Prehistoric Extinct Sharks
SHARK CHAT FORUM
NEWS of SHARKS
29 , 2013
A 3,500-Pound Great White Shark Is
Swimming Up And Down The East Coast
If you are ever searching for a
great white shark, look no
further than the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker, which provides
the location of all the tagged great white sharks in the world.
The sharks have been tagged with a tracker that communicates
with research satellites, telling scientists the shark's
Great white sharks live throughout the oceans of the world,
anywhere the water is between 54 and 75 degrees. They aren't
uncommon off the coast of the U.S.
The researchers have posted all the GPS data from the sharks
they track online, where you can see the latest blip from the
trackers on a map, and dive into any individual shark's previous
blips, which indicate where they have been in the past.
From this, we can see there's a
great white shark named Mary Lee
that's been swimming up and down the East Coast since September.
She is currently off the coast of New Jersey. Mary Lee is a
Great White shark weighing almost 3500
pounds. She was first tagged in Cape Cod on 17 September, and
the researchers have been tracking her ever since. Here's where
she's been since then:
28 , 2013
UniSA's shark patrol working to
spot sharks off Adelaide's beaches this summer
Stephanie Saniotis, instructor Adrian Cass, and commercial
Pilot Kyron Burgess on shark patrol. Picture: Dylan Coker
A State Government website shows there have been more
recorded sightings of sharks off the beach, south of
Adelaide, than anywhere else in the state.
Since the start of December, there have been seven known
shark sightings at Moana Beach, with one spotted just 20m
from the shore.
Four sharks were sighted at both Maslin Beach and Aldinga
The sightings, compiled by the Department of Primary
Industries, are reported from a range of different sources
including Surf Life Saving SA, SAPOL and shark sighting
Surf Life Saving SA general manager Shane Daw said Moana
Beach was a favourite spot for sharks because of its reef,
which was teeming with fish.
"Moana has a reef section - there is a lot of fish in that
area - so we do get one or two bronzies that hang around
that area for a while (in summer)," he said.
Mr Daw said sharks often stayed in certain areas for up to
three weeks before they moved on.
"We know there is roughly a two-metre
bronze whaler that has
been hanging around Moana going from the Southport to
Aldinga region over the last couple of weeks," he said.
South Australia's shark planes are currently managed and
operated by UniSA as part of its Bachelor of Aviation
In a coup for the university, the institution recently
signed a seven-day commercial contract with the Government,
upped from a Monday-to-Friday operation. It now patrols
Adelaide's metropolitan and rural beaches four times a day,
from the start of summer until March.
The planes patrol beaches including Largs Bay and Henley
Beach and fly as far as Rapid Bay, Normanville and Victor
Harbor during the busy school holiday period.
Head of Aviation Neil Hyland said the shark patrols allowed
students to gain commercial responsibilities and practical
Before the students can fly the planes, they must complete
their commercial flying course and an SES program, where
they are taught protocol on how to spot sharks, alert
authorities and warn swimmers in the water.
"When we see a shark we identify where it is, the location,
the time and its size," Mr Hyland said.
"Then we look to see what's in the vicinity ... if there is
people in the water or on the beach we'll circle the shark
and activate the siren."
Three people sit in the shark plane - a pilot,
communications officer, who reports the sharks, and an
Emergency Services Minister Michael O'Brien said shark
patrols had increased this summer as a result of the new
contract with UniSA.
"Public safety has been enhanced for beachgoers through a
new contract to increase shark patrols from 734 hours last
summer to 907 this season," he said.
Bachelor of Aviation third-year student Stephanie Saniotis,
19, said she loved the opportunity to work in a commercial
operation with the government.
She said sharks are generally easy to spot in the sea.
"There is no second guess - if it's big, it's really
obvious," she said. "Dolphins look small and they usually
travel in a group ... sharks move slow, their movement is
different and they're a lot bigger."
4: Aldinga, Maslin.
3: Sellicks, Tennyson.
2: Glenelg, Port Noarlunga, Wallaroo, Christies, Coffin Bay.
