Posts Tagged ‘Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation’

Mar 20, 2013

Puerto Rico Estuary Clean Up

Below is a summary of the Mega Limpieza in Puerto Rico. Proudly sponsored by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, 500 volunteers managed to clean up over 28,000 pounds of litter and waste that has collected in the lagoons and estuaries of San Juan Bay Puerto Rico. These mangrove lined lagoons are home to some of the richest inland fisheries on the island. This clean up effort was the result of a blog written by our good friend Doug Olander, editor of Sport Fishing Magazine.

—Bill Shedd

 Mega Limpieza – San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico

The “Mega Limpieza” (translated Mega Clean Up) , took place March 16, 2013 in the lagoons and estuaries of San Juan Bay in Puerto Rico. San Juan Bay offers up world class fishing, especially those looking to chase trophy Tarpon. Also home to the lagoons and estuaries are beautiful herons and ospreys that constantly fly overhead to make a bird watcher’s paradise.

However, amidst the prime fishery and lush environment lies ugly scenes of littered trash tucked into the mangroves. Some of the trash was dumped by locals, but much of it is estimated to drift in from the rivers that flow into the estuary and lagoon from highlands to the South. Poor waste disposal and plain carelessness resulted in the creation of a mess that could deteriorate a unique and special estuary.

Volunteers display their catch, of a different sort.

Over 500 volunteers participated in the Mega Limpieza, picking up over 28,000 pounds of trash and debris from San Juan Bay this past Saturday. Volunteer campaigns were organized by Israel Umpierre’s Pesca, Playa, and Ambiente Group & Jose Aponte’s Kayakeros Association of Kayakers. Both  Umpierre and Aponte decided to take action after reading a column by Doug Olander in Sport Fishing Magazine.

Kayakers on the shore after their work was done -- see their work behind them.

The clean up efforts were sponsored in part by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to support the good cause. Once backed by the GHOF the Mega Limpieza took own a movement of more sponsors, volunteers and government officials signed up to help.

The Mega Limpieza drew big attention. Two members of Puerto Rico’s executive branch were on hand for the entire clean up. The clean up efforts were also televised by Univision, Telemundo, and Pescando en Los Cayos, the only spanish language fishing show in the U.S.

After kayakers in the mangroves filled up bags, these were picked up by motorboats operated by tarpon fishing captains.


Nov 6, 2012

Meeting with Sir Richard Branson

Michael Ryan, Guy Harvey, Madeleine Ryan, Jessica Harvey and Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin conglomerate of companies was here in Grand Cayman for the weekend. He gave the keynote interview at the Alternative Investment Conference held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel at the invitation of Michael Ryan, the event host and organizer. Other notable interviews were conducted with former US President George W. Bush and with former world number one golfer Greg Norman.

Several weeks ago, I had applied to meet with Sir Richard for a few minutes to discuss the potential for collaboration with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation in research and conservation projects that would be beneficial and make a difference in furthering our knowledge and therefore enhance the management process and conservation of large pelagic animals.

Sir Richard welcomed the four of us, Michael Ryan and his daughter Madeleine plus myself and my daughter Jessica. I gave Sir Richard a quick overview of the GHOF, how we raise funds and what sort of research and educational projects the GHOF currently conducts. I gave him specifics about tiger shark, mako shark, bluefin tuna and billfish research.

I elaborated on the role the research by the GHOF had played in showing the importance of the Bahamas archipelago to many species of sharks. In a collaborative effort with the Bahamas National Trust and the Pew Environmental Group, we convinced the government of the Bahamas to protect all sharks from commercial exploitation within their 200 mile EEZ.

Here in the Cayman Islands, the GHOF has broader interests in work on Nassau grouper conservation, lionfish eradication and recruitment plus climate change studies at CCMI in Little Cayman. We are also actively engaged in shark research and blue marlin migration studies.

Documentary film making has been a priority, so during the last year the Guy Harvey Expeditions team of producer George Schellenger, Guy Harvey and Jessica Harvey, have been on location nine times to conduct shoots in Panama, Nova Scotia, Little Cayman, Bahamas twice, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, Isla Mujeres, Mexico on three occasions teaming up with Captain Anthony Mendillo and crew to complete shoots on sailfish, mako sharks and whale sharks. Sir Richard was particularly interested in the sailfish and whale shark work as he has visited Isla Mujeres on several occasions guided by Captain Anthony. We discussed the limited research done on sailfish and whale sharks and the opportunity to collaborate with the Georgia Aquarium research team in future research and conservation efforts.

