The Scuba GOAT Podcast

Leonardo Guida - Australian Marine Conservation Society

July 11, 2022 Matt Waters / Dr Leonardo Guida Season 3 Episode 7
The Scuba GOAT Podcast
Leonardo Guida - Australian Marine Conservation Society
Show Notes Transcript

Dr Leonardo Guida, shark scientist and shark conservation lead at the Australian Marine Conservation Society joins us in this episode to talk through a variety of topics ranging from personal experiences swimming and diving with our apex predators to the conservation efforts currently in place throughout Australia and across the globe.

Leo is actively involved in many projects including the "Nets out now" call for shark nets to be removed throughout Australia, he .appeared in the documentary produced by Andre Borell Envoy Shark Cull which focuses on the subject.  Leo emphasises the indiscriminate targeting that hails from these antiquated defence systems with a prime example being that of a Humpback Whale being caught in a net only a few days prior to this recording, with a further 2 more whales entangled since.

We also discuss the apparent movement of sharks from locations such as South Africa pushing further south, presumably due to climate change and rising water temperatures.  With larger predators such as Great Whites moving into locations inhabited by more docile species such as Grey Nurse Sharks, are they to become a new target for the larger shark and what impact does this have on the overall balance in the regions?

Leo talks with such passion it's hard to break away from listening to his experiences, skills and knowledge across a wide spectrum of conservation.  Actively sharing his knowledge via social media, Leo regularly posts updates on what is happening within Australia and you can follow him via the links on the Scuba GOAT website.

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Matt Waters:

Hey there dive buddies and welcome to the show today we have Dr. Leonardo guida shark scientist and shark conservation leader at the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Welcome to the show, buddy.

Leo Guida:

Hey there. Thanks for having me on. It's great to chat with everyone. And to all those listening out there. I hope I don't bore you to death.

Matt Waters:

Hey, have you been? I'm just gonna jump straight into here. Have you been busy with that? While I've got caught up in the niche? Oh, yeah, it's all about timing.

Leo Guida:

For a lot of reasons. I say timing, because we're obviously having a chat that only happened yesterday. And at least in the campaign space, and the lobbying space and trying to enact change. Whenever something like this happens, things go into full gear. But the other thing about timing is that we keep saying it every bloody year. It's like clockwork, we know when the whales are coming. The nets should not be there. At the very least during migration season and it's quite the difference is like night and day, almost literally, you've got Wales that you can see on the I can't remember his first name, but on Instagram drone shark app. And it's always amazing footage of these whales going through Sydney and Bondi and up the coast and there, there are people swimming with them, you know, not knowing and it's amazing stuff to see. And guess what, there are sharks around to Tiger sharks and whatnot. You go, you literally hop the border and those whales as soon as they get past tweed, bang, there's Gold Coast, Sharklets and drumlines and you've got on the one hand, these beautiful images streaming through daily from this bloke and his drone. And then immediately next door and the next day, the complete opposite. And there's a moment of Bob stuck in a freaking shark net. Yeah. And it happened here as well, didn't it? There was a was it. Last year happened to you before having a year before that. In 2020. It was in 2020. I remember this, this is when things probably kicked off in terms of activism. There was in 2020 in April, there was three whales caught in three days forth within the space of four weeks, all on the Gold Coast beaches and three wells are caught in three days. myself my colleague Lawrence clean like a Humane Society International agenda Clarkie head on for from Sea Shepherd. And even Andre from envoy and this is when envoy was currently filming or putting together their documentary on boy shark cow. And I rang the boys and I said guys, I said I remembered as clear as day. It was a Sunday evening and I said guys, we've got to do something like three wells in three days. Like we have to capitalise on this moment and this momentum to really act to get some change happening and get everyone you know on board. And that Sunday night. Between that Sunday we did all the phone calls and everything like that. And mind you Coronavirus is in full swing, this is early 2020. We're heading into mid 2020. Everyone across the country is in lockdown or about to go into lockdown. And we're thinking, how on earth? Do we do this where it attracts media? It's visual, it's big. And we can demonstrate to the politicians in numbers that there are a lot of people in the Gold Coast community or in Queensland or southeast Queensland. Like give a shit and want to see change. In short, how do we demonstrate a public protest that's visible we're in lockdown and you can't be within a metre and a half of when anyone and we had a brainwave, I took inspiration from one of our other campaigners working up on the reef. And what she'd done was she'd gotten everyone to donate up new cancer donate their fins or any dive gear and they spelt out save our reef. And I went on, I go, dude, Let's get a bunch of surfboards, put the call out and we'll spell out nets out now on the beach. And that way they're each board is clearly representative of an individual person. And it's big. You can't miss it. The media is gonna love it. Like, let's get on it. And so within the space and I think Andre actually even mentioned this morning when he was chatting to you in a space of like 36 hours. We'd managed to find a bloke and a few others down on the Gold Coast and he's like, yep, sweet. I can help you transport the boards. We go out there we raced out there we tee up media we spell that nets out now. And it got the message through and when I say got the message through it was all the mainstream media channels social media channels seven Evening News Channel Nine evening news. We then made a few phone calls to minister Furnas office and his advisers and tried to suss out, you know, what are you going to do about this? They were very cagey, which is to be expected. And then we routes. So we did this protest, I can't remember the exact date. I think it was like a might have been like a Friday morning or Thursday morning. I think it was a Thursday morning, because I made the phone call on Sunday night. And we all spoke about what we were going to do. We did the prices for Thursday or Friday morning. And then we heard rumours that they were gonna do something about these nets are going to take them out or something was going to happen. And we got a bit excited. And funnily enough, the journalist was saying, also, when do you expect the Minister to make an announcement and we said, make an announcement? First, we've heard of it. And so long story short and down the track, what we eventually ended up hearing was that apparently, let's say apparently, because this isn't definitive, but apparently, he was going to, or the Queensland Government, I should say, was going to, in effect, remove the nets, and potentially put in either lethal drum lines in their place. Or maybe drones in their place. We're not sure. But the point was, apparently, that weekend, the Knicks were going to come out. And we were waiting and waiting and waiting for this decision. And nothing ever happened. And few months down the track, rumour comes out, and apparently, the idea was squashed at the 11th hour. By who or how we don't know. Yet no. And again, I stress this is just what we heard. This isn't definitive. But we went, Okay, well, the nets didn't come out. But Bloody hell, we gave it a solid crack. And I think we've rattled the cage. And so again, last year, the same thing happened. Tragically, it always kills me to say this, but the tragically there was a fatal shark bite agreement beach. And this was a beach that had drum lines and knits, the same arrangement. And so with the utmost sensitivity, we went out in the media, and on social media and everything like that. And we were like, Hey, everyone, This beach is lined with nets and run lines. And yet someone is still unfortunately, bitten and has passed away. This is if you ever you want to evidence that these measures serve no one any good, let alone wildlife like, this is it and then we start and then we did a cooling Gatorade August we managed to organise a beach protest. And again COVID stifled just how much we could do. So we were down at Cooley, we organised the protest ourselves, Sea Shepherd, envoy, and HSI and everyone, and this was just as Queensland had pretty much had in place their hard border according data. And we had people in bought, we have people in Byron Bay, we had people in tweed, we had people in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales willing to drive two hours plus, to beat it and say this has to stop. And they couldn't be because of the hard border closure. But again, given the COVID restrictions, again, given the last minute notice, we still managed to I reckon to get maybe 100 200 people, you can have a look at the images on envoys Facebook page. And again, we spelt out netstat now, but this time in people, yeah, and there were people to spare. So I reckon there would have been about maybe 200 people there. And again, you know, no matter the barrier, whether it's COVID or anything like that people do care, they do come out and they want to see change. And these are locals. And it was a magical day, the weather was perfect. And then as if it was scripted, that are you know, the volunteers. Some of the people in the protest, we all went to the Surf Lifesaving club had to be had a bite to eat, we look out the window. And you know, within a stone's throw of the shoreline, there's a humpback just having a ball. Yeah, we looked out the window and some of us went out to the beach. And we were just like, I can't articulate it because on the one hand, you've moved by this amazing creature so close to you, you know that? You know, it's fate is unpredictable, there are nets out that it could hit those nets. And on the one hand, you're experiencing this emotion of humility and awe. I don't know how to say but like, it's like spiritual universal experience where you're like, I as a human and this big and there's this huge ass Whale out there. And this is amazing. This is magical. Yet at the same time you're experiencing this emotion of dread foreboding anger, because there are nets out there and it could get called nose nets, and it could die.

