Wednesday, November 22, 2023

More megamouth sharks records discovered.

 Following the discovery of the mama Megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) last week (read here), more records have been recovered. Mama Megamouth was at first reported as being specimen #279 has now been renumbered to #284.

During research I was doing following the three strandings in the Philippines last week, data was passed on to me about another 4 records from the Philippines that i was not aware of. These 4 records were from April 2013, June 2015, November 2020 and July 2021. I also discovered a second stranding in South Africa in November 2009.

South Africa in November 2009.

As more records of catches and strandings are reported, the need for protection for this species becomes nore urgent.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Stranded Megamouth Shark was about to give birth.

  14th. November 2023.

I have just received news and photos of a Megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) that was found dead stranded on a beach in  Barangay Ipil, Dipaculao Aurora, Philippines. This female Megamouth was pregnant and was giving birth In fact, one pup was discovered next to her another 6 pups were discovered inside her.

As details are still coming in, this is already a huge discovery as it will give us more data especially about birth sizes and breeding grounds.

This is the third Megamouth Shark found within a week in the Philippines. The two other discoveries were reported from Negros and Hinunangan, all sharks were dead. This brings the total of known records to 279.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Shark sighted off Delimara point, Malta.

 Friday 13th. October 2023.

The Malta Daily published a video clip and report of a Shark sighting off Delimara point on the south east coast of Malta. Spme fishermen encountered and filmed a large shark as it swam past their boat.

I was contacted by the news agency and was asked to identify the shark. At first glance, everyone was thinking that this was a Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias), but the video footage published online was not very clear. 

After managing to obtain a copy of the original HD footage,  and consulting with fellow shark biologist  Ian Fergusson, who specialises in Mediterranean white sharks, we both agree that this wasd a Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus). 

Ian also pointed out that while this shark bears many characteristics of a white shark, the clear frames of the rounded apex to pectoral fin; the pelvic fin & caudal peduncle lean more to this being a particularly large Isurus oxyrinchus.

The footage indicates that this shortfin Mako measures to about 4m. It is very rare that such sharks are seen so close inshore. These sharks are protected under Maltese laws.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Megamouth Sharks #271 and #272 sighted off San Diego, California.

 Two Megamouth Sharks (Megachasma pelagios) were sighted swimming at the surface, some thirty miles north-west of the coast of San Diego, California on Sunday morning.

Speaking in a TV interview, Andrew Chang, owner of the charter boat, said that he was out with some fishing clients when at around noon, they sighted two fins swimming slowly at the surface. The two sharks came close to the boat and it was here that they were positively IDed as Megamouth Sharks.

Video footage clearly identifies one of the sharks as a male. According to Mr. Chang,  one shark, probably the male, was slightly smaller than the other. They estimated the lengths as between 12 to 15 feet. The sharks stayed around for about ten minutes.

These two sharks are Megamouths #271 and #272  to be recorded in my database. This brings the total of Megamouths from the USA to 17.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Megamouth Shark #270

Another Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios) was washed ashore in the Philippines. The discovery was made on the morning of 31st. July 2022 at Mambajao, Camiguin. 

According to the provincial fisheries officer on site, they found no wounds on the shark and the cause of death is unknown.

From the video footage the sex of the shark can be identified as a male, but no indications of size or weight are available. This is the 31 specimen known from the Philippines.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Megamouth Shark #269

Megachasma pelagios
, better known as Megamouth Shark, is a species of shark that is considered rare to find. However, over the past few years, the number of records of sightings or catches, have indicated that these elusive sharks are more common in Asia than anywhere else in the world.

A new report of a Megamouth Shark found washed ashore dead brings the total of documented sharks to #269. This shark washed ashore in the coastal village of Bagacay in Gubat, Sorsogon, Philippines on Saturday, June 11.

According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) the est 15ft (4.5mtrs) shark was discovered at 10 am by local fisherfolk. Although not officially confirmed, photos do show that the shark is an adult female.

A spokesman for BFAR stated that the cause of death is still being investigated and that the shark will be preserved and later put on display in the museum.

This is the 30th specimen recorded in the Philippines, placing them as the second highest country behind Taiwan who leads the list with a massive 157 records. Japan follows in third with 29 records. These three countries total 216 records. The other 15 countries on record total 53 specimens.

A full detailed list can be found here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

E.U. Citizens' Initiative to Protect Sharks: Final Count.

For the past two years, the Stop Finning - EU Organization has been collection signatures of support for the EU Citizens' Initiative to strengthen the EU's shark Finning laws.  The support period has now closed and here are now the final results.

As most of you know, in my last update of the 13th. January I stated that only seven countries had reached their quota target and only 542000 out of the 1,000000 signatures have been collected. 

I am glad to report that in the last two weeks, there has been a huge response and the final results read as follows:

17 countries have reached their quota: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Czechia, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain.
A total of 1,202,122 signatures collected.

 Austria 229.63%

Belgium 119.52% 

Bulgaria 15.78% 

Croatia 117.26% 

Cyprus 20.15% 

Czechia 106.67% 

Denmark 113.83% 

Estonia 34.58% 

Finland 114.05% 

France 592.08%

Germany 685.31%

Greece 112.61% 

Hungary 152.09%

Ireland 112.67% 

Italy 128.94% 

Latvia 16.78% 

Lithuania 11.95% 

Luxembourg 104.97% 

Malta 113.32%

Netherlands 124.33% 

Poland 21.71% 

Portugal 149.17%

Romania 15.55% 

Slovakia 82.05% 

Slovenia 57.51% 

Spain 151.04%

Sweden 64.75% 

I want to thank each and everyone that signed up, for their support and look forward to next step... the presentation of this initiative to the EU. 

My thanks also goes to Nils Kluger and Alexander Hendrik Cornelissen who initiated this campaign.

Thank you.