he admits) ‘fouled’ with algea and junk.

    Temporary ID tag (only a few inches across):
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/misch_JAN16-18_03/13_DSCF0501.jpg

    Light weight temporary ID tag next to pop-up sat tag:
    (clearly not the size of license plate)
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/misch_JAN16-18_03/14_DSCF0505.jpg

    In the image below one can see that the tags are small:
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/misch_JAN16-18_03/11_DSCF0446.jpg

    In this image one can see that the temporary tags are very light and not at all as Dr Mike Domeier has alleged.
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/2004-jan/dsc_0141.jpg

    The sharks are not adversely affected at all, Domeier’s spiteful allegations are clearly ‘inaccurate’:
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/JAN03/tagged.jpg

    Michael Domeier wrote:
    ‘Sean forgot to mention that he directly interfered with my Guadalupe study by instructing a camera operator to physically remove one of my popup satellite tags from a white shark during a Shark Week shoot. It was pretty interesting to track that tag, via ARGOS, right past my lab on the I-5 on its way to Sean’s house.’

    Dr Domeier was not there, what actually happened was that a diver that was working on a different boat from mine saw a shark with a poorly attached transmitter and pulled it off thinking it was mine (the pop up tags look just like ours). When I was handed the tag I did verify that the lanyard was kinked but the tag was not mine. I actually called it in right away using a sat phone and informed one of his staff that we had been given a tag recovered by a diver and that the tag had problems but was in good shape and we would return it upon our return to Monterey bay, we did not stop over in So Cal as we drove our boat down (27′ Radon)from Monterey to launch from San Diego. The tag offered a $500 reward which neither myself or the diver was interested in. The allegation that the tag was tracked to my house is fiction, I brought it my down town office at that time.

    My opinions (expressed on SFS) have been very concise and centered not on Dr Domeier character but the fact that the huge barb hook and the hook and haul method cause un-needed harm and that the shark he hooked in the throat is now clearly in really bad condition. Im just trying to conduct my end of this debate and I hope I will not be sanctioned by SFS editorship for furnishing it’s readers with cogent, first hand information and photo documentation. Im not intending to offend, I simply feel compelled to share the information that I have and others lack or are unwilling or able to convey.

    Cordially,
    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    http://www.pelagic.org/research/stranding.html
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 3, 2011

      My opinions (expressed on SFS) have been very concise

      Sorry Sean, I couldn’t help myself

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      re: “Concise”

      Sean, out of nearly 4,000 comments in the history of this blog, the ten wordiest comments have all been from you.

    • Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 3, 2011

      Yeah thanks, and you are an impartial referee?

      Cheers,
      Sean
      PSRF
      Since 1990.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 3, 2011

      Yeah thanks, and you are an impartial referee?

      I don’t care much for sharks, if that helps.

      Sharks are sub-par, at best

  12. Josh C. · May 3, 2011

    Whysharksmatter – I thought I read in the original thread, about a scientist in South Africa who claimed to have retrieved blood samples from a free-swimming white shark. Perhaps that was untrue or I misunderstood, if so, thanks for clarifying.

    Thanks to Dr. Domeier and Mr. Fischer for chiming in and dispelling some misconceptions some of us non-scientists often have. It also helps to put into perspective the intentions of the methods used, knowing that the TV gig came after the methods were conceived. Hopefully you can understand how it might look to an outsider of the scientific community.

    I really look forward to learning about these exciting new developments, and hope some mysteries are unlocked!

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      ” I thought I read in the original thread, about a scientist in South Africa who claimed to have retrieved blood samples from a free-swimming white shark”

      I’ll look into this further but I am unaware of any such technique. You can take tissue samples from a free swimming animal using biopsy darts or lances, but taking blood requires a needle.

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      Josh,

      You are correct that a commenter in the previous thread claimed to have extracted blood from a free-swimming great white shark. I’m looking into it further. Apologies for my earlier comment.

  13. Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

    Nice on you David. Glad to see some updates on the whole issue here. Which was the release of the image of Junior and not just his condition. While the poor condition of the animal on it’s return to the islands in the Fall of 2010 is a terrible thing, and it is, and every effort should be made to be sure that doesn’t happen due to interaction with man, the fact of the matter is that this is the result of the animal living in the wild. It happens. Why it happens is open to speculation on everything from little green men in spacesuits to the hook method. However… Speculation without fact is non empirical and isn’t worth much of anything. What is a fact and is unequivical is that someone took from a private video recording held by TOPP and made a deliberate release of a doctored and an out of context image. Why? If the whole of the image had been released then it would be simple to say the animal was bitten by another White Shark. That did not happen, rather an incomplete image was released. From the initial reactions I witnessed I beleive it was a deliberate ploy on the part of someone to stir up the controversy of the method used by Dr. Domeier. My first thought to my shame was, when I and others in my community saw that shot was, “Look what he did”. My second and more more rational thought was, “Wait a second, what’s missing”. What was missing was the bigger picture. In fact and metaphorically. My belief now and once I figured out the truth of the matter, regardless of the condition of the animal, is that the release was the action of the vocal opposition and of the professional competition pulling a dirty trick. They should be held accountable by NOAA, GFNMS and CA.DFG. A code of ethics is expected of anyone working in the field of research. There is no way that a proprietary image held by TOPP can be selectively cropped from a piece of video like this and be released unintentially. This was done intentionally. And no fast talking, subject changing, long winded, self important blow hard can say otherwise. If this was an unintentional release then let the responsible individual stand up and take credit and give a reason why exactly this bit of the video got put out. Why this image rather than the whole, this bit of a highly cropped, selectively shown still taken from a video image that shows all of the damage to the animal.
    This is the same kind of infighting I’ve been seeing here at the Farallones for years and years and it needs to stop. If the people responsible for extracting the truth from our world can’t be responsible for their actions then they certainly can’t be responsible for the animals they study and their data and studies all become suspect.
    And that’s my thoughts on the subjectn right now. I’m also wonderig why you were able to get a copy of the video by using the FOIA when I couldn’t… But that’s another issue for another time.

    Regards,
    Greg Barron
    IA

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      Thanks, Greg. I’m sorry that you had issues with FOIA. I contacted the relevant NOAA officials and had a copy of the film in my possession inside of three weeks at no charge.

    • Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

      I had asked Maria Brown at GFNMS on April 13th 2011 if it was a FOIA issue and was told that they were waiting to hear from their atty whether they could release the video. I never heard back. Glad to see that you got it and posted. Posting earlier would have saved a lot of time and energy.

  14. Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

    I believe it was Craig Ferreira that made the blood sample statement though I couold be mistaken.

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      I’ll look into it, thanks!

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      You’re correct. I missed that claim in the flurry of comments on the earlier post.

  15. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 3, 2011

    Sean wrote:
    ‘Yeah thanks, and you are an impartial referee?’

    May 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm — Southern Fried Scientist wrote:
    ‘I don’t care much for sharks, if that helps.’

    It helps explain your apparent favoritism on the matter (shark/wildlife conservation) — your support for Dr Domeier’s conservation efforts are now somehow easier to understand… you dont even care.

    Meanwhile, I hope you will not prevent me from sharing information and insights gathered during my 2 decades of studying and working to conserve shark and large fish populations. Meanwhile you have an opinion but no care?

    Fascinating,
    Cordially,
    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    http://www.pelagic.org
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990
    Now on Facebook:

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 3, 2011

      Inconceivable!

      What’s with the paranoia? Not one of your comments has ever been removed. Heck, I’m not even the one manning the filters on this post.

      Lighten up dude, you write long comments, at least have a sense of humor about it.

