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As I said on the news this evening, Michael Domeier told me he “quit” working with the producers of National Geographic’s “Shark Men”. He would not tell me why. World renowned shark researcher Pete Klimley, who works out of UC Davis, is taking his place. Klimley tells me his association with “Shark Men” is allowing him to perform research he otherwise could not afford. So far, Klimley and his crew have received $187,000 for two expeditions with the TV producers: to the Revillagigedos, a cluster of four islands off Mexico, and to Cocos Island off Costa Rica. Klimley says the third stop will be the Galapagos Islands. The production team shared an image of a Tiger Shark that Klimley and his crew tagged and released.
It all will air on Shark Men Season 3 next year. Klimley tells me the first thing he worked on with the producers was an animal care protocol, an in-depth consideration of the health of the sharks, how the research would affect them, and techniques to minimize harm. Klimley says Domeier did not have an animal care protocol in place when he came to the Farallon Islands in November 2009, and gut-hooked Junior.
The Great White was spotted late last year in terrible condition. Several researchers I spoke with say Domeier’s invasive techniques – most of all, leaving most of a 13-inch hook in Junior’s throat, made it weak and susceptible to attack by other sharks. Klimley says he demanded the production crew build a sling to hoist the sharks and a live well on the ship, in which to place them. Klimley will not work with Great Whites in these expeditions – he says their enormous size is a challenge. He’s working with smaller Tiger and Hammerhead Sharks.