Read this NOW! Facts & Questions that need answers

An anonymous email just arrived at my ‘desk’, courtesy of stopchummingnow@gmail.com. I copy it all below, and have a download link of the original PDF, and all I can say is WOW, that is how to say it!

“Please send this information (attached) to as many people as you know,
especially those involved with the Great White chumming/cage-diving
industry, the so-called shark “experts” & “researchers”, and all
people/organisations involved with ocean use activities, coastal
tourism industry and all relevant government departments. Let us force
the industry to shut down immediately and try to disprove the attached
facts. If this information goes viral and enough of the right people
get it, we may be able to stop this scandal immediately and force the
desperately needed changes.”

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Below are the facts about how chumming/cage-diving is conditioning Great White sharks abnormally and causing more attacks on humans. It is also the solution to the problem. These facts, in the right hands, will help stop the current unacceptable state of affairs and precipitate the changes that need to be instituted, immediately.

THE NORMAL, NATURAL SITUATION:

The Great White (GW) is an ocean apex predator that hunts and eats live prey like fish, other sharks, sea mammals and as well as carrion, if it’s available.

In order to survive, the GW uses the following senses to find its food:

A. an acute sense of smell to follow chum trails caused by faeces, urine, blood, body break down products to locate fish shoals, seals, seal colonies or a dead animals.

B. excellent eyesight to visually evaluate the prey’s potential to be nutritious.

C. the ability to feel and evaluate vibrations in the water caused by the movements of potential prey.

D. the unique ability to identify and evaluate the nature and size of potential live prey, by the electromagnetic field that all live animals emit, using the sophisticated organs called ampullae of Lorenzini, situated on its snout.

A GW will evaluate potential prey using the four above mentioned senses, and if it is hungry, attack the prey and try to eat it.

If a GW encounters natural prey, for instance a seal, and it is hungry, the NORMAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS is:

HOW THE CHUM/CAGE-DIVING EXPERIENCE AFFECTS THE GREAT WHITE SHARK:

The GW discovers and follows a man made tuna/fish chum trail that leads to a chum/cage-diving boat and not its normal prey. The GW makes this energy investment because it is hungry. On arrival at the boat, the shark finds a piece of fish being dragged by a rope and pulled away from its bite at the last moment, towards the boat. Sometimes the GW finds a small rubber decoy (which looks exactly like one of the shark’s favourite foods, a highly nutritious young seal), also being dragged towards the boat. On being attracted closer to the boat, the GW then sees a cage filled with “unusual animals” hanging into the water from the boat. These strange animals, apart from moving, are also emitting a very clear “electromagnetic field” signature, which although it may not be the same as the shark’s normal prey, is picked up by the GW’s ampullae of Lorenzini. The result is confusion about whether the “prey” in the cage is food or not. The confused GW tries to investigate the “prey” inside the cage (by bumping or biting the cage) and discovers that the cage is hard, impregnable and it is impossible to get at the “prey”. The end result is therefore a significant time and energy investment by the GW, resulting in substantial “positive prey” sensory overload, but confusion and NO FOOD. The shark is left hungry and dissatisfied.

THE RESULTANT NEGATIVE, ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR THAT IS CAUSED BY THE ABOVE CHUM/CAGE-DIVING EXPERIENCE:

Conditioning of intelligent animals is proven and undisputed (Pavlov). Chumming frustrates great whites by keeping them hungry and dissatisfied. This causes them to be abnormally aggressive. It is scientifically acknowledged that the Great White sharks exposed to chum/cage-diving, still move off and continue to travel widely. The problem occurs when this negatively affected GW encounters an un-caged human (surfer or swimmer) in the water. They discover that the human is emitting exactly the same electromagnetic field as was emitted by the unusual “prey” that was in the cage hanging from the boat. This triggers the memory of the chum/cage boat experience. Because the GW is intelligent, it works out that the same “prey” is not being protected by a cage. The memory of a previous frustrating chum/cage-diving boat experience, (during which the sharks senses we all screaming food yet their hunger was not satisfied) causes the shark to aggressively attack the human prey, irrespective of the nutritional value.

