Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Four years ago Mauricio Hoyas, a graduate student from CICMAR in La Paz in tandem with Dr. Peter Klimley from the University of California, Davis established what has since become a viable research effort at Isla Guadalupe. This ongoing effort has produced significant results in terms of shark data and has made great advances in understanding why Great White Sharks are at Isla Guadalupe. Islander Charters has played a key role in this endeavor in terms of logistical and financial support. In 2002, we directly assisted Mauricio and his team with the assembly and deployment of the CICMAR/UC Davis RAP array system. This system of shark monitoring helped produce volumes of information on White Shark movements at the island. Without the on-site support of the Islander and other fleet vessels, and the local knowledge of the captains and crews this research project would not exist. Over the last two years Mr. Hoyas has functioned as an educator to the public, spending time aboard the Islander explaining his research to passengers. This process has lead to a greater understanding of the great white shark’s role in our oceans and has also illuminated the public to the importance of preserving one of Mexico’s great environmental treasures.In addition to the CICIMAR project, CICIESE in Ensenada, under the guidance of Doctor Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki is about to embark on an equally ambitious project. In 2007 graduate students from CICESE worked aboard the vessel Islander in preparation for a full fledged scientific effort to begin in 2008. To facilitate this project Islander Charters has offered full use of our vessel and designed and built a research cage specifically for scientific use. Islander Charters has also developed DNA sampling equipment specifically fabricated for use with the Great White Sharks at Guadalupe Island. We are hopeful that this new and intense study of the White shark will produce significant results and insights into this mysterious animal’s behavior.On-site support is critical to any scientific operation but Islander Charters raises the bar by contributing on-site data on a daily basis. In accordance with Mexican regulations Islander Charters compiles a daily log noting present conditions, diver information and shark sighting information. This data is then compiled and submitted to CONANP in Ensenada, Mexico providing them with almost unlimited information as it pertains to the white sharks at Isla Guadalupe. Beyond that, Islander is the only US vessel that takes CONANP observers on each and every trip. The observer program allows CONANP to monitor the vessel’s activities while on-site and allows them the platform to compile their own data on a daily basis for the entire season. Additionally, observers interact with tourists from all over the world which opens the environmental dialogue even further. We are also pleased to offer you the chance to assist in our research effort by providing much needed identification information from the shark cages. Over the years we’ve found that the contributions from our shark divers can be extremely useful to researchers at the water’s surface and we welcome your participation in that endeavor. Education is of primary importance when it comes to understanding and managing resources – this interaction facilitates that.