1: West Beach, O'Sullivan, Port Lincoln, Arno Bay, Henley
Beach, Semaphore, St Kilda, Black Rocks, Encounter Lakes,
Coobowie, Seaford Reef, Emu Bay.
27 , 2013
Sheng Siong frees injured
A SHARK kept in a small tank at the Sheng Siong supermarket
in Clementi was released back into the wild, a day after
animal activists began campaigning for its freedom.
A photo of the approximately 2m-long
Zebra shark - held in
a tank barely bigger than itself - circulated on social
media on Thursday, and was shared nearly 500 times by last
Activists from the Animal Concerns Research and Education
Society (Acres) and Shark Savers were even willing to buy
the shark's freedom from the supermarket. But a Sheng Siong
spokesman said yesterday it was not for sale or consumption.
In fact, the supermarket's intention was to "nurse it back
to health" and release it back into the sea, and it did so
The group's managing director, Mr Lim Hock Leng, said that
Sheng Siong's "seafood team" had spotted the shark at Jurong
Fishery Port on Tuesday, along with the rest of the day's
catch from Indonesia.
"When we saw the shark, it was not doing very well, possibly
due to some injury sustained," he said. "So, we bought the
shark with the intent of protecting it from harm and nursing
it back to health."
Clementi Avenue 1 branch was chosen for the shark's
rehabilitation, as it had a temperature-controlled glass
tank, and the outlet was near the fishery port.
Plans to move the shark to a bigger pool at the port were
foiled when the pool was found to be in use.
The supermarket then decided to release the shark.
Mr Louis Ng, Acres' executive director, said this was not
the first time that the supermarket chain has incurred the
wrath of animal rights groups.
Other sharks had been on display in the past, he claimed,
and the supermarket used to have a practice of leaving live
fish out on ice to die slowly.
These cases were reported to the Agri-Food and Veterinary
Authority (AVA), which had in turn informed the supermarket
chain to be more humane in its practices.
Mr Ng added: "I hope they sought a veterinarian's advice to
make sure the shark was fit for releasing. Otherwise, I'd
question if it was safe to release it after putting it
through a lot of stress and then releasing it with the same
injury it was found with."
An AVA spokesman said leopard sharks are not protected under
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Imports are allowed
for local sale as long as they are handled by AVA-licensed
25 , 2013
Stunning Whale Shark Photos Aim to
Help At-Risk Species
At first glance, Kristian Schmidt and Shawn Heinrichs’
photos of models swimming with
whale sharks off the coast of
the Philippines appear heavily Photoshopped. But while the
levels and colors have been manipulated and the backgrounds
tweaked, the most striking part – the models’ proximity to
sharks – is real.
While a bit whimsical, the photos have recently gone viral
and lead to a new awareness of the
whale shark, which was
Schmidt and Heinrichs’ plan all along.
“I’ve been doing underwater filming and photography work
since the late 90s and one of the things I’ve come to
realize is that there are niche communities of people who
are interested in the ocean,” says Heinrichs. “It’s a very
small subset of the global population. The whole concept of
this shoot was to really break out of that box.”
According to the International Union for Conservation of
whale sharks are listed as a vulnerable species,
which means they are “considered to be facing a high risk of
extinction in the wild.” They’ve been over-fished and are
often killed for their fins.
Heinrichs says the populations that congregate where he and
Schmidt did their shoot, near the village of Oslob, were
poached regularly until fisherman discovered they make an
enticing, and approachable, tourist attraction.
Whale sharks—the world’s largest fish—are known to be
friendly and whale shark ecotourism programs have sprung up
around the world. The difference between many of those
programs and the one in Oslob, however, was that the
fisherman were hand feeding the sharks, which means they
were regularly coming into contact with humans and had
become accustomed to interacting. Other programs often try
to keep the tourists a certain distance from the fish.
This familiarity allowed the models in the photos to get
extremely close. Shooting conditions underwater were
anything but ideal—strong currents dragged the models out of
position, cloudy days only allowed for a couple minutes of
sun at a time—so docile sharks were a bonus.
