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Snorkeler Killed by Sharks in the Bahamas

Discussion in 'Snorkeling / Freediving' started by CuzzA, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Joneill

    Joneill Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Jersey, USA
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    You’re obfuscating the point - most things humans do have some selfish motivation - including diving (recreational AND technical, btw). But most diving activities don’t risk creating unnatural associations in potentially dangerous predators.

    However, we are discussing the merits of shark feeding dives here - not diving in general.

    To your previous question: to date, I’ve seen caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks.

    On a trip to French Polynesia in October, I will very likely see grey reef sharks, black tip reef sharks and white tip sharks. I might get to also see silky sharks, lemon sharks and silver tip sharks. If I’m really lucky, I might even see great hammerheads - but it’s not the usual time of year to see them! All of these will be seen (or not) on non-baited dives in their natural environment - the only way I’m really interested in seeing wildlife.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  2. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
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    I'll be interested to compare notes, as I'll be out in Moorea and Tahiti in September doing a mix of baited and unbaited excursions. The former will probably be incidental encounters with silky and oceanic whitetip sharks while we're out looking for humpbacks and pilot whales.

    I am not obfuscating the point; you are claiming something is ethically and morally wrong without offering any evidence to back your position up. As other posters have stated, you can elect to "vote with your fins" on your own dive experiences. If you're going to attack what I do, back it up with facts.
     
  3. Joneill

    Joneill Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Jersey, USA
    1,520
    1,287
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    I’ll be in Rangiroa, Ta’ha and Bora Bora - would love to hear what you see on unbaited dives (I have no interest in what is seen on baited dives).

    Sorry, but to me, you absolutely were obfuscating the point by trying to expand the topic beyond baited diving.

    You say I said baiting is “morally or ethically wrong ” in this thread??? Where, exactly, did I say that??? The answer is I didn’t - I merely said I don’t agree with the practice as it creates unnatural interactions between divers and sharks (FACT) and could result in changes to the behavior of sharks toward divers. I don’t need to prove anything - it’s a possibility that no study has ruled out.

    As an example, one of the places you are virtually guaranteed to see sharks in Grand Cayman is an area where they used to feed sharks some years ago. You will see them on almost 100% of dives there whereas, it’s rare to see them elsewhere in Grand Cayman. Hmmm, I wonder why that is?

    I also do vote with my fins, but where did I attack what you do??? I merely stated my personal opinion on the topic! Geez - the issue with so many folks these days is they are so overly sensitive! God forbid someone has an opposing point of view and they civilly express it...
     
  4. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    I would have to admit that the behavior of some of our local marine life has changed dramatically since lionfish culling has begun in earnest. The groupers will now single out divers with Spears and lead them to lionfish like happy puppies. This interaction is totally new and evident to anyone culling lionfish. Yesterday at Stingray City deep not only did the Rays follow the diver with the squid container (for them a lot is smell) but so did bar jacks, Sargent Majors and many other opportunists that equate humans with food. In The Galapagos we were surrounded by Hammerheads, silkies, black tips etc. No baiting necessary, they were there to feed but on nature’s bounty not handouts. I cannot even imagine what would happen there if humans were equated with a free meal ticket. I don’t agree that animals cannot learn behaviors Even the fish in the tank in my living room race to the top for food if you walk close by. Not making a moral judgement but don’t need a study to see what is happening before my eyes. There are many places you can see sharks without baiting and it seems hard to believe that animals continually being fed and then coming in when the dinner bell rings have not had their natural behavior modified or manipulated on some level.
     
    Hoyden, AfterDark and Joneill like this.
  5. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    Norfolk Island, South Pacific, cattle carcass dumping into the sea. Over 40 tiger sharks observed feeding on the carcass. Tagged sharks leave then come back to the same spot where they got a free meal, and continue to return. Humans swim a beaches not far away from dumping sights, no attacks on humans.

    So the sharks know where the free food is and seek it out. If humans are handing the food to the sharks; I don't see how any good coming from that in the long run.
     