I went to some length explaining the value of catch and release sport fishing to Caribbean island and Central American economies. I emphasized the need for a regional approach as many of the large pelagic species cover great distances crossing several jurisdictions. This requires a regional approach in management and conservation as one country’s regulations may not be the same as its neighbours.

I explained the need for research work on all the species mentioned, as without the scientific data one cannot make management decisions and thus achieve sustainability and conservation. Fishing is the method by which we access many of these creatures for study, underwater photography, tagging and genetic work. Sir Richard was not keen on fishing but acknowledged it is a useful tool in this arena.

Sir Richard welcomed the opportunity to participate in collaborative studies and the consequent dissemination of information necessary for sustainability.

We moved on to some more local issues, the hot topics being the condition of the Cayman Turtle Farm and the issue regarding stingray conservation through law. Sir Richard was concerned that turtles could still be fished by local licensed fishermen, very archaic, given this was the 21st century and that they were protected world-wide. I pointed out that none of the current license holders have continued with this activity. The turtle farm itself needed to be divested I said, and turned into a better marine attraction whose focus was more on turtle replenishment, research and husbandry than on the consumption of the turtle meat. There are hundreds of thousands of turtle lovers out there in North America who would be only too happy to give $5 or $10 towards a satellite tagging programme and let the turtles go and provide information about migrations and long distance journeys.

The stingrays…poor stingrays… have been sabotaged and removed by unknown persons for the last two years at least. The proof was in finding four tagged stingrays in the Dolphin Discovery tourist attraction. The owners will not release the remaining six rays. No one has explained how the rays got to this location. Our ray population has been reduced by almost 50% in the last two years. Sir Richard said it should be very simple to change the law and have stingrays enjoy full protection from poaching given their ecological importance and their value to the island. We all agreed with that. After all, the people of the Cayman Islands and millions of visitors have an enjoyed and benefited from this unique experience for the last 30 years.

The value of the last ten years worth of research by the GHOF and the Dept of Environment has provided the base line information about this population. It is because of the scientific record of population numbers that we have been able to track the decline and the subsequent revelation of four of these rays ending up at Dolphin Discovery in West Bay.

The proposed expansion of marine parks by the Dept of Environment was a good move and Sir Richard commented that fishing has been known to improve in areas adjacent to marine parks. He said there are models out now that show countries need to protect 40 – 50 % of their shallow reef areas to ensure long term survivability. I commented that the Cayman Islands were a world leader in the formation of marine parks and in the protection of the spawning sites of the iconic Nassau grouper. I presented Sir Richard with a DVD copy of Mystery of the Grouper Moon and a copy of This is Your Ocean; Sharks.

Sir Richard was very gracious and listened to many of our comments and suggestions, making notes and the meeting was much appreciated by all involved.

We at the GHOF look forward to collaborating with Sir Richard and his foundation on several projects.

We also look forward to the day when the airport in George Town, Grand Cayman is expanded and to the arrival of Virgin Atlantic jets to our beautiful island.

It is our collective responsibility to conserve the marine environment and maintain the biodiversity of the planet.

Fish responsibly, dive safely.

—Guy Harvey PhD.

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Aug 6, 2012

An Open Letter from Guy Harvey

Fellow anglers, divers and boaters,

It has come to my attention that that there is some concern, particularly among anglers in the northeast US, about my allegiance to the sport fishing community. Please know that first and foremost I am a life-long angler who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water in pursuit of big fish. It’s my passion and my profession, and I live it practically every day of the year. I am also a dedicated conservationist – I believe that we must fish responsibly and ensure the health of fish stocks throughout the world.

In an effort to broaden the message of responsible fishing, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) has supported, collaborated and partnered with many organizations over the past four years, including the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI). Sharks are in serious trouble in the US and around the world. However, I am not advocating for a ban on all shark fishing. My position has always been for all anglers to take a responsible, conservation-minded approach to sharks – before you legally harvest a shark, simply consider what you are doing and why you are doing it.

