Chris Fischer and OCEARCH’s feelings are hurt!

Chris Fischer responded to my blog “Celebrities at Guadalupe Island” on our facebook page. Apparently his feelings are hurt, that a blog about celebrities at Guadalupe Island was not about him.

He writes: Chris Fischer Thrilled you are a fan of OCEARCH work. My wife and I personally funded the expedition that tagged Bruce. Amusing how you fail to mention the crew and capacity that created the data you feel is so important. Domeier simply stepped down tagged the shark then got out of the way. The crew did everything else to safely tag and release Bruce! Additionally, you know the sharks are returning now after shedding the tags with their fins healed up doing well yet you continue to let the others bash… We have spoken to the researchers using the 1 bolt method.. they are uncertain how well it’s going to work long term as well the increase in bio-fouling from all the different cracks and crevices created by the mount. We have requested Wildlife Computers to try to design a modified mounting system… But as you already know, this is not required as they shed the tags after 5yrs or so and heal up nicely. You should watch Mary Lee on the Global Shark Tracker. She is getting ready to repeat the success we had at Guadalupe Island by documenting the 1st full female mature white shark migration in the N Atlantic. Soon we will know where they are mating/birthing etc… just like out where you profit from cage diving at GI. I figure our work is the best chance you got at being able to own a multi-generational business. Acting like we don’t exist is amateurish and rude. We are currently on Expedition off West Australia where we have tagged 20 Tiger Sharks to solve the same puzzle as we did in GI to create a future for sharks here.

Please forgive me Chris, I had no idea that I would hurt your feelings by writing about a celebrity without mentioning you. How rude of me. So since your feelings are hurt by me not mentioning you, let me respond to what you are saying.

1. I don’t quite get why you think I’m a fan of OCEARCH

2. Your wife and you financed the expedition that tagged Bruce. I never wrote anything about who financed that expedition, or why that is even relevant, but since you claim you did, let me also state what Dr. Domeier said about that.


Yes, he paid for 2 trips to Guadalupe, but then struck a TV deal that allowed him to recoup those costs as he was getting $400K/episode. 

We were able to make multiple episodes from a single trip. Furthermore, I tapped two other private foundations to help pay for the tags and research; financial support that he never acknowledges. Fischer was fairly paid for all of the work we did together… this was not a huge philanthropic venture. On the contrary, he made it clear: “no cameras no trips.” The huge $$ figure he throws around must be for the entire operating cost of his ship and production company for each year he was making these television shows. But that’s not a fair way to account for the actual cost of the research (a fraction of the yearly operating budgets were due to the handful of research trips)… and he never discusses the INCOME. Any real accountant would tally just the costs of the specific trips… or think like this: what would it cost to charter a vessel for each research trip, and then subtract the income! Perhaps he took a loss, I don’t know; my organization took a financial loss… but no way did either of us wrack up losses in the millions.

Read more of Dr. Domeier’s comments here

3. Domeier simply stepped down, tagged the shark and then got away?

OK, and the research paper appeared out of thin air? My advise to you would be this. Make it about the sharks instead of about you. You and I are not important, saving the sharks is. Your need to be seen as a shark expert is not important. You provide a platform for the researchers, they are the experts. Why do you feel the need to belittle what they do? Catching and tagging the sharks is a means to an end. The end is the research and that is what the researchers do. For example, I collect photos at Guadalupe Island for Nicole Nasby-Lucas. She is doing the research for the photo ID’s. I have nothing to do with that. If someone mentions her research, there is no need for them to say anything about me, or anyone else who gave her the pictures.

4. You write that I know that Bruce has been returning safely to Guadalupe every year. Ah, why do you think I don’t know that? I have always stated that the second generation tags, that Bruce and Bite Face were fitted with, have fallen off and there is little damage to their fins. I even put a picture of Bruce into the blog, that shows him after he lost the transmitter.