    Joneill likes this.
  6. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
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    I watched that same documentary with interest and had a more nuanced view of it. First off, I don't know how long they were filming at the site and monitoring tagged animals. Was it a week? A month? That makes a big difference. As stated earlier, at places like Tiger Beach the big girls are around pretty regularly for a few months out of the year and then they pack up and haul several thousand miles off into open water for half a year. I found it more interesting that out of all the acoustic tags deployed on that documentary, they only got hits from two of them and were supposedly seeing different sharks at each dumping event. I'm also skeptical that with a total cattle population of 1,200-1,500 on the island (http://www.norfolkisland.gov.nf/sites/default/files/Calculation of Stocking Rates on Public Lands.pdf) there are frequent enough deaths for a large number of tiger sharks to depend on them regularly. It seems instead that historically the island has been just plain sharky: Ocean Dwellers: Norfolk Island’s Sharks

    All that is assuming there wasn't too much embellishment for the cameras, which I've sadly come to expect. I think Wednesday night was when I finally tuned out from disgust.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  7. Infamy416

    Infamy416 ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Ontario
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    Well, not intentionally.

    But, your theory aligns well with the saying that "a fed bear is a dead bear" - once a bear learns that people leave food around, that bear has to be destroyed. It's awful.
     
    Graeme Fraser likes this.
  8. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
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    As everyone is getting up on their soapboxes, a reminder is merited that a young woman died here and her family is devastated: Family of woman killed by sharks in Bahamas recalls daughter's last moments

    Personally, I'd rather look at why this happened and how the outcome could have been changed. If there's evidence of a link to shark baiting or shark diving, then I'd feel it's appropriate to bring that into the discussion.
     
    caydiver and drrich2 like this.
  9. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    It appears to me shark behavior is being discussed / speculated upon. Since at least one shark was the cause of this young woman's demise, how is this discussion an affront or offensive to the family?

    Since facts about sharks are slim and always from a human perspective speculation is part of the discussion.

    There is a site for condolences, but this isn't it. It appears to me that someone really is on a soapbox, an emotional soapbox.
     
  10. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
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    At least one shark was responsible for the woman's demise, yes, and a discussion of shark behavior is warranted. That said, where exactly is the notion that this is related to baited shark dives coming from, given we've established there is no such operation within 30 miles of the attack and (to my understanding, at least) the species tentatively identified as responsible doesn't show at feeding operations there?

    This discussion originally started off in A&I, the purpose of which is to discuss dive accidents in the hope of identifying causes and learning lessons. Ideally, one starts with the known facts and builds from there; speculation is useful at but if contradicted by the evidence at hand the discussion should move on. Starting with a predetermined conclusion (in this case, "shark feeding causes attacks") and sticking to it despite contradicting information can lead to not learning from an accident and, in my opinion, is disrespectful because it callously uses the death or injury of others to push a self-interested narrative.

    As one of my literary idols opined back in the pages of The Deep Blue Good-by, "I do not function too well on emotional motivations. I am wary of them." I spent yesterday buried in text conversations because a well-known name in shark diving circles recently gave a news interview where he cited some fishery statistics that, to me, seemed pretty far off the mark. Well-intentioned advocacy or not, nothing he said was supported by publicly available state and federal fisheries data that I was able to dig up in a matter of hours, and it was a major setback for the cause he and I are both supporting. I'd rather build my case off accurate data than dramatic inflations, even if the latter has a higher shock factor.

    Part of the info dump I prepared for the leads on that conservation campaign included a TEDx lecture by one of my former thesis committee advisors, Dr. Chris Lowe at Cal State Long Beach, where he was discussing the recovery of the California white shark population and its supporting marine ecosystem. The main point to it was recognizing the positive effects of regulatory changes despite the typical doom-and-gloom conservation rhetoric, but towards the close he mentioned that one issue we're seeing now with recovering shark populations is that we now have a generation or two of people using the ocean for recreation who are not "predator-aware." It's taken a couple of decades for the conservation measures enacted in the 1990s to have an effect on shark populations, and now humans who have gotten used to swimming, surfing, diving, fishing, etc. in a decimated marine environment aren't used to coming in contact with large predators (not just sharks, but species such as goliath grouper which compete with fishermen for catches).

    There are two potential ways we humans can respond to that. One, we recognize that we are still visitors to their environment and change our behavior to minimize the conflicts. Or two, as we've seen over the last couple years in Western Australia, we throw several decades of hard-won conservation successes out the window and start killing those predators off again so we can treat the ocean like our private swimming pool. Some of the rumblings I've seen out of the Bahamas in the past month have me concerned that the latter is on the table; one of the researchers I spoke to said last year between 12 and 20 large tiger sharks were killed by fishermen off Andros Island while feeding on a dead whale carcass.
     
    caydiver, AfterDark and drrich2 like this.

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