The shark free/friendly concept was initiated to educate and make people aware of the severe pressures being put upon sharks populations around the globe. In the past several years, we have seen many shark tournaments – particularly in Florida – go to an all-release format, which makes for responsible fishing since most of the species of sharks caught in tournaments are traditionally not good table fare.

In contrast, the iconic mako shark is considered fair game in the northeast US, as are tunas and swordfish above federal size limits. Catch and release shark tournaments in this area with high minimum qualifying weights are well organized and have shark conservation measures at heart, as do the partial release billfish tournaments in the mid-Atlantic, which I have proudly supported for over two decades.

In addition, in the US and around the world there are areas of local abundance of species where anglers can legally harvest these species in a sustainable way, even though elsewhere in the world that species may be considered rare or overexploited. This practice is fine with me. I am all about sustainability in sport fishing and commercial fishing, as well as in spearfishing and diving. However, there are many anglers who are not concerned about sustainability and that is cause for concern.

Much of the recent criticism directed my way has stemmed from the role of the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) within the SFMI organization, and alleged ties to PETA and the PEW Environment Group (PEG). I have difficulty in accommodating the role of the HSUS in the sport fishing arena. Other than encouraging catch and release where possible, I see no reason for this organization to exert any influence in sport fishing. I have an even stronger opinion of PETA, which is just too extreme to even get my attention.

As for Pew, I am not aligned with them personally, nor have I supported them during my 20-year tenure as a board member of the IGFA. The one instance in which I worked alongside PEG was in a successful effort to prevent the archipelago of the Bahamas – which was home to the last bastion of sharks in the western Atlantic – from being scoured of sharks by impending commercial interests. The GHOF’s collaborative effort with PEG and the Bahamas National Trust worked, and it prevented the wholesale slaughter of species by people who don’t give a damn.

I also support shark interactive programs and have patronized many such programs in different countries. These interactions with otherwise shy, elusive creatures are inspiring, educational and very entertaining – all without killing a single animal. In addition, the socio-economic value of these interactive sites is immense to the host countries. Only days ago, I returned from a shoot in Isla Mujeres, Mexico where for 60 days each summer thousands of whale sharks gather to feed on plankton blooms and fish spawn. This interaction pumps millions of dollars into the Mexican economy each summer. If this phenomenon occurred in the Orient, then I am certain the harpoon boats would be racing the snorkelers to the sites every day.

Another issue I have difficulty accepting is proposed MPAs based on nothing other than whims of people who want to get rid of sport fishing. These proposed areas, which are closed to sport fishing, typically do not go through a scientific analysis to tell us all about the inventory of species or the estimated biomass from which a regulated harvest could be managed. However, specific time and area closures for certain species at certain times of year do work well. It is ludicrous to allow any harvest of any animal when it is reproducing, so closure of reef fish (snapper and grouper) spawning aggregations during their respective spawning times is a good management practice, as we have seen in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

There are many issues facing recreational anglers and many of us have conflicting opinions on how to apply solutions that best benefit the fisheries. Not everyone is going to agree with me on every issue. However, please don’t underestimate my dedication and commitment to the sport fishing community – along with AFTCO, I put back approximately 10 percent of all royalties generated by my art into fishery research and educational programs around the world.

I want to remind my fan base – as well as all of the naysayers – that I love fishing and I love to cook and eat the fish that I catch. I do fish responsibly – I release all billfish and undersized wahoo, tuna or dolphin that I catch. But, a nice bull dolphin, yellowfin or blackfin is going in the cooler! Swordfish are also fair game – in the tournaments we have in Cayman the small ones are released and the big ones are taken. In fact, we just landed a 600 pound plus swordfish on July 22 in Mexico. Not a scrap was wasted!

Tight lines and good luck.

Guy Harvey PhD.