Matt Waters:

But we've got to point out as well that, you know, for those people who are unaware of the nets, or the, you know, the strength of the nets and the size of a Whale, you can't just release them if they get tangled up, and I miss so much power in that animal. It's extremely difficult to try and remove a net from from an animal power.

Leo Guida:

Yeah, and I should say that it is illegal to do so$20,000 Plus fine. And this is before shark exclusion zone laws, which I'll touch on in a minute. And whilst we get people all the time saying, or how come no one's out there cutting the nets, why aren't you guys going out there cutting the nets? If I say, Well, I'm going to cut the nets. And I have to stress to anyone listening? who's considering it? My strongest recommendation is don't do it. I know it's extremely difficult to hear that that's happening, let alone if you're in the water, seeing it unfold. But at the end of the day, it is an extremely dangerous operation. Dealing with any stressed animal I've dealt with stress sharks trying to take their blood samples and everything. Dealing with any stressed animal is incredibly dangerous. And it's why the SeaWorld rescue crew that go out there undergo extensive training. And they don't wear helmets and life jackets for no reason. Put it that way. Yeah. And you know, the slightest NIC of a fin you're talking about, you know, an animal that weighs more than a tonne or several times. And that fin hitting you can break your ribs rupture your organs,

Matt Waters:

mate, I've got a colleague in South Africa and just a tiny flick of a fin and he busted at two ribs straightaway.

Leo Guida:

Yeah. And I completely empathise with the sentiment about wanting to help the Whale and the net, but I cannot stress enough like, don't do it. It's, it's not worth it. And then obviously, there's the fine on top of that, and going on those exclusion zones. So for those who aren't aware in Queensland, around the shark control equipment, whether it be a drum line or a shark net, you're not allowed within 20 metres of it. And they claimed safety and Andre articulated a perfectly when he was on your show. They claimed safety starting a case of a young boy who was about 10 years old, got tangled up in the drumline and drowned. When was that? 10 years old? Yeah, in the 90s. Yeah, it's like we've you're going to claim safety, you've probably should have done it then to start with. But in 2019, as part of our shark conservation campaign, I say our so Australian Marine Conservation MySite International. We've got a shark conservation campaign called Shark champions. And it's a national campaign has been going for three and a half years now. And one of the elements of it is ending shotcalling. And so in 2019, we've commissioned a photographer to go out and dive the New South Wales nets and the Queensland nets and drum lines and take photos. And people may have seen in the media, those moving photos of the humpback in the net, or the bull shark on the drum line with the hook for its mouth, or the tiger shark on the drum on swimming around in circles. So that was Nicole McLaughlin who took these amazing photos and she's on Instagram, Nicole McLaughlin, you'll be able to see those images there. And, yeah, the media we got from those photos alone was phenomenal. And at the same time, Queensland was undergoing fisheries reforms with their legislation and in their act. And along comes this exclusion law to which we said, what? And if you're in the know, and you know how politics works, it was clearly a gag order. Yeah. Basically, we want to stop any form of independent monitoring of this equipment, so that we can control the narrative, we can control what's going on, because we were putting out these images saying this is what's happening. And yeah, it was it was it was a gag order. And it's, it's still in place. So but despite that, I mean, you know, the proofs in the pudding, we saw what happened yesterday.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. And it's, um, it's got to be sad elephant in the room. And I can only imagine the only reason that these things are still out there, the nets and the drum lines, whether they're smart drum lines or the standard baited hooks. The only reason they're there is the amount of money that's coming through the door, you know, the jobs that he's creating. And then it's all run by politicians who are just protecting their own hours for the next four years.

Leo Guida:

