SCS is a small volunteer run Society which has achieved an enviable record of conservation and research wins. The world today is obsessed with everything needing to be safe. A small adventure group of shark enthusiasts (SCS) simply can't afford the legal, insurance and administrative back-up which would guard against any risks of SCS having to pay out in the event of a claim or a legal action. The cost of our expeditions would have to double or treble!
When I read last year that a BBC film crew had to do a 'risk assessment' before filming a group of Morris dancers it brought home to me just how pathetic the world has become, we all know how dangerous knotted hankies can be! Today's adventurer who wants to be safe must wrap him/her self in cotton wool, go to bed and watch TV.
The directors of the Society are currently studying this problem searching for a way for our expeditions to be able to continue. It is with great regret therefore we have to announce that until this process has been completed, and a way forward found, we will have to suspend expeditions.
To our loyal supporters and past volunteers the message is 'We are not going away, won't lie down, and will find a way at going on, even if it involves all volunteers having to buy shares in cotton wool and avoid Morris dancers'! More to follow.
Organisers - Shark Conservation Society
Leader - Richard Peirce
Logistics, medical & catering director - Jacqueline Peirce
Skipper - Vlado
Volunteer researchers - Andy Sweeney, Karen Wilson, Sait Ozgur Gedikoglu, Ken Neal.
Documentary film crew - Sait Ozgur Gedikoglu, Richard Peirce.
The Society would like to thank
At the end of the 2005 SCS Adriatic shark search expedition Alen Soldo mentioned the possibility of the area offshore Dugi Otok/Mana islands being a pupping ground and nursery area for Blue sharks.
The area was not extensively investigated during the 2005 or 2006 surveys, however nine hours and fifty minutes chumming of the site on August 7th 2005 produced one line caught Blue shark near natal pup of 60cms which was successfully tagged and released.
In October 2009 the third SCS Adriatic expedition returned to the site to specifically investigate the pupping ground/nursery possibility.
The Jazera vessel Eudi was chartered and a team of six SCS volunteers led by SCS Chairman Richard Peirce drift chummed the area (43'48.677/15'12.034E)/(43'47.900/15'15.749).
Frozen sardines was the material used for chum. The chum was deployed in bags suspended into the water (up to 6 at a time), and in bait tubes which were floated between 8-15 metres astern. Once the initial set up had been accomplished chum was used at the rate of 8kgs per hour on a continually refreshing basis.
Two rods were deployed at the beginning of the drift prior to being withdrawn, drags were set very light so that the presence of juvenile sharks would be instantly evident
The SCS team worked in pairs doing two-hour shifts round the clock. As soon as any new specimens were encountered, or any events of importance occurred, the teams called Richard.
SCS worked in the Adriatic in 2005 and again in 2006, and a total of over 366 hours were achieved chumming a large number of sites. Blue sharks were found to be widely dispersed and present in most locations, however the only area where juvenile specimens were encountered was the Kornati area under investigation on this 2009 expedition.
In late June 2006 an SCS team conducted the Society's second Adriatic expedition and 9 miles southwest of Jabuka filmed a large 3 metre female Blue shark with fresh mating scarring accompanied by a mature male. The pair seemed almost pair bonded, but what is more likely, according to Dr John Stevens, is that the mating was still continuing. The female was caught on rod and line and while she was captive (prior to release) the male stayed close and mirrored her movements i.e. distress, relaxation, etc. After the female's release both animals swam off as a pair (all on film). This may have indicated the following.
What is sure is that it proves that end June is a time when Blue sharks are mating in the central Adriatic. Based on an estimated gestation period of 9 months to one year, pupping would be expected to start occurring from April. This is entirely consistent with the size of pups discovered on our expedition.
The results are as indicated in the table.
SCS believes that the evidence supports Alen Soldo's belief that the area investigated is indeed a Blue Shark nursery. The data has all been handed to Alen who we hope will move to request that the Kornati Natural Park authorities close this area to all fishing.
Croatia has recently introduced wide-ranging laws protecting many shark species including the Blue shark. However the central Adriatic is a favourite area for recreational anglers, and local commercial anglers who chum for tuna and swordfish. While in the Blue shark nursery we observed tuna on two occasions, chumming for tuna will also attract juvenile Blue sharks which will inevitably get caught. The law requires their release, however the Society believes that with anything but the most sensitive and careful handling by experienced people mortality among bi-catch pups will be high.
Become a Registered Supporter of the Shark Conservation Society today, for only £20 per year and help to secure the conservation of sharks around the world.
Dateline 16th March 2015.
We would like to draw all members attention to a campaign to ban shark fins soup from all government related events in Singapore. The campaign is collecting pledges and you can go online at Campaign.com/FINishedwithFINs to sign up.