The abnormal “positive for food” sensory confusion created during the previous chum/cage-diving boat experience, causes the following ABNORMAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS:

The additional tragedy of this unnatural and abnormal experience is that there is a VERY HIGH RISK that this “conditioned” GW will attack any un-caged human it encounters in the water in future, again.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO PRECIPITATE THE IMMEDIATE REQUIRED CHANGE:

We defy any person or “expert” to refute the above facts. They cannot, but what they will immediately say is that the above facts have not been proven. THAT IS NOT THE POINT, its common sense. THE POINT ACTUALLY IS, until the above facts can be disproved beyond a reasonable doubt, it is the duty of Government and every single person associated in any way with the industry, to cease chumming & cage-diving immediately. It is then their constitutional duty to prove that the above facts are untrue, before they are allowed to continue with chumming and cage-diving. They will be reluctant to do this, simply because they are financially dependent on the chumming/cage-diving industry and it is in their own interests to leave the current status quo, unchanged. This represents a blatant conflict of interest.

To stop chumming/cage-diving in its current unacceptable form immediately, the industry must be investigated. A comprehensive audit (including financial) must be instituted to find out what is actually going on and everybody involved with the industry (including the “so-called experts”) must be forced to respond to the following questions:

1. who is actually being paid what, where exactly is the money going?

2. why does it appear that there are no previously disadvantaged members of society involved in the industry and providing the services?

3. apart from “shark spotting” which if the sharks were still behaving normally, would not have been required, can you confirm what, if any, job training/skills opportunities, community investments the cage-diving industry is making to help ordinary South Africans?

4. who finances the so called shark “expert” research organisations/trusts/funds and how is the money being used?

5. why, after every unfortunate shark attack, do the so-called “experts” immediately respond by saying in the media that “chumming is no problem and that there is no proof that it conditions or modifies shark behaviour in any way. The shark made a mistake and we should accept that there is always a normal, slight risk of being attacked by a GW if we venture into their domain.” Does this argument still hold true if the sharks are abnormally aggressive and the number of attacks is increasing?

6. where did the Fischer boat (Shark Men Program) millions actually end up?

7. why do people like Gregg Oelofse talk in the press about “the small immaterial chumming by permitted cage divers”. The Fischer boat does actually tag the sharks and does not hang humans in the water. Is it not possible constant chumming by permitted cage divers is “hugely material” and actually the real cause of the problem?

8. why does Paul Botha on radio recommend that a full investigation should be instituted to investigate the Fischer boat “5 ton chum permit” on the one hand, and on the other hand say that chum/cage-diving is no problem. Do sharks actually distinguish between the size of the chum source that they follow or is chumming simply just chumming?

9. if chumming is no problem, why did Boyd stop the Fischer boat “5 ton chum permit” immediately after the Kogel bay attack?

10. why do we read articles saying it was impossible for the Fischer boat chum to reach Kogel bay because of the wind, also that the shark that attacked David Lillienfeld, (the Springbok body boarder who was tragically killed), wasn’t a tagged shark. Why are these people defending chumming and tagging so vehemently?

11. a few years ago, after protecting alligators in Florida, their numbers increased logarithmically and they became a pest. Authorities in Florida were forced to institute a culling program. Can you please confirm that you are sure that the South African Great White population is not increasing logarithmically to dangerous totally unsustainable levels?

12. in what way are the sharks actually being helped. If they are protected, how is the cage-diving helping them further? Can you be sure that the chum/cage-diving industry is not conditioning sharks to be abnormally, aggressive towards humans & therefore directly responsible for the recent increase in the number of shark attacks?

13. why do the “experts” like to explain that the reason that the sharks are coming inshore and attacking more humans is because they have less fish to eat. This may be true, but how can our response be to just sit back and accept it. Why are there no measures being instituted to try to increase the fish or limit the shark population?

14. how can the controlled killing of “rogue”, territorial sharks near human attack areas and drum lining be regarded as best practice in Australia and other countries (where they have less attacks) and regarded as totally unacceptable in SA?

15. will the so-called “experts” including Alison Kock, explain why the usual excuse for a shark attacking a human used to be “the shark bite was simply exploratory and they made a mistake because it is clear that GWs don’t like to attack humans” has now been replaced by “the shark attacked the surfer THREE times until it tragically killed him”. Is this migration from “unfortunate mistake” to “relentless aggressive attack” not proof of negative conditioning caused by chum/cage-diving?