The problem with sharks freely interacting with humans is
that they start to depend on humans for at least a portion
of their food and lose their fear, which might lead them
more freely into poacher’s hands.
“I’m not sure any kind of interaction based on hand feeding
should be encouraged,” says Dr. Alistair Dove, the director
of research and conservation at the Georgia Aquarium and a
whale shark expert. “But we need to balance that against the
great awareness that has come about because of these
Instead of re-creating the type of National Geographic shots
we’re used to seeing, Schmidt and Heinrichs’ photos have
enough shock value that viewers stop to take them in. Their
success on the internet speaks for itself and the
photographers plan to use the photos to raise money for a
shark conservation program run by WildAid.
The tourism created in Oslob by the whale sharks has been a
boon to the community, Heinrichs says, and Dove doesn’t want
people to be discouraged from tying to connect with nature.
“Having a face to face encounter with a whale shark is a
life changing experience,” says Dove.
Long term, however, there is not enough data about what
human/whale shark interaction might mean for the species.
Dove says one study of a population in Australia pointed to
some adverse effects but more extensive studies are needed.
“I don’t think we can afford a ‘no news is good news’
approach to this issue; the scientific and conservation
community really needs to get out there and gather some hard
data to help answer these questions and help the regulatory
authorities to make better decisions about how to manage
these industries,” is how Dove summarized his analysis in an
article for Deep Sea News.
Heinrichs says he’s keenly aware of the gray areas around
whale shark ecotourism but still believes what’s happening
today in Oslob is a better solution than letting the sharks
get killed-off illegally.
“In a perfect world where humans had not greatly depleted
whale sharks would do what they do and we would
do what we do,” he says. “But it’s not a perfect world and
tourism is one of the greatest drivers for species
Jan. 15 , 2013
Mary Lee, Great White Shark,
Spotted At Jacksonville Beach By Ocearch Shark Tracker
Mary Lee, a massive great white shark known for her wanderlust,
reached a destination last week that made observers uneasy to
say the least.
The Ocearch team that had tagged the 16-foot, 3,500-pound shark
in September received a ping signal that Mary Lee was within 200
yards of Florida's Jacksonville Beach.
Mary Lee had come way too close for comfort, penetrating the
surf break, CNN reports. However, Ocearch chairman Chris Fischer
called local police to clear the water until Mary Lee -- named
after Fischer's mother -- set up shop further at sea.
While Mary Lee swam away without incident, her migration pattern
has intrigued scientists from Ocearch. The organization
outfitted her -- along with another great white named Genie --
with a GPS device during an expedition off Cape Cod in
September. Just months later, both sharks were found swimming
off the Jacksonville coast.
"That is a scary thought," tourist Jennifer Earnest told WOFL
after hearing of the shark. "I would be running from that."
Last Thursday, the Florida Times-Union reported that Mary Lee
was spotted 18 miles off Fernandina Beach and headed northeast.
"We're trying to solve the basic life history puzzle of where
and when do [great whites] feed, where and when do they breed,
and where and when do they give birth," Fischer said to CNN. "We
want to protect those areas where they're vulnerable."
In the video above, watch Ocearch at work in making perhaps the
catch of the century before letting Mary Lee -- in her
terrifying magnificence -- once again roam the ocean.
Great white sharks are the largest known predatory fish,
according to the World Wildlife Fund. The animals, which can
weigh nearly 5,000 pounds, have often been hunted by man in the
past. They are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of
Jan. 14 , 2013
World’s Largest Shark Sanctuary
Protects Cook Islander’s ‘Guardians’
The Cook Islands established the world’s largest continuous
shark sanctuary last month, enforcing heavy fines on violators
who are found with any part of a shark on board their vessel in
the 1.997 million sq. km (771,000 sq. miles) Exclusive Economic
The sanctuary protects all sharks from targeted fishing and aims
to prevent possession, sale, and trade of shark products. The
animals are often killed to satisfy the high demand of shark fin
soup, an Asian delicacy that sells upwards of $100 a bowl.
Sharks targeted for this purpose are often thrown back into the
ocean after their fins have been cut off, making it impossible
for them to survive.