Yeah, there's, there's 1,000,001 reasons. I suppose if you start from suppose the most obvious one is this reluctance to change? And yet there is that that fear on the political side of things, and this is consistent government's not just the current one, that if they remove the equipment, and someone unfortunately gets bitten or even more tragically dies, so so much of the public's going to Like them, it's they're gonna have other politicians using that as ammunition against them, however which way and as you said, you know, risks of seat risks re election, then you can kind of step back and look at the more sort of higher ideals and you're looking at a culture that's been ingrained since the 1960s. And any form of culture change is inherently going to take time to move in a different direction, in this case, in a positive direction, where we can improve beach safety. So we're under no illusions. And we're not naive to think that, that lethal shark control or shotcalling is going to end overnight as much as we wanted to. It's going to take time to happen. And that's why we've been working on it a concerted effort on it for the past four years dedicated effort on it. The great thing is, is that we're seeing each year these dominoes fall where one thing happens, and then we're moving towards this space of non lethal shark control. So if we look at the history of when we started our concerted effort on Shark campaigning as shotcalling, we started in 2019. And that was when a young bloke from Melbourne, Daniel Christie's, I think his name was tragically died in the Whitsundays. bitten on the leg and tragically died in said Harbour. Then there's a few other bites around the same time. And what happened there was Queensland the government actually had a roundtable meeting with the local community because tourism didn't want shotcalling happening in the Great Barrier Reef are in their area, because the whole point of tourism there is to come see the wildlife and the wild spaces. So they had this roundtable and the ministers at the time, you know, decided to put more money towards research. So we thought, Oh, my God, this is one domino that's fallen like this has set a precedent like Queensland haven't done a knee jerk reaction going out on a sharp cold, this is positive. And so we fast forward from 2018. We. And we see this sharp in that incident with the whales before whales caught in a month. And again, we hear rumours that the next might be pulled out and something's going to change. We go Oh, okay. And then at the end of May 2021, Queensland for the first time in its history trials, drones at Southeast Queensland beaches. And we go, boom, that's another domino that's fallen in the right direction. And so we can feel this building, we can see the change happening. It's just that it takes time, and it's a marathon, not a sprint. And this year, I can tell you right now, just over the past couple of days, to quote the castle, it's all about the vibe, like the vibe that I'm getting from social media, and I know social media can be an echo chamber. But you know, this is I haven't seen this ever really. We've got people in WA and networks in WA, who would against shotcalling, and campaigning for a solution here in Queensland. And I genuinely feel that there's a groundswell coming we're seeing on the ground communities up on the sunny coast as well taking action and putting out on their social media channels, like the Sunshine Coast environment Council. And I should mention another really significant domino that fell was last year, Larry and I from HSI we went up to a forum on the sunny coast at the Council held with DEP representatives and scientists about and all stakeholders, you know, lifeguards, community reps, everyone going, okay, how can we address the issue of SharkBite mitigation in the Noosa biosphere whilst maintaining its environmental values. And again, people were putting forward ideas about non lethal solutions. And that was another critical domino that fell. So things are moving in the right direction, I genuinely feel that there's a community groundswell growing. I would not be surprised if there are more demonstrations this year, especially given the fact that there aren't COVID restrictions in terms of gathering in public spaces. And I'm hopeful and confident that if not this year, by next year, there'll be more significant changes. And as I said, it will take time, but we have to keep that pressure on and we will get there and we will see our beaches become safer for betas, surfers, anyone. And not just people but also safer for wildlife as well.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, I mean, it's got to be done. I mean, in this day and age, I mean, you mentioned Western Australia that mean they've they're using non lethal. The one that caught my eye actually was the forgive me, I can't remember the name of it now. But it was on an invoice shark call. And it's the kind of the false or manmade weed effect that prevented sharks passing through. I can't understand why we can't use something like that instead of nets. Surely that would be you know, given a gives the answer on both sides of the sides there. Yeah.

Leo Guida:

And look, if not that specific technology. The point is, is that there's innovation. Yeah, we know more, we've got drones, we're understanding electro receptors in sharks better to the point where we've got now two independently scientifically verified personal shark patterns that work. They're not silver bullets. But it just might be that one instance that that, you know, prevents you from getting a really significant injury, we've got wetsuits, which are currently I think they might still be in protocol stage. But again, they've been scientifically evaluated. It's what Kevlar is the bullets in, it won't stop you from that blunt trauma, but it just might save your life from bleeding out. So there's a range of solutions. And it's not like they're fanciful, or they're 10 years down the track. They're here, then now, and this is what is incredibly frustrating. The fact that we have solutions, we've got strategies that incorporate education and so forth, yet. It's not been comprehensively used. I mean, to give credit to Queensland, they have made significant strides in the past two years, and they have made more of an effort in communicating beach safety with respect to shark interactions. And it's good to see that happening. And there are good people in the Queensland Government and the department doing amazing work, I have to say that, from a political standpoint, in the decision making, it's like, there's no justification for having drumlines or net still in the water, like anything, is an improvement on safety than what we've currently got.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Yeah, it's ridiculous. I'm gonna say like, it's much like a rather large tennis court, with a very small ping pong net, it's just pointless.

Leo Guida:

It's yeah, in terms of, like we said, in terms of space, you know, I'll tell it when you go the beach pays out. 200 steps, look back from where you started. And then look at the coastline. Exactly. And, and, you know, I tried to, as best I can to put in perspective, for others who perhaps haven't been to the beach or, you know, have mental surf beach, we have no concept of a shark or net, for that matter. I say to them, you know, I go, you know, this safety strategy has been in place for 60 plus years. So, if you went to work, your school, your kids school, your home, your workplace, and they said to you are our safety standards of 60 plus years old. Tell me are you going to go? What? Are you going to accept that or you're going to go? No, can we please have modern day safety standards? If, in the past two years with the Coronavirus pandemic, we've asked for improved safety standards for our health, in hospitals, and in aged care, because our lives matter because our health matters, we want to know that we're safe. We don't want the perception of safety, we want to know that we're safe. So why is it that at the beach, we accept the safety standards that are 60 plus years old? I'm confident that people don't accept that. The real question is to ask the decision makers, the ministers and the politicians, why won't you upgrade safety standards and bring them up to modern day standards? So again, hopefully that resonates with a few others who perhaps aren't quite informed about shark or shark nets, but at the very least just want to know that when they go and visit a beach in Queensland, when New South Wales for that matter, that their safety is taken seriously, and it's not treated like a game. It's not a perception thing. It's a real thing.

Matt Waters:

I think you touched on a point there of lack of knowledge as well. And I think that goes right the way up through from us walking down on the streets to people that are new into politics and parliament. You know, they can only go on what they've been told by the relevant departments and in I've experienced that firsthand with, with with the police here in New South Wales, when a rather senior chap was trying to preach to me about nets, and it was it was party line and I had to stop him in his in his tracks before he got a bit out of control. But that's another that's another topic another episode. Let's come away from that one for a little bit. Yeah, what where and how did you get into diving was that was it the career choice that got you in there or you're in it before?

Leo Guida:

Now there before? Like a lot of people like everything starts when you're a kid things you most passionate about. And I was all sharks always been my favourite animal. I've watched National Geographic documentaries. I rated my school library for as many picture books as I could. And believe it or not, this book right here is the one that kicked it off. So this was published in 1986.

