Day 308 4/30/14: The End of the Cull & Deadline for Dusky Sharks

West Australia’s cull has ended-–for now. The drum lines have been pulled. 100 sharks have been caught, and though the Premier claims that killing 100 sharks (no great white sharks—the species responsible for the attack), has been “educational.” Let’s hope this barbaric policy doesn’t return in November.

If you’d like to do a good deed for dusky sharks, an overfished species and help end the use of wasteful longline fishing in the Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean, here today is the LAST DAY. You can read about the proposal here. (Thanks to shark superstar Sarah Mucha for this information!)

Please e-mail  your comments to: Peter.Cooper@noaa.gov 

Subject: Amendment 5b (A5b) to the 
2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species 
Fishery Management Plan

 

Either submit your own original comments, or cut, paste & sign a version of this sample letter:

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing in reference to the comment period on Amendment 5B (A5B) to the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan. My comment is as follows-
POTENTIAL RECREATIONAL MEASURES
It is my opinion the closure of the Atlantic recreational shark fishery “ALT-A8” would have the most impact on helping reduce the number of incidental landings of Dusky sharks. If this measure is unattainable I feel the next appropriate measures would be to combine “ALT-A3” for public awareness on regulations and shark identification, “ALT-A4″ prohibiting retention of all ridgeback sharks in the Atlantic Recreational Fishery, ALT-A5” extending end of existing shark closures from July 15th to July 31st would give added protection to nursery areas, along with “ALT-A7” allowing only catch and release of all Atlantic HMS managed sharks and retention of recreational caught sharks prohibited would all help meet the goal of reducing mortality and rebuilding populations of not just Dusky sharks but also other listed species.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL MEASURES
Over all “ALT-B10 removal of all pelagic longlines as authorized gear for Commercial Atlantic shark permit holders or “ALT-B5” closure of the hot spots would have the greatest results of impact towards reducing the mortality of Dusky sharks along with multiple listed HMS of sharks and other marine life. This would help maintain at or below levels of mortality that in turn would work towards the result in a 70% rebuilding in the time frame recommended of a 100 years by assessment. Along with “ALT-B9” extending end of existing shark closure from July 15th to July 30th to further protect nursery grounds.
Due to the Dusky’s slow growth rate, maturity later than other shark species, their 3 year reproductive cycle, and small litter sizes of 3-12 pups, they fall under the characteristics resulting in a low intrinsic rate of population increase. The implementation of these alternative stringent regulatory measures should be required to recover the collapsed populations of Dusky sharks.
Thank you,

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Day 307 4/29/14: Diver Spots White Shark

This scuba diver freaks out (in a good way) when he spots a white shark while diving in the Gulf of Mexico. I like the muffled “HEYYYY” which seems so futile and the sound of  underwater breathing which is eerily like the measured exhalations of someone in intensive care.
(Thank you, Jack Morrissey)

Day 303 4/25/14: Dracula, Cheever & Me

Lately I’ve been thinking about how certain books become inseparable from the places we are when we read them.

When I think of Keats, I remember sitting on a train speeding through the green blur of Long Island, and a deep blue collected poems from the 1920s with toast-colored pages that fell apart as I read it. First his name flaked off the spine, then the covers dangled by a few desiccated threads. I kept trying to glue the little book together, tape it  and make it whole. But each time I tried, I thought of Keats’ epitaph, still my favorite of all time:

Here Lies One Whose Name was Writ in Water.

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 Peanuts. Mad. “Lennon Remembers.” “The JAWS Log.” All the beloved books of childhood I read while reclining on a scratchy green couch with an errant spring that used to burrow into my spine. I kept having to shift my body to get comfortable, to stay in the book. In those moments when I briefly surfaced from the page, I noticed how having read seemed to have changed the world slightly. I could see a new sharpness in old things, in furniture and wallpaper. I noticed how the old colored bottles on the fireplace, the colonial figurines, seemed to become more “themselves” somehow, to assert their thing-ness with greater authority.

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 Baudelaire Selected Poems: First read summer 1985 Plum Island Massachusetts. I remember putting a star next to “The Albatross” in the table of contents. Sand in the pages. Book held against the blinding, magnetic sun. Every so often I’d stop reading and stare at the cover: two sea deities joined in salty, tentacled union in the midst of a crashing wave. I’d watch the calm, dark Atlantic. No sea gods. No crashing. No ecstasy. Just a guy with a mullet and a metal detector silhouetted at the surf’s edge.