As many as one-third of all open ocean shark species face the
threat of extinction, and the reduction in their numbers
severely affect the ecosystem around them – especially since it
often takes years for a shark to mature and since they have very
In June 2012, there were reports that three tons of shark fins
were found aboard an Asian fishing vessel in the Cook Islands,
which led to a parliamentary debate over the extent of the
problem. There is no data on the number of sharks killed in the
Cook Islands each year, which makes it difficult to estimate the
severity of shark fishing.
The Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) spent more
than 18 months gathering support for a much-needed sanctuary,
after which the Cook Islands declared the entire 1.997 million
sq. km EEZ, an area the size of Mexico, a sanctuary protecting
sharks, rays, and elasmobranchs. Violators of the sanctuary’s
regulations will be fined between $100,000 NZD ($84,000 USD) and
$250,000 NZD ($210,550 USD).
Jess Cramp, program manager at PICI, said her group’s campaign
was difficult at first and struggled to garner support from Cook
Island legislators. The group was met with heavy opposition
until it began to get the island community involved.
“We were met with strong opposition from the head of fisheries
at first. So much that it made us question why he was so
defensive about banning shark fishing,” Cramp said. “So what we
did then is we went out into the community and we gave community
presentations, we sent letters to the community we couldn’t
reach – because it was expensive to get to the outer islands –
and we began to acquire what we called ‘shark ambassadors.’”
Cramp and PICI Founder Stephen Lyon spent 18 months meeting with
fisheries, collecting scientific data, and gathering community
support to make their case to the Ministry of Marine Resources.
Once the international media picked up on the campaign, PICI
received funding from groups including the Pew Environment
Group. When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the
Cook Islands in August, Cramp stopped her at the Pacific Leaders
Forum and told her about the campaign for a shark sanctuary.
Clinton appeared to be excited about the project, especially
since she had just discussed wildlife protection with one of her
staffers, Cramp said.
In the Cook Islands, sharks are revered as ‘guardians’, and
emphasizing that part of the island’s culture was immensely
effective in prompting others to support the cause.
“This is something that the locals really grasped onto,” Cramp
said, proceeding to explain the arguments that incited Cook
Islanders to believe in their cause. “‘We’re not eating the
sharks, we’re not making any money off of these foreign vessels
coming into our waters eating our sharks. They’re important for
the ecosystem, they can’t keep up with the fishing pressures and
oh by the way, these are important to our culture. So we can
make both an environmental and political statement by standing
up and protecting these creatures.’”
On Dec. 12, 2012, Minister of Marine Resources Teina Bishop
announced the Cabinet’s approval of the shark sanctuary, just
days after French Polynesia included the mako shark as part of
an 8-year moratorium on shark fishing. Although the Cook Islands
have only identified 18 species of sharks in its water, the
neighbouring Polynesian islands have identified 40 species and
the Cooks are thought to have the same number. The critically
endangered oceanic whitetip sharks, blue sharks, hammerhead
sharks, and whale sharks have all been found aboard fishing
vessels and will now be safeguarded.
“The Cooks in particular are quite savvy,” Cramp said. “They
don’t just roll over and let things happen.”
With the new regulations in place, Cook Islanders can rest
assured that their ‘guardians’ will themselves be protected in
the open ocean while sanctuary violators will be heavily
Jan. 8 , 2013
Police waive ticket for shark
A diver bitten twice on the leg by a
hammerhead shark has been spared further pain by police, who
pulled his car over as he sped on his way to a West Australian
hospital for treatment.
The 26-year-old man from Karratha, in the state's north, was
free diving near Legendre Island, around 40 kilometres north of
Dampier, when he was bitten twice on the calf by the shark on
After making his way back to land on his boat, the injured man
was being driven to nearby Nickol Bay hospital in Karratha by
friends when the car was pulled over on the Dampier Highway by
Preparing to issue a ticket, the officers were persuaded to let
the car carry on its speedy journey when they learned of the his
A WA police spokesman said the man's injuries were not believed
to be life threatening, but he is due to be flown by Royal
Flying Doctor Service to Perth for further treatment.