Matt Waters:

Is that one

Leo Guida:

this is a Reader's Digest with an introduction by Ron and Valerie Taylor, the 1986. If you get a chance to read it, it just it's a sign of the times like there's no mention of anything about threatened animals conservation. It's just sharks biology, fishing. That's it. So books like that I used to just absorb and absorb as a science geek love science, super curious, still in. And so fortunate enough to marry the two and and as I got older, I grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. So I didn't, I didn't grow up by the beach per se. But again, fascination with the ocean. And as I got older, I had a mate that I went to school with two decent diving. And I said, I'd love to do that at some point. And it was literally just a case of eventually, I think, at the age of 21. Relatively, I'd say, late, getting into diving. managed to save up enough cash. Got my licence. I've been Merimbula in southern New South Wales, my mates holiday house, and never looked back. And I reckon I've got I'm now 37 And I've dived more in the past two years than I had in the years leading up to that. Yeah, cuz I was at uni. It's an expensive hobby. I had to work on weekends, all the usual excuses. And, and yeah, I I've had some amazing, amazing experiences. One of my fondest was in South Africa in 2014. So I went there for a big sharks conference. Also my PhD at the time. It's called sharks International. And it's the massive conference, I have it every four years. And this year, they're doing it in October in Spain, which I'm lucky enough to go to again. But anyway, they had it. They had it in South Africa in 2014. And halfway during the conference, they had a daybreak, so the five day conference, and on the Wednesday, everyone could go out and do guided tours and whatnot. So quite a few people went out on the dive. And it was it Ali Whaleshark Because they had a conference in Durban and Aliwal Shoal. You know, I googled it in YouTube before I went, and it was, you know, Whaleshark Tiger sharks, blacktip sharks, like, those aren't hanging, this is gonna be awesome. And so we went out there, and we dived with without a cage on the first one, although there was holes, there's no cage. And these beautiful, just black tips, a common black tip shark, you know, maybe two and a half three metres long, buzzing around us. And it was an experience I'll never ever forget, like, they come right up to you. And you got to kind of like just gently nudge him away. And was that a bit? It was just, yeah, yeah, that by the the water. And then on the second day of that day, they took us to a slightly different spot. And they're like, oh, you know, we'll show you some ragged tubes, which is what they call grey nurse sharks. So we went diving, and again, that is not in the visit was absolutely horrible. But it was also part of the mistake as well as like, they just pop up out of the green. And you know, they're there. And it was just Yeah, and then had the ragged tooth. You know, I remember sitting on the sea floor, this ragged tooth just looking at me, and it's coming towards me, and I can remember doing this lap comb. And it was just coming slow and then just veered off. And then me and my dive buddy, who was this Mexican fellow we went, swam under this rocky sort of little overhang. As we were coming back up. I remember coming up, and I looked up to my left, and I saw this shadow. And I had his blunt nose, and I thought that's gonna be a huge tiger shark. And I was just pumped, and then I'm assuming I'm gonna do that. And then No, that's way too big. And then what it was, it was a silhouette of a Whaleshark coming over the top. So I kicked up and I managed to catch the the side of it. But these animals just moved so incredibly fast because of their size, one beat at the tail, and they'd gone. And then after that, got back up on the boat, and the guys are gonna dive. They said, I You're not going to believe me if I told you he started laughing. And then I told him, he starts laughing nearly as mate he goes, you've missed the season by about two months. He goes, I don't think you saw it. You saw. I said, I've got it on my frickin GoPro, but like I couldn't show him. Sorry. Yeah, that was amazing. And then, and then after that conference finished, I had I went down to, to Cape Town for a couple of days. And that's when I got into a cage with a white shark. And that was I'm getting two responses remembering it. That was it was this. Four and a half metre five metre female. And I remember we're on the boat, and we're back to go in in the cage. And it was the most interesting experience where I felt instinctive fear. Yeah. And I feel like I've never felt before. And I caught myself for a split second and I went, Ah, that's what that feeling is like, it's, it's this instinctive fear, and then I went, Leo, it's okay. You're in it. hates all good. Let's go in. And then I went in, and then that fear dissipates, but it was just, it was just it was your human instinct telling you, you are entering a really, really dangerous place. Yeah. But anyway, winning. And, you know, again, the visit is terrible, it's green. But that's what made it amazing. It was like, it was like, you know, when you watch those movies, and like a figure appears out of the fog, it was like that, but it was just beautiful white shark is appearing out of this green fog. And she's circling the cage for like 40 minutes, and she's big. And the one thing that blew my mind was the size of the tail. So from the top of the tail to the bottom of the caudal fin, it was like at least seven foot, like it looked disproportionate to the body, like it was crazy. This thing is just built for speed, it is a missile. And she's swimming around. And in the whole 45 minutes, she bears her teeth maybe once. Which is amazing. Because whenever you see white sharks, most people, whenever you see it, it's always an image of their teeth. They're always in attack mode, they're always, you know, vicious, yet, in reality, you're watching this animal, and it's just cruising, just and you watch it pass the cage, and I've got my GoPro and I have to remind myself to pull my hands in, cuz I'm so excited, I've got to remind myself to pull my heads in just in case. It's coming past the cage, you know, within last 30 centimetres, and these big, beautiful, like, per dark purple eye. It's like the size of a dinner plate. And you can see it move and twist and you know that that animal can see you. But you don't know what it's thinking. And arms in the water going, what are you thinking I'd love to just peer inside your mind. Because you can tell it's looking at you. And you only bear the teeth once. And from that experience. They're like, your perception on the animal completely changes because you've seen it in real life. books tend to paint it out to be and you walk away going it is a gentle, majestic animal. Don't get me wrong, a dangerous animal. And you don't want to muck around with it. But nonetheless, majestic and graceful. And has every right to exist. Yeah. Yeah. And it was it was just mind blowing. And then, you know, I've kept in touch with some scientists over in South Africa. And we can we can touch on this lady with regards to another issue. But I've kept in touch with them because Chris Fellowes who's this amazing photographer in South Australia, South Africa, who was the first person to capture that edge yours when you're leaping out of the water and the bleaching. I had a chat with him and he calls me up. And he goes, we had a chat because he goes for the past four or five years. So this is in 2020. You guys may know white sharks in false Bay. And I said, What do you mean? He goes, we actually haven't seen any white sharks in full space since 2015. So for those who aren't aware, false Bay is where that seal colonies it's well in cage diving. This is where they tow the seals and the sharks breach. So why he goes, I suspect that because of unsustainable shark fishing here, so fishing for what they call smooth down sharks and taupe sharks. They're the same species. We also catch in our largest shark fishery in the southern and eastern scale fish and shark fishery. So he's the one that spans New South Wales reps around Victoria, South Australia through the WA. So we have a gummy shark and it's called Shark. They have a toad shark and the smooth round. The top shark is the school sharks that are made and the smooth Hound is essentially the sister species of a gummy shark. It's same bucket different colour. And he said he goes, I know, I've clicked on these fleets, the fishing with the marine parks, you know, they're raping and pillaging the ocean. They're catching all the shark and it's being sent to Australia. And so what he goes, Yeah, he goes, we know that this shark fishery exported shark meat. So what Aziz most commonly known as flake to Australia, and he goes from my experience. The we think that the white shark tends to eat smaller sharks because more numerous and number easier to catch. And if they can score a seal, they will. Now there's some there's logic to this because white sharks only have about a 50% strike rate when they go hunting seals. It's not that high. They're good at it. But it's only 50% Because those seals are bloody clever, and they're bloody fast. And sharks are only hunting that narrow window of early dawn and sunset because they can use the lack of light to their advantage. So he goes, You know, I suspect that between the overfishing the sharks don't have as much food to eat. And they've moved on elsewhere. He goes because if you go around guns by muscle by everything like that, he goes, it's still there. And I said to him, I go What about the killer whales? because there's a famous case of port and starboard these oceanic killer whales, who come in and we're picking off white sharks and we're eating their livers like Hannibal Lecter is of the sea. That's the only thing that was the liver. And these white sharks were washing up dead, with their livers, excised, and getting their head look at studies on white sharks and killer whales can actually scare white sharks off for like, a couple of months at a time. Yeah. And he goes, Look, he goes short, he goes, I don't doubt that that happens. He goes, but you're talking about videos, that's relative blip. He goes, we're looking at multiple years of no white sharks. I don't know why. Because only thing I can think of is because the severe overfishing, it's affecting the ecosystem here in South Africa's waters. So okay, I'll have a look at the Australian side of things. So I look at the Australian side of things. And whilst there's no definitive evidence as such, if you have a look at the trade records, coincidentally, from 2015, through to now, year on year, it doubled. And by now it's about tripled. Where Australia is importing shark meat or shark products from South Africa. It's coincidental, it's at the same time. And most of Australia's shark making shark products actually comes from New Zealand, the vast majority of it, but other than New Zealand, the next country bank, South Africa, just at the moment just these imports come in. Now admittedly, it is coincidental. But there's enough there to go. And I'm speaking to Enrico generic who's a sidestep in South Africa, study white sharks. Admittedly, there's enough clues to go something's going on here. And you'd be naive to think that overfishing wasn't part of the problem. So from my end, with my work, looking at sustainable fisheries in Australia, looking at shark conservation through the lens of sustainable fishing in Australia, I started putting this together and going, so hold on. So Australia is happy to claim claim, you know, that we're cleaning green, and we're the world's best fisheries and more sustainable brand Australia. Yet, we've got no problems supporting unsustainable fishing practices in South Africa, that will but are driving two species to extinction, because the smooth hound and the toad shark in South Africa are endangered. So we are eating or importing these endangered sharks. So we're happy to support that fishery, which is driving the sharks to extinction. We're having to eat those endangered sharks. And we're affecting an entire tourism operation in South Africa. So much so that if you bring up the cages, I was in false Bay now. And you even if you look at the websites, they've kind of shifted their marketing to shark experiences where you're looking at board, no seven gills and a few other shark species, because the white sharks just aren't there. Yeah. So we're affecting the tourism industry. We're affecting the ecology. We're affecting species driving into extinction, in pulling them over to Australia. And we're happy to do that. And I was like, no, this doesn't cut the mustard. Even if you take out the equation, watch X disappearing from South Africa. This does not cut the mustard. Something's wrong here. And so part of the work that I do is going okay, Australian fisheries need to lift their game because we've got some serious problems in our own backyard. And part of those problems is we can't be a pot calling the kettle black. Sure, relative to the rest of the world, our fisheries are in a relatively good position, because we're well resource country, relatively low historical fishing pressure. But that does not mean we don't have problems. However, that being said, as a quote unquote, leading nation, we should not be supporting unsustainable fishing practices elsewhere. And that speaks to seafood imports, seafood labelling, and how we go about it. So yeah, it's a long winded way of saying that Australia's fisheries need some serious fixing up when it comes to sharks and rays. And that's what my work entails.

