Care about Ocean LIfe
A gathering of like minded people and the Sunshine Coast Environment Council met at the HMAS Brisbane War Memorial at Alexandra Headlands, South East Queensland this week. A call was put out to all Sunshine Coast divers, tourism operators, conservationists, scientists, fishers and other marine loving people to show their support for our marine sanctuaries.
The crowd and supporters unfurled an enormous colourful banner which celebrated the alliance of many groups and people with a common interest in marine conservation and sealife diversity. The banner comprised hundreds of photos on it taken by people across Australia over this summer highlighting the diversity and strength of support in the community for marine sanctuaries. The banner was produced by the Save Our Marine Life Alliance.
Philip Hart, owner and manager of Sunreef Scuba Diving Mooloolaba represented the gathering and local media attended including Channel 7 news. Continue reading
DiveCareDare recently came across this fabulous website: www.supportoursharks.com
It is a fabulous web site with some great information and news relating to conservation, education and research of the ocean.
Shark biologist Dr. Ryan Kempster founded the Support Our Sharks (SOS) Ocean Conservation Society in 2010 with a mission to support healthy oceans by promoting better protection for sharks and their close relatives the rays and skates.
SOS is a science-based conservation group raising awareness to the threats faced by sharks (and rays) in the 21st century. Dr. Kempster established SOS with the goal of educating the public by promoting conservation, outreach and research to inspire interest in protecting these important animals.
They utilise a mixture of on-the-ground and online campaigning, educational outreach and peer-reviewed scientific research to encourage better protection for sharks and rays, whilst also promoting better protection of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems. By working closely with the general public and a wide range of specialist groups including scientists, divers and politicians, they are able to bring about positive change for sharks and their relatives worldwide.
This great short but punchy video discusses how long sharks have existed. It’s a must watch!
Their excellent mantra:
“SUPPORT OUR SHARKS
SUPPORT OUR OCEANS
SUPPORT OUR FUTURE”
Justin Bruhn is a local Sunshine Coast boy from Landsborough. His ‘day job’ has him acting as a Security Consultant which has taken him around Queensland including the Far North, but he has also worked in the diving industry as as a dive instructor and a passionate underwater photographer.
He has dived extensively around the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand and South America. He has a deep commitment to marine conservation, and believes that to save underwater treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef, preserving their images and educating the community is one way to go.
DiveCareDare first met Justin through connections with a local dive operator, both eventually joining forces when Tony took a group of local divers to Beqa Lagoon, Fiji to have a life affecting, shark diving experience, diving with up to 8 different breeds of sharks at any one time.
Justin has a huge, very impressive Nauticam underwater camera set up, and whilst he does do videography, he is increasingly taking more and more still photos, especially wide angle rather than macro photography. Continue reading
Below is a recent article written by Kathy Sundstrom in our local Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper published on the 9th October 2014. She called me for a phone interview brought on by the recently reported shark encounter in Mooloolaba. The following article was the result of that discussion:
SUNSHINE COAST DAILY:
“A RESPECTED shark expert has called for mandatory education in schools and for tourists to make them “shark-savvy” following video footage of a great white circling a boat off Mooloolaba.
Darryl Kitching said he was terrified when the five-metre-long shark circled the family’s seven-metre boat for about 20 minutes, sometimes nudging its side.
Mr Kitching said it was something he had never experienced in his 40 years of fishing.
“I was very glad I was in the boat,” he said.
Shark expert Tony Isaacson of Kawana, said there was likely to be a number of great whites off the Coast as they followed humpback whales heading south.
Mr Isaacson said that with proper education, people need not fear sharks and he could not understand why this was not taught at schools and to tourists visiting the area.
“People need to be shark-savvy,” he said.
He said an incident at Byron Bay earlier this month in which a swimmer was killed by a great white happened “a year to the day” he had an encounter with the feared species in the same location.
“I was filming grey nurse sharks and then they started forcing me down to the ocean floor,” Mr Isaacson said.
“I had never had this experience before and couldn’t work out why they were pushing me down.
The next thing I saw a 4.5 metre great white above them. This is not unusual, but they are usually quite well fed.”
Visit the Daily’s website to see Mr Kitching’s video of the great white.
Twenty-six sharks have been caught in nets or drum lines off the Coast since January.
