Sign the Petition to Dawn N. Stage and Rachel Potts of Caterpillar

This petition closed 5 months ago

OCEARCH has directly been responsible for the death of at least one shark and multitudes of permanently damaged sharks. More and more researchers are coming out regarding additional deaths of white sharks that are being investigated. Their most recent expedition in Cape Cod cost a $750,000 dollars and resulted in the tagging of two sharks. By contrast, the research team already in Cape Cod prior to OCEARCH's arrival had tagged 34 sharks at a grand total of less than $200,000. Ironically, this research team was grounded to make way for OCEARCH during their month long, unsuccessful campaign. Imagine the ways this money could have been spent on actual shark conservation. Furthermore, the more successful and more cost effective method of tagging used by the other team does not require any of the controversial methods used by OCEARCH: No chumming, no baiting, no hooking, no dragging, no fighting, no hauling out of the water, and no large tags bolted onto the fins were required or necessary to tag and gather data on the other 34 sharks. The fact that the existing research team was completely snubbed while Mr. Fischer repeatedly claimed he was breaking ground with unprecedented work shows the true colors of OCEARCH. OCEARCH blatantly lies on camera in order to mislead the public into believing the work is new, groundbreaking, and necessary. These are all completely untrue statements that not only mislead the public,but ignore the researchers who actually broke ground. Caterpillar, you are supporting an organization whose members are getting rich by duping the public. While funding for research is a problem in the scientific community, supporting science they don't actually believe for the sake of money is sad, not something to be celebrated. Numerous white sharks have been spotted and photographed with extensive damage to the fins where the tags are bolted on as well as damage to the jaws of sharks by way of the hook and drag process. These SPOT tags reveal real time tracking, which is a popular feature for tracking sharks on mobile apps. The only benefit this yields is for people to enjoy watching the sharks' movements. Existing, non-invasive tags reveal migration data as well, but a little more patience is required to see the data. The real time data that can be seen on mobile apps is a great concern to the scientific community as it will make it much more likely for poachers and illegal fishermen to track these sharks. The public does not NEED real time tracking of these sharks. It is a nice gimmick that is more likely to cause more harm to the species than good. The failure rate of these extremely expensive tags is disturbingly high. Many tags cease transmitting within days, more within one year instead of the publicly claimed five years. This is upsetting for two reasons; 1. The tags are expensive failures, experiments taking place on a protected species. 2. The shark is disfigured by a tag that doesn't even transmit data. Therefore, even if one could successfully argue that the data obtained by these tags was worth the damage done to the animals, the failure rate is so high that this argument is rendered null. The number of tags not returning signal has the scientific community concerned that these sharks may be at the bottom of the ocean, dead. Considering the growing evidence of internal damage caused to these animals it is not unreasonable to conclude that many of the "non-responsive" tags are on sharks that have died and will never return to the surface. Since alternative methods are available and have been proven to work, the invasive methods used by this particular research team fall under the category of being inhumane. If it is not necessary to interfere with an animal's daily routine and not necessary to cause potentially lethal damage, the motivation to continue such invasive methods must be called into question. OCEARCH claims their data will lead to policies being put in place to protect sharks, another misleading statement. Policies are already in place. Enforcement of policy is what is lacking and OCEARCH's data will not change this. However, the $2 million a year in funding provided by CAT could have been used to fund efforts to more effectively patrol areas known to be essential migratory spots for these animals. Despite what Mr. Fischer's public remarks would lead one to believe, we DO know the locations these sharks need to be protected at.The next step is to actually protect them, not put bigger tags on them. SPOT tagging has existed for years, in fact OCEARCH has been at it for at least seven years. yet has failed to provide a solid conservation plan. A documentary revealing the truth about OCEARCH is also coming out. You can be portrayed in a good light as an organization that saw the error of its ways and changed its mind, or you can be portrayed as supporting the exploitation of a protected species for financial gain.

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