5. I let others bash you? Well, for one, how can I control what others do? Actually, I’m trying to tell others to keep an open mind. I wrote the following in my blog

All the tagging done in a year, may cause harm to a few hundred sharks. Again, that’s a few hundred, vs. 30-100 MILLION sharks killed annually.

If the protests succeed and there is no more tagging, at best we could save a few sharks every year and make life easier (no tags, no deformed dorsal fin etc.) for a few more. On the other hand, we could also loose valuable data, that may help save sharks. You decide, if it is worthwhile to focus on this. Personally I think we need to weigh the importance of the data collected against the potential harm to the sharks.”

My beef with you has always been about lifting the sharks out of the water and not improving your methods. It’s no longer necessary to lift them out, as Dr. Domeier has shown. I have defended your early work by saying that the Wright brothers didn’t invent an A380 either. Pictures like this should only come from the past by now.

Do you have any idea how many people bash me, for not outright condemning anything you do? I hurt your feelings by not defending everything you do and mentioning your name every time I write about something that was connected to you. The blog you are referring to in your comment was about the real celebrities at Guadalupe Island, the sharks, not you. 

5. I am acting like you don’t exist? How can you say I act like you don’t exist and on the other hand criticize what I say about you?

If you start to improve your methods of catching sharks and attaching the transmitters, I will give you credit for that.  If you start giving some credit to the researchers who are doing the actual studies, instead of promoting yourself as the shark expert, I promise to write an entire blog, promoting the new and improved Chris Fischer.

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at

Working with Fishermen to Save Sharks

The shark conservation and fishing communities are often at odds over protecting our sharks. Guy Harvey is making an effort to bring these two groups together. During the current Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament, he is teaming up with the participants to help tag oceanic white tip sharks.


Cayman 27 writes: “Dozens of fishermen are getting in on the conservation act by helping to tag sharks. Conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey is teaming up with participants of the Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament, embarking on one of the largest shark tagging and research projects ever undertaken in the Caribbean.
Dr. Harvey’s team will learn more about the oceanic white tip shark. “They are very valuable to the eco-system and to science,” he says.
By aligning with local fishing tournaments in 2013, as well as this year he believes fishermen are becoming more aware of the shark’s worth. “We used the fishing fleet to catch sharks for us and we pay them to hold the sharks until the chase boat [gets] there there to take the sharks from them because they’re giving up time for us,” explained Mr. Harvey.”

I know, a lot of conservationists don’t like fishing tournaments and even oppose actions like these by Guy Harvey. They think this is glorifying the killing of sharks and argue that there is post release mortality. I have to admit,  I’m not a big fan of catch and release shark fishing myself, but think about it this way. What is better? Going to a shark fishing tournament and protesting, maybe even hurling some insults at the fishermen, questioning their morals and character, like many people like to do, or do what Guy Harvey is doing? 

Just like the Shark Free Marina initiative that was created by Shark Diver, Harvey is working together with the fishermen in these tournaments. He raises their awareness of the conservation concerns and gets them interested and involved in protecting the sharks

“Cayman 27’s” article states:  “For every shark that you get and call in; that we successfully tag and release [fishermen] will receive CI$500 in cash,” said CIB Marketing Manager, Matthew Leslie. 

And the partnership is working says Dr. Harvey, by the fishermen getting to see the animals in their offshore habitat, he says anglers are practicing preservation.

We always have to ask ourselves this question. Do we care more about the principle that we should not catch or kill any sharks, or do we want to save sharks. By protesting and vilifying the fishermen, we will not save one shark! By working with them, promoting catch and release, (even with all the problems associated with that), getting them to help with tagging and making em aware, we actually save sharks.

Every journey starts with a first step. We are never going to accomplish our goal of saving the sharks, the oceans, if we are not willing to work together.

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at

Where do “our” great white sharks give birth to their young?