    • Anonymous · May 4, 2011

      Maybe its your continual unsupported allegations that people are tired of? you are still claiming as fact that Junior’s condition is a direct or indirect result of the hooking. Well he has survived a year by himself, and performed a normal migration during this time, which is serious evidence against your theory. You cant use speculation as fact.

  16. debra · May 3, 2011

    Yeah… er… who cares? sorry. It’s ONE SHARK for petes sake.

  17. Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

    David, if you had the relevant video inside 3 weeks that means that you asked for it just prior or at the same time to my requesting the same information on the 13th. I wonder why the subterfuge?

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      Yeah, I asked a few days before you. That’s weird. At least it’s out now.

  18. Gillian · May 3, 2011

    I agree with Greg…really why does this Sean guy have it out for Dr. Domeier?? After reading all of his post is obvious he’s got a personnal vendetta..give it a rest already.

  19. Craig · May 3, 2011

    Thanks to those who shed light on my questions as to whether the shark was hammered while being caught or right after release. I only asked as I have seen two sharks hit by another while on a line.

    Craig

    • WhySharksMatter · May 3, 2011

      Certainly.

      Question for you- was it you who said in the earlier post’s comments that you had drawn blood from a free-swimming great white? Can you provide more details on that, either as a comment or by e-mailing me?

      Thanks!

  20. Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

    Hi Debra,

    The animal is still important. With the new data of population density here in the SF / North Coast area in, all the White Sharks we can keep swimming are good. On the bright side he’s still around and swimming. With that in mind let the studying begin.

    Hoo-Rah Andrew.

  21. Chris S. · May 3, 2011

    There’s a lot of things that happen on that show that are cringe worthy to me, and I am sure the the people conducting the research don’t like everything that occurs to these sharks at all times.

    However, this is what it’s come down to to protect not just this species, but several species over a wide range of the planet that would be affected by the disappearance of an extremely unique ocean predator.

    If the fisheries and the fishermen around the planet had taken it upon themselves to protect the oceans decades ago, not because the law said to, but because they understood it was important to the planet, the species they fish, their predatory counterparts, and their own livelihoods, we wouldn’t be in this position. They failed miserably, and now we’re at the 11th hour for a lot of important species.

    Everybody throws a fit when a biodegradable hook gets stuck or a tag might cause slight damage to the fin before any actual proof of long term damage is revealed. Well, how about worrying about that mass of garbage in the pacific that some of these sharks have to swim through to get to Hawaii. Or all the garbage that freighters and cruise ships dump outside harbors to cut costs.

    Great whites are about to disappear with us literally knowing zilch about them. There’s just not a lot of choice or time left. Is there any new technique for handling or tagging animals that doesn’t have to be refined and practiced?

    I mean if the video sabotage is coming from other scientists, that’s disgusting to me. Baiting hooks and dropping a cage in the water just isn’t going to cut it anymore. The progress into the insight about great whites that has been made since I was a little kid and now as I enter into my 30s is pathetic. It seems that in order to learn a lot more about not just great whites, but sharks in general, we’re going to have to use more unorthodox methods.

    As amazing as it is to see a great white out of the water, I would love to never have to see another one get pulled up to do tests. All this controversy and scientific community infighting should be replaced with innovations to make it a reality.

  22. Michael Domeier · May 3, 2011

    For the record, I have been taking DNA samples at Guadalupe since 2002. No one ever asked, but honestly, it doesn’t bother me that Sean sent some sample to Mahmood; I’ve also give samples to Mahmood and we should all be working together.

    If anyone cares to dig, you can find an enlightening/amusing discussion of the 2003 tag removal incident on Shark-L. If you really like digging, find out who owns this email address: [email protected]. That’s the source of this entire ridiulous witch hunt. Perhaps that person would like to explain why the public was led down that path?

    That’s all I have to say on the subject.

    Peace Out,
    Michael

  23. Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

    Hi Chris,

    Lots of good points there. Keep in mind though that the technology to do the things we can do now hadn’t even really been developed until just recently for the most part. Not to mention, have you ever tried working a deck in a pitching sea with even a 4 foot animal flailing around? It’s a difficult task at best. So, some of the information recovered at this point in time is just phenomenal and I commend all the folks that have struggled through adversity to get that small cache we do have. Sylvia Earle said once in the book “Sea Change”, I think it was, that we know more about the moon that we do about the ocean under our feet when we get in a small boat and push off the dock. I know my paraphrase mangled her statement horribly but you get the idea. We’re gonna learn, it’s gonna happen. I haven’t given up hope at least, it’s the last thing in the box. As to Whites out of water, I’ve seen 4500 pound animals 6 feet in the air do a half gainer and then a great belly flop a dozen times at least at the Farallones from the deck of our boat. They can take a little punishment.

    If you are going to nail the fiherman here, you have to include all of us as well. Let’s not forget the water diversions inland that deplete the upstream fisheries for farmland or our own use of disposables. You are right about the garbage patches and gyres. Unbelievably horrible. It’s not too late though, we can make a difference. I hate to quote a bad cliche bumper sticker but… ready? Here it goes. Think globally, act locally.

  24. Greg Barron · May 3, 2011

    Craig, funny you should ask about sharks on a line. One of my first speculations about the mouth injury to Junior prior to finding out about the doctored image was perhaps that the wound was caused by a longliner that had hooked into the animal and the animal escaped and sustained a large chaffing injury. Seemed to make sense at the time. Do you know if the sharks you had seen that had been partially consumed while on a line were dead prior to their being bitten? I’ve been up close and personal here and seen White Sharks feeding on a dead Blue Whale, the bites to the whale carcass were similar to the ones shown earlier in a reference up this thread. To be able to take large chunks involved a considerable amount of effort on the part of the feeding animals.

  25. Royston · May 4, 2011

    Poor guy, wish those sharkman would go and catch him, give him some snitches and cut that nasty wounds out. Now THAT would be something wouldn’t it, no?

  26. Bob K · May 4, 2011

    I assume that the researchers and conservationists who are posting here share a passion for understanding and preserving this species.

    It’s surprising to see a vindictive rather than a collaborative relationship within what I would assume is a very small community.

    Couldn’t you guys get more done by working together instead of taking shots at each other? It’s unprofessional and counterproductive.

  27. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 4, 2011

    The huge barbed hook of the type that lodged in the shark’s throat in 2009 and the permanently bolted on transmitters are the main problems for most researchers and DVMs I know.

    Issues such as hauling the shark onto a platform are an additional concern, especially large potentially gravid (pregnant) specimens which are especially heavy laden and distended already.

    For some of us who have worked with these particular sharks for many seasons, the risk of injuring an adult female shark (protected species/within reserve)-(or the payload of pups) is not justifiable in regards to its ostensible purpose, (conservation) nor is it in keeping with the sharks protected species status in California and our associated National Marine Sanctuaries.

    The assertion that the photo has in anyway been doctored is false. The image was focused on the broken jaw and tumorous, necrotizing infection; an apparent artifact of the shark’s health being greatly compromised by the hook injury (the hook was not fully recovered either).

    I also question the logic that insists that sharing the photo of the shark in it’s apparent (obviously) horrible condition is somehow unethical…?

    As a conservationist and shark researcher I should be allowed/permitted to debate this and related matters without being accused of having it out for anyone or having ulterior motives.

    Ive been admonished by an editor of SFS for my remarks once already and my last two posts were delayed pending. ‘moderators approval’…

    I appeal for open, free Socratic debate and would expect my participation would benefit such a discussion.