Matt Waters:

of you. Just just on the Import Export thing, though, if you come across the import and export of shark fin at all, I'm just thinking back to Brendan and lizard shark guardian, they took on parliament in the UK with the legal importation of people being able to take it through an analogue edge.

Leo Guida:

So so you'd be I don't know if you'd be surprised, because you might you might be quite well informed, but it's perfectly legal to import an export shark fin. There's nothing illegal about it. Australia trades in shark fin, there's nothing illegal about it. What is illegal is shark finning, and that is where you're cutting the fins off and you're dumping the body, but there's nothing illegal about getting a sharp cutting fins off using the meat and the fins and then trading in it. So that's that there. I'm sorry. Do you want to repeat the question? I don't know if I've answered it right. Have I just got off on a tangent again?

Matt Waters:

That's alright. Just if it was, if there was any similarities with another had limitations on what individuals could bring into the UK?

Leo Guida:

Ah, I see what you say. Yeah. Yeah. So with our important exports, I suppose the best place to start is with a concert that's called the concert. It's called fins there, sorry, with a concept or a management tool that's called fins naturally attached. Okay. Now what this is, it means that if any shark is harvested, its fins by the time it gets to land. By the time it's landed on land back to port, it has to come back in one piece essentially, with its fins on it fins naturally attached. The reason for this is there's a few reasons. One, it obviously is a practical safeguard against illegal shark finning. Because you can't separate the fins from the body, too. It helps fishery managers identify what species are being caught and in what numbers, because once you start removing things from a shark body, species become very hard to identify. So the size of the fins relative to each other, and their position on the body. And their shape is one of the morphological features we use to identify sharks, particularly when you're looking at Whale species that all have that characteristic shark shape that all look similar. So species ID helps managers know what species are being caught, where and how many, that then goes into broader management so that we can have sustainable fisheries. Thirdly, it stops endangered species from being caught, because that speaks to being able to identify the species. So if someone brings a shark back with fins naturally attached, and the fisheries officer goes, Okay, I'm going to check your catch. Hold on, that's an endangered species that's protected by law, you shouldn't have that. He can spot it, or she can spot it. But without fins naturally attached, if you're able to mix up your fins and flesh, you'd never know. Yeah. So in a nutshell, stops illegal live feeding. sharks come back in one piece, you can ID the species and preventing dangerous species from entering the trade. Now, I mentioned that because when we start looking at imports and exports, this is what Canada did. I think the UK follow the same model, I have to double check. But this is definitely what Canada did. And what they did is they said that for any imports and exports, you have to have things naturally attached. Now what that that disincentivizes trading shark fins because all of a sudden, if you want to export shark fin, you have to export the entire caucus. Yeah. So that's white, that space and a shitload of money to do so. So the question is, do you really want to do it? Conversely, if you want to import shark's fin, you're going to have to pay for a consignment of shark carcasses with their fins attached, again, costs so on and so forth. Do you really want to do it? So it's kind of an economic disincentive? quite it's quite a practical workaround and quite a practical solution. The other thing in theory is that with fisheries that have fins naturally attached, there is the argument and this is gonna be very controversial, per se, but hear me out there is the argument that you could have a sustainable fin trade. And by that, I mean is that and again, this is in theory, is that let's say you have a fishery, where it catches a shark species that reproduces relatively fast, you've got a good handle of its biology, its stock, you know what numbers can be caught without depleting the population. And on top of that, the way you fish it doesn't impact the broader environment. So you know, dolphins do gongs, so on and so forth. So for simplicity sake, let's just say that you've got a shark. It's sustainable by any measures, you're not impacting the population. The theory goes with fins naturally attached, is that you're harvesting the shark sustainably, you're using it in its entirety, it's not being wasted. If you're using it for meat, well, then why wouldn't we use the fins? You then export the fins? And you know, it's from a fishery that's traced as fins naturally attached, everything's aboveboard. Arguably, you could charge a premium for that product. And then again, in theory, because you're charging a premium for that product, because it is sustainable, that money should then go into improving fisheries management even better, and even helping threatened species recovery number. Again, that's theory. That's currently what's accepted scientifically as best practice. Because short of that, what do you do? And there are a lot of arguments you know, for and against. But suffice to say that fins naturally attached in fisheries is the best practical metall we have at the moment to prevent life finning in Australia, God Western Australia is the only jurisdiction in the country that doesn't have it. and Western Australia has Australia's second largest shark fishery that catches Don't be shocked school sharks and Hammerhead species. They don't have it. However, thanks to thanks to air campaigning in the support of the broader public, the government's made a commitment that by the end of this year they will have it. So I'm actually in discussions now with wa to kind of see where they're at and how they're progressing. But fingers crossed that come the end of this year, they'll actually have it in place. Queensland doesn't have it in the Gulf of Carpentaria fishery, so Queensland's very north, if you look at the Cape, decide to head west into that gulf. That fishery there does not have fins naturally attached, and they still catch a shitload of shark with nets including endangered skeleton ahead, and no fins naturally attached. Queensland however, does have it on its east coast fishery. The point I'm getting at is that Australia is Patchwork, its anti finning regulations aren't up to scratch and then not consistent. So what this means is that in the Gulf for example, if a fisher wanted to illegally fin an animal or highgrade his product, he could and be none the wiser. Because an example would be Skeletor Hammerhead, for example. So skeleton ahead endangered in Australian waters, you can still legally be harvested, and palmed off the efficiency of shop and market it is like there's nothing illegal about it. You can be any endangered sharp and you wouldn't even know it. But let's just say a fishy goes out there. And I should preface this with the fact that this isn't all fishers. Because there are some bloody good fishes out there who do give a shit about the work they do environmentally and wanted to continue in the future. But at the same time, there are also ones out there like in any industry that are cowboys and don't give a shit. They just want to make money now and that's it. So let's just say this bad Fisher so to speak, the one of the one of the Rori, one of the rotten eggs, wants to goes out, catches the sharks and on his boat because there's no fins actually attached, cuts the fins off, puts it in one pile, dices the flesh, flesh out puts it in another pile. And so long as those piles are in about a 5% ratio, according to the law. He's okay.

