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Clean Sweep For Sharks And Rays At CMS CoP11

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Sharks And Rays

Parties from the UN conservation convention unanimously vote 21 species of threatened sharks and rays into the appendices of CMS

CMS logo Sharks And Rays

 

Quito, Ecuador November 9th 2014: Convention of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

Global momentum for elasmobranch conservation continued with a clean sweep at the CMS Conference of the Parties (CoP) in Quito, Ecuador yesterday, as all 21 proposed species of threatened sharks and rays were successfully listed on the appendices of CMS (CMS is an intergovernmental treaty under the United Nations Environment Program. CMS CoPs take place every 3 years).

CMS devil ray Sharks And Rays In summary, all five sawfish species,  all nine species of Mobula (devil rays), and the reef manta ray have been listed successfully on Appendix I & II, which should bring about stricter protections for these species globally. Two species of hammerheads (the great & scalloped), all three thresher shark species (the bigeye, common and pelagic), and the silky shark have been awarded CMS Appendix II listing, which should encourage increased regional cooperation for their conservation.

The Marine Megafauna Foundation is particularly delighted about the inclusion of sawfish, the world’s most endangered marine fish and of course the reef manta ray, which was overlooked in the 2011 proposal to list the giant manta ray on CMS.

cms sawfish Sharks And Rays

Dr. Andrea Marshall Sharks And Rays “This is another tremendous success for the rays,” gushed Dr. Andrea Marshall, director of the Marine Megafauna Foundation. “These CMS listings were sorely needed to help secure increased protection and management for these incredibly threatened species which are declining at alarming rates.”

Marshall, who made a passionate intervention before the Parties on behalf of MMF and a collation of NGOs last Thursday, is the principal scientist for MMF’s Global Manta Ray Program and has been actively collecting data to support the proposal for Manta alfredi for years. She and her research team have conducted peer-reviewed scientific studies on three different continents demonstrating the highly mobile nature of this species in the lead up to CMS CoP11.

MMF scientists had already helped show that manta rays are amongst the least fecund of all shark and ray species with extremely conservative life history traits, most notably their small litter size. Low productivity species are highly vulnerable to human pressures, particularly fishing, one of the main reasons they are listed as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN redlist of endangered species. However, to be eligible for a CMS listing, there needed to be evidence that the reef manta ray is also a migratory species in need of regional conservation efforts.

CMS reef manta Sharks And Rays The MMF say they have been extremely concerned about the reef manta since their team documented a swift and significant 88% decline in observational sighting records of Manta alfredi at one of the most important aggregation areas for this species in the Indian Ocean. This local artisanal fishery for reef mantas in Mozambique predominantly uses resulting products domestically and operates at a much smaller scale than more organized fisheries for manta rays being monitored other parts of the globe. The implications of this study should be obvious and show the swift and devastating effects even small-scale fisheries can have on even relatively large populations of this species.

While international trade issues have been recently addressed with an Appendix II listing on CITES, domestic harvesting of Manta alfredi within range states is still an issue that threatens the survival of the species. This CMS listing will now encourage its protection within range states, prompt better management of populations and help to facilitate much needed research.

CMS Silky shark Sharks And Rays Across the world NGOs* have been voicing their opposition to unsustainable fisheries for sharks and rays, highlighting that these charismatic species would be much better used as drawcards for marine tourism, an ever-expanding and very lucrative industry that profits a wider variety of stakeholders and returns and expands the opportunity for continued profit to the countries where these species reside or frequent. Current estimates place global revenues from manta ray related tourism at close to $140 million US dollars annually.

Manta rays cannot afford to be exploited and MMF have commended Fiji for sponsoring this proposal and Ecuador, the host country, for paving the way for global manta conservation in recent years.

“This is a major win for sharks and rays,” said Dr. Marshall. “these timely listings will go a long way to ensure that these species do not go extinct in the wild.”

To find out more about the MMF visit www.marinemegafauna.org.

Sharks And Rays Thresher*In addition to the MMF, other NGOs actively supporting shark & ray proposals at CoP11 also included Shark Advocates International, Humane Society International, Project AWARE Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, PEW, Manta Trust, International Fund for Animal Welfare, & Pretoma.

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Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Long Beach at night (Watch Video)

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Head under the waves of False Bay and explore the incredible diversity that is found along the Western Cape. The bay has popular dive spots from diving amongst the biodiverse underwater kelp forests to jumping in with the playful and friendly cape fur sealions (Arctocephalus pusillus). The bay along with the rest of the South Africa coast is known for the range of shark species that are found from the shallow coastal shores out into the open oceans. The coast is also home to numerous endemic shark species such as puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) and Pyjama shark.

