Sten Johansson Sten has the viking wanderlust coursing through his veins. He roams the world in search of new places and seas to discover. For a time he wandered around the Mediterranean and Caribbean isles on a big ship, initiating new divers to the wonders of the underwater environment. He embarked on a sixteen-day voyage to reach the island that time forgot, which he did twice more afterwards.

He enjoys journeying to wild places where he can witness the power of nature in a harsh environment, and how human nature reacts to its environment.
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Why are the silkies so spread out? —Malpelo 17.06.2013

Because of recent illegal fishing?

The silky sharks can now be seen in both the north and the south. They are more spread out. We are speculating why. We can see fresh hooks in the mouth of some. And three days ago we had a fishing boat not farther than 2 nautical miles from here.

We contacted the park ranger who stays on the island with the Colombian military to offer our assistance to pursue the boat in our skiffs. Amazingly enough he blamed it was too late in the day to take any action! I blame it on total laziness in fulfilling his duty as a ranger. Checking our guests’ diving licenses and staying and sleeping and eating on the boat works fine for him though. SHAME ON THE PARK!

Silky sharks at Malpelo Island
Photo taken in June 2013

We have a theory that because of illegal shark fishing, which obviously has been taking place since the last trip that we did, the silkies have spread out from their originally very dense group of hundreds to smaller groups of 10 to 50 animals. It is known from example that a white shark in Farallon Island was recorded to have migrated from Farallon Island on the Pacific to the states. Data from the receivers monitoring tagged white sharks suggested that the white sharks had escaped the place for a long time.

The same thing happened where I use to work at Guadalupe Island in Mexico when a so-called scieintist Domeyer brutally hauled in a 1,500-kg male white shark, took it out of the water and put it on a bench, shoved a water hose in its mouth and did his scientific experiments in front of the camera of one of our popular TV channels. After this brutal treatment that almost killed the shark, my friend Mauricio Hoyos, who is the white shark researcher in Guadalupe, said that his receivers did not get any hit on any of his tagged animals. They escaped the area…

So could it be that the fishing that is obviously happening here has scattered the silky sharks? And is that why they seem to be more timid now when we call them in?

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