Monday, September 08, 2008

Shark Silly season

Its mid-summer back in Tai Haku's motherland, the UK, and accordingly as is traditional the press is beginning to run silly stories about sharks in the UK. Usually this focus' on a photo that isn't as good as this one:


As those of you who saw this picture the first time I ran it will know - this is a basking shark and is totally harmless.....unless you are a tourist or journalist when it becomes a great white. This week's photograph features something that definitely isn't a basker taken by Welsh fisherman David Jones. The picture is awful but the colour rules out basker (but not in my view bloated dead sheep or deflated football). Still its good enough for an "Irish shark fisherman working in the area who confirmed it must have been one of the legendary predators." Here's my problem. This link leads to a very good photo. Of a shark. Taken in British waters. But its not good enough to prove great white. Why? Because the shark in that photo isn't a great white. Its a Porbeagle, a common shark from the same family found all round the UK. Technically you can't confirm which species it is because this photo doesn't show the distinguishing if this photo isn't good enough why the hell is David Jones white blob even on the table? Especially when he says this:

"At first I thought it was a seal. It wasn't until I got home that I looked again [at the photo] and realised what I'd got."

So my question is this: If instead of being a new shark for Great Britain this sighting was of a new bird species would it get anywhere near a records committee? Thought not.

Meanwhile the Telegraph, Star and Mirror also reports on a proper real live shark attack in the UK!!!!11!!!OMGeleventy!1!

Urgh. Basically a fisherman got nipped on the arm by a small blue shark whilst unhooking it and posing for a photo causing quite severe bleeding. The shark was out of the water at the time and presumably severely peeved about that - or as the Telegraph's shark expert explained "it was quite unlikely the bite was unprovoked". Again Urgh.


Blues are still pretty rare - they used to be very common before overfishing nearly wiped out these 'wolves of the sea!'(tm the Telegraph). I took the photo above of one we lured in for diving purposes off North Cornwall as part of the UK's first shark diving project (because I'm a total pioneering maverick). Catch and release shark fishing is a positive in this case as it puts a value on the fish alive as opposed to dead and blues are pelagic sharks found miles from shore so don't worry about your paddling at skeggy going bad.

Anyway I'd welcome any other examples of this nonsense you've come across as part of your day to day reading

1 comment:

tai haku said...

Gosh! That was a snarky post now I read it back wasn't it? Ah well - bad shark related journalism unleashes my inner rage; journalists of the world, you've been warned.