July 28, 2021

Back to the Island after Shark Week!

July update as Sea Leucas returns to Roatán.

Hi everyone and sorry that it has been so long since we have posted. We’ve been taking a break, but now we are back, refreshed and ready for more sharks. Most of our trip was personal, but we did get to meet with University of Exeter’s Drs Lucy Hawkes and Matthew Witt and discuss sharks, fish, bird life, and of course Ivy’s PhD project.

While we’ve been gone there have been many developments to talk about. Firstly, we’ve moved our shark sightings form to the RMP website. This immediately makes it available to a larger audience and hopefully makes it easier for anyone, anywhere to report encounters. Many thanks to our partner, Gabriela Ochoa, for making this happen. Our second bout of good news came in the form of a wonderful blog post from Natalie Shuman at Sun Divers. Natalie has been extremely supportive since she heard about our project and her post is good example of this. This is the sort of local support that this project needs to be successful and while we will be following up with blog posts on the data collected and how we can use these data, we still need input from the diving and fishing communities on what you would like to see from this project. Please comment on our posts, message us on FB, tweet or email us.

Lastly, although Shark Week is over it is worth a comment. As fisheries biologists that have worked with elasmobranch species for most of our careers, The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week quickly lost its appeal. We realized that the episodes rarely portray researchers correctly. The producer’s desire to make sharks more dangerous and exciting often gets in the way of solid research that we think was already cool enough on its own. Now a group of fellow scientists have actually delved deeply into 32 years of shows and their findings stand for themselves. You can read blogs about it here, here, here, and here, or you can await the upcoming journal publication.

In the meantime, we hope to be able to generate enough interest in our local sharks.