    Cordially,
    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    http://www.pelagic.org
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990
    Now on Facebook:

    • WhySharksMatter · May 4, 2011

      “Ive been admonished by an editor of SFS for my remarks once already and my last two posts were delayed pending. ‘moderators approval’…”

      Just for the record, the length and frequency of your comments is the reason why you’ve gotten caught in our spam filter. It’s automatic. We’ve let every single comment that you’ve posted through, usually within a few minutes.

      [Note – after leaving three comments in quick succession and in light of the enormous number of comments left on the previous thread, Sean R. Van Sommeran was temporarily added to the moderation filter on the afternoon of May 3, from approximately 3:00 PM to 9:30 PM, to give other readers a chance to comment. This temporary moderation affected 2 comments. ~Ed.]

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 4, 2011

      Comments with more than 4 links are usually held for moderation, also an automated process.

  28. Josh C. · May 4, 2011

    I have a question for the experts here. I read an article detailing new revelations about the weakness and fragility of a white shark’s jaw before maturity (http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9247000/9247603.stm). Given that multiple individuals of varying ages are commonly present at a research site, isn’t it possible that using the hook method could damage a shark’s jaw if it isn’t fully developed yet?

  29. Greg Barron · May 4, 2011

    Hey Bob, as for myself, I’d like to say the same thing but see for yourself the lengths that someone will go to. Dr. Domeier got hammered for 2 things as I see it. One, showing up at the Farallones to do his operations. You’ve seen the vitriolic reaction by at least one person to his arrival. Claims of how disruptive he was at the minimum. And the second thing, doing something differently than how it’s ormally done.
    I grew up in this area, traveled to the islands many times before I began my current position and have been paying attention to the things that happen in this place. I’ve also worked the islands doing outreach and education for the White Sharks as well as cage dives for the last 6 years and I can tell you that the commonality can be shattered by the competition to publish or produce or get the research grant before someone else does. sad but it’s a fact of life.
    I totally agree with you that it’s counter productive and unprofessional which is why I sincerely hope that one of the agencies that concerns themselves with the islands gets to the bottom of the issue and sanctions someone for unethical and unprofessional behavior.

  30. Greg Barron · May 4, 2011

    Hey Josh, good article, good contribution. I’m certainly not an expert but I have been working with the animals for a while and have spent a bunch of time with other species of shark as well in a few oceans. From what I do know and have learned, and I’m sure the real experts will correct me if I’m wrong, David, Andrew, Michael, Craig, the sharks jaws and teeth change from the juvenile to the adult. When I saw the first White shark held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium back in I think 2005, I could see that the teeth in a juvenile White Shark are more sharply pointed and are like the teeth in the Salmon Shark and Mako Shark which are in the same family as the White Shark. As I understand it the White Shark tooth goes from a pointy sharp needle to a large triangular shape more able to sever the flesh of the sea mammal diet it changes to as opposed to the pointed teeth of a primarily fish eating shark like the Mako and Salmon Shark. The Sand Tiger reference in the article is a good example of the pointy tooth vs the triangle of the White Shark.
    Hope I got that right.

  31. Steven · May 4, 2011

    Dr.Domeier lets set the stage over the 2003 incident with Sean. He stole one of your sharks tags at Isla Guadalupe while filming with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and Jeff Kurr, claiming it to be his while the cameras were running.

    He then took the shark tag back to Santa Cruz and hid it at his house.

    He knew full well he had stolen a tag with your name on the side. In fact everyone did.

    This was also the same Jeff Kurr he was fined $21,000 by NOAA, for making sharks jump at Ano Nuevo a few years prior with another Discovery film production.

    Most everyone suspects that Sean is in fact Ecoshark1.

    You confronted him, he was embarrassed, and now he has a vendetta. O.K

    That does not excuse you and your team for one hell of a messy job tagging Junior in 2009. That doen’t excuse you for being an insufferable “bull in a china shop” raging through a unique shark research site at the Farallones under the guise of a film crew.

    You get to play the hurt party card for exactly 5 minutes, as this entire thread on SFS is really all about you and Sean, not about Junior.

    You still have to account for this animal in many ways.

    You also have to account for what looks like the slow process of degradation to the fins of the sharks that you have tagged thus far.

    It is sad that Sean hijacked this discussion but that’s him, he’s a dock rat, always wanted to be part of the research community, always looking for acceptance.

    You on the other hand made a production deal with the devil, and in the process badly maimed a shark with a crew that was not trained. Why did you do it?

    Who knows. But just because we had to sit through two months of the Sean vs Mike Show does not stop the inquiry.

  32. Ben Gahagan · May 4, 2011

    Couldn’t you guys get more done by working together instead of taking shots at each other? It’s unprofessional and counterproductive.

    Agreed wholeheartedly. I would normally read a thread like this and move on, but as a young fish scientist I am pretty disappointed at the conversation being pushed by Mr. Van Sommeran. There is a worthwhile debate to be had about the relative merits of gaining information that would be otherwise impossible to get against doing possible harm to the creature you are attempting to protect and aid. It is clear that Dr. Domeier and Chris Fischer are passionate about the conservation of these animals. If you disagree with his methods there are appropriate forums for you to have a debate, ‘socratic’ or otherwise. The internet is not one of them (http://waywardmonkey.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/duty-calls.png), for the very reason that you appear at best unprofessional and the bottom line is that we should spend our time working for the RESOURCE, not fighting amongst ourselves. I realize the hypocrisy of me pointing this out on said internet forum but hopefully you can see the sincerity here. This is a discussion worth having, but responsibly. Broadcasting assertions that are unverifiable one way or another (which any claim that the hooking did or did not cause that wound is, both sides have opinions but no proof) over ye olde world wide web is not helping anyone or anything, least of all the sharks.

    Best,
    Ben

    [fixed quote tags ~Ed.]

  33. Tom Moody · May 4, 2011

    Whats the point of putting these sharks at risk? We learn where they go, they take a little sperm from them to study and are cut loose. Yeah, thats all interesting and everything, but we gain minimal knowledge and the knowledge we gain is for our benefit, not the sharks. If the cure for cancer was inside these things, thats one thing. But learning where they go wont help the Great White population, all it does is create a TV show and give curious people a few answers. This whole thing benefits us, not the sharks. I say leave them alone. Its clear that Fischer and his crew are more interested in making a TV show then they are keeping the sharks healthy.

    • Ben Gahagan · May 4, 2011

      Tom,
      First off I apologize for the length and a disclaimer that I don’t want to in any way be putting words in Dr. Domeier’s mouth (especially since I never met the guy) but this is what appears to be the point: We know Great Whites are in trouble, but we have very limited information about this shark, e.g. migration patterns, reproductive schedules (spawning behavior such as age at maturity, do they spawn every year or every 2 or 3 or 4 years), habitat preferences, possible times or areas of high vulnerability to natural predators or fisheries…so he is collecting information to address these issues so that we can hopefully more effectively conserve the species. Semen and blood hormones from females indicate sexual stage, which informs us about the possible role of Guadalupe and other areas as mating sites. Tracking fish he knew to be reproductively active he can help make sense of why fish may go to different places after leaving Guadalupe (for instance, if a female that they knew to be ready to mate or had just mated goes one way and and a female with baseline hormone levels goes another, they can now start to make some hypotheses why that might be). Also, identifying areas where fish reliably gather in large numbers and associated migration corridors can be incredibly useful in conservation since it gives managers information about the places that could be closed to certain types of fishing and the times that it would be most helpful to do so. They are getting a lot of exciting information about white sharks through the tags and their research, whether you think the potential harm or risk of harm done to the shark is greater than the importance of the information is something for you to consider, but this is not just spectacle TV. There are many moments in the show that could be better and I think it at times overdoes the drama and sensationalist angle, but a lot of good information will come from this.
      Cheers,
      Ben

    • WhySharksMatter · May 4, 2011

      Ben, that seems like a solid summary to me.