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 So many times I loved a book so much I couldn’t bear to part with it. Equal parts passion and sloth. Okay, I told myself, you have to go for a walk. Bring the book if you have to, but you’re going outside. All the way up the mountain trail to the Hollywood sign, I held the fat paperback (The Collected Stories of John Cheever), but didn’t open it. Then finally, on the long way down, I couldn’t wait. I read as I walked down the trail. I knew I looked stupid, but I had no idea it would anger anyone. “Look at you,” the hiker said as he passed me, “you can’t even appreciate nature. Pathetic.” Was this true? Was reading while one walked a sign of moral weakness–a declaration: I need a constant filter, an intermediary to block or translate the world? I wondered about my innate inability to relate to nature on its own terms. Even though I grew up in the country, I still can’t identify many trees. The present always reminded me of the past. The actual seemed an echo of the fictional. New Hampshire was Narnia. When I smelled the lilacs, I loved them. When I found a cellar hole in the woods, I felt fascinated and afraid. But Frost’s line about the abandoned house that had become a “belilaced cellar hole” is more vivid to me now than either the smell of those flowers, or that dark empty place in the earth.

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 In 1986, I went with my father to Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts. Dad was interviewing William Douglas, a former Tufts anatomy professor who’d become obsessed with a prostitute named Robin Benedict and eventually bludgeoned her to death with a sledge-hammer in 1983. He threw her body in a dumpster in a Rhode Island shopping mall. My father was going to interview Douglas for the Boston Herald. In the news, the story sounded like a weird fable: “The Professor and the Prostitute.” The papers used words like “obsession” and I remember thinking it was so strange that Robin Benedict had been a graphic designer and a prostitute.

I brought a copy of “Dracula” to the prison with dracula1me. I remember watching my father disappear with a prison guard behind sliding metal doors. I had to sit in the waiting room with “Dracula.” I kept trying to concentrate on the book, but all I wanted was to watch my father ask a murderer a series of questions. I remember returning over and over to a description of a carriage on a rocky road and Lucy, pale and vampiric on her deathbed, but her pale face kept giving way to William Douglas, his big professor glasses, and how rodent-like and sweaty he looked in the newspaper photos. The contempt I felt for him as a teenager seemed an indictment of his ugliness as much as his evil.  At 19, the silver-fanged monsters of imagination were more sympathetic to me—or at least more beautiful.

 

 

 

Day 302 4/24/14 Australia: Don’t Extend the Cull!

Western Australia’s premier Colin Barnett wants to extend the shark cull that has already killed 100 sharks including protected species for another three years.

 

Please join Greenpeace in speaking out against this extremely ill-advised and environmentally devastating proposition.
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Day 301 4/23/14: Hope for Australia’s Sharks?

This glimmer of hope comes from shark divers blog. Western Australia has decided to open up the shark cull policy to a Public Environmental Review. This means that for a four week period, the public can send in their thoughts about the shark kill plan.

I will post more information about where the public can send in their comments as soon as it’s available. In the meantime, check out these tips about how to compose an effective, rational letter & for a handy shark fact sheet.  While I am more than tired of the “Keep Calm” sentiment in all its myriad forms, I have to admit in this case it’s handy as it reminds me of the necessity not to get too fired up and freaked out before I write a letter about an issue that I hope to change someone’s mind about. images-1

Day 299 4/21/14: Run for the Sharks!

To raise money for a Bay Area shark sanctuary, Shark Stewards is sponsoring Run for the Sharks, in the San Francisco Bay to the Breakers race this May 18 ! Dust off your full-length shark costume and join the well-organized madness! To  register to run, click here.

If you’re really bananas, you can also join The Shark Centipede--a group of 14 costumed runners who run the race attached to one another.ay_108346262-e1366561007690-1

Here are some other ways to help out:

Buy a handmade  Pura Vida bracelet for $5 to support shark conservation, or sponsor a runner.  

If designing inventive yet maneuverable shark costumes is your bag, or you’d like to donate $ or be a corporate sponsor, click here and scroll to the bottom.