Saturday, April 29, 2006

Great white shark sighting!

A group of surfers said a 15-foot great white shark was spotted Thursday off Silver Strand Beach, although officials with the Channel Islands Harbor Patrol could not verify the sighting.

A few surfers told a Ventura County sheriff's deputy in Silver Strand about 1 p.m. that they had just seen the shark. The Sheriff's Department then reported it to the Harbor Patrol, Harbor Patrol Officer Allen Rich said.

"We had a boat go out there and warn the surfers who were in the water, but we didn't physically see it," Rich said.

The surfers stayed in the water despite the warning, he said.

"I've been here 20 years and there's never been a (great white) sighting that I'm aware of, but I suppose its possible," Rich said.

A great white shark was spotted March 9 off the coast of Carpinteria.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Otter attacked by great white shark recovered from surgery

A 7-year-old male sea otter attacked by what researchers guess was a great white shark has recovered from surgery, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The otter washed up on a beach near the aquarium in January. Aquarium staff found two fresh bite wounds on the animal's left shoulder, likely from a shark, experts said.

During a three-hour surgery at the aquarium, a veterinary surgical specialist attached small surgical steel plates to each broken bone. The otter survived the procedure and four hours of anesthesia, and was eating and grooming within hours using the surgically repaired limb.

"This was a major, very aggressive procedure done on this animal," said aquarium veterinarian Mike Murray, who also works for the Sea Otter Research and Conservation program. "It really validates that these are tough little guys who can be good surgical candidates."
The otter was released April 17.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tourists warned of rise of great white shark at vacation spot

South Africa's sea rescue authority on Thursday warned holidaymakers heading for the resort town of Plettenberg Bay on the country's east coast to be aware of an apparent rise in the number of Great White sharks circling the beaches in the area.

'The sharks, ranging in length from about 3.5 metres to about 7 metres, are visibly patrolling along our stretch of coast,' National Sea Rescue Institute local station commander Ray Farnham said.
The dangerous creatures were believed to be enjoying the last of a sardine run in the area and were likely to remain until early next month, he said.

All year round, Plettenberg Bay attracts well-heeled local and international visitors.

Paraglider crash site inhabited by great white sharks

National Sea Rescue Institute volunteers rescued a paraglider from a 50m high ridge at Salt River Point in Plettenberg Bay on Thursday, an NSRI spokesman said.

Craig Lambinon said the volunteers were already in the air on a shark patrol when they received a call-out to the ridge.

"Our NSRI medic was dropped off at the location of the accident and the man from Plettenberg Bay was treated for a back injury," said Lambinon.

The man - who asked that his name be withheld - told the NSRI he launched at Keurbooms beach area, but experienced a lull in the wind about halfway to his intended destination at Nature's Valley.
He struggled to correct the parachute's direction and crashed onto a ridge above the beach at Salt River Point, said Lambinon.

He was airlifted to an ambulance at the Plettenberg Bay NSRI station and was transported to a Knysna hospital in a stable condition.

"The operation was made tricky by the location of the accident which was in a dense bush area on a ridge with a 50m drop onto rocks on the sea side," said Lambinon.

Earlier in the day, the NSRI's Ray Farnham said Great White sharks appeared to be flocking to Plett along with the Easter holidaymakers.

He said the bay was experiencing "a visible presence of Great White sharks in what we believe may be greater-than-normal numbers".

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Swimming with great white sharks is a hobby for daredevils!

The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (, proudly presents a very special seminar, "Diving with the Great White Sharks of Isla de Guadalupe," a 60-minute presentation about cage diving with the Great White Sharks of Isla de Guadalupe, 160-miles off the Pacific coast of Baja, Mexico.

For the discriminating underwater photographer, the Great White Shark diving at Guadalupe is bar none the greatest on the planet, with one of the most prolific populations of White Sharks on Earth, up to 100 feet+ of visibility and a water temperature ranging from 67 to 70 F degrees.

Shark Naturalist and Dive Master Scott Davis of ecotourism company Great White Adventures (, will show a stunning up-close-and-personal presentation of the most magnificent, mysterious, maligned, and misunderstood shark in the world. Scott is a highly experienced wildlife researcher, National Geographic Society grantee, NAUI Master Diver, and PADI Dive Master. Scott considers the shark diving of Isla de Guadalupe the best in the world, and his current graduate research work involves the behavior and movement patterns of White Sharks off the North American coast.