16. how can it be possible that society accepts the opinion of the so called “shark experts”, that “there is no proof that chummed sharks are becoming more aggressive” when no-one is searching for that proof and doing any of the required essential investigations. Is there “no proof” because perhaps everybody is conveniently avoiding looking for it?

17. can it feasibly be true that “nothing has changed at all with regards to shark behaviour” if during a morning news bulletin on SA FM (Saturday the 28th of April), a “Great white increased activity warning” was issued for False bay. Is this not clear quantification that the shark situation is currently nowhere near being close to normal?

18. are the Australians and Americans more intelligent than we are? Why do they not chum/cage-dive near high use beaches?

19. is it not possible that the great argument that “chumming/cage-diving brings in much needed foreign revenue” totally incorrect because this revenue is way less than the millions being lost because beach going tourists and locals are avoiding SA in their thousands because of shark attacks?(ask the Muizenberg and Fish Hoek businesses)

20.on examining footage of the shark catching activities of Fischer (Shark-men) boat, it does appear that the scientists are in the water with the sharks while they’re being manhandled. Again, this means the shark is being bathed in the human “electromagnetic field” only this time as a prelude and then postscript to having holes drilled into its fin and needles buried into its tail. If an elephant or, or a dog can remember cruelty, why can’t sharks. ?

21. finally and most importantly, please tell us what you think about the following future quite feasible scenario: Those parties or experts who continue vehemently and blindly to defend the chum/cage-diving industry and thereby prevent its immediate shut down and the essential scientific investigation that is required, are thoroughly investigated themselves. If it is found that their behaviour was motivated by money and a blatant conflict of interest exists, that they are held liable for damages/compensation to injured parties and if possible within the law, prosecuted and punished if criminality can be proven. The size of the feeling of outrage and opposition to the chum/cage-diving industry amongst South Africans, throughout the country (just look in the newspapers) should not be underestimated. Raising the finance that will be required for the investigations and the necessary class actions, from so many people, is totally feasible. STOP THE CHUM/CAGE-DIVING INDUSTRY IMMEDIATELY!

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION

1. Stop dangling humans in cages from boats into chum trails immediately and use technology to allow the tourists to watch the sharks underwater from the chum boats.

2. Use modified “glass bottomed boat” technology to view the sharks underwater.

3. Keeping humans out of the water will stop the electromagnetic fields that they emit, being incorrectly associated with food by the sharks and their normal behaviour will stop being negatively modified.

4. Make sure that there is an immediate investigation instituted to quantify as far as is possible the balance between shark numbers and available food. After all, it is essential for this balance to be correct for future sustainability. The controlled culling of elephants in game parks to restore this balance is accepted as essential for their survival.

5. (removed by admin, as we do not condone/promote this aspect of this letter. If you want to read the missing bit please download the stopchummingnow PDF)

Wake up South Africa!! Doctors once gave pregnant woman thalidomide for morning sickness, thought that smallpox was caused by bad air and having lice was normal. Let us regain our senses and develop a balanced program that is good for sharks, the environment and humans. It will be the only one that will be sustainable in the long term.

THOUSANDS OF VERY CONCERNED SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENS
“THE ATTACHED CARTOON SAYS IT ALL”

10 thoughts on “Read this NOW! Facts & Questions that need answers

  1. Finally some sense on the subject. The thing about common sense is that it’s not common. The above theory is undisputed animal behaviour, to argue otherwise is like calling the earth flat.The burden of proof must be on the cage diving industry and not the reverse. Bring on the change.

  2. What an incredible article, logical makes sense not sensationalistic….why is this not on the front page of every newspaper?.
    what I would like to ask (and please, this is a genuine question not a dig or insult) but this shark being referred to as “overly agressive ” confuses me, a 4-5mt GW attacking a person is going to look agressive, its a horrible thing to witness, surely if the shark was that agressive it would have eaten the victim as in the case of Tina Webb in Fish Hoek all those years ago? From what I understand the shark did not swim away but hung around for a few hours, yet the body wasn’t touched again (although clearly bleeding which would have created a feeding frenzy one would imagine) and the severed limb was also not taken) Was this shark simply doing what sharks do…..a few exploratory bites from a 4-5\mt shark are devastating, why is this called highly agressive?
    I wish you all the luck regarding this issue as I don’t think the cage diving etc is going to stop due to all the money being made.

