Shark Research Rumor Mill Overheating

There's been a high profile story brewing in the world of shark research and the related use of big game angling methods used to subdue mature white sharks in those efforts; first in Mexico and this week, off the coast of California. The controversy with something like this is a given. But we had a conversation yesterday with a credible source that something may have gone wrong with this operation.

There are still more questions than answers, even today, based on 'reports' circulating just beneath the surface of the mainstream. Personally, we're reserving benefit-of-the-doubt until the facts are told, but right now; the question is fast becoming who will deliver that information fist?

This case is unique with its collaboration between scientific research, unprecedented approval of study methods by various governing bodies and documentation of the operation by mainstream television and related commercial media interests.

The scrutinized delays in direct source disclosure (now being pressured by outside reporting media sources) could be a simple case of a tangled process of figuring out which tail is wagging whose dog. Either way, news, accounts, opinion, accusations, and theoretical hypothesizing in this age of communication and miscommunication travel fast and in every imaginable direction. That's a big part of the inherent problem with this.

I don't know what anyone else thinks this operation is technically required to disclose, to who or when, but my guess is it's not any of us that have been commenting so far. It's no surprise, there are some who don't support this effort, and any opportunity to poke holes in it, to them, is a good one; even if that poking is out of turn and void of verified fact. 

Requesting, or in this case, demanding disclosure isn’t a completely unreasonable thing to do, given the subject, but we should demonstrate responsibility in not letting an intriguing and controversial story get in the way of the facts.

My brother and I are the first to loudly support this type of innovative and invasive research effort, and have a pragmatic view that, sometimes, even the most well intended ambitions can result in things going a little sideways. We know firsthand, having lost a few smaller shark species of our own, while fighting the good fight. Let's face it, from deep-sea exploration to space travel and medical experimentation -- people die trying to further our collective reach.

But this is about sharks and the risky, dangerous, very expensive work of trying to act in their best interests. If there were some complications in the Farallons this week, we should all learn from it, but based on facts from those who know what actually happened, and not someone else; in other words, 'they say' not hearsay.

I don't know any of you on this expedition, personally, but will urge as if I do, that you get out -- way out in front of this. For whatever reason, there's a lot being said about an alleged incident, and from what I understand, there's more closing fast on its heels. Depending on what might have happened, disclosure may not feel good or entirely necessary right now, but I'm confident you're all more forward thinking than a lot of the suspect chatter that's been going on.

In the end, it's all less about whatever unintended mistakes or potential errors may have occurred. Most broken things can be fixed. This is more about how whatever did happen is handled. For better or for worse, we hope the record is set straight, and soon, by those who know, so we can move on.

In the meantime, while others talk and opine, with no official source statement, the rumor mill will continue to run hot, as a cat claws its way out of the bag with something in its mouth.

Regardless of what happened, but in light of all the conjecture, it would be unfortunate to see this story be the really big one that got away from you guys.

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by seanpaxton