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Oct 17, 2011

Canadian Bluefin Tuna

Giant Bluefin tuna are the largest tuna species in the oceans and can attain weights over 1500lbs. Photo by Bill Boyce

The cold clear green water got my heart started as I turned to face the oncoming fish. I saw the first one rise out of the green abyss, gliding, silent and purposeful, eyes wide, mouth slightly agape, the dorsal fin suddenly raised, pelvics lowered and the gills flared as the fish inhaled a slowing sinking herring. It turned sharply and the afternoon sun caught its bronze flanks and the water around the fish was momentarily lit in a golden glow. The fins and tail cut the surface and the bubble stream followed the fish down into the green depths. Then another one rose up and another and then several came in a rush to suck down the drifting herring… came so close I could see the scale detail on its cheek and it popped its gills the size of trash can lid.  Then a blur of bright yellow finlets as the huge fish passes. The average size of these giant bluefin tuna is 800 pounds. Giants… is the correct terminology. These fish are up to 12 feet long with a 7 foot girth and several that swept by me were in the 1,200 pound range. I panned my video camera on them as they swam past me gobbling up the chum that kept them close to the boat.

In the late summer and fall these remnants of a once larger population of bluefin tuna take advantage of large schools of herring spawning in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and around Nova Scotia, Canada. They put on weight prior to undertaking lengthy migrations south to the Gulf of Mexico or swim across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.

 I was on board the “Fin Seeker”, a 50 foot lobster boat from Wedgeport, owned by Eric Jaquard and crewed by sons Joel and Camille who had a permit to take 5,000 pounds of bluefin this season. Eric was very selective about what tunas were taken (only five in six days of fishing) and the rest were all tagged and released for science. Those fish that were harvested were meticulously cleaned and iced down before being shipped by air to waiting markets in Japan.

There are two research efforts currently under way in Nova Scotia, one being conducted by Dr. Barbara Block of the Tuna Research and Conservation Centre, based at the Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, please visit: The GHOF gives this research organization a small grant to assist with this effort which is based at Port Hood in the northern district of Cape Breton.

 The other research effort is being conducted by Dr. Molly Lutcavage of the Large Pelagics Research Centre based at the Natural Resources Conservation Dept , University of Massachusetts Amherst, please visit:  Dr. Lutcavage’s team were based in Wedgeport in the southwest. The plan was to visit both operations and conduct interviews with respective scientists and crew. Both teams have spent the last decade in the field tagging and tracking the migrations of the bluefin tuna along the eastern seaboard of North America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

Their results have indicated main feeding areas, spawning areas, trans-Atlantic migrations and have assisted in the sometimes controversial management of this species by ICCAT, the international organization that allocates quotas and attempts to regulate commercial fishing for this  valuable nomad of the ocean.

This is not my first brush with giants. In January 2003, I did a shoot with Barbara Block off Cape Lookout, North Carolina while she was tagging medium sized and giant bluefin tuna, for my TV series “Portraits from the Deep”.  “Giants” are individual tuna that are over 315 pounds and this species grows to at least 1,500 pounds.  The previous year I had visited the tuna traps or “almadraba” in Tarifa and in Barbate on the southern coast of Spain. Here I dived with the captive tunas caught in land based traps and witnessed the harvest of 300 giants in a 2000 year old ritual that began with the Phoenecians and then the Romans.

Guy Harvey is working on a Bluefin Tuna Documentary

Long before the species became desirable food, the bluefin tuna was fished by recreational anglers out of Wedgeport, Nova Scotia from 1935 until 1975 in a famous tournament called the Sharp Cup which attracted international teams from many countries. Of these large, powerful animals Charles F. Holder said “Weight for weight, they have double the fighting power of a tarpon. They are living meteors that strike like whirlwind and play like a storm”. Some say the recreational fishery, catch and release only, should be revived in Nova Scotia.

In the early years this species was fished sparingly by harpoon, some were caught on line for canning as they were more of a “nuisance fish” damaging gear set for herring and mackerel. In the mid 1970s demand in Japan for the fresh tuna grew exponentially and so fishing effort for bluefin tuna was greatly increased. Industrial scale long lining and purse seining were added to the traps and harpoon fishery so the populations of bluefin tuna declined to the present  day levels where some authorities consider the species close to commercial extinction. However, the researchers are of the opinion that if the quota system is properly regulated (as it certainly appears to be in Canada) then this fishery has the potential to be sustainable in spite of the huge worldwide demand for bluefin tuna sushi.

