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I think he and his team should be able to conduct there research. The whole hook screw up was just that a mistake but I think that he and his team could find out allot of valuable information that other scientist just are not able or capable to get with there resources and in the long run the research can be used to protect the species.

April Adams

Watching this video made me very sad for Junior. It was clear to me that the hook caused this shark pain and deteriorated his health. Although the data may be very valuable, I don't think it should be at the expense of any sharks. The technique should be terminated and a new and safe method designed/ used before renewing any permits!

Laura Mills

Please, please, please help that shark, Junior, who has been incredibly harmed. Can't someone get the hook out of him to save his life?


Research has a valuable place in helping discover information that will inevitably benefit the Great White, but the methods currently being used by “Shark Men” are just cruel. Just because society has a deep rooted fear of sharks does not give us the right to treat them so inhumanly. Let Junior aka Lucky be the last time we let “research” go bad.


Nice spelling Tony, but I'm not sure they want to do THEIR research for purely scienticific purposes. They are making their money from a large television deal, not grants in the interest of science and understanding. No scientist would vehemently fight the possibility that Jr was disabled by their tag/hook yet they deny it with confidence in order to preserve their false image as researchers. The truth is they are a group of overexcited fisherman with one marine biologist that do things with sharks never done or seen before on TV that have no benfit to the scientific community and are actually hindering the population of great white sharks on the California coast. It is totally made for TV and Mr. Domeiers resignation is a clear admission of guilt. I hope Dr. Klimley takes this program into a different direction but based on the way the salaries of UC professors are being slashed, he's following the money too...


Domier must be arrested for animal cruelty, and imprisoned. He showed no remorse in the video at all.

Maria Brown should resign in disgrace or be fired. There is something seriously sick about a person who runs a sanctuary that allows this kind of animal cruelty. And to cover the whole thing up since 2009.

From now on I will view the Farallones Sanctuary as a corrupt torture chamber where it does not matter how animals are treated as long as the staff can make money from sick people like Domeier.

Holly Drouillard

This is not "research", this is sport fishing being allowed on a protected shark under the loop pole of a research permit. None of the data they have gathered and provided is new. The TOPP.org program out of Stanford has everything they have gathered and more. This is nothing more than a reality TV show that is produced and aired just to make a buck.


Thank-you for posting this article on shark abuse at the Farallones.

Maria Brown should resign. She is not qualified to run a "sanctuary."

Federal animal cruelty charges should be brought against Domeier and his crew. To leave a metal hook in an animal is cruelty.

And if Domier is granted a new permit, what will he do next time an "accident" occurs, murder the shark and hide the body? The man is sick and so is Maria Brown.


I can't believe Maria Brown defended this practice. She is seriously depraved. She should resign or be fired.

Derek Lofgren

Cruel... Vicious... And not needed in our waters. -Derek

Jared Higgins

You have to watch the show to really understand the benefit of what they are doing. This research by far outweighs the risk of having one shark potentially injured as a result. The benefits are huge on what we can learn about these amazing creatures. The calling for the resignation of Maria Brown is unwarranted. The research Dr. Domeier is doing is well worth it. The very slight risk is worth the huge reward of what we will continue to learn.

Chris Hartzell

For all you who obviously are not involved with shark research, I assure you, this research has NOT provided any substantial new data that we didn't already know.

Chris Hartzell

Additionally, even if there was new data, Domeier is not releasing it as he wants to use it to further his career with books and private publishing. Domeier is more interested in being a "scientific leader" than interested in the welfare of his research subjects.

Jamie W.

This is shameful and sickening to see animals exploited in a manner that harms them so much.


There is evil going on here, callous ugly evil, perpetrated in the name of science. Josef Mengele, the doctor at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, would feel right at home with Domeier and Maria Brown.



Please go here and add a voice

Larry Carbary

It's disgusting that this so called "research" is allowed to take a beautiful and healthy animal and destroy his life. They didn't even have the decency to end his suffering. Maria Brown should be fired for allowing this in what is supposed to be a sanctuary.

Mark G. Bruce

i'm shocked that such a cruel practice was ever allowed in our marine sanctuary. While that 'un-lucky' shark may still be alive there is no doubt that its condition is a direct result of the hook having been left deep in its throat. Reminds me of the claim given by Japanese whalers that they are doing research to protect a species. If Supt. Brown and Domeier are too proud to admit that a terrible accident occured then why should they be entrusted with any further responsibilities? I salute ABC 7's I team for bringing this to our attention and I encourage everyone to contact the Farallones Advisory Council to prevent ANY further permits from being issued for this sort of mock research.

Maria Braun

I am also surprised that the Federal government is allowing permits to someone who is clearly in this for his own fame and fortune. He keeps alluding to the research he has done and saving the oceans where the females go to breed. Why aren't either FMSA or him doing something about this if it is so important? How are they driving policy change? I am unclear on why Maria Brown has such a unconcerned attitude about the sharks. This 70-pound hook that was left in him has clearly left him weak and vunerable. Is she not a biologist? Does she not understand biological systems? She is running an ocean sanctuary, not some sport-fishing outfit. Either she should step up and protect our waters or step down.

