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Apr 09, 2012


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Yeah, but what about the innocent people that end up in the water
with these CHANGED predators?

Swim on the surface at night - by choice or disaster and your in peril!



Not only does the data from the video Pete posted herein show zero "tonic mobilization" induced from alleged stimulation of the ampullae of lorenzini, I likewise see zero documentary evidence substantiated in the link you included. Perhaps you could humor us with a specific reference in each instance?

Notably, you incorrectly assert that Tiger/Bull/White sharks “are highly evolved to prey on particular kinds of food, and humans are certainly not on the menu.” Sharks are highly evolved to feed on just about anything they can capture and overpower. Whether it is a human stranded in the open ocean or a pig that was washed out to sea after a heavy rain, these sharks are evolved to remove helpless and defenseless prey from the marine ecosystem.

In contrast to a generalist feeder, Kola Bears are highly evolved to subsist on Eucalyptus leaves. These pelagic sharks, however, occupy a diametrically opposed ecological niche, i.e., as generalist feeder, apex predators, they opportunistically realize predation events and human beings are unequivocally a part of their diet. No amount of artful semantics (shark “accidents” as opposed to “attacks”) can undo the fact we are a tertiary prey item for all these sharks.

Let me adopt Douglas’ logic: your position is that humans are not on the shark’s menu. But, the indisputable facts are that every year (1) humans are captured and consumed by sharks; (2) human remains are found inside captured sharks and (3) humans have been sharing the shark’s environment since time began for Hominids. Since the data shows sharks prey on humans like other predators do, humans are on the shark’s menu. Lloyd Skinner was eaten. Jamie Marie Daigle was eaten. Albeit a rare event, humans are an undisputed part of the shark’s diet.

With regards to unpredictability, surely you cannot credibly contend that the risks posed to humans by domesticated pets (dogs) is the same as Tiger/Bull/White/Oceanic Whitetip sharks. Unless starving, dogs do not eat people. Sharks, on the other hand, do. What, if a Pit Bull had bitten Eric Ritter/Heather Boswell/Markus Groh instead of a shark, the result would be comparable?

Try to be serious.

Douglas A. Kahle


When are you going to answer the question? I understand why you are running from it, because it destroys your entire thesis.

Your position is that shark feeding dives are dangerous to divers. But, the indisputable facts are that only one person has died in 10+ years of this type of activity taking place on an almost daily basis. Since the risk of death is virtually non-existent, the activity is not dangerous. Stop running; unlace those shoes and address how an activity is dangerous when only one person has died in 10+ years.

As you know -- actually, you may not know much since I bet you have never been on one of these trips -- Jim handles the bait. Thus, Jim places himself at a much greater risk because the sharks want the bait. Jim will be the first person to tell you that when he got bit he was in a cloud of bait due to rough seas, and will never do that again.

Accordingly, the risk of death or serious injury to the paying customer, based on the indisputable facts, is virtually nil. Address that issue -- do you agree? And, if you don't agree, what is the basis for your opinion since you appear to be ignoring the facts.

Finally, since you do not appear to be informed about much, i.e., Caribbean Reef Shark instead of Lemon Shark, the first video is not Abernethy's operation, but another operation.

In summary, would you please address the issue instead of constantly running from it. Don't be scared.


@Mike and Douglas, it's nice to see friends defending friends. I also admire the extreme efforts you take to defend them in the face of a dead diver, Jims airlift bite, and that video over the last four years.


@sasha, you assumed incorrectly. The coast guard was wrong, and the initial report was later corrected. You can hear it straight from the horse's mouth here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/shark-bite-victim-lucky-with-little-damage-ready-1217209.html?sort=desc


Actually, there is much scientific research supporting that touching the ampullae of lorenzini causes a stimulus that induces a trance like state: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=ampullae+of+lorenzini+touch&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C14&as_ylo=&as_vis=0

Do a little reading and report back.

"They are generalist feeders. They are unpredictable. They are known to prey on people in the same geographical area, albeit typically under different conditions such as a maritime disaster. Nevertheless, all that is science."

Sharks are highly evolved to prey on particular kinds of food, and humans are certainly not on the menu (unless its a corpse of someone that already died from other causes, such as hypothermia or dehydration in a maritime disaster, as you mention). Unpredictable is a relative term, but sharks are in general very predictable, and certainly no more unpredictable than any animal (dogs occassionally go nuts and bite people, elephants kill way more people per year than sharks and attack in a much more deliberate manner).