Along with my documentary producer and camera man, George Schellenger, I spent three days with the crew of the “Fin Seeker” as willing anglers using ultra heavy tackle caught, tagged and released some two dozen giants. Pop-up archival tags were deployed on many fish following capture. The hook was removed using a de-hooking device and the tunas swam free. The PATs record the migration of the tunas as well as depth and temperature data along their routes. A special physiological adaptation called a counter current heat exchanger allows metabolic heat to be kept in the body and not lost through the gills thus maintaining the body temperature well above ambient temperatures, allowing faster swimming speeds in areas rich in prey species.  Being “warm blooded” these giant tuna, often called “super fish”, can penetrate the cold northern latitudes and dive to great depths in search of fish and squid.

The winter is coming soon and bad weather arrived so I was unable to visit the Tag–a-Giant research team in Cape Breton. They will be back next year and I will complete the documentary shoot with them at that time. Meanwhile, I will be completing the story of the life cycle of the bluefin tuna including interviews with other research efforts to study aspects of the early life history of this long lived super fish.

What a thrill to spend an hour in the water with these magnificent creatures and to capture their brilliant colours and movement for my next work. These are big fish and I will need to prepare a big canvas. The adventure continues….

It is our collective responsibility to conserve the marine environment and maintain the biodiversity of the planet.

Guy Harvey

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Sep 16, 2011

GHOF Funding Sawfish Studies in Florida Bay, Florida Keys, the Tortugas and Indian River Lagoon

The sale of Guy Harvey Sportswear supports the marine resource in many different ways with its sale of each Guy Harvey product, a contribution is made to the GHOF

In October 2010, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Hell’s Bay Boatworks donated a custom boat and trailer valued at more than $50,000 to the Florida Program for Shark Research. FPSR director and world-renowned shark expert Dr. George Burgess recently filed this report detailing the ongoing sawfish studies he is conducting in the waters around south Florida:

During the spring sampling season, three ongoing projects of the Florida Program for Shark Research at UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History, one in collaboration with researchers from Florida State University (FSU), focused on the distribution and movements of adult and subadult sawfishes in the southern portion of its Florida range.

We produced a survey of the waters surrounding U.S. Navy properties in the Key West region in order to determine the current status of sawfishes in those areas for the U.S. Navy/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Because of obvious security constraints, we were the first fish biologists to sample in these waters in decades.

Concurrently, in conjunction with Dean Grubbs and fellow FSU scientists and the John Carlson of the National Marine Fisheries Service, we sampled the middle and lower Keys and Tortugas region and Florida Bay, catching and satellite tagging eleven sawfishes.  Satellite tags give long time and distance of movement information and we hope our tagging will help us better understand seasonal horizontal (up and down the coast) and vertical (depth) movements of the critters.

We also caught and multiple tagged two large adults in Florida Bay, the tags being traditional “spaghetti,” satellite, and active acoustic models.  The last allowed us to manually track the minute to minute movements using a receiver held under the boat.  Our first saw was “lost” within the first hour or so as it gave us the slip by scooting over a shallow bank, then boogying before we could detect its signal.  Having learned our lesson, on our second capture we got in 38 hours of tracking over three days, including day-night comparisons.  The sawfish moved about in deeper channels by day, then moved onto shallow, seagrass beds by night.  It chose the same shallow grassy area on successive nights, demonstrating some short-term site fidelity.  Next spring we plan to initiate placement of underwater listening stations on the bottom and tag the sawfishes with passive acoustic tags.  These tags will leave a unique “bleep” on any receiver as the sawfish swims near, allowing us to track localized movements over longer periods and larger areas.  We also will continue to satellite tag these and other sawfishes.

While sampling for sawfishes we also caught many sharks and rays.  All of these animals also were measured, sexed, sampled (tissue for DNA) and tagged as part of ongoing studies of their biology and movement patterns.  We also continued our work in Indian River Lagoon (IRL), where we began tagging young bull sharks with spaghetti and passive acoustic tags in a “new” region for us, the St. Lucie River estuary.  This work is being done with our colleague, David Snyder, of Continental Shelf Associates.  We also continue to download data from our underwater array of receivers in Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and the northern IRL, where tagged bull sharks and rays still roam.