Maria Braun

And thank you I-Team. Stay on this story. These people do NOT represent SF Bay Area values. Or California values. Here we are in California trying to stop the cruel practice of killing sharks for their fins and a Federal Employee who works for a California sanctuary is permitting someone to go out and do this to our sharks. Shame! These are our taxpayer dollars who pay their salaries. We need to take charge and stop this from happening.

Chris Hartzell

Below is the letter I submitted, so all of you may see firsthand.

May 6, 2010

Dear Superintendent Brown:

I regret I am unable to attend this meeting in person and therefore wish to submit my public comment via representative. As you may remember, I am the Fire Captain and Vice President of Monterey Audubon who has submitted numerous documents as well as pictures in reference to this tagging issue. It is my understanding that Dr. Domeier is submitting for continued research off the Farallones. Since I have not been able to see exactly what Dr. Domeier’s application includes as far as type of research, methods, media involvement, etc., I would like to comment in general on allowing him to conduct research.

Last year there was extensive controversy in Dr. Domeier using his tagging techniques as well as his tags, the SPOT tags. Not only were there extensive concerns regarding his capturing techniques, but overall in his judgment.

The first item of concern was his techniques. As demonstrated from recent pictures and video, there is significant risk in causing injury. As for “Junior”, Domeier is correct in his statements, but my comments before, and now after the video was released, still hold that the truth behind the tumor has still not been addressed. I have extensive medical training and extensive experience seeing shark wounds, it is obvious it was not the hook, but probably either the bouy or the shark thrashing against the buoy and capture chain, that caused a dislocated or broken jaw at the joint. If this didn't cause the actual injury, then it at least compromised the circulatory system enough to cause the abscess to form from another shark's wound, a wound that would have healed under normal circumstances. I've seen a Manatee heal from having half it's tail cut off and another Great White healing from a 15 lb chunk of flesh torn off its side by another shark. So was Junior attacked by another shark? Absolutely. Was this abscess from the hook? No. So Domeier is correct in his statements. However, there is no way an abcess like this forms without underlying mechanical damage. The alignment of evidence clearly indicates in this case that Junior's health resulted from the capturing…one way or another.

Additionally, if you are not aware, Junior was not the only incident Domeier has had. There were multiple “close calls” with his captures in Southern California as well. In one recent episode of Shark Men, the re-name of Chris Fischer’s National Geographic show, it showed one shark floating belly up for some time. When released, the shark sank, forcing divers to dive after it and bring it back where extensive rehab needed to be performed. After it swam away, the tag stopped transmitting a few days later. Another clip showed a baby Great White with an extremely malformed jaw after they were forcefully tugging on the rope. The editing is very choppy but in a 1 second portion you can clearly see the jaw bone of the shark protruding out the side of the shark indicative of a dislocation.

His tagging has come under fire as well. Using bolts and mounting techniques that have been shown by photographs to cause damage to the fin. This has been so obvious, that Dr. Domeier himself has recently published he is discontinuing the use of them due to damage of the fins. This was predicted early on in the tagging process by numerous experts and easily preventable with very simple forethought. Yet he continued with it anyway. Now there are dozens of sharks, many species and many just babies, swimming the ocean with dying and damaged fins.

The media motivation must also be questioned. Now “Shark Men” is no longer being advertised as a science documentary, but clearly in their advertising are just promoting, “Catching the biggest sharks in the world”. Most of the 15 second advertisements don’t even address the science but focus on the best anglers in the world fishing for the biggest catch in the world. They are now even pursuing trying to catch Whale Sharks for research.

Dr. Domeier’s personal motives are questionable as well. Over the years, his pursuit to gather new data has taken the lead over sound judgment. There are dozens of statements he has made in the press and on the show that indicates he may be more concerned with being the leader in Great White Shark research than the concerns of the sharks. In one episode he is seen clearly saying, “I can’t publish a book with a research group of 1”. Other statements include, “Competing researchers” and “They don’t want me on top”, clearly indicating he is taking this as a race. Having done research myself, this kind of mind frame does not lend itself to advocacy of the animals and does not belong in objective scientific methods.

Since the “Croc Hunter”, the demand for sensationalized science programs has gone to extremes. Dramatic reality TV shows under the guise of “research” have become the newest goldmine. The most obvious example that comes to mind is Brady Barr, being permitted to do research where instead he swung from a vine like Tarzan and landed in a river to catch a snake to get venom from it before releasing it while 300 miles away was a herpatarium that housed several of the same species that are regularly milked for venom, negating the need for his dramatic abuse of that particular creature.