  34. Greg Barron · May 4, 2011

    Ben, good attitude. Wanna come out and share that with the public? I’m always liking to have guest speakers that get it and realize it’s better to work together and be productive than to work at odds with their peers. Folks like that help the public understand and better appreciate the world we live in which is part of my mission statement.

    Greg Barron
    IA

  35. Southern Fried Scientist · May 4, 2011

    Please note, because of the exceptionally high traffic this post is garnering, I’ve increased the *heart* threshold to 10, otherwise nearly 90% of the comments were being highlighted as “well-loved”, which doesn’t really help people find the gems.

    The *hate* threshold is also at 10 and the *debate* threshold is at 20 without consensus. Please note that the purpose of the *hate* threshold is to hide comments that are spammy, trolling, or add nothing to the discussion. If you dislike an otherwise valid comment for it’s content, please respond to it as well.

  36. Johnny Massacre · May 4, 2011

    I like turtles.

  37. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 5, 2011

    My expressed concerns about being moderated or edited (on this list) was not an accusation; seeing as how my posts were delayed and I had been once already admonished for making lengthy posts (that included cogent video clips) and first hand information) I wanted to convey my concerns that I may be risking unfair sanction via this lists editors.

    The $21,000 fine we (PSRF) we hazarded with in 2003 was dropped, it was the result of confusions regarding our use of innovative and highly effective lures and a highly rated documentary film being inaccurately characterized as a ‘movie’; further more, the type of lure that was questioned in now standard issue and the documentary film was award winning and still airs every year on various programing.

    The allegation that I stole a tag (its been variously described as me diving in or my hiring or directing divers to swim over and steal tags) is false. I badly wobbling and poorly attached tag was pulled from a shark and it was handed to me; I called it in via sat phone and arranged for pick up of the device (sans printed reward offer). End of that story.

    The reason I posted the vid clips was to demonstrate the salient points within the debate.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/10/28/article-1223001-06FA4652000005DC-17_634x415.jpg

    As an original sponsor of white sharks and a white shark researcher of over 20 years experience gathered in California, Mexico, Chile, Australia and Africa I would expect that the participation of a PSRF representative would be appreciated on SFS.

    Without intending to insult anyone I would like to reiterate and clarify that our concerns are focused on the use of over-sized aggressively barbed hooks and the way the bolted on transmitters are attached because they warp and deform the sharks fins and they are permanent fixtures that become burdensome debri. My expressed concerns shouldnt be classified as ‘attacks’ on anyone personally, such characterizations are not genuine.

    The reason for my lengthy posts is that I often have to address a number if inaccurate commentators at once, seeing as I am heavily out numbered and this lists editors are providing top-cover for the ill-informed and biased commentators who are making false allegations about shark research, allegations of stealing equipment on camera (lets see it!?) and of being fined $21,000 etc.

    We will see you at the on-coming GFNMS SAC meeting on 16 May, 2011.

    Tell a friend,
    Sean

    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

    [Date of meeting corrected ~Ed.]

  38. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 5, 2011

    I cant type, the GFNMS SAC meeting is 16 May, 2011; not 6May.

    Sorry about that, Im super busy and my hasty typing is causing type’os. I wish i could edit commentary sometimes.
    Despite the dissension I enjoy reading your blog and hope you’ll bear with me.
    Yours truly,
    Sean
    PSRF

  39. Tim · May 5, 2011

    Great comments and I can pretty confidently say that everyone posting here genuinely cares very much about our oceans and everything in them, including all species of sharks. If the majority of the people on our earth had this compassion there would be no debate over the right and wrong ways to protect dwindling shark species. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone that commits their life to the conservation and research cause. Ironically all of the money we spend on space and military and research won’t matter a whole lot if we screw up our planet – and oceans are the lifeblood. Sadly Ocean research is not valued enough and often times taking advantage of the Hollywood dollar is a necessary way of funding important missions. I recently read the Devil’s Teeth which provides an interesting account of the Farallon Islands and their White Sharks. What was obvious from the quick read is that there’s politics in everything – even white shark research, and probably no place more so than the Farallones. I think old-line conservationists and researchers need to accept – even if they don’t want to adapt themselves – to the evolution of our world. The Internet, reality TV, eco-tourism is part of the current society we live in. Much as you may hate that it is an important source of opportunity to achieve your goals. Don’t hate people like Michael because he has used this medium to further an important cause. It’s adaptability that has allowed sharks to thrive for hundreds of millions of years and if we’re going to help them make it even another hundred years we need to adapt our approaches as well.

    Perhaps one of the researchers can answer one question I have not seen addressed. How do you go about protecting the sharks even with the knowledge of breeding, feeding and migratory patterns gleaned from the tagging programs? We already know where most of the large near shore white shark havens are – whether Farrallones, Guadalupe, Pacific Coast of California, Australia, NZLD, or South Africa – and can hopefully convince local governments to protect (not sure whether new data helps further that)? Your research seems to provide more novel insights into shark’s offshore movements (presumably in international waters in many cases) that I’m not sure we know how to properly protect.

  40. Greg Barron · May 6, 2011

    Folks, please ber with me here as I am going a little off topic and will be a little lengthy. David, if you thik this is not pertinent then let me know and take it down or edit it down, your choice but rather down than edited or context will change.

    Sean, after reviewing the ratings by readers at SFS on your statements I’d say that the assumption as stated by you “I would expect that the participation of a PSRF representative would be appreciated on SFS.” is entirely wrong. You are PSRF, no one else has ever spoken for PSRF here. Next, why should you expect to be appreciated? You insult, denigrate and belittle those people that are more qualified or are as qualified or have as much or more right to speak as you. Dr. Domeier actually has a DR. before his name. Which means he is an actual academic subject to all that entails and with the background to achieve that position. You do not.
    As for me, you’re right, I am no expert but I’ve worked seasonally at the Farallones with White Sharks extensively and taken training on the subject. I’ve worked in 4 oceans and on research boats. I’ve worked on Nat Geo Flag expeditions. Like you, I may not have a doctorate or even a BS in the field but I’m no slouch either. You said, and please correct me if I’m wrong by pointing out the relevant previous part of the thread, you said “I don’t pay attention to Greg Barron, he’s only been doing this 6 years”. Yes, 6 years at the Farallones, as opposed to you, and I helped in designing the new MLPA education and outreach requirements for the Farallon area with regards to WS’s. So if I’m not qualified in your opinion, then in the same light why should anyone pay attention to you? A person with a similar background. You’ve only been involved 20 years (not at the Farallones by your own admission but elsewhere) and co-sponsored original WS protections? What? That makes you entitled to contribute? Why should you EXPECT to be appreciated? What kind of hubris is that? And when your posts don’t show up fast enough you yell at the hosts here. That’s rude. They didn’t edit you and they allowed you to rant.
    I’ve realized that you don’t listen to documentable facts as demonstrated in this and prior threads. If you don’t agree with a documentable fact you obfuscate, change the subject, then again change the subject by making the claim that you’ve been doing this 20 years and are an original sponsor of White Shark protection. Here I need to point out that you are not THE ORIGINAL sponsor. That would imply you were the only person or organization to sponsor the legislation. You certainly are NOT the ONLY sponsor of White Shark protection. Try giving some credit to the real researchers that you’ve worked FOR that also acted as co-sponsors. Do you see the difference? I don’t claim I wrote the landmark MLPA rules on White Sharks at the Farallones but I HELPED to design them and now they are law much as WS protections are law.
    Next topic, you keep saying that the claim that you took a tag off a Mexican shark is a lie. Evidence or statements to the contrary has been posted elsewhere. Tell you what, give me the name and contact info for the production company that you worked with at Guadalupe and I’ll track down the cameraman and ask him if you directed him to remove the tag, and investigate the conditions surrounding that incident. If he says you didn’t I’ll say that here and end the controversy cold. Is that acceptable? If not, drop it. Not productive.
    Next topic, this whole discussion hinged on a leaked, cropped photo of an animal taken from a much larger video image of that animal. See above footage. That image incited a great controversy on the method employeed in tagging the animal and smeared someone who is a pretty respectable guy. Not in question. What is still in question is who leaked the image and their intent. Because I’m sick of the local infighting that happens here in this area my entire involvement so far has been to get to the truth of how that happened and who did it. Revalations make it as email addy ECOSHARK1. Who is ECOSHARK1? That’s what I and the couple reporters that have contacted me want to know. Let’s find out. Because finding the person who leaked the image will help stop some fairly poor behavior by people that ought not be acting poorly.
    Next topic. It’s been suggested to me that Sean is the person that leaked this info. Sean, did you get the pic from someone at TOPP and then leak the altered image? I am NOT accusing you, be clear. I am trying to rule you out. It’s been suggested you have motive due to your radical stance on the issue and grudge with Dr. Domeier. It’s a valid question and you do have ties at TOPP. Motive and possible opportunity. So can you help rule yourself out?
    The truth is coming out sooner or later. When it does, someone’s career is gonna be in jepardy because they acted without professionalism or basic ethics required by the scientific community and the instituions that oversee access to the animals.
    This keeps dragging on, time to get to the bottom of it.