Sharks caught in nets and drumlines, January 1 to September 30:
Noosa 9 – 5 tiger sharks, 4 whalers
Maroochydore 4 – 1 long-nose whaler, 1 hammerhead, 1 great hammerhead, 1 bull whaler
Marcoola 3 – 1 tiger, 2 whalers
Wurtulla 2 – 1 great hammerhead, 1 sharp tooth shark
Coolum Beach – 2 long-nose whalers
Alex Headland – 1 great hammerhead
Twin Waters – 1 grey nurse shark
Peregian – 1 tiger shark
Castaways – 1 tiger shark
Marcus Beach – 1 tiger shark
Currimundi – 1 tiger shark
Some safety tips to minimise the chance of shark attack:
- Swim or surf only at patrolled beaches – between the flags and where shark safety equipment is in place
- Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted
- Do not swim or surf after dusk, at night, or before dawn when sharks become more active
- Do not swim or surf in murky or silt-laden waters
- Do not swim in, or at the mouth of, rivers, estuaries, artificial canals and lakes
- Never swim alone
- Never swim when bleeding
- Do not swim near schools of fish or where fish are being cleaned
- Do not swim near, or interfere with, shark control equipment
- Do not swim with animals”.
Related articles about recent local shark sightings by the Sunshine Coast:
CALL TO ACTION FOR BETTER SHARK CONTROL PROGRAMS
Several events in September, 2014, prompted me to take personal responsibility for a call to fast track better Shark Control Programs:
Hanna, a high school student who spoke at a rally on the Gold Coast where she asked everyone present to help stop the culling of sharks in Queensland.
The community stand at Byron Bay, NSW against drum lines and shark nets following a Category 4 human-shark incident.
A recommendation by the EPA to discontinue the shark culling in Western Australia in the wake of 6751 public submissions and petitions with over 25,000 signatures.
The People’s Choice Award for “Most Dynamic Display”: SOS – Save Our Sharks won at the Sunshine Coast “Kids In Action” conference.
An invitation to celebrate with the Kids In Action winners at The Spit, Mooloolaba, where the shark nets for the Shark Control Program are stored.
Sensational media coverage relating to sharks that came to the attention of an international competitor ahead of his arrival as our guest for the Sunshine Coast Ironman Event.
Facebook friend, Michael Rutzen and 60 Minutes reporter, Allison Langdon scuba diving with great white sharks in shark alley and showing non-lethal shark barriers modelled on kelp forest.
The essence of email to my local, state and federal representatives, federal minister for the environment, state minister for fisheries and reviewers/manager of the Queensland shark control program follows:
Great White Shark victim of lethal action following Category 4 human-shark incident at Byron Bay, NSW?
Leading the evening news stories, Tuesday, 9th September, 2014 ahead of Royals, bombings and political scandal was the unsuccessful rescue and fatality of a lone swimmer at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay, NSW. The bite to Paul Wilcox’s leg at 10:45 am in clear water at a sand bar, 15 metres from shore, was witnessed by his wife. The 3 metre, sub adult, great white shark that was believed to be responsible for the bite was chased out to sea. On initial, unsubstantiated reports, the great white shark was to be targeted with lethal action should it return to Byron Bay. Such a response reinforces the popular view of the ”Jaws” generation that there is a public risk and a ‘rogue’ shark problem that must be solved with lethal force. Continue reading
LIQUIDLIFE MAGAZINE COMES TO LIFE – FIRST EDITION OUT NOW!
Last night we had the pleasure of attending the official launch of the Coast’s newest and exciting magazine Liquidlife. The brainchild of editor Leisel Walker, the magazine finally came to fruition after months in the making. Liquidlife is a one off. There is no other magazine covering watersports on the Coast so Liquidlife is here to fill a definite gap. The magazine has both an online format and glossy magazine for distribution to shops, cafes, and restaurants around the coast from Caloundra to Noosa. The content covers all things watersports, from stories on local personalities, care for the ocean, the latest in technology, and beachwear fashion connecting watersports with local businesses.
The launch was at Sealife, Mooloolaba – a fitting venue, with attendees surrounded by a backdrop of freshwater and seawater exhibits. Continue reading
NEW MAGAZINE TO HIT THE SUNSHINE COAST – LIQUIDLIFE – FIRST EDITION SEPTEMBER 2014
Earlier this week at the Scuba Buddies Brisbane Meet UP night, Tony had the pleasure to meet Liesl Walker, Editor of an exciting new coastal magazine, liquidlifeMAG.
From left to right, Tony, Liesl Walker, liquildlifeMag and Fern Perry, Lutwala Dive.
liquidlifeMag is the brain child of Liesl Walker and her team of seven other water sport enthusiasts. Their goal is to educate, inspire and entertain locals through stories and photography while also providing information from businesses for everyday people to make use of.
