Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shark Tagging Controversy: permits are being sought for a hotly contested technique

The controversy regarding shark researchers who were tagging great white sharks with satellite tags by virtue of a very elaborate and hotly contested technique just does not seem to want to go away. In part, that is due to the indignation of many shark advocates who feel that the sharks were unnecessarily exposed to risk that was not justified by the data that was obtained. And, in part, it is due to the hard line position taken by many of the participants involved and the government officials who provided the permits to allow it to take place.

While there were those who questioned the technique - hooking a white shark, tiring it out and hoisting it aboard the deck of a ship, bolting on a satellite tag, and hopefully releasing the animal unharmed in a matter of minutes, the situation became a major media disaster when one capture went terribly wrong and a white shark may have been traumatized and left mortally injured. A year later, the shark was videotaped looking emaciated and apparently severely injured from various shark bites. While some gave the lead shark researcher, Dr. Michael Domeier, the benefit of the doubt, others accused Domeier's technique of injuring the shark and setting it on a course of poor health and a bleak outlook.

Recently, San Francisco's ABC News station KGO-TV ran a report on the entire controversy as a follow up to the news that Michael Domeier had requested another permit from the National Marine Sanctuaries, which is entrusted with the conservation and protection of the great white sharks at Northern California's Farallon Islands.

Here's the report. You can make up your own mind as to what the future action of the government agency should be regarding permits. And, you can let your opinion be known to the Farallon Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Maria Brown at

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