    Greg Barron
    IA

  41. Michael Domeier · May 6, 2011

    I think Greg asks a reasonable question, Sean. Are you the source of the original Junior photos?

  42. Cannery Row · May 6, 2011

    I agree with Greg Baron, and would like to add that there is an objective and empirical way of assessing the relative contributions of Dr. Domeier and Mr Van Sommeran to scientific research.

    Go to Google Scholar and advanced-search on “SR Van Sommeran” as author (result = 2 junior author peer-reviewed papers).

    Perform the same search on “ML Domeier” as author (result = 45 peer-reviewed papers, >15 as senior author).

    To this search add the ‘exact phrase’ qualifier “white shark”. This yields the same 2 junior author papers for van Sommeran. For Domeier it yields 2 senior-author papers, plus another 3 junior-author papers on white sharks.

    I had never heard of Van Sommeran, so I visited his organizational website (PSRF). There is no publication section, despite promoting his organization as a ‘Research Foundation’ in operation for twenty years. In other words research carried out by SFS has yielded only 2 junior-authored papers in 20 years!!!

    Based on this metric, SFS has zero scientific credibility. Twenty years of ‘research’ with essentially no informational products which are peer-reviewed and accessible to the public.

    I decided to give SFS another chance. Perhaps he has other novel outreach products to redeem his lack of scientific productivity?

    Instead I found him plugging pseudo-scientific products for money!!! See;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zOBx265a9I

    Say what you will about Dr. Domeier and his methods. There is no question that he is a bona fide scientist with a track record in conservation research for both sharks and fishes.

    In contrast SFS does not merit the title of researcher, and appears to desire only publicity for his personal agendas.

    • Anonymous · May 6, 2011

      Very good point (although i think you are mixing up PFRP and SFS)!
      If you design, analyze and write a paper you should be first author. In having done 20 years of research, PFRP should have many first author publications. i cant find one.

  43. Cannery Row · May 6, 2011

    Sorry SVS not SFS

    Sean, reading all comments above and Google searching you makes it clear that you are a ‘wannabe’ who is threatened by the appearance of a real scientists on what you consider to be ‘your patch’ – hence your use of terms like ‘long-term resident researcher’.

    If you put as much time & energy into publishing your ‘results’as you do slandering other researchers on web blogs, then folks might actually start taking you seriously.

  44. Southern Fried Scientist · May 6, 2011

    Let’s try to stay on topic, people. If you want to discuss the relative merits of the PSRF research program, I recommend starting your own blog.

    • WhySharksMatter · May 6, 2011

      Beat me to it, Andrew. Thanks for this comment.

      I agree completely with Andrew. Getting into a “who is a better scientist” discussion is counterproductive. There is no need for personal attacks.

  45. Cannery Row · May 6, 2011

    OK – fair enough, but it is just so hard to resist pulling the trigger when SVS hands out so much free ammunition

  46. Greg Barron · May 6, 2011

    Here’s an update. It seems this issue is still getting press, whichis good. Here’s the link.

    http://www.livescience.com/14039-great-white-shark-video-junior-attack.html

    I think the reporter should have spent more time getting to the bottom of the remaining controversy of who made the release and why but it’s a decent article and touches on most all of the concerns in the topics we’ve been covering here in this thread.

    Greg

  47. Greg Barron · May 6, 2011

    David, I like your quote at the end of the article.

    “I think the most important thing is the welfare of the shark and of the species as a whole, and we know from satellite tags that Junior is still alive and is still swimming.”

    We know that, the rest will shake out before too long I’m sure.

    Greg

  48. Gillian · May 6, 2011

    Is it just me, or is there unusual silence from Sean of Pelagic Shark Research/Tagging of Pacific Pelagics? I think that says it all…more revealing than his earlier 40,000 words. In an earlier post he was defending the original photos.

    • WhySharksMatter · May 6, 2011

      Gillian, people have said similar things about me in the past… “David hasn’t said anything in a while, therefore he must agree with what I’m saying”.

      Let’s not make conclusions based on the absence of comments, please.

  49. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 6, 2011

    Sorry for delayed reply, Ive been task saturated these past 3 weeks with an ongoing large scale stranding/die off event involving sharks in San Francisco bay; innumerable dead and dying sharks and rays (especially T. semifasciata)have been washing up or stranding around the bay area. Ive been participating while conducting dispatch for the ongoing rescue/collection effort and ongoing investigation in to these (likely pollution related) mortalities.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/animal-welfare/blog/dozens-of-dead-leopard-sharks-found-in-california-lagoons/

    http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/redwood-shores-shark-investigation-slowed-by-state-budget-constraints

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F04%2F22%2FBAK71J5IFB.DTL

    http://www.pelagic.org/research/stranding.html

    Meanwhile, cant remember who -but I think it was a sport diver accused me on list of stealing a transmitter…!? Stealing a transmitter? Really? Isnt that like a fugitive stealing a low-jack? and what (prey tell) would be the objective/motive behind the theft of transmitting/tracking device….? I dont lie, I dont cheat and I dont steal.
    I dont need to do such things in order to achieve my objectives.

    Meanwhile I am likewise being blamed for ‘leaking’ photographic evidence that shows that the shark that was badly injured in 2009 via the hook and haul method is in a very poor condition, grossly under weight, with a unhinged and infected jaw and badly injured by rival conspecifics.

    The image and the associated research footage from which the ‘vid grab’ was acquired was made available to the sanctuary Admin and of course noted, logged in and widely discussed.

    Speaking only for myself, I can say that in 20 years of research I have never seen a shark in such a condition; it is far and away the most attritted and badly injured (invivo) white shark Ive ever seen.

    No allegations have been made by any researchers at TOPP; speaking for myself I have commented that the sharks terrible condition (including bites and emaciated state) is likely a result of the aggressively barbed hook which was left snagged deep in the sharks throat. That is not an allegation, it is an expressed opinion and concern.