Back in 2000, when we started diving with great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe, we knew very little about where the sharks were going, when they are not at the Island. I remember the days, when the scientists thought that they went to Shark cafe/Sofa t…

How can you save sharks?

Picture BBC The recent actions by the SW Australian government, deciding to use drum lines to cull sharks, have generated huge protests, with literally thousands of  people rallying against that policy.Over the last couple of years, there have als…

Is tagging sharks bad?

Photo source.Mike Neumann from BAD wrote a very informative blog on shark tagging and it’s consequences for the sharks health and survivability. Diving with sharks, Great White Sharks, cage diving, shark vacation, shark holidays and are done with Shark…

Guy Harvey Leads Isla Mujeres Expedition To Deploy Satellite SPOT Tags to Study Mako Shark Migrations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Contact:          John Bell

Guy Harvey Leads Isla Mujeres Expedition To Deploy Satellite SPOT Tags to Study Mako Shark Migrations
DAVIE, FL— APRIL 9, 2013— The tagging and tracking of shortfin mako sharks in late March off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico is expected to provide scientists with remarkable and previously unknown details about the timing and long-distance migratory movements of this vulnerable species in the Atlantic Ocean.
An expedition headed by the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University, tagged mako sharks with the satellite reporting SPOT tags. Unlike the more commonly used pop-up satellite PAT tags, SPOT tags should provide multiple and more accurate daily detections, providing scientists with a high resolution view of the migration patterns of this animal.
For a visual snapshot of the expedition, go to
Given the high fishing pressure on makos for their fins and meat, this species is showing declining population trends in parts of its range, which has resulted in the species being listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
Last year a shortfin mako shark dubbed “Carol” in New Zealand was tagged with a SPOT tag and is showing an amazing journey that has covered nearly 9,500 miles over ten months, averaging 60 miles per day during some parts of her migration.  GHRI collaborated with the New Zealand National Institute of Water an Atmospheric Research (NIWA) on the tagging of “Carol” and three other mako sharks off New Zealand.
Internationally known marine artist, scientist and conservationist, Dr. Guy Harvey, who returned to Isla Mujeres for the second consecutive year, described the most recent expedition in his online blog, which can be found at
Shark biologist Dr. Brad Wetherbee with GHRI and the University of Rhode Island, angler and WTVJ NBC 6 weather anchor Jennifer Reeves and Emmy Award winning producer/cameraman George Schellenger accompanied Dr. Harvey. The team worked with Captain Anthony Mendillo of Keen M International.
Dr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of the GHRI at Nova Southeastern, said the newly tagged shark, named “Jen” for Jennifer Reeves (who caught the shark), can soon be followed on a new website combining all tracking projects into one integrated portal.
 “The public interest in GHRI’s shark movement research has been amazingly strong,” said Dr. Shivji, who reported that the New Zealand online mako satellite-tracking site has received nearly 73,000 unique visitors over the last seven months, equating to an average of over 10,000 unique visitors per month.
“We hope to replicate the tremendous success of our New Zealand research in the Atlantic,” said Dr. Harvey. ”Now we have a new group of Atlantic makos to follow which should reveal much new information on their seasonal movements in our part of the world, including the route that they take and distances traveled.”
About the Guy Harvey Research Institute at NSU:
Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at NSU is collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of the GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and NSU.
About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation: 
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is a leader in international efforts to protect our oceans and marine environments. The GHOF advocates for sustainable fishing practices, funds inspired scientific research and supports innovative educational programs. Our principle objective is to help ensure that future generations will enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem where fish and other marine wildlife flourish. GHOF has led or assisted include the establishment of a shark sanctuary in Bahamian federal waters, the addition of five species of sharks to Florida’s protected list and the enactment of the U.S. Billfish Conservation Act. In the fall of 2012, the GHOF led a petition drive in support of the National Conservation Law in the Cayman Islands. The GHOF also assisted the launch of the first catch-and-release fishing tournament in Venezuela.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at