Longbeach is a shallow shore dive close to the coastal town of Simonstown on the Western Cape. The dive is mainly made up of diving across the sand with a few wreckages, rocks and outcrops where there’s algae growing. A pipeline can be found at the site which provides locations for species such as Pyjama Sharks (Poroderma africanum) and octopus (Octopus vulgaris) to shelter. Diving at night at the site provides the opportunity to see species that are more often hidden during the day such as cape Squid (Loligo reynaudii) and Biscuit Skate (Raja straeleni). Other shark species such as the small Puff Adder Shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) are also occasionally seen at the site.

Diving with the local dive club – Cape Town Dive Centre.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Book Review – The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

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It was the height of the Cold War. The Soviet Cruiser Ordzhonikidz, supported by two destroyers, had brought Soviet leaders Khruschev and Bulganin to Britain for sensitive meetings with the British Government. The ships were moored in Portsmouth harbour and the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, had expressly forbidden any clandestine inspection of them. However, on the morning of 19th April 1956 Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabbe, an experienced naval diver, slipped into the cold waters of Portsmouth harbour. His top secret mission was to photograph the hull, propellers and rudder of the Ordzhonikidze. He was never seen alive again.

A badly decomposed body, with head and hands missing, was discovered by fishermen in Chichester harbour months later. It was claimed to be the missing body of Buster Crabbe – but many had doubts. The incident marked the start of a controversy that claimed the posts of several high ranking naval, government and intelligence service personnel. The author of The Final Dive, Don Hale, claims it is one that still rages and which may not be resolved even when secret government files are released in 2057.

Don Hale, an acknowledged campaigning journalist and former Journalist of the Year brings all his experience and skill to unravelling this longstanding scandal. He has drawn upon official reports and private letters, statements from government representatives, fellow officers and friends to piece together Buster’s life and events leading to his disappearance and subsequent investigation. He speaks of “inquiries blocked by intrigue, constant cover-ups and government bureaucracy coupled with threats relating to the Official Secrets Act” (p. xi). If you like reading about subterfuge on a grand scale you will enjoy The Final Dive.

Don Hale’s meticulous account of the life of Buster Crabbe is supported by dozens of black and white photos and extracts from numerous official documents. It reveals how an amazing series of civilian jobs, wartime activities and friendships with high ranking government officials, British intelligence officers, American CIA operatives. . . and now known spies, prepared him for his final dive and perhaps his fate. One of Crabbe’s acquaintances was the author Ian Fleming – of James Bond fame. Indeed, it is suggested that Fleming based the character of 007 on Buster Crabbe. After reading of his exploits, both before WWII, his bomb disposal work during the war, and afterwards it is easy to see why. Certainly, those who worked with Buster Crabbe “all agree he was fearless.” (p.59). After reading of his exploits one wonders if he was too fearless.

In the later stage of Buster’s life, prior to his disappearance, Don Hall recounts “a constant merry-go-round of overseas assignments” (p. 118) for Crabbe and how he “began to receive increasingly hazardous commissions” (p. 136). It culminated in the morning dive in Portsmouth harbour. Hale’s forsensic-like account of the events surrounding the final dive and aftermath reveals absolute panic and bungling behind the scenes as official answers conflict with known facts. He describes how “The whole incident still seems bathed in secrecy, with the true facts deliberately buried in bureaucracy, and supported at the highest level by an incredible cover-up operation”.(p. 205).

A final comment by Don Hale adds to the intrigue. He states “The only part of the Crabbe puzzle about which I am not certain is not who sent him – we know the answer to that – but why on earth he was he sent, possibly at considerable risk?” (p. 248). After reading The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe you will no doubt have your own ideas.


The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

  • By Don Hale
  • Stroud: Sutton Publishing
  • ISBN 978 0 7509 4574 5
  • 260 pp

Don Hale was a professional footballer before becoming editor of several regional newspapers. He has received numerous national and international awards for investigative journalism including Journalist of the Year. In 2002 he was awarded an OBE for his campaigning journalism in the Stephen Downing miscarriage of justice case. He has championed several others who have been wrongly convicted.

His other books include Town without Pity (2002), Murder in the Graveyard (2019) and Mallard: How the ‘Blue Steak’ Broke the World Speed Record (2019).


Find out more about Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author, at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

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