During this time period we put 5000 miles in land travel on the Guy Harvey adorned Hell’s Bay and God only knows how many sea miles on our faithful vessel!

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Jun 30, 2011

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Donates $100,000 to Guy Harvey Research Institute at NSU

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation recently presented a $100,000 donation to the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University during a ceremony at the new Guy Harvey Inc. world headquarters in Davie, FL. A significant part of these funds were raised from the sale of Guy Harvey sportswear.  You may not know this, but you, the Guy Harvey customer helped provide these funds with your last Guy Harvey clothing purchase. Money is raised for ocean conservation efforts from the sale of every Guy Harvey shirt, Guy Harvey sandal, Guy Harvey hat, Guy Harvey belt, Guy Harvey jacket and all Guy Harvey clothing items.  This $100,000 will be used to support the ongoing fishery research projects at the GHRI.


Photo, from left to right: Dr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute; Guy Harvey; Dr. George Hanbury II, President & COO of NSU; Steve Stock, President of Guy Harvey Inc. and the GHOF; John Santulli, VP Facilities Management, NSU; Dr. Richard Dodge, Dean of NSU’s Oceanographic Center

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Apr 1, 2011


It was a beautiful winter day with a light north easterly wind, providing for calm conditions in the protection of West Bay, anticipating the deployment and sinking of the USS Kittiwake here in Grand Cayman.  Accompanied by Jessica and Alexander, my kids who are both keen divers, we anchored outside the perimeter marked off by the Department of Environment and the Marine Police.  Regular updates on the VHF radio gave us an idea of the history of the ship and the projected sinking schedule. The details of the ship’s construction and service can be found on a number of dedicated websites.

Pumping sea water into the hold began around 10:30 a.m.  At approximately 2:25 p.m. she started sinking rapidly, stern going down and listing sharply to port.  I bet a number of people were holding their breath as it seemed she would topple over in spite of all the preparations, and then appeared to sink upright as air rushed from the port holes and open hatches.

GHRI and GHOF collaborate with other research organizations to better understand tiger sharks

I am a great supporter of artificial reefs, even in a coral reef environment such as ours.  Socio economic studies of artificial reefs in Florida demonstrate hundreds of thousands of dollars generated by individual artificial reefs from diving and sport fishing activity each year.  As it took about 8 years for this project to be executed, perhaps we, the diving community, the Cayman Island Tourism Association and the Cayman Island Government should immediately start the search for another suitable ship for an artificial reef to be the successor to the “Kittiwake”.  I will put my money where my mouth is and volunteer my Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) to assist in locating and funding the next ship.

Talking of mouths, the tiger shark has a big, wide mouth adapted to ripping large chunks out of dead, decaying marine mammals and has large serrated teeth, with re-curved tips designed like a can opener to feed on turtles.  Tiger sharks have been of great interest to me and my research arm, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI).  We have tagged or sponsored the electronic tagging of 41 tiger sharks in the north western Atlantic in the last two years.  Each SPOT (Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting) tag deployed to the dorsal fin of the shark costs about $2,500 and then another $500 for the satellite time and monitoring. We have tagged tigers: 28 in Bermuda, 7 in the United States Virgin Islands, 4 in the Bahamas and just recently two in Grand Cayman.

The GHRI and GHOF collaborated with a number of research organizations in each of these island territories, which is why the project has been so successful.  Tiger sharks, we are now discovering, make seasonal migrations spending much of the warm summer months cruising in the open ocean, often in very deep water, looking for migrating turtles and feeding opportunistically on dead floating animals such as dolphin, whales, fish and sea birds.  In the winter, they move into the reef environment around oceanic islands in the Caribbean and Bahamas and will come into very shallow water targeting rays, fish and lobsters.

The Overseas Territories Environmental Programme, with assistance from the DoE, has sponsored a shark population analysis study in the Cayman Islands.  Being particularly interested in tiger sharks here, the GHOF sponsored SPOTs when the team caught and tagged two tigers in early December 2010.  Both were caught at night in North Sound and successfully released bearing an internal sonic tag and external SPOT attached to the dorsal fin.  Each time the animal swims at the surface, the tag sends a signal to a satellite giving its position very accurately.  The team was also able to tag Caribbean reef sharks, black tip sharks and nurse sharks—all caught at night in North Sound.