    It is a very similar concern to that which I expressed before the aggressively barbed hook was deployed at Farallones, that being that huge barbed hook may harm the shark, perhaps even gut or throat hook the shark.

    In 2009 that widely dismissed concern and objection was ratified by a white shark well known to SE Farallon resident long term research team, the shark swallowed the huge hook just as was anticipated and feared.

    In 2010 a once robust and highly active shark was recognized as a emaciated and badly handled predator; not only was the shark’s overall health in complete retreat, but the transmitter as well appeared overgrown with algea, both warping and deforming the once perfect dorsal fin.

    That this murphed up survivor wanders about unlike any of the others is simply summed up as ‘unusual and new’…

    Indeed, marvelous.

    I did not leak the footage, footage like that is made available as a matter of course anyway…. so why is it being characterized as a malicious leak anyway? …

    That a vid grab (video still) was taken from the video tape is not the same as ‘altering or doctoring’ the image.

    I havent the vaguest idea whose ecoshark link that is and have no comments on that.

    I am multi tasking at the moment as I jot this down and would be happy to answer any additional or remaining questions in future exchanges; I do have to talk on two phones at a time just now and must return later to discuss/debate this in greater depth.

    Meanwhile please dont miss the following upcoming meetings and presentations:

    Año Nuevo State Park Lecture/Presentation:

    White Shark Long Term Monitoring Study (ANI)
    Sean R. Van Sommeran will give lecture/slide presentation on long term study of white sharks at Año Nuevo Island (ANI), Monterey Bay and greater Pacific ocean.

    Saturday May 7, 2011. 10am to Noon; at the new interpretive center.

    GULF OF THE FARALLONES NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
    Advisory Council Public Meeting:
    Thursday, May 12, 2011, 9:15 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

    White Shark Research is on the Agenda~
    Red Barn Classroom — Point Reyes, CA

    There will also be important meetings and debates on 16 May and 22 May; Ill keep you posted.

    More later,
    Sean

    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

  50. Michael Domeier · May 6, 2011

    OK Sean. Fair question and fair answer. Thanks for answering.

  51. Greg Barron · May 6, 2011

    Sean, who is blaming you for leaking the image? I thought I was very clear on that when I asked “Sean, did you get the pic from someone at TOPP and then leak the altered image? I am NOT accusing you, be clear. I am trying to rule you out. It’s been suggested you have motive due to your radical stance on the issue and grudge with Dr. Domeier. It’s a valid question and you do have ties at TOPP. Motive and possible opportunity. So can you help rule yourself out?

    I did not accuse you of leaking the image. I was clear on that.

    Now you’ve said you didn’t release the altered information and accomanying text. Ok. Help find out who did.

    TOPP has not issued any statements at all that I’m aware of other than they can not get invloved as they have to stay neutral. It is their footage though.

    Who says the footage was going to be released as a matter of course? No one I’d spoken with at TOPP or GFNMS. At least not up until about April 13th when I’d spoken to Maria, there was no mention of the video going out as a matter of course.

    The vid grab was misleading and malicious as it deliberately showed a very small area of the animal. Why just that part rather than a full screen shot showing all the multiple injuries? That could only have been deliberate. All the video editing software I’m familiar with first shows the entire screen shot and the operator has to selectivley crop down to get that little a piece. It was particularly bad as it was accompanied by text implying that the injury was the result of the foul hooking. So, selectively manipulated image plus text placing blame out of context. Equals a malicious intent.

    Meanwhile, Junior is still swimming around and it will be interesting to see if he’s back this fall and his condition when he arrives.

    Greg Barron

  52. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 6, 2011

    Greg Barron wrote:
    ‘Sean, who is blaming you for leaking the image? I thought I was very clear on that when I asked “Sean, did you get the pic from someone at TOPP and then leak the altered image? I am NOT accusing you, be clear.’

    Greg,
    I find your ill informed and accusatory tone to be irritating. Just between you and I; it’s none of your business. Ive never met you. A producer I know informs me that you are a “D-bag whose claim to fame is relegated to Jack Ass 2 (the less successful sequel to Jack Ass 1)”.

    Let me be clear, I dont know who shared the vid grab (freeze frame image) but it photo ID is an integral aspect of the long term monitoring program at SE Farallones, it isnt unusual that the image was shared, it would be odd if the image and the video was secreted and kept away from public and researchers (Admin) et al. Youre repeated characterization of the image as being doctored is just dishonest, or ignorant; take you pick Mr…

    Greg Barron wrote:
    ‘I am trying to rule you out.’

    I Know, some people been trying that for a long time…

    Meanwhile, I got work to do and you shouldnt waste your time trying to rule me out, marginalize, exclude or otherwise impugn the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, it’s staff, assets or myself.

    Greg Barron wrote:
    ‘It’s been suggested you have motive due to your radical stance on the issue and grudge with Dr. Domeier.’

    Radical? In 2008 I expressed concerns that large barbed hooks may injure the sharks and that the transmitters as attached (bolted on permanently) warp and deform the shark’s fins.

    In 2009 a shark swallowed a big barbed hook just like I said it might and the shark was injuriously hooked in the throat.

    In 2010 the shark returns with warped fin, grossly under weight and all bitten up with damaged jaw and multiple infections…. and my concerns are ‘Radical’… radically accurate maybe..

    Greg Barron wrote:
    ‘It’s a valid question and you do have ties at TOPP. Motive and possible opportunity. So can you help rule yourself out?’

    Im sorry, is one of us stupid? I thought I did answer that… more than once…

    Please be considerate and less like what that producer describes you as… Mr…
    (Show up for meeting unless youre a total punk)…
    ———–

    Cheers,
    Sean
    PSRF
    Since 1990

    o o
    ‘ ‘
    VVVVVVVV

  53. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 6, 2011

    Greg,
    Please keep in mind that I consider myself and conservationist and wildlife naturalist (guide) first and foremost, it just so happens that the work I do for conservation is cause for spazms of desire for academics and corportate interests which at once lust for dominance and desire entrained and latent profits. These interests hold unfair influence upon the Admin.

    The below is a summary of PSRF sponsored white shark research in Central Eastern Pacific ocean. It does not include our ground breaking tracking of oceanic blue sharks and/or our studies regarding estuarine and benthic sharks. I consider our principle sponsorship of white shark protected status in California and subsequent protected status within NOAA sanctuaries to be of at least equal status as my ranking as a scientific author… I dig it all like it was one fine female however I am ‘environmentalist’ at heart and hammer.

    The hunting strategy of white sharks at a pinniped colony. Marine Biology.
    Klimley, A.P., B.J. Le Boeuf, K.M. Cantara, J.E. Richert, S.F. Davis, S. Van Sommeran, and J.T. Kelly. 2001. 13: 617-636.
    University California, Pelagic Shark Research Foundation.

    Radio-acoustic positioning: Studying site-specific behavior of the white shark and large marine vertebrates. Marine Biology.
    Klimley, A.P., B.J. Le Boeuf, K.M. Cantara, J.E. Richert, S.F. Davis, and S. Van Sommeran. 2001. 138:429-446. University California, Pelagic Shark Research Foundation.