Matt Waters:

What do you manifest leaps and ratio.

Leo Guida:

So, so long as the weight the weight of the fins is 5% of the total weight of the flesh is okay. The rationale behind that is that as a general rule of thumb, the weight of a shark's fin is 5% of his body mass. Okay, well, that's not the case, because they've done numerous studies afterwards to kind of work out this thing. And you've got species where the ratios are way off. You've got some species where I think like an oceanic white tip or maybe a few others where you know, the weight ratio is like maybe eight 9% And you've got somewhere the ratio is 1%. So the moral of the story is that 5% is somewhat arbitrary. So anyway, so long as he's got his pile of flesh in his pile of fins, and within that ratio, you guys yet um, sweet, no worries. But let's say he pulls up his net, and he pulls up this huge mature skeletal, great Hammerhead, the Hammerhead Hammerhead fins are one of the most prized on the market. Yeah. And he goes, I can't let these five $600 It cuts the field off, dumps the body. And what he does is in his pile of fins to keep the weight ratio up, he throws out some of the smallest little ones that aren't going to fit his money. That's high grading. It's like a fish. It's like if anyone went out and they caught small fish, and then later on on their way home, they caught bigger fish and throughout the small fish. That's what they call high grading. So he's done that with fins, and his finger shark and he's done something illegal. And there's no way of knowing because a in Queensland fisheries, there's no independent monitoring. And in WA fisheries, there's sorry in the WH Shark Fishery as well. And in Queensland fisheries entirely. There's no independent monitoring. So there's no way of knowing what actually happens out of sea. And it hasn't been like that since 2012.

Matt Waters:

So it's just It's just math music when they report that, you know,

Leo Guida:

it's interesting that what they put in the books is true. And so in short, this guy has pulled up his Hammerhead cut the fins off high graded it now again, I stress this is if this is if official wanted to do something illegal. No one watching you. And comes back to Port fishing officer comes up doesn't ever look the catch here. Sure. No worries. Fisher, obviously he's got no idea of how to identify the sharks because there's a pile of fins and a pile of flesh. Yeah, tell me you're gonna go pick through each one and try and you can't seem practical. But he goes, you know, what are the weights yet within the ratio? No worries, off you go. If you had things actually attached, there's no way that would have been able to happen. So with fins naturally attached, even though there is an independent monitoring, any chart that he brings back has essentially been one piece. So there's no way he's going to bring back any protected species or anything like that. because it'll get caught,

Matt Waters:

but then wouldn't be the argument that if he catches the big ash scalloped hammerhead, and we're operating under the fence attach bit that he doesn't just chuck out a shit tonne of the small Yeah,

Leo Guida:

and case there despite the fact that it's an endangered animal but can still be legally caught. Sure he hasn't broken the rule by catching a skeleton ahead and bringing it back. But he couldn't finish it, he couldn't dump it. And if he did want to bring it, let's get to chew up his holding space. So it's perhaps going to take place. So from a practical standpoint, Finn's naturally, Tasha is world's best practice in sustainable fisheries management, whether you're sharp fish or not, because the reality is, even in a tuna longline fishery, you're going to catch pelagic sharks. In some trawl fisheries, you're gonna catch sharks. And some of those sharks are byproduct, they're kept for their fins and their flesh. And so fins naturally attached just ensures that from a very practical perspective, we know what's getting caught. We know what species are getting caught. And even from a marketing perspective and and consumption perspective, the animal isn't getting wasted. And obviously, people can have their ethical views on that better that's entirely within their rights. But yeah, in Australia, who is the only jurisdiction that does not have it in any of their fisheries, let alone their major shark fishery. I am optimistic, and I am trusting that they will have it in place by the end of the year. But we're still wait to see that. But the good news is they have made that commitment. That's the good news. So yeah, that's that's just from the defence side of things. But it is a bit of a misconception globally, that finning is driving the declining sharks. So WWF WWF did a global study with a few scientists, and they released I think, last year, and it's clear that what's actually driving the decline in sharks in terms of fishing is the meat. So whilst meat per kilo is worth less than thin, right? In terms of volume, and market demand, it's the meat that's getting sold. And

Matt Waters:

so we've got all this finger pointing towards the Far East once in fins all the time, when actually, it's much more than the Far East. It's it's countries like Australia and England, that are using that meat as as you know, like, say, the unofficial chip shots.