Divers and photographers have been safely interacting with tiger sharks for decades and have watched in horror as their numbers and those of other pelagic migratory sharks have been annihilated for the last three decades in the shark fin trade that threatens to clear all sharks from the planet.

If you are lucky enough to see one of the tiger sharks we have tagged, please send me or the DoE a photo of the animal.  If you happen to catch one while out fishing, then please release the animal alive (as you should release all sharks alive) responsibly.  In time, all shark species around Cayman will receive the protection they surely need under the new Conservation Law.

Fish responsibly, dive safely.

— Guy Harvey

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Feb 24, 2011

The Misunderstood Tiger Shark Shows Remarkable Migratory Behavior

The stripy and pug-nosed tiger shark gets little coverage or respect in the world of media shark stories compared to the idolizing attention showered on species such white sharks and whale sharks.  And when they do receive the occasional mention, tiger sharks bear the brunt of disparaging descriptors such as “garbage cans of the sea” just because a few individuals of the many thousands killed around the world have been found with indigestible, man-made objects such as a beer bottle, tin cans, chicken wire in their stomachs.  Tiger sharks do indeed have broad diets and are opportunistic feeders, but the reality is they consume almost entirely their normal prey of fishes, turtles, marine mammals, and even large invertebrates.  The discovery of man-made objects in their diet is rare, and it does a magnificent apex predator injustice to assume tiger sharks make a habit of wandering around near human population centers focused on scooping up our garbage that ends up in the sea.  On the contrary, ongoing research being conducted at the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHRI/GHOF) on tiger shark migrations is shedding new light on how remarkable and environmentally flexible these amazing sharks are.

An important requirement for the proper management and conservation of any shark species is a robust understanding of its migratory patterns, how it uses its environment, and identification of what is termed its “critical habitat” – areas that are key to successful reproduction and feeding.  To understand tiger shark movements and aid in conservation efforts, the GHRI/GHOF in collaboration with the Bermuda Shark Project and with financial support from AFTCO is investigating tiger shark movements in the western North Atlantic in a long-term study.  The sharks’ movements are being studied by employing satellite tags that relay information on where the tiger shark is and/or its depth in the ocean.

 What have we found so far?

Sharks that we outfitted with satellite tags in Bermudian waters are providing exceptional information about their long-term migratory behavior.  We have been fortunate to be able to follow these tiger sharks for a record length of time (12-17 months and counting), and are discovering fascinating information about their seasonal movements.  The migratory tracks of two sharks are shown as examples.  Please visit the GHRI web site: to see long-term tracks for other tiger sharks.

In brief, the sharks left Bermuda in the fall of 2009 as the waters cooled and made notably direct pathways to the Bahamas or Caribbean, where they spent 6-8 months in close association with island habitats.  Then starting in the spring of 2010, the tiger sharks reversed course showing highly directed migrations northwards, moving beyond and often east of Bermuda and staying well out in the open ocean. In two instances, the batteries on the tags have lasted over 17 months and have revealed a consistent migratory pathway back to the Bahamas starting in the fall of 2010.  What is also amazing is that after their pelagic sojourn these sharks have returned to locations in the Bahamas really close to where they were hanging out a year ago!  Who gave them a GPS? 

These migratory patterns makes one wonder what the sharks are doing so far out in the Atlantic Ocean after spending approximately half a year acting like reef sharks tightly associated with island habitats in the Bahamas and Caribbean.  Something must be seasonally attracting these sharks into the deep open-ocean far offshore.  We’re guessing it is not indigestible man-made garbage.  Are they out in nearly the middle of the north Atlantic for 2-4 months for mating? For feeding on migratory prey such as turtles?  It’s still an open question.  Notably, however, these tiger sharks are displaying a remarkable ability to drastically switch their habitats comfortably, using shallow, coral reef environments for part of the year and completely open-ocean, deep environments for the other part with rapid travel in-between.  Few other shark species show this flexibility in the habitats they can use.

Based on these initial but novel findings, we are continuing this study in additional places to get a more detailed picture of tiger shark movements in different parts of the world.  Our hats are off to these stripy, majestic fishes for their astonishing migratory abilities!