  3. I am an angler for more than 30 years and also received provincial colours in bodyboarding. I totally agree with the statements made in this document and seriously feel it is time to take up the struggle and stand up to so called “expert” opinion and corrupted government officials. Lets initiate a class action to stop chumming and disregard for human life.

  4. Nice theory, but sorry (actually not !) to have to say it does not make the slightest sense and that it is very fortunate “this not on the front page of every newspaper”! You cannot invent something and decide it is the truth, it is not that simple. cage diving or, better, diving in open water with White sharks would immediatly show you how all this is wrong. White sharks don’t react like humans would, at all. No offence, but this is a perfect example of human fears when facing situations they don’t understand : trying to find an explanation for something out of their control following their own logics. Now, excuse me to maybe look a bit cynical, but also very down to earth : how many shark-related accidents a year in SA? How many car accidents a day? How many thousands humans killed by other humans a year? Don’t you feel slightly indecent with making such a fuss with something so marginal in terms of statistics?

    • Hi Jan-Eric, thanks for the feedback and no, definitely no indecent feelings here. As a surfer even one death upsets me in our community, and we do not accept that chumming has no impact.

      I’m terribly sad about SA’s crime and road-death record, things I can have little influence over, but this website is about chum and shark cage diving, and that is an area where concerned individuals can do something about it.

  5. i agree with the artilce,,,every one too scared to say the politically incorrect thing,,,like CULL,,,, and lets have a site where shark sightings are posted,,guarentee it will overflow in weeks,,,,!

  6. As for “chumming”, it is very important that all members understand the differences as it does make a difference. The word “chumming” is used collectively for both slick chumming, bait chumming, and bait hanging. Slick chumming is putting scent into the water that can travel many many miles. It is so apparent that you can visibly see a slick on the water. Scent chumming is used to bring sharks from far away. Bait chumming is using small pieces of fish floating around the water to get a shark’s attention that there may be bigger pieces available. This type of chumming does not travel far and at most with a strong current may last a half mile if very lucky. Bait chumming is used to bring sharks out of the depths up to the surface. Its like throwing a peanut and saying “come get a sandwich”. Bait hanging is putting a large piece of bait in the water. Any scent or slick is caused by the piece of bait and, similar to bait chumming, only lasts for a couple hundred feet at most. Bait hanging is used to keep a shark around a location. The ocean is full of “scent” and “bait”. From a fish eating another fish or a piece of coral to whales crushing krill while they feed to seals bleeding from a battle wound, there is always some form of scent or bait in the water. What makes the difference is the size of the bait. Sharks will only stick around or follow a scent if they think they are going to get more energy than they are about to expend. A shark doesn’t follow EVERY scent. It would prioritize the type of scent and strength. It is very important to note the differences since often the permits are specific to what and how much bait is used for chumming. It is also important to note that just because there is scent in the water, or even a chunk of meat, does not mean a shark goes into a “frenzy”. Of all the sharks, Great Whites are actually the most timid in their feeding. They can pass a floating tuna chunk several times before deciding to mouth it. They are very sure about shape and size of the prey before they attack. Additionally, cage operators are very careful about feeding sharks. Every effort is made not to feed them. This is for a number of reasons: 1) its expensive to feed them 2) the sharks leave after being fed 3) they don’t want to associate people with food and 4) if you feed a shark it won’t act natural which is what most shark diving tourists want to video and photograph. I am not stating an opinion on whether chumming should be allowed or not as every scenario is different for the specific application. I am simply providing education on the different types and uses so that members can further discussion intelligently.