Leo Guida:

It's everyone like you can't really point the finger at any individual. Yeah. Sure, the biggest fin trade market is in Southeast Asia. But I'm not going to go and say that, because frankly, it's racist. And I'm not gonna go and say that on Southeast Asia that's driving the decline in sharks right across the world, because fin trade, it's not true. It's the demand for meat. And what we have to realise is, is that that demand for meat goes to service poor nations, because shark meat is generally the cheapest meat, because in some cases, we've perhaps overfished what was traditionally targeted. So we fall back to shark meat, which is historically generally speaking, less desirable. T, and it's not as marketable, it's not as worthy per kilo. So the demand is largely made through the rest of the world, not fins, fins, is if you want to call it a bit of a byproduct. But again, that's not to say that finning doesn't occur that people don't kill sharks, because the fins are valuable, that does happen too. But overall, the main driver is the meat, not the fins. But suffice to say, they're both problems nonetheless. And the other really important thing that that people should be aware of, in terms of pointing fingers, and who's to blame for declines and whatnot, is just to be a bit culturally aware. And by that, I mean that, particularly in a lot of the Southeast Asian countries, and fishing nations where fish is pretty much their only source of reliable protein. And culturally, fishing has been around for 1000s of years in their cultures. They have an inherent understanding of the value of fish to their cultures, and they respect the sea as such. But there's also modern day real world pressures. So I'll never ever forget. And again, this goes back to that South Africa conference where this woman got up and she was speaking about her research from memory was in Indonesia. And part of her research was looking at the human side of shark fishing, what that meant for conservation. And I'll never ever forget it because the first time that I went, oh shit, I never thought of that. And that was she said, the shark fishermen in Indonesia know how important sharks are to their ecosystem. They know how important sharks are to their culture, to their belief systems to everything. Ah, they faced with a very real world problem of how do I feed my family? How do I go out on these boats for days? If not, weeks at a time, maybe months, and come back with nothing. When all I can come back with is shark me, or at least that's the majority of what I can come back with. Or I come back with the fins because it's gonna give me money and I can, it's a very real problem and a very wicked problem. And so that's when I went cheese like, you can't just be a quote unquote raving, grinning. Not that I want it to be, but I was just like, you've got to realise there's a human element here, you've got

Matt Waters:

to have balance, it's got to be on balance. And you've got

Leo Guida:

to have that in Australia, it's, it's a bit trickier because, you know, the situation is not that dire. To be quite frank, I'm sure whenever you're looking at fisheries management, it impacts livelihoods Sure. But at the same time, you know, I look from the perspective of, I want to see a healthy ocean. I like fishing to eat. I actually wouldn't mind trying to spear fish. I just started freediving not long ago. Again, for my own personal consumption, I've got nothing against it completely understand it, it just goes back to that point where fishing is a responsibility not arrived. Just don't be a dick when you do it. And so when you're looking at fisheries management, and I'm involved in a lot of working groups, I speak to a lot of commercial fishers in these groups, you know, now cracks in me saying oh, you know, you want to destroy fishing in Australia, you know, you want to destroy jobs. And I get that sentiment. But at the same time I started like a minute ago. I want to make sure that what's out there is out there for everyone, including yourself, because the right way going in this particular fishery. Might you're going to struggle in the next few years, you're struggling now according to the stock assessments. But again, that's just the typical Argy bargy. But the point being is that within these working groups, there is balance. And I'm on the side of making sure that these oceans are healthy, and that our sharks and rays are protected and they're not driven to the client. They're not driven to extinction so that sustainable, true environmentally sustainable fishing can occur. And what I'm really proud of is that AMCs Australian Marine Conservation silent I work for, we've got a programme called the good fish programme, which is our independent, sustainable seafood guide. And we look at sustainability from a holistic perspective. So it's not just the number of a given fish. It's also about when you catch that fish short, its numbers might be great, but what's the impact on seals on dolphins on the habitat on the environment, so on and so forth. And we then write that product with a traffic light system. So green is yet go ahead. Oranges elect and red is avoid. And so I'm proud to say that there are some fish there are fish stocks, and there are fisheries where we have green listed them. We recently green list I did double check was green or amber. But suffice to say, we recently showcased a line fissure in the Great Barrier Reef officious for Cole trout. Now, this bloke catches fish with a headline. And he can tell the size, to some extent what fish just by the Twitter the line just through periods, and one fish at a time comes up in good nick, if he catches one he's not meant to catch because it's in good nick, you can throw it back there, it's gonna survive. So there are ways of doing things. It just comes down to the fact that we've got to get over this idea that we can have what we want when we want and however we want it. I think those days are long and totally gone. So I'm really proud that we do that, that we look at conservation, and we're bringing everyone on board for the ride. If you're a vegan, amazing, you've been able to make that choice, you've been able to support that lifestyle, all the power to you. And I mean that genuinely, if you're red blooded, carnivore, great. We just hope that you make your choices as informed as possible. And that's where the AI comes in. For some people, you know, I want to eat seafood for this my life. But alright, here's an informed choice so that you can enjoy seafood, but let's enjoy it so that the environment actually benefiting as well. Yeah, then there are people who are on the journey. And I'll include myself in this, where our relationship with seafood has drastically changed. I grew up or I've grown up in an Italian family, where seafood is just common fare. And I've grown up now my family knows that and even people I go out with like for me to eat seafood when I go out. I am so picky. It's not funny. Unless I know what it is, where it's from and how it's caught. I just don't touch it. But I don't want us the same time. If they asked me why I said Well, alright, let's have a conversation. And they might walk away and change their mind. I don't know. But the great thing is is that for people with their relationships changing and they're on this journey, again, being informed with our sustainable seafood Guide is a way to go. Okay? I'm thinking of going vegan or I'm thinking of being Vegetarian, suppose like a drug, I want to wean myself off. And then to wean myself off, I'll start with small, achievable goals. And that might be, I'll only eat the green list and species, and then down the track that might realise, well, I actually don't really need that much seafood anymore. Fuck it, I just wanted seafood. And I think I'm actually starting to head down that track. And that's only because I'm so picky with what I eat. Now in terms of seafood that I've realised I can't even read the last time I ate seafood, and then I go, has the quality of my life really changed. Not really, still eat a pretty balanced diet, still pretty healthy, still pretty fit. I have good friends have good family is good. But again, I say that coming from a very fortunate position, fortunate position in terms of, you know, job security, or wage, education, so forth. So we're not all cut from the same cloth in that respect. And it's gonna take horses for courses to bring everyone on this journey to really improve the health of our oceans.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. And it's the sustainability element that you were touching on there, you know, the, the guy that's on his fishing line, or, you know, the locals that I used to live with in Papua New Guinea going out on the kynos, single lines and catching what they can and in very small quantities in comparison to what's out there. It's the huge trawlers that are making the millions of dollars and catching tonnes upon tonnes upon tonnes, leaving it in a freezer offshore and then shipping it across. That's the bit that needs to be controlled. That's the bit that we need to get a grip of.