All this said, I think hand feeding isn't the best idea...too easy for human error to create an accident, as this video shows. However, it does not show a shark trying to


@ Mike

I find it humorous that the person claiming to divine from the video that "tiger sharks can be friendly, seeking out interaction with humans because they enjoy the touch that stimulates their ampullae of lorenzini and induces a trance-like state" would allege human/predator data (i.e., re food rewards) observed from Animal Planet is somehow unscientific, i.e., the data is the data, regardless of the medium it is relayed. In contrast, the video on this thread does not provide data to support your claims. First, sharks are only put in a trance-like state when turned upside down. Second, Tiger sharks have no cognitive or emotional ability to be "friends" with any creature and have been known to eat their own young. The feelings of "connection" that spring from Kin Selection are inapplicable to pelagic sharks. That is undisputed science.

With regards to your speculative theory that Tiger sharks "enjoy" the interaction, it is likewise as unscientific as "mistaken identity" theory. I'm a lawyer too, and- aside from speculative shark theory not being subject to the scientific method- I find it very telling that the "justification" or "explanations" proffered are inadmissible in a court of law. Namely, just as the Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan) cannot take an oath and testify as to "why" a Pit Bull attacked a person, so too, is Jim Abernethy unable to testify as to what a Tiger or Bull shark thinks when it attacked Sergei Zaloukaev or any of the hundred Haitian victims devoured when their sailboat sank on May 4, 2007 in the Florida Straits (not too far from the Bahamas)... nor accurately control "risk" of an attack when one arrives for a free handout at his commercial tours.

In other words, if a very hungry Tiger shark arrived on the scene after a long migration, the operator is attracting a dangerous predator. Like I have said previously, people are free to assume whatever risks they want. But citing to the statistical infrequency of shark attacks is somewhat misleading insofar that our oceans fish stocks are being depleted at an alarming rate. Climate change works and is. Coupled with attracting large and aggressive sharks to compete over a paltry amount of food, I think people grossly underestimate the actual distribution of risks and are very misleading about why sharks are dangerous. They are generalist feeders. They are unpredictable. They are known to prey on people in the same geographical area, albeit typically under different conditions such as a maritime disaster. Nevertheless, all that is science.

How's this. If someone (as they probably do) were to organize tours in Tanzania to see the Chimpanzees, the same analysis would be necessary and proper. Like Tiger/Bull/White sharks, Chimpanzees are potentially DANGEROUS towards humans and it is because they eat meat- including ours. I don't care if Jane Goodall is your tour guide, she can't protect you from ravenous Chimpanzees any more than JIm Abernethy can protect people from sharks without the benefit of a cage.

Res ipsa loquitur.


Those two most recent shark attacks in less than five years attributed to who now?

Don't run from it;)

According to the US Coast Guard who airlifted "the most experienced person in the world with tiger sharks, Jim Abernethy,"
the animal was a lemon shark.

I assume the US Coast Guard got it right the first time while trying to save Jim's arm.


The rest is irrelevant. Lightning strikes, coconuts, highways.

Strike two with sharks and now this video showing anything but a "video that (shows) the tiger sharks can be friendly, seeking out interaction with humans because they enjoy the touch that stimulates their ampullae of lorenzini and induces a trance-like state."

You make your underwater world a dangerous place when you start treating big sharks like playthings for cameras.


And, I'm glad to see we are relying on Animal Planet for scientific knowledge, that is a very reliable source....


Funny if you are calling me Jim Abernathy. I'm an attorney who lives in Chicago :) Plus I think you'll see that other comments agree this wasn't a close call...

And yes, it was a Carribean reef shark, not a lemon shark: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=39791&hl=

Douglas A. Kahle

Sasha and the others, if this is so dangerous, please address the issue of why only one person has died in over 10 years of shark feeding on an almost daily basis in the Bahamas.

Think of all the divers day after day from sunrise to sunset (and sometimes at night) in the water with dead fish and big sharks for over 10 years! Why are more people not being bitten and killed if this is so dangerous?

Again, one person dead in 10+ years of this activity.

Address the issue. Don't run from it.

Do you know how many people will die on I-95 in Southeast Florida this month alone? Should we close down the highway system?


First things first, there is pecuniary motive driving the ecotourist industry- and that is what makes the operators "different" from other people- not their purported mastery over wild animals.

While there is nothing wrong with turning a profit while "doing what you love" (e.g., SCUBA diving), the wide array of these videos on youtube alone tends to show that these Tiger sharks are often behaving in ways that present foreseeable risk to participants and, indeed, the operator. By way of example, I can only assume that the diver grabbing the snout of a Tiger shark in the video you posted above around 2:15 is an operator. I know everybody involved in the operations knows that Tigers can bite through turtles, but are they aware that they are known to prey on people after maritime disasters in the Florida Straits? Just wondering why so many of them seem to treat these sharks like their personal pet.