    Expanded niche for white sharks. Journal Nature.
    Boustany AM, Davis SF, Pyle P, Anderson SD, Le Boeuf BJ, Block BA. UCSC, . 2002 Jan 3;415(6867):35-6.
    –(Van Sommeran and Fritz-Cope of Pelagic Shark Research Foundation omitted).—-

    Five Species of Parasitic Copepods (Siphonostomatoida: Pandaridae) from the Body Surface of a White Shark from California. Journal Pacific Science.
    George W. Benz, David A. Ebert, Corrine R. Davis, Sean R. Van Sommeran, Henry F. Mollet.
    UC, SJ State, Stanford University, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Volume 57, Number 1, January 2003, pp. 39-43

    Philopatry and migration of Pacific white sharks:
    S.J. Jorgensen, C.A. Reeb1, T.K. Chapple, S.Anderson, C.Perle, S.R.Van Sommeran, C. Fritz-Cope, A.C. Brown, A.P.Klimley2 and B.A. Block.
    UCSC, Stanford University and Monterey Bay Aquarium. 2010.

    Unpublished data: excerpt 2003, mid pacific.
    http://www.pelagic.org/research/pics/ARC1.jpg

    Raid on Guadalupe Island:
    http://www.pelagic.org/archive/dec_2003_2/dec-2003_002.jpg
    (we rendeZvous w/ film crew, South Africans and Mexican authorities):

    http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/great-white-shark-uncaged-saving-the-sharks.html

    Warm regards,
    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

  54. Greg Barron · May 7, 2011

    Wow.

    A producer. Really. He knows me how? Which show or movie or play was it that I made something for? Who is he, I’ll call him and let him know you said hi. I don’t have a claim to fame and don’t care. Yup, I did make a couple bikes for the movie jackass 2. My total involvement in that film was telling your jackass buddy that I wasn’t gonna give him my bikes for free, he thought I should, getting payment, and sending him 2 bikes. Took about 15 minutes except for when I had to call back the next day because their credit card wasn’t good. But since you bring it up I’ve also made bikes for the New York City Ballet, The Norweigian National Opera, The Tour de France, All the worlds Disney Parks, All the Universal Studios parks, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Ringling Bros and other circuses. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and other national and international museums. Lots and lots and lots of films other than JackAss2. Casinos, restaurants, bike lovers, history buffs, designers, decorators and artists. It’s a living.
    This applies to the topic how?

    Your work causes spasms of desire? Wow, do you actually read the stuff you write? What a delusional, megalomaniacal jackass. And yes, you are stupid apparently if you think people have spasms of desire for what you do. Spasms? Of desire. really? That’s really, really hysterically funny. Spasms.

    It is my business, as much as it is yours and any other memember of the public concerned with the issue of misuse of our public resource. You don’t share the outrage that many of the people offended by the unethical acts regarding the situation have. Ok. Next are ya gonna stick out your tongue at me and say nanny nany boo boo.

    Greg

  55. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 7, 2011

    Greg Barron wrote:
    ‘You don’t share the outrage that many of the people offended by the unethical acts regarding the situation have.’

    Does anyone know what this guy (Greg) is babbling about?

    What ‘unethical acts’ are you talking about? Someone shared video taken in 2010 of a badly injured shark that was hooked in the throat in 2009… that’s it?! What is unethical about showing video tape and cropping out stills?

    Any whale watching or tour guide might have taken similar footage, what is unethical about sharing documentation?

    Was the some non-disclosure contract or agreement?

    Greg Barron (and his like minds) are pretending to be shocked and outraged by the release of the documentation while alluding to some non-existent convention whereby all photos and video are kept secret… it’s fake outrage.

    Transparency and public insight into these kinds of studies is something that should be encouraged.

    I call you out Greg Barron, you are an unimpressive advocate and you wage a milk-toast’s debate…

    Cheers,
    Sean
    PSRF
    Since 1990

    • Anonymous · May 7, 2011

      everyone gets what Greg is talking about Sean. You are apparently the only one who cant see what is wrong in releasing a cropped image of a shark when the WHOLE image clearly shows it was attacked by another shark. Who knows why that shark got attacked-thats speculation. but the image was released to imply that the mouth wound was directly caused by Mike Domeier.

  56. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 7, 2011

    [If y’all don’t knock it off I’m gonna turn this blog right around and no one will get to go to Wally World. ~Ed.]

    • Greg Barron · May 9, 2011

      I’m smelling what you’re steppin in Ed. Wish I could do something more.

      Greg

  57. Greg Barron · May 7, 2011

    Is that all you’ve got?

  58. Gillian · May 7, 2011

    See how people spin things around just to fit what they want to think….Sean, you should call your self a spin Dr. Get your fact straigh. You guys are not playing nice and getting way off topic. Greg…your bikes sound amazing.

    But back on topic…

    Sean does not seem to think the leaking of the images was unethical, or out of the ordinary. The images were cropped so that the “big picture” shark bites could not be seen and they were sent distributed with text that pointed a finger at Dr. Domeier. The images belonged to the Block lab at Stanford and they were also stamped with dates that could only have come from that lab; information no one else had. Now, can you see how the deliberate effort to mislead the public while discrediting Domeier can be considere unethical?

    • Greg Barron · May 7, 2011

      Thanks Gillian. Just something I do.

  59. Craig · May 7, 2011

    Hello

    This thing has become a bit of a feeding frenzie. Just want to make a few quick comments.

    1. Yes, we extracted blood from free swimming white sharks while working on a project with Akron university, Ohio. We were looking at leptin in white sharks. We extracted by way of a modified syringe on a tether, with a barbed needle and the other way was to guide the animals in and physically extract from right above the gills. This requires a high level of experience, especially on the part of the shark wrangler.

    2. I have personally observed thousands of individual white sharks and while we do see some nasty bite wounds, its not common. A significant number carry scars but not gaping wounds as in the case of junior. I suspect its the same situation in all white shark abundant regions. As I have mentioned in a previous post, from my observations, these sharks try not to bite one another. It happens, however, there is usually a good reason behind the combat.

    3. I thought I should mention that I have been communicating privately with Michael Domeier. We have discussed issues surrounding this debate and while I stick with my reservations concerning hooking white sharks, I have to say that Michael comes across as a serious researcher, trying to do good work. He enlightened me to a number of aspects I was not aware of.

    Craig

  60. Greg Barron · May 7, 2011

    He sold me too Craig. Probably the same way he sold the body that issued him his permit. He knows he has a couple things that need improvement and is working to that end. I am looking forward to the solutions and the unprecedented data that will be gathered on the animals.

    Greg

  61. Michael Domeier · May 7, 2011

    Junior pinged in today. Use our Facebook page to continue getting Junior reports: http://www.facebook.com/MarineCSI#!/MarineCSI

  62. jorillo · May 8, 2011

    Ah, the vanity of humanity. You people and your self important drivel sicken me.

    Leave the sharks alone and stop analyzing every fricking thing on the planet. Is nothing sacred anymore?

    You all remind me of the idiot who was going to “save the bears” in Alaska, only to end up being EATEN by those same bears.

    It’s all about survival of the fittest. The sharks will be fine.
    Get over yourselves.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 9, 2011

      That’s a rather intellectually and morally bankrupt view of the world. You’d rather just sit back with your fiddle and watch Rome burn than even try to figure out what’s going on?

      Pathetic. Lose the blinders kid and maybe you might just learn something. Does that scare you?

      As for Timothy Treadwell, while there is no doubt that he was eccentric in the extreme, he also spend 13 years living among grizzlies in Alaska before his unfortunate death, during which time he made several important discoveries regarding Grizzly Bear behavior, and his NGO “Grizzly People” is one of the leading bear conservation groups in the US, with a tremendous track record of outreach and public education.

      And no, nothing is sacred, nothing has ever been sacred, and as soon as you realize that your not some deity’s special little man, the better off we’ll all be.

  63. Greg Barron · May 9, 2011

    Ok, sine things are getting tense, here’s a moment of levity.