The "Diving with the Great White Sharks of Isla de Guadalupe," seminar will take place on Friday, April 14, 2006, at 7:30 p.m. Location: New Vision United Methodist Church, 450 Chadbourne Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030 -- located only ten minutes south of the San Francisco International Airport. Cost for first-time visitors is FREE.

On the second Friday of every month, The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society, the oldest and most prestigious underwater photography club in the United States, possibly the world, features guest experts who speak on a variety of subjects concerning diving and photography, often accompanied by a digital, slide or multi-image presentation.

The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society promotes conservationism and environmental protection through the membership's shared passion in underwater photography and videography. NCUPS has been active since 1965, sponsoring educational events on both underwater photography and video while promoting awareness of the underwater environment and pertinent ecological issues.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fisherman exploiting a great white shark accidental death

Warwick Harris has put the giant jaws on internet auction site TradeMe with a $10,000 opening bid.

He hopes bids for the relic of the female shark – believed to be the largest caught in New Zealand – will climb even higher. "There's some pretty rich Americans out there. What's $US15 million to them," he said.

The catch had been reported on US television and Mr Harris had received inquiries from as far afield as Scotland.

The shark had a 152cm fur seal intact in its stomach when it was trapped in his net off the coast north of Raglan in October.

He had scraped the flesh off the jaws and jammed them over a beer crate to set them.
Mr Harris' daughter Paige, seven, had found the teeth entertaining but he was just keen to sell them.

The auction closes on April 11.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Great white shark prey on seal offshore!

The coastal hamlet boasting home to “the world's safest beach” is warning residents about a great white shark lurking offshore.

The shark is believed responsible for killing two seals in the Harbor Seal Sanctuary in separate attacks March 9. The killings were witnessed by visitors to the viewing area on the bluff above the sanctuary. One visitor also videotaped the shark swimming just offshore.

Shark warnings were posted on some Carpinteria beaches.

The Harbor Seal Sanctuary, where seals give birth to pups between October and May, is on a secluded stretch of beach in Santa Barbara County, about 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The beach and waters adjacent to the sanctuary are already closed to the public during the birthing season.

Is the great white shark a predator or a victim?

When Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, died last month, he had spent much of the last 20 years trying to change the image of sharks portrayed in his book and subsequent movie. Peter didn't create the demonic image of sharks reflected in ''Jaws.'' People had been doing that long before him. But he ended up feeling badly about it nonetheless, and devoted much of his life afterward to helping people appreciate the remarkable characteristics of sharks and the important role they play in the world's oceans.

In many respects Peter succeeded, and a whole new generation of young people has become mesmerized by these spectacular creatures. Unfortunately, Peter's efforts to protect sharks, along with those of many other people, have not been enough to save them.

When ''Jaws'' was released in 1975, no one would have ever imagined that just 30 years later, many of the world's shark species would be on the brink of extinction. Scientists now estimate that over the past 50 to 100 years, 90 percent or more of the world's large predator fish, including sharks, have disappeared, victims of a wholesale slaughter that has escalated over the past several decades.

And in some places, the declines have been even greater. In the Gulf of Mexico, 99 percent of oceanic white-tipped sharks, the dominant predator, are gone. In the northern Mediterranean, 15 species of large sharks have been reduced to undetectable levels. Even on the world's coral reefs, which are thought by many to be pristine environments, approximately 99 percent of reef sharks have disappeared. And the great white shark, the seemingly invincible antagonist in ''Jaws,'' is now at risk of disappearing from most of the world's oceans.

It is now estimated that as many as 60 million sharks are killed each year. Many of these are caught by fishermen targeting other species such as tuna and swordfish, and are simply thrown back into the sea either dead or dying. But an increasing number of sharks are now being sought for their fins. Approximately 80 percent of the worldwide trade in shark fins is destined for mainland China where they are primarily used for shark fin soup. Once the fins are removed, frequently from animals that are still alive, the shark is often dumped back into the ocean, mutilated and unable to swim, where it either drowns or starves to death.

There are many reasons why it is imperative that we stop this wanton slaughter, not least of which is the sheer barbarity and waste of killing an animal in such a fashion and only using a fraction of its meat. Today's shark slaughter is reminiscent of what we once did to the American bison, which were massacred by the tens of millions in the latter 1800s and driven to the very brink of extinction. These goliaths of the American landscape were often killed only for their tongues (considered a delicacy in eastern restaurants), with the remainder of their carcasses left to rot on the plains.