Without reaching the merits of that inquiry, the "pull" of pecuniary motive I alluded to may be clouding the judgment of those who depend on these tours for their livelihood. Instead of acknowledging the inherent risks of interacting with a known man-eating shark that might be (as in this video) aggressive on account of fish stimuli and the presence of competitor sharks, most of these operators point to the pseudo-science that pervades modern shark sociobiology.

And this invariably "pulls" the debate in a different direction, i.e., the "mistaken identity" theory provides a convenient pretext for these commercially driven profiteers to continue their enterprise without acknowledging the actual risks. Everybody that knows sharks keenly remembers Eric Ritter parroting the "mistaken identity" talking points minutes before his leg was savaged by a Bull shark in the Bahamas that was presumably not sated by the meager fish scraps employed to "bring the sharks" in for entertainment. In response to Nigel Marvin's query of whether being in the water with man-eating sharks was safe, Ritter replied "these sharks could easily take you out- as long as you don't move and they realize that you are not a threat to them, they could care less." By analogy, like Marvin, it seems undisputed that people that go on these "free dive" shark encounters misguidedly repose "faith" in the operator's "expertise" with sharks and "his" ability to control the risk. Or "her" ability (Valerie Taylor) to tell the White shark and her had "an understanding" when she was hand feeding the shark. Sorry, if you hand feed sharks or tag them...you aren't an "expert" at eliminating risks one cannot control.

Unlike the false "understanding" engendered by a conditioned response, the instances of human predation by Bulls/Whites/Tigers on Shark Week are based on true events. For anyone that sincerely believes these or any other apex predators can be tamed should watch "Fatal Attractions" on Animal Planet for a graphic glimpse (e.g., "Don't Feed The Bears" episode) for what can actually happen when apex predators get so accustomed to food rewards by a human hand and then, inexplicably to the apex predator, the food reward abruptly ends.

Predator and human? No longer friends.


Really, you are serious?

"More than anything this video shows that the tiger sharks can be friendly, seeking out interaction with humans because they enjoy the touch."

Followed by "also, I believe Abernathy was bitten by a Caribbean reef shark, not a lemon shark."

Great summation for, "the most experienced person in the world with tiger sharks, Jim Abernethy."

It was a Lemon shark

Markus Groh was also killed in 2008


Hand feeding Tigers must end in the Bahamas. Enough of this yahoo shark diving. Someone will get killed again because dive operators just cannot exercise good judgement.

Douglas A. Kahle

I absolutely disagree that there is a close-call at around the 2 minute mark. You obviously have never been on one of these trips. At the 2 minute mark, you are witnessing the most experienced person in the world with tiger sharks, Jim Abernethy, feeding a tiger shark. That is not a close-call at all. That is not just any diver doing that; again, you are watching the most experienced person on this planet with tiger sharks.

Will someone die at Tiger Beach in the future during a shark diving trip? Of course; it's inevitable. Just like someone in the future will die by dog bite, lightning bolt, malfunctioning elevator, bee sting, aspirin, and the list goes on.

But, considering there has been only one death in the past 10+ years of serious shark diving in the Bahamas, you have a greater probability of death via lightning bolt or while driving on I-95 in Southeast Florida.

Furthermore, everyone of us who enters the water on one of these trips knows it may be our last dive. That is the risk we are willing to take to swim with these magnificent creatures.

So, please don't try to lecture us. We know the risk and we accept it.


Are you kidding? Way to exploit and mischaracterize a video to hype up your article. At 2:00 the guy does a bad job feeding the shark, but the shark never shows any sign of trying to bite anything other than the fish head the diver is holding in his hand. More than anything this video shows that the tiger sharks can be friendly, seeking out interaction with humans because they enjoy the touch that stimulates their ampullae of lorenzini and induces a trance-like state.

Also, I believe Abernathy was bitten by a Caribbean reef shark, not a lemon shark.


I've dove with tiger sharks (outside the cage, yes) on two separate expeditions. And yes, you do have to exercise a high degree of viligance but the photos can be amazing. That said, I reviewed the video closely and the diver who experienced the close call was indeed hand-feeding the shark. I'm not surprised.

Agreed that these animals are not pets but you can dive with them so long as you accept that you are in the water with a large predator and stay within your limits. I, for one, would NOT hand-feed a tiger. Other than that, I have no problem diving with sharks.

There has only been one fatality over the past 25 years in the Bahamas involving shark diving. From what I understand (and this is what I heard so I'm not claiming this as fact), a bull shark had bumped a bait box hard and into close proximity to Markus Groh. The shark went for the bait box again and the diver got bit by mistake.

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