Even research itself has become a goldmine. With approximately 17 species a year going extinct worldwide and the looming extinction of major species like the Polar Bear, research grants and funding has gone through the roof in the last 5 years. The conflict of human population growth and the impact of development by endangered species, has put scientists and their research at high value. Unfortunately, the growth and demand for research has put research itself as a threatening action towards species.

I have clearly outlined that Dr. Domeier’s forethought and motives are questionable. His actions and statements do not portray him as a true advocate for his subjects, but rather use his subjects as a stepping stone to his motives. I urge you to take the step in doing your job in protecting our sharks from potentially harmful research. Deny Dr. Domeier his permit.

Josh C.

Dear Sanctuary Council Members,

Although I am not a marine biologist, I have been following the recent controversy concerning Dr. Domeier's research techniques and mishaps involving "Junior".. and I've listened to and participated in some of the online debate, as I've had a keen interest in sharks since I was a child.

In my opinion, Dr. Domeier sacrificed the safety and well-being of a protected animal in order for Discovery to make “good TV”. From all I’ve seen and read, I don’t see the advantage of such intrusive and stressful research techniques, when similar data can be obtained from other methods (as evidenced by many other scientists’ testimony). I can only surmise that Discovery Channel lined Dr. Domeier’s pockets nicely for this show. As we all know, TV has to get more and more extreme in order to capture the attention of Generation X’ers. Next thing you know, Bear Grylls will be strapping himself to the belly of a White Shark like the Space Shuttle on its booster rocket, all in the name of "science".

It does appear that whoever leaked the single-frame image “conveniently” may have chosen a frame which supported their case. However, finger-pointing and ulterior motives aside - regardless of whether or not the foul-hook damage directly or indirectly contributed to Junior's poor condition by making him weaker and more susceptible to attack, I still believe the hook-and-haul method is unnecessary and should be prohibited when equally effective methods of tagging free-swimming sharks are available and proven. I've also read of a scientist in South Africa who has retrieved blood samples from a free-swimming white shark.

We all know hauling a 2K+ pound shark out of the water gets much higher ratings than studying it the old-fashioned way… but the well-being of endangered species should not be sacrificed in order to make “Extreme TV”. The stress of hooking it, tiring it out and hauling it out of the water, not to mention having to shove bolt-cutters into its gills when something goes awry, may threaten its ability to regulate its body temperature as some scientists have speculated, or weaken it in other ways we do not yet understand.

I realize some important data may result with the permanent tag, but considering how imperiled the species is, with the fact that tagging and samples can be performed with much less intrusive methods, Dr. Domeier's extreme methods seem almost a scientific dereliction of duty. And his comments have seemed to convey the indifferent attitude, “well, if an individual dies or is injured, so be it.. things happen during research.” It’s one thing if an individual dies or is injured while a scientist is taking the utmost precautions to ensure it’s well-being and survival. But I believe this hook-and-hoist method was used to get some shocking TV footage, and as such is extremely irresponsible. It’s incredible to think that it was even allowed at the sanctuary.

Can lifting a 2K pound fish out of the water for any period of time (especially as long as they did?) really be good on the animal? Especially when the permanent tag bolted to its dorsal fin deforms it over the course of its life? I also read an article detailing new revelations about the weakness and fragility of a white shark’s jaw before maturity (http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9247000/9247603.stm). Given that multiple individuals of varying ages are commonly present at a research site, isn’t it possible that Domeier's methods could severely damage a shark’s jaw if it isn’t yet fully developed?

True, sharks are facing much worse dilemma with ignorant finning traditions, but this is something that needs to be fully investigated, and I believe Domeier’s methods should be disallowed in the future. Let’s put egos, spotlights and big-budget TV on the back-burner, err on the side of caution and treat these animals with the respect they deserve. Please consider this when rendering your decision on Dr. Domeier's pending Farallones permit.


I'am in France et I'am agree with Craig : "It's disgusting that this so called "research" is allowed to take a beautiful and healthy animal and destroy his life. They didn't even have the decency to end his suffering. Maria Brown should be fired for allowing this in what is supposed to be a sanctuary". Please peace et freedom for sharks, stop ! Your greed will lose you

Ocean admirer

I was very disturbed to watch the horrific treatment of Junior. Such brutal hooking and harmful permanent tagging unquestionably result in serious and lasting damage. I can't believe anyone who cares about sharks would do this to one. Isn't it extremely obvious that this risky trapping and fin-maiming of sharks should not be allowed in a sanctuary?
Mr. Domeier's should absolutely not be permitted to inflict any more "research" on the Farallones' Great Whites or any other species.

ocean lvr

Please get your facts straight before lambasting the sanctuary.

The sanctuary does NOT permit the hooking and tagging, simply the APPROACH and ATTRACTION of white sharks. ANY research that involves the capture and tagging of white sharks goes through the California Department of Fish and Game and gets a permit from them.

So regardless of whether or not Domeier's techniques are valid and valuable to the research community, the sanctuary does NOT permit the actual hooking and tagging.

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