    So, in Alaska. I’m told that in Gris country you’re supposed to wear little bells to announce to the bears that you’re there and so they won’t be surprised cause they hear you coming.
    Well, the question posed is, how do you know you’re in Gris country?
    The answer is, look for piles of poop with little bells in it.

    And yah, Jorillo’s comment is a bit off but we all gotta realize that there’s plenty of folks out there with that tude. As I see it, all we can do is try and help that attitude to change as best we can with patience and outreach and education.

  64. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 9, 2011

    Sorry for delayed response, Ive been dealing with the on going shark stranding and die off in San Francisco Bay.
    http://www.care2.com/causes/animal-welfare/blog/dozens-of-dead-leopard-sharks-found-in-california-lagoons/

    Meanwhile,
    The huge barb hook incident in 2009 was a disaster, just like I had speculated might happen in 2008.

    The image cropped from the video tape focused on the large tumorous infection to the shark unhinged jaw; that the injured and emaciated shark has also been bitten by other sharks removes none of the concern or contingencies associated with the accidental (totally predictable) throat hooking of the involved white shark.

    The footage and cropped images (many images) were as a matter of course shared with NOAA and other involved and permitted white shark researchers. The images and especially the image focused on the horribly infected jaw fracture have been widely shared and commented upon.

    The weird assertion that observing and documenting the sharks injured and greatly diminished condition (since being throat hooked,hook left in throat) somehow unethical and that the sharing of such information (SOP) is somehow actionable or dubious is both boldly lame and irrational.

    By Greg Barron’s logic, the shark should have gone unrecognized and undocumented and if accidentally recognized the event should be kept secret for fear of making the show look bad.

    Otherwise, I am hear to confront allegations that a cropped photo highlighting a specific feature is the same as ‘doctoring’ which implies the image is fake or photo shopped, completely without significance etc.

    The healed and supericial bite scars above the gills are unrelated to the broken and infected jaw injury.

    White sharks on hook and line are vulnerable during and after hook and line landing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vb9CvARdJs

    IF I have any question un-turned please feel free to ask questions.

    Allegations that any TOPP researcher has deliberately leaked doctored photos of the injured shark are completely false and completely fabricated.

    The hooking method (aggressively barbed hook) is not acceptable, the landing method renders the sharks vulnerable and the transmitters warp, deform and otherwise harm the sharks dorsal fin which is also unacceptable.

    My comments have nothing to do with personal attacks, rather they are centered around methods specifically.

    Cheers,
    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

  65. Willis · May 10, 2011

    Hey, self-proclaimed white shark expert…why don’t you stop your jealous sqabbling, quit pouting and collaborate your findings with Dr Domeier if you are truly a shark researcher? By the way, what credentials do you have to back-up or make such presumptuous assumptions on his tagging methods? You seem to keep attacking him for no good reason. If his methods were wrong, why would Nat’l Geographic show the world what he is doing to protect the species?

  66. Sean R. Van Sommeran · May 10, 2011

    What are you talking about Willis?

    My remarks are in response to false allegations that TOPP researchers ‘doctored’ or altered an image which was cropped from a video (vid-grab/still image) that illustrates the shark injured sharks declining condition since being throat hooked in 2009. As predicted in 2008 the shark swallowed the over-sized barbed hook and was badly snagged in the throat, the hook was so deeply snagged into the shark’s gullet that the hook had to be cut off and left in the shark.

    The transmitters cause harm to the sharks fins, both warping and deforming the fins while the bolted on device becomes permanently attached debri which impairs the sharks locomotion.

    The gathering of the ID footage and its perusal by other permitted white shark researchers and NOAA Admin is not unusual and cannot be characterized as un-ethical or in anyway questionable.

    Furthermore, I share my data and info with everyone and we are always keen to collaborate with researchers using acceptable methods and willing to reciprocate.

    This discussion isnt about my credentials or listing as coauthor on numerous scientific papers, the discussion is about methods being used that harm sharks, protected species of sharks; within an ostensible marine sanctuary.

    No one is attacking Dr Domeier personally, the controversy is about the harmful hook and haul method and bolted on transmitters that injure the shark’s fins; period.

    And why are people like Willis hiding behind fake names while conducting this debate?

    Ive been working as a conservationist and researcher for over 20 years, it is a bit late to describe me as ‘Self Proclaimed’.

    It’s real and you cannot stop it:
    http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/preliminary-investigation-shows-dead-sharks-were-infected?ncid=M255

    Meanwhile, the hook and line method is a very hazardous and harmful method for tagging white sharks, it makes them vulnerable and in harmful. The data isnt significantly better than that which can be gathered via lance attached satellite transmitters.

    It puts the sharks at risk of attack from other sharks and it harms the sharks by snagging them with huge hooks, dragging them about and then bolting on transmitters as if the shark was a bit of machinery instead of a living macro-apex predator; this in turn reinforces the sharks vicious image: (hooked sharks being attacked by other sharks)~

    http://youtu.be/nn0kWWyGk3A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vb9CvARdJs

    Moreover, there exists sufficient data at this time to render white sharks a fully protected, no take species through-out the Central Eastern Pacific ocean; and if you ask me there is already enough known and enough data to declare white sharks a protected, no-take species throughout the entire Pacific Basin.

    While interesting and self indulgent, capturing and subduing white sharks in California (already a protected species in CA) does nothing to increase white sharks protected status or conservation, in fact by the very act of feeding them barbed hooks they are reducing the white shark to a status on par with a striped bass as opposed to a threatened, protected species of similar trophic/predatory importance as an Orca.

    Shall we hook and line orcas next? Shall we paw trap grizz bears (possibly breaking paws)with steel traps for TV program? We can get Jack Hannah and team him up with ICE ROAD Truckers or Orange County Housewives (LOL i crack myself up!!!) and have real go at it!

    There is a concurrent study involving basking sharks in California, Monterey Bay and Gulf of Farallones right now; are these sharks going to be snagged with hooks too?

    These are valid questions and not personal attacks, happy to answer any additional or neglected questions, I just hope that its not the same questions over and over again, each ignoring the previous address and answer.

    The use of fake names is text book cowardous! Enjoy yourself!

    Cheers,
    Sean

    S.R. Van Sommeran
    Executive Director
    Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
    831-459-9346
    [email protected]pelagic.org
    Santa Cruz California Since 1990

    • Southern Fried Scientist · May 10, 2011

      Sean, this is getting absurd. No one has claimed that “TOPP researchers ‘doctored’ or altered an image”. No one. That’s all coming from you. The term you’re looking for is ‘strawman‘.

      Regardless, after 100 comments everything has been said and y’all’re repeating yourselves. Since Dr. Domeier was at the center of this controversy, it’s only fair he get the final word. This thread is closed.

  67. Michael Domeier · May 10, 2011

    I suspect no one is even reading this anymore; it’s painful. For those that enjoy the pain here’s a junior update: http://www.facebook.com/MarineCSI#!/MarineCSI.

    I would also like to ppoint out that I was a pioneer in the application of electronic tags for the study of mortality in fishes after catch-and-release. If you’re really interested you can scroll down to 2003 and see the paper: http://www.marinecsi.org/publications/. Since then there have been several similar studies. These studies (conducted on billfish,not sharks)demonstrated that post-release mortalities take place within days. Junior was captured and released 19 months ago and the newly released video was shot 7 months ago. As seen in our above Junior update…he’s still kickin.’ His first offshore migration (2009-2010) was perfectly normal. This year’s migration is very unusual but interesting, perhaps influenced by the attack he was subjected to in 2010? This attack did not happen while he was being captured in 2009, so suggestions that this was the case are silly.

Comments are closed.