EXERCISE CLARION CALL - CLARION ISLAND (JS4) (MEXICO), 26 MAY - 11 JUN 2013
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1. EXERCISE CLARION CALL (JS4) is a high profile Joint Services sub-aqua diving expedition for 15 military personnel (and two scientists) to Clarion Island (or Isla Clarión), 430 miles off the Mexican mainland. It will be the fourth shark tagging expedition conducted by the Joint Services Shark Tagging Team (JSSTT) and will take place from 26 May - 11 Jun 2013. The expedition will be based on the MV Sea Escape. Re-Breather use will be fully supported by the expedition and there is a high probability that the expedition will be the basis for a TV documentary. Further information can be found at: www.jurassic-shark.org.uk
2. Appropriately, a clarion call is a direct public request to take action.
3. The aim of the expedition is to study the population dynamics of scalloped hammerhead and whale sharks. This will involve both tagging and direct observation of this species under the direction of a two scientists representing CENTRO INTERDISCIPLINARIO DE CIENCIAS MARINAS in Mexico and FINS ATTACHED (a non-profit NGO specialising in shark conservation). Secondary aims are:
- To promote experience of Service personnel in safe but challenging expeditionary environments.
- To promote personal improvement in diving experience/skill levels by groups of individuals who have the potential to cascade that experience to other members.
- To promote improvement of a group of divers to aspire to a higher level of achievement by exposure to leadership or presence of a First Class Diver in an appropriately challenging expeditionary environment.
- To promote Joint Service expeditionary diving and to ensure that cascade of experience occurs as broadly as possible.
- To promote the use of re-breathers in Service sports diving.
4. Whale Sharks aggregate around the Revillagigedo Islands; previous observations indicate that these are invariably adult females and pregnant. The presence of pregnant females suggests that Whale Sharks use the deep waters of the southern area of the Gulf of California and Revillagigedo Islands as their primary nursery. Tags will be used to identify local vertical and regional horizontal scale movement of pregnant females around the Revillagigedo Islands. Biopsy samples will be taken to investigate genetic (mitochondrial DNA) population structure for comparison with the results from work being carried out (on juvenile Whale Sharks) at three localities in the nearby Gulf of California.
5. Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks were tagged on all three previous Jurassic Shark expeditions. As a result we now know that Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks migrate between Cocos Island (Costa Rica), the Galapagos Islands and Malpelo (Columbia). This project will attempt to establish if the migration of these sharks extends as far as the Revillagigedo Islands using the same methodology. As such this project is effectively an extension of the Eastern Pacific Tropical Seascape (EPTS) initiative, which brings together the islands of the Galapagos, Gorgona, Malpelo, Cocos and Coiba in a single conservation plan. This expedition will test the hypothesis that Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks do not migrate out of the area delineated by these islands and is therefore vital to their future conservation.
6. All sharks will be tagged using a specially adapted spear gun while they are free swimming. For Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks divers will wait for them to swim alongside a cleaning station and then move in slowly to tag them using a pole spear or one-band spear gun. Re-breathers will be used by a proportion of the team in order to get as close to the sharks as possible. The sharks seem to enter a trance-like state when they are at the cleaning station and react by simply swimming away (catching sharks to tag them, while being the traditional method, is very traumatic on the animal, and in some cases causes the shark to die). The plan is to deploy at least 4 radio receivers (the numbers deployed will depend on funding) at different sites around Clarion Island and the other Revillagigedo (Socorro) Islands and tag sharks with radio and satellite tags (providing adequate sponsorship can be obtained – archival pop-up satellite tags cost £3000 each). The aim is to build up complete coverage of the Eastern Pacific thus allowing shark movements to be tracked and corridors to be mapped. Physical data such as temperature, currents, visibility will also be collected from each site and correlated with visual estimates of the shark populations. Biopsy samples will be taken using a specially adapted spear gun.
7. Mexican research permits will be obtained from the Mexican Government Department of Wildlife by Dr Mauricio Hoyos (from the scientific team). This project will assist the host country in planning the protection of these sharks and the environment where they live. All expedition members will, however, be required to visit London in person to obtain a visa.
8. This Joint Service expedition is open to all full time and reserve members of HM Services.
9. The minimum standard is British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Dive Leader (or equivalent) by the start of the expedition; however, BSAC Sports Divers with sufficient experience and motivation will be allowed to complete their Dive Leader training on the expedition if necessary. All expedition members must be able to demonstrate progression in terms of qualifications and experience as a result of participating in the expedition process. This is applicable to all levels of diver including those aspiring to be Sub-Aqua Diving Supervisors (SADS), First Class Divers, and re-breather users. All those selected must play an active part in the planning, administration and leadership of the expedition.
10. All participants must be members of the BSAC, Divers Alert Network (DAN) and hold an in-date medical certificate at the time of the expedition.
11. All participants must have an interest in shark conservation and actively participate in the research aims of the expedition.
12. Participants will be selected on the basis of ability to contribute to the expedition whilst progressing personally as both divers and leaders. Preference will therefore be given to junior or relatively inexperienced personnel in accordance with the criteria for sponsorship by the Joint Services Expeditions Trust (JSET: 2011DIN07-049). It should be noted that the number of places available to each Service is limited by the requirement to reflect the Tri-Service nature of the expedition.
13. Applicants who are not selected in the first instance will remain as reserves. They will then be contacted as spaces arise.
14. Participants should expect to pay personal contributions of between £1000 and £2000 depending on the success of the fund-raising effort and (critically) the US$ exchange rate. The initial deposit is £500. The expedition is fortunate to have already received a grant of £20K from the Army.
15. Once a deposit has been paid individual travel insurance covering the cost of trip cancellation must be held. Nevertheless, anyone withdrawing from the expedition with good reason can expect a full refund of money paid providing their place is taken by someone else.
PROJECTED PAYMENT SCHEDULE
16. The following payment schedule assumes active participation in fund-raising by all participants. The requirement to pay for the boat on specific dates may require additional funds as the expedition approaches; however, any ‘borrowing’ of this nature will be refunded. All cheques should be made payable to JURASSIC SHARK EXPEDITIONS.
19. Applications from individual members of the all three Services should be made directly to the expedition leader using the proforma at Annex A. The deposit is not required until a place on the expedition has been confirmed. Proformas should be returned to: Major Andy Reid, e-mail: email@example.comAPPLICATIONS