Just as we now understand and appreciate the role that top predators such as lions, tigers and wolves play on land, sharks occupy a critically important place in the marine food web. Like their terrestrial counterparts, sharks help regulate the numbers of other marine species, thereby keeping the entire ocean system in balance.

While overfishing threatens many of the world's big fish, sharks are in an even more precarious position. For unlike most fish, which produce young in large numbers, sharks begin reproducing at a relatively advanced age, have long gestation periods and produce few young. Consequently, once their populations have been depleted, it is particularly difficult for them to recover.

If coming generations of children are to grow up in a world where sharks inhabit the sea in healthy numbers, dramatic steps need to be taken now, or it is highly likely that within a few short decades, many of the world's remaining sharks will be gone.

Throughout the world's oceans the killing of sharks needs to be regulated and significantly reduced. The practice of taking sharks only for their fins, and dumping the rest of the animal, must be brought to an end. And for those species that are most at risk, killing them must be prohibited.

Some years before he died, Peter Benchley said to me that he didn't want to be the one to write the eulogy for the world's sharks. Peter is now gone, but it is not too late to prevent that eulogy from being written. However, for many species of sharks, there is not much time left.

Is new movie a double of "Jaws"?

While filming a Hollywood movie with a multi-million budget requires meticulous planning, unknowns loom around every corner.

Filmmakers are at the mercy of many elements -- most notably the weather, according to Ernie Malik, unit publicist for "We Are Marshall."

"You just hope that Mother Nature is a movie fan and helps you out," he said.

Malik said spring's ever-changing appearance represents another challenge, especially considering that production of the Warner Bros. Pictures' film begins Monday in Huntington and continues into mid-April. A movie buff with nearly three decades in the film business, Malik points to the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic "Jaws" as an example.

He said to closely examine the scenes toward the end as the killer great white shark is being hunted by the three men in the fishing boat. The close-ups and long-range shots simultaneously reveal completely different atmospheric conditions.

Such are the challenges of filming a major motion picture, which also represents challenges for local residents, including closed streets.

John Hankins, who owns the Fredrick Building in the 900 block of 4th Avenue, said any temporary inconvenience is worth the overall benefit.

"This is going to be wonderful publicity for the city of Huntington," Hankins said of "We Are Marshall."

Malik predicts that the movie's director, McG, who perhaps is best known for directing the film version of the cult TV series "Charlie's Angels," will be an anchor during the uncertainties of production.

"We have a great leader in this movie with McG," Malik said. "This guy's boundless enthusiasm is refreshing and something you don't see a lot.

"The tempo of the movie is directed by the director."

And if you think you have a long-distance work commute, consider this: Matthew Fox, star of the ABC hit TV series "Lost" will be splitting his time between Huntington and Hawaii as he wraps up production on the current season of the show.

"The sheer distance won't allow him to be here (for a Saturday news conference at the Keith-Albee)," Malik said, adding that Fox is scheduled to arrive in Huntington sometime this weekend. "Then he goes back later for more filming on 'Lost.' "

Malik said additional challenges include finding period cars, replicating period hairstyles and closely scrutinizing how Huntington physically has changed in more than three and a half decades.
"One thing we have to take into consideration is, 'How has the skyline changed? How has the look of Huntington changed in the last 36 years? How does the production deal with that?' " Malik said. "(McG) wants you to be enmeshed in 1970."

Electronic shark repellent in high demand!

SALES of an Adelaide-made electronic shark repellent are expected to take off this year with its full launch in the U.S.SeaChange Technology, which is seeking up to $5 million in expansion capital, is preparing for a worldwide release in June of its $600 surfboard-mounted device.
The Kidman Park company also has appointed former Mitsubishi Australia chief executive Tom Phillips and University of SA Chancellor David Klingberg to its board.

New managing director Steven Copley said yesterday Australian sales of the device had averaged 360 a month this year.

"Demand is strong in Western Australia, after a SeaChange SharkShield reportedly deterred a 3.3m great white from attacking a scuba diver off Perth," he said.

"(But) shark attacks in California and Florida are far more prevalent than the rest of the world put together."

A Central and North American distributor of SeaChange devices was about to be appointed and there had been interest from other water sports, the boating and fishing industries and even the U.S. military.

Chairman Rod Hartley said it was hoped "to launch our new surfboard-mounted product by mid-year once we have successfully raised between $3 million and $5 million".

Any major increase in sales would probably result in a shift of manufacturing from founding investor, Clipsal-Gerard Corp, to another SA electronics company.

Mr Copley said the company would consider a share market float within two years.