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Nov 9, 2010

Combining Business with Sportfishing Community & Marine Resource Support — Part II

This New Guy Harvey Florida license plate will help fund The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

On Wednesday morning I attended several presentations at the ASA meeting including one by Nick Wiley the executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  That afternoon I drove up to Nova Southeastern University, home of the Guy Harvey Research Institute, to attend the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) board meeting.  A major part of that meeting was to review the various Gulf of Mexico research proposals.  Guy Harvey teamed up with AFTCO and our partners to raise $500,000 from the sale of two unique Guy Harvey T-shirt designs.  The charge of the GHOF board is to insure that this money is spent in a way that will provide the most benefit to marine life in the Gulf.  On Wednesday night I attended the annual GHOF fund raising dinner, where among other things the new Guy Harvey car license plate was announced.  Our plan is that sales of this new plate will generate some $1 million to support the work of GHOF.

On Thursday morning after giving my government affairs report to the ASA board of directors, I drove up the coast, visiting a few AFTCO & Guy Harvey customers along the way.  I attended the opening of the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute (HSWRI) east coast research station in Melbourne Beach, which now provides an east coast facility to add to the longtime HSWRI marine research center in San Diego, CA.  At Melbourne Beach we will be developing a hatchery operation for red fish, snook, seatrout and red snapper along with providing a base for marine stranding operations, turtle research along with various other Indian River Lagoon and east cost ocean issues.  SeaWorld, as it has from its very beginning, continues to quietly, unselfishly and without fanfare or control, support the good work of the HSWRI.

Bill Shedd, Don Kent and Milt Shedd at California hatchery in 1999. HSWRI plans a similar project for Melbourne Beach, Florida

On Friday after breakfast with Don Kent president of HSWRI, I attended the HSWRI board meeting with Florida board members at SeaWorld in Orlando with a video conference connection to fellow board members in San Diego.  As Chairman of the Board of HSWRI, I usually run the board meetings from San Diego, so it was interesting to be at the other end of the line.  For 47 years the HSWRI has been doing important work to benefit the ocean realm.  That is just the way Dad intended it to be.

Friday evening I drove back down from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale to attend the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show on Saturday.  The Guy Harvey team had set up a booth with a beautiful display of all Guy Harvey products including the Guy Harvey shirts and other Guy Harvey clothing we produce.   Much can be learned spending a day in the jammed packed Guy Harvey show booth talking to reps, customers and consumers about the Guy Harvey sportswear brand.  Taking care of some business at the show was a great way to end the week.


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Oct 19, 2010

Guy Harvey Passes 200,000 Fans on Facebook

It’s official, Guy Harvey is a Facebook phenom. He might not have achieved Ashton Kutcher’s e-society geek status with millions of Twitter followers but on October 11, at 10:53 EST, his fanbase on the Facebook rocket ship blasted past the 200,000 mark.  Guy’s popularity began 20 years ago with his fabulous marine art and then slowly blossomed with his ubiquitous t-shirts seen at every fishing dock, tournament, and beach bar bungalow.  But he never would have imagined that in less than two years hundreds of thousands would be following him online.

“It’s an amazing phenomenon,” Guy said, “especially seeing all the young people who are attracted to my artwork, apparel, and conservation efforts.”

In fact, the Guy Harvey popularity surge toward high-school and college kids is due in part to the explosion in social media and his message of ocean conservation which resonates so strongly with today’s youth.  Ten years ago the Guy Harvey demographic was mostly grizzled fishing dudes with sun-faded Guy Harvey t-shirts stained in mahi-mahi blood and guts. Today, that paradigm has shifted dramatically.  Sure the hard-core fishermen are still solid fans but women and kids are identifying with Guy Harvey more and more as is evident with the meteoric growth on Facebook.

“We have a tremendous amount of pride in the quality of our products,” Guy said, “but it’s our message of conserving our oceans for future generations that is our core mission.  I believe that’s one of the biggest reasons for our growing support.”

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Guy Harvey Research Institute have spent millions of dollars on scientific research to help protect endangered marine species.  Perhaps Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networking will help to perpetuate the vital conservation efforts of Dr. Guy Harvey.

By Fred D. Garth

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