As well as a number of non-fatal
shark attacks in Western
Australia, five people have been killed by sharks in the state
since September 2011.
Jan. 7 , 2013
Today, animal activist and Virgin Group
founder Richard Branson posted this shocking discovery of 18,000
shark fins drying out on a Hong Kong rooftop.
This shark fin trading operation
was only recently discovered and is causing quite the stir among
animal activists, like Branson.
It’s hard to understand why shark fins are so valuable, but fins are a “highly sought-after expensive
delicacy in Asia and are prized for their health benefits.” Hong
Kong also has one of the largest fin markets.
In the past, shark fins used to dry out on the streets, but
there was an “outcry,” which is probably why the operation is
being hidden, Gary Stokes, a Sea Shepherd spokesman, says.
“The most barbaric elements of the shark fin is obviously the
finning. Not all sharks are finned; a lot of regulations are
coming in where they have to land the entire shark. By taking
out an Apex predator like the sharks, then obviously the
snowball effect down the ecosystems will be unprecedented,”
The Sea Shepherd marine conservation group notes that about 100
million sharks are killed each year for fin trading.
Branson encourages all to
sign this petition to stop such horrific actions and says,
“2013 could be the year of the ocean – the year we help stop the
devastation of our most important natural resource. This is one
small step. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the
OceanElders and other groups trying to protect the ocean as the
year goes on.”
HELP OUT SHARKS AND CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION
Jan. 6 , 2013
Sharks 13K Plus Journey
New Zealand scientists are baffled by the 13,300km migration of
a mako shark tagged in a landmark study.
The shark, a 1.8-metre mako named Carol, has been tracked by
Niwa scientists using a satellite tagging device. The tag was
attached to Carol in the Bay of Islands six months ago.
The tag has provided the scientists with previously unknown
details of the timing and long-distance migratory movements of
"Conventional plastic identification tags tell us little about
the timing of
mako shark movements, the route that they take or
distance travelled," said Dr Malcolm Francis, who is leading the Niwa research.
So far, Carol has travelled over 13,300km, averaging 60km per
day and exceeding 100km per day during some parts of her
migration. She has swum to Fiji and back and has worked her way
past the Bay of Plenty and Hawke Bay heading south.
She was last heard from heading down the east coast of the South
Island past the Kaikoura Peninsula.
The tag has revealed that Carol is spending a lot of time at the
ocean's surface, reporting her location to the satellite several
Dr Francis said the researchers were surprised by the findings.
"We have never tracked one in real time before so anything we
are getting is really detailed and it's all new information," he
"What really surprised us was Carol took off to Fiji once, got
about halfway there and turned around and came straight back to
New Zealand, and then hung around the 90 Mile Beach area for
about six weeks and then she did go to Fiji.
"We knew from game fish tagging - game fishermen putting little
plastic tags on sharks - that New Zealand sharks do end up in
the Fiji/New Caledonia area. We thought she'll be up there for
the winter, getting away from our cold water, but she pretty
well turned around and came straight back to New Zealand."
Dr Francis said the researchers had no idea why the shark had
spent so little time in the warmer waters.
"One thing about studies like this is we find out all this new
information and we know what they're doing, but why they're
doing it we just can't get at."
mako sharks feed on schooling fish, such as skipjack
tuna and mackerel, and suggested Carol could not find enough
food to eat so returned to New Zealand to feed.
The study was funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and
was undertaken in collaboration with Dr Mahmood Shivji at the
Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in
Florida, who are funding the electronic tags and Argos satellite
The study is to be expanded with many more makos to be tagged
off east Northland in February.
"We are really keen to get a few more tags out this year and
figure out what other sharks are doing - whether they are doing
something similar or whether they are all randomly running
around the ocean doing strange things."
Dr Francis said the study is important to help identify the
geographical distribution and stock levels of the species.
The mako shark - There are two species of
Mako shark, the long
fin and the short fin, but only the shortfin is found in New
shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus, is the world's fastest
shark. It has been recorded swimming at speeds of about 100km/h.