Liesel says “I am super excited about this new venture and believe there is definitely a place for it on the Sunshine Coast. We are covering all forms of watersports including fishing, diving and camping as we want liquidlife to be exactly as the name suggests – our Sunny Coast life around liquid!”.
liquidlifeMag will be a fresh, new Sunshine Coast glossy magazine with four editions each year with 10,000 free copies distributed to cafes, shops, restaurants and hotels from Caloundra to Noosa at the start of each season.
Their first magazine will be issued as a Spring Edition to be released on the 1st September 2014.
They would love to hear from any individuals with interesting watersport stories or local businesses who would like to promote their products and services.
Find out more on their web site: www.liquidlifemag.com.au or on their Facebook page: liquidlife MAG.
If you have any stories that you think may be of interest, then please contact Liesl Walker on: 0488 551 162 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
LAUNCH OF DIVECAREDARE:
DiveCareDare was launched on the 1st July 2014.
Who, What is DiveCareDare?
DiveCareDare is the brain child of Tony Isaacson, a PADI scuba instructor, marine studies teacher, naturalist and marine adventurer for 30 years.
Tony has been passionate about marine life and the oceans to the extent that his “life is diving….the rest is surface interval”. Since 1977 his passion has been delivered to students from preschool to post graduates and marine educational associations and clubs. Now he has stepped up to a dot-com to engage a global interaction with like-minded educators, adventurers ocean care volunteers and those who know that an ocean without sharks is a scarier world than one with them.
Three words that can mean many things.
Taken at face value:
Dive the oceans, remote destinations, pristine tropical or cold current waters…
Care for what we love, the seas and the creatures that we ultimately depend on…
Dare to swim with sharks, to be different, to do things differently, to make a difference…
Whatever you believe it to be, DiveCareDare is an educational platform for scuba divers, snorkelers, naturalists and those interested in learning more about diving destinations around the world and how they can help to make a difference for the creatures that live there.
The welfare of sharks is of particular interest and concern for Tony. To overcome a lifelong fear of sharks Tony has turned to the finest locations on the planet to get to know sharks and to respect them and their pivotal role for healthy sustainable oceans.
Tony waves the flag for sharks and marine ecotourism around the world. He has site custodial roles with the Grey Nurse Shark Watch to monitor the recovery of a shark which has been reduced to critically low numbers because they looked ferocious to a generation affected by the 1975 blockbuster movie JAWS.
In 2013 Tony motivated a 60 MINUTES team including well known reporter Peter Overton and bull shark bite survivor Paul de Gelder to dive with bull sharks in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji – the only place in the world where 8 species of shark can be encountered at one dive site.
DiveCareDare has connections with dive travel and diver training. Tony is a certified PADI Instructor and works along with local businesses to provide training for people aspiring to become Open Water and Advanced Divers. He operates an Airbnb “divers lodge” for small groups to do local dives or hit the road for camper van safaris and diving charters north and south of his home on the sunshine Coast.
Tony uses videography and frame captures to share what he experiences as a platform for awe, wonder and education. When a fire in our bellies is burning, awareness is heightened and like-minded people can make good things happen for the beasts of this world who cannot speak for themselves.
Tony’s mantra fosters intimate human-ocean life interaction.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love.
We love only what we understand.
We will understand only what we are taught”.
Tony Isaacson is DiveCareDare. DiveCareDare is Tony Isaacson.
I am off this week to do my winter shark survey for Grey Nurse Shark Watch (GSNW). I will be joining Cheryl and Kev of Wolf Rock Dive Centre and a boat load of fellow divers to the Wolf Rock dive site on Tuesday, 9th July.
Wolf Rock is a 30 min boat ride out from Rainbow Beach and can be seen from the northern end of Double Island Point. It has four volcanic rocky pinnacles which allow for multi-level diving to a depth of 30m and is thus suitable only for Advanced Open Water divers. It is at the most southern end of the Great Sandy Marine Park and offers a 1.5km exclusion zone around the pinnacles as it is a critical habitat for the endangered grey nurse sharks. They congregate all year round here and pregnant females regularly gestate at the site, it being the only known site on the East Coast of Australia where they do this.
I have been a GNSW custodian for dive sites extending from Fish Rock Cave, South West Rocks in NSW to Wolf Rock here in QLD for the last three years. I try to do both winter (July-Aug)and summer surveys (Jan-Feb) for the GNSW, and so far have been privileged to have named a number of sharks in the program, including Elliot, Kristen and Irene. Hopefully I will be able to get some great shots of the sharks and may even get to name another, if luck will have it.
Watch this space to see how I go!