[Coral-List] Shark Feeding Question

Shortfin Mako Shark shortfin_mako_shark at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 18 11:54:20 EST 2014

Excellent summary. Those of us that have been around for sometime (> 20 years) working in research know exactly what you are saying. In fact, this has been a major problem for managers charged with managing our resources.. Shifting baselines is a big issue; there have been numerous publications on this subject. The State of Florida implemented regulations prohibiting the public from feeding marine wildlife, including sharks back in 2002. It doesn't take a "rocket" scientist to understand that feeding wildlife of any type (marine and terrestrial) can impact behavior and other characteristics. 

On Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:16 AM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

   David and Billy,

   While you both expertly appeal to common sense, it seems that science today
   prefers to reflect popular culture rather than challenge its transgressions.
   At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, the trend is ominous because it
   is likely  an indication of what's to come. Diverting from established
   doctrine (pertaining to the general practice of feeding wildlife), the
   conclusions cited in a number of recent papers on the subject of shark
   feeding  seem  to suggest that conservation efforts and protected area
   management would best be served by facing reality and accepting things for
   what they are or at the very least, finding creative ways to subscribe to
   and  benefit from what they have become. Although this may be the most
   pragmatic approach, it gives the impression that authoritative scientific
   objectivity has given way to the whims of shifting societal values and
   beliefs. For the time being, those who condone shark feeding are provided
   cover  from  the full range of implications that may result from these
   activities by a fog of ambiguity. There is no hard scientific evidence to
   contend  with  and they know full well that by the time enough data is
   collected and crunched, baselines will have been obscured and a new era of
   "novel natural communities" will have taken hold. This is pretty much as it
   always has been. Humankind will by then have moved on and adjusted to a new
   reality remorseless in reaction to the impacts of its intrusion. After all,
   baselines reflecting the pristine conditions that once existed on coral
   reefs  of  the past are little more than a fading memory becoming more
   mystical, unfamiliar and elusive with every passing day.

   Hoping for change..

   With best regards,


   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Billy Causey - NOAA Federal
   >Sent: Feb 18, 2014 8:49 AM
   >To: David Obura
   >Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Shark Feeding Question
   >It's always great to hear from you! You made some excellent points in
   >your response and I agree with all of them.
   >Please allow me to share a short story from the mid - 1980's when I
   >was managing the small Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary in the Lower
   >Florida Keys. At the time, we allowed fishing on top of the fore reef
   >and the spur and groove formation. Now that area is a no take
   >Sanctuary Preservation Area.
   >Back to the story, one day I received a call from an older, excited
   >recreational fisherman who exclaimed that "this sanctuary thing was
   >working!" He said he had tied up to one of our mooring buoys and
   >caught his limit in huge Yellowtail Snapper in minutes! What he
   >didn't know was that he was catching fish that divers had been feeding
   >crackers, cheese whiz and all sorts of food matter to the fish. The
   >old fishermen had found a gold mine of fish that had been conditioned
   >to bite anything that hit the water!! But, he liked that sanctuary
   >A sad, but true story that was frequently repeated .
   >Billy D. Causey, Ph.D..
   >Southeast Regional Director
   >NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
   >33 East Quay Road
   >Key West, Florida 33040
   >305 809 4670 office
   >305 395 0150 mobile
   >305 293 5011 fax
   >billy..causey at noaa.gov
   >> On Feb 18, 2014, at 7:30 AM, David Obura wrote:
   >> Hi all,
   >> general experience with feeding or attracting wild animals (which fish
   and sharks are) in Africa has been that the direct result of increased
   human-animal interactions is precisely what you could predict. Where those
   animals are nice and cuddly, the interactions are probably beneficial (at
   least to humans). Where they are large or potentially dangerous (hippos,
   leopard, elephant, lion), then, surprise surprise, the number of harmful
   interactions  on  humans  go  up!!  Where habitat loss also results in
   intensification  of  human-wildlife interactions you also see the same
   results,  of  greater harmful interactions to people, though hardly in
   proportion to the increase in harmful interactions for the animals.
   >> Finding published literature on this can be difficult (though I'm sure
   its extensive in terrestrial cases) because it is of course so emotive to us
   - but it is common sense. The micro-view of pro-feeders, centered around
   their own business opportunity or "I know my backyard" mentality should not
   be given excessive weight against what is common sense AND backed up by a
   mix of experience and data from the broader world out there!
   >> My two cents, anyway,
   >> David
   >> CORDIO East Africa
   >> #9 Kibaki Flats, Kenyatta Beach, Bamburi Beach
   >> P.O.BOX 10135 Mombasa 80101, Kenya
   >> www.cordioea.net // www.iucn.org/cccr
   >> Mobile: 254-715 067417
   >> Email: dobura at cordioea.net; davidobura at gmail.com
   >> Skype dobura
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