- Mako, the Maori name for the shark, has been adopted
worldwide, although it is sometimes called mackerel shark and
- Mako has short pectoral fins, a tiny second dorsal and anal
fin, a crescent-shaped caudal fin, and indigo-blue dorsal
surfaces and white undersides. It can weigh up to half a tonne.
- At full maturity, male
mako sharks are about 200cm long and
females 300-310cm. Males mature at eight years and females at 20
- Mako are oceanic rather than coastal, swimming as deep as 650
metres deep. However they occasionally enter coastal waters but
rarely attack humans.
- The species is listed as "vulnerable" on the International
Union for Conservation of Nature list of threatened species.
- Most of the commercial catch of
mako sharks is taken by tuna longliners and most of the catch is processed. New Zealand
shark fisheries are managed under a quota system which limits
the amount of sharks caught. Current catches are well below the
as Reports by Paul Harper of The New Zealand Herald
Jan. 2 , 2013
Toronto gives Notice to Appeal shark fin Ruling
The City of Toronto has given notice that it intends to appeal a
court ruling that struck down a bylaw that banned the sale,
possession or consumption of shark fins and related food
products in the municipality.
Ontario Superior Court Justice James Spence declared the bylaw
invalid because it did not have a legitimate “municipal purpose”
and as a result was outside the powers of the city, in a ruling
issued Nov. 30.
A Notice of Appeal of that ruling was served on Dec. 31 to the
lawyers representing four members of the Chinese business
community who successfully challenged the bylaw. The formal
documents outlining the grounds of appeal are expected to be
filed in Ontario Divisional Court early next week, a spokesman
for the city said Wednesday.
The actions taken by the city’s legal department over the
holidays preserves its right to appeal the Superior Court
ruling, which would have expired on Jan. 1. It will be up to
city council to decide whether to proceed with the appeal, which
is expected to be decided later this month or in February.
Glenn De Baeremaeker, one of the councillors who led the move to
pass the shark fin bylaw in October, 2011, said Wednesday he is
confident that his colleagues will vote to go ahead with the
appeal. “We have political support from all sides,” he said.
The bylaw that Justice Spence found invalid was passed by a vote
of 38-4 at council, with the only votes against the ban cast at
that time by Mayor Rob Ford and councillors Doug Holyday,
Giorgio Mammoliti and David Shiner.
If the city goes ahead with the appeal and is unsuccessful, it
could ultimately be required to pay tens of thousands of dollars
in legal costs to the other side.
Bylaws and other decisions made by the city are routinely
challenged in court, noted Mr. De Baeremaeker, and this should
not dissuade council from going ahead with the appeal. “The
potential legal costs are not enormous. It is not more or less
than we would do with any other bylaw. We think we have strong
legal arguments,” he said. “We have legal opinions from very
prominent lawyers, saying that we do have these powers.”
The councillor explained that he would also be open to amending
the bylaw so that its intent is clear, which is to prohibit
commercial sales of shark-fin products. “We aren’t going to be
invading people’s homes to see if you are having a bowl of
shark-fin soup. It is not in the interest of the City of Toronto
to have shark-fin police,” he said.
The lawyers representing the four individuals who challenged the
shark-fin prohibition said Wednesday they had no comment at this
time. At the Superior Court hearing last fall, lawyers Andrew
Roman and Andy Chan argued that the ban unfairly targeted the
Chinese community and that there are no city prohibitions on
food or clothing products enjoyed by any other ethnic group.
Justice Spence agreed that shark finning – cutting off the
animal’s fins and tossing the torso overboard – is inhumane. But
the court heard that 95 per cent of shark fins are consumed in
China. “The ban will not by itself have any identifiable benefit
for Toronto with respect to the environmental well-being of the
city,” wrote Justice Spence in finding the bylaw invalid.
A half dozen other municipalities in Ontario have enacted
shark-fin bans, although the Toronto case was the first court
challenge to this type of municipal restriction.
SHARK NEWS ARCHIVES
( As of December 2012 )