  7. I am an active conservationist involved in many things, from stopping the SA shark research to protecting birds from wind power to stopping the Serengeti Highway to stopping offshore oil drilling off sensitive coastlines. But my job as a Fire Captain requires me to be objective in the overall picture, which often can put me at odds with environmentalists on conservation issues. So please take that into account when reading my perspective on cage diving and the title of this page… cage diving has many pros and cons. It is absolutely necessary to use cages as the environment may be beyond the control of the operator to provide safety to unskilled shark diving tourists. The safety of any operation is up to each operator. Any lacking in safety standards that causes a mishap should not be construed as a danger across the entire industry. Some shark diving is more risky than others, some operators are more aggressive than others. Shark diving is as valuable and responsible as the hundreds of safari or whale watching tours. To point any finger at what shark diving does to animals would need the same finger pointed at the THOUSANDS of similar industries. In fact, as VP of Monterey Audubon Society, I am qualified to say that the most harmful wildlife viewing that people do is not shark diving, nor whale watching, nor safaris…but is actually having a bird feeder. It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that having a bird feeder significantly affects the behavior of millions of birds regularly. Bird collisions with cars and airplanes have killed more people than all worldwide shark attacks in recorded history combined. So before any attack is made on any wildlife viewing industry, including shark diving, I would ask the person first have they signed any recent petitions or made any actions against having bird feeders. Then this brings up the question of why even allow any of this, from bird feeders to shark diving. My answer as a former Aquarium Volunteer and wildlife educator, is simple…people only care about what they have a connection with. There can be no better example than someone I know, but I won’t say their name as I don’t know if they want to be identified. This person was interested in doing adrenaline type activities and no specific love for sharks. The person went on a shark dive and fell in love with the experience. Many shark dives later, they have become an extremely active person in the anti shark finning movement and actually making a difference. It would have never come about if it hadn’t been for their cage dive. I have seen the same type of thing with the children I used to teach about snakes. I took my snake to kindergarten schools and helped teach kids there is no such thing as a “bad” snake, only a “scared” snake. I taught them about how to tell the difference and that snakes were good. I taught them about how a single rattlesnake can eat a boxcar full of rodents in its lifetime and how many rodents there would be if there were no more rattlesnakes. A few years later a parent approached me and said they had found a snake in the garage and the father wanted to kill it but the 5 year old boy who was in my class stopped him and they took it out to the wild and let it go. Whether birds, snakes, or sharks, there must be a personal connection made if we are to save our wildlife. The problem these days comes with more of an issue of too many people wanting to get connected. The statement I always make on the world’s highest wildlife priorities is the perfect application of this…Its not that eating shark fin soup, using rhino horn, or wearing fur is bad or wrong as its been around for thousands of years…its just that there are too many people demanding it at once. I’m sure all the surfers on this page can relate to that when they think about how busy those waves have gotten over the years. And shark diving can be included in this philosophy as well. Again, I hope I can provide some insight and education so that members of this page can have informed and intelligent discussions.

  8. Again, don’t want to seem like I am pushing for or against it, just want to provide information. It is correct not just in SA, but worldwide there are more attacks than say 30 years ago. However, a study done in 2008 found that there had been an increase by almost 3000% in the number of recreational ocean users. Surfers account for a large portion with just my coastline here showing a daily use of one beach by surfers rising from 2-5 per day to over 200 per day in less than 10 years. So the question should be accurately asked, is it the sharks attacking more or are there more exposures to sharks? Off of Florida and Hawaii there were studies done on associating bait with humans and any link. Off Hawaii, SLICK chumming was banned within a certain distance of shore as it had shown signs of bringing in more sharks and potentially creating higher risk. However, there was an interesting find off Florida where divers were in the water directly with bait and sharks. After a couple of years, “mouthing” and investigating of the divers by the sharks showed a decrease after repetitive exposure to divers. The actual study that inspired this was based on Bears and their association to food and people. It was found that Bears became more dangerous because they were coming into contact more with people through the food. But the danger was created by people and having “trash viewing” areas of Bears. The “trash viewing sites” were banned and Bear attacks went down. The association was thought that if sharks associated food with people there could be more attacks. But it was found that the response by sharks was desirable as they showed less aggression towards people over time. Divers though, unlike tourists on land, knowingly enter into close shark proximity and therefore are prepared and aware, unlike tourists who came into contact with Bears. Similar finds have also been documented throughout the wildlife world, especially a correlating find in Africa where many years ago safair vehicles were fully enclosed as there was aggression shown by Elephants, Lions, Buffalo, etc. But over time of being exposed to more and more people and vehicles, well, now you’d be lucky to have a Lion attack you while you sit next to them in an open vehicle. So the link between bait in the water and divers and associating people with food has actually been found to be a desired effect of familiarizing sharks with people and thus reducing the aggression of sharks towards people. However, please note, this is only in situations where the shark actually sees or knows what they are attacking. In SA and other similar places of the world, until surfers and body boarders do something to change their shape, they will always be prone for attack. The scenario can be summarized that if you walk out in a field with Lions around and you look like a baby Zebra, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get attacked AND you can’t simply say there is an increase in the Lion population. Ideas must be backed by data in order to change from just an idea to a factual statement.

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