Leo Guida:

Yeah, yeah, there's there's a lot of problems globally. And, and it's tricky, because there's a lot of problems that I genuinely would love to help solve. Be really, really full blown involved with, but there's enough to bite into just in Australia alone. So Australia's our focus and my focus at the moment, and there are some international components to it. But yeah, I, I'm not going to stop until I die pretty much. Yeah, I mean, I don't really call this work. It's what I do.

Matt Waters:

That's what they do. It's a it's a passion, isn't it? And if you Yeah, if you can do your passion every day, then, you know, there's only gonna be some good come from it somehow. And I think you're well,

Leo Guida:

there is my um, and like, even when you follow your passion, you have cheat days, you have days where you're like, quiet, I knew this. bit naive to think it's all going to be roses. But the point is, is like when you're doing your passion, like you're willing to put up with it, when you have those moments, but the good stuff, the best stuff that happens and a genuinely put wind in your sails. And it's happened a few times, is when you get a letter from a kid. And they've taken the time to sit down and write this letter. And some of the things they say are hilarious, because it's just like they say from the mouth of babes. It's just cold truth. Yeah. shark fishing should never happen. And sharks aren't mean they're nice. And thank you so much for making me learn about this. And I really want to save sharks and some kids have actually gone like, they've donated money from their birthdays, they've they've saved up money to donate to help save sharks. And I look, I look at that, and I go, it, they inspire me, they motivate me, not the other way around. And it just demonstrates that no matter what you do, whether you're a conservationist, whether you're a diver, whether you're an electrician, or whether you're a builder, whatever, like don't, for a moment think that you don't have impact on people around you. And I think if you can make yourself conscious of that as much as you can, then it's enriching, it makes you want to be better to do better, regardless of what your trade is. And in my case, when I get those letters, or when I'm given an opportunity to speak to a school. And kids get really excited, it reminds me of when I was a kid, and I now am fortunate enough to be in this position to give back. And what I give back, they give to me tenfold. And it's there the winds that are really cherished because the conservation winds, particularly with marine conservation, they're few and far between you fail more than you're in. And when you do get those winds, they can literally take years to happen. As we discussed earlier, shotcalling with fisheries management, look, I've been doing this for four or five years now. And my four or five years, I'm hoping that by the end of this year, who puts fins is actually attached in. So it's a long road and you take the winds where you can get them no matter how small they are. And I suppose that just speaks to a life lesson in general.

Matt Waters:

Yeah, yeah. Just a bit. So where did where do you think we're going with, you know, let's put a prediction. What's that? What's going to happen with And Dr. Leo said, what's gonna happen with sharks in Australia? Over the next 10 years?

Leo Guida:

Over the next 10 years? Oh, good question.

Matt Waters:

There's a big one for him.

Leo Guida:

That's a big one. So the next 10 years will be 2037. No 2020 32. Wow. I don't know. Because there's so many factors like even if you took fishing out of the equation, climate change is a big one. And that's affecting sharks as well, all right, let's, it might be hard to say. Alright, let's look at this. Because I actually was involved in a study on this. So we have some indication of what sharks are going to be doing in the next 10 years or so at least by the end of the century, with climate change. So what you'll see or what we'll probably see, in terms of movement, is we'll see sharks literally pushed into a corner. So we'll have tropical species and subtropical species like bull sharks, tiger sharks, making their way further south into Australia. They've already noticed this with bull sharks as well. So they'll head further and further south, particularly down the east coast. And the reason being is you've got that East Australian Current that brings warm water from the tropics down. That's extending year on year and getting stronger year on year. And when you get down to the bottom of Australia, like that Victorian kind of Tasmanian intersection, that's a global warming hotspot, the water there is heating at four times the global average. So yeah, so what's happening is you're getting these tropical species moving down in terms of sharks, which are then pushing your more subtrim temperate species you call border species, they're getting pushed, according to the modelling, say, from Vic, down into South Australia, because they can't go further south, because there's a continental shelf. Yeah, so not all sharks can just live in water, because it's deep, like they have depth limits as well, yeah, based on habitat requirements, and so forth. But generally speaking, once you get to the shelf, it's kind of like up, we're going to stop here, we're going to change direction. So they can only go so far south and they got to go west. So they're going to have west into South Australia, you look at the West Coast of Australia, it's going to be almost similar kind of thing, warm water is going to come further south more or less. And then what's going to happen is you're going to have this kind of contraction, where there's this concentration in South Australia, or they're in that kind of Great Australian Bight region. They can only go so far, and they can only move in so many directions. That's just in terms of I suppose temperature and habitat, you've then got to look at all of a sudden, you're gonna get more interactions with species that never really had to worry about each other before. So all of a sudden, you might get increased levels of predation on gummy sharks by Tiger sharks. What does that mean for the ecosystem? What does it mean if Tiger sharks are now starting to, I don't know. Smash Australia's still only at Phillip Island, or start smashing little penguins. What does that mean? These are all plausible scenarios and the nuts and bolts of it is, is tropical species going to move further south into cooler waters? What that means for the ecosystem we don't know and what that means for the dynamics we don't know. sciro syro CSIRO, Australia's leading sort of scientific body. They did some studies from a fishery perspective looking at the abundance of certain fish and how they might change as climate change, or global warming increases. And when they looked at gummy shark and school shark, the two primary targets shark species in southern Australia or sorry, I should say, gummy shark is the primary target species in southern parts of Australia. school shark is bycatch, but it's endangered and can still legally be sold. Again, another story. But I had a look at those two species because it commercially important one way or another and their productivity, I think from memory is expected to decline by 20%. Because of warming waters alone, that wasn't even factoring in fishing pressure changes, interactions with other species because you can only measure and predict so much like you can't throw everything in it just becomes a mess. Yeah. So in the next 10 years to the end of the century, we are we are seeing shifts pure and simple. We are seeing shifts. A few years back you had the odd sighting of a Manta ray off the coast of Tassie hammerheads off the coast. And as this is going back, I think maybe I want to say six to eight years ago. Now you do get vagrants like species that just wander off track, so to speak outside their range. But this is happening more and more given the warming water currents coming down. I mean, those magical kelp forests in the past straight or around Tassie that 90% of them, I think have gone or more or less disappearing because of you got Urchins coming in with the warmer water from the north and Earth is a smashing kelp. Yeah. And then you got warming waters as well. So there's a lot of things happening. So it's really hard to predict what's going to happen in the next 10 to 50 years or so. From a fishing perspective, I, to be honest, I couldn't tell you. What we try and focus on what we try and do is both the immediate problems. And probably the safest thing to do is look ahead in five year brackets. So I'll say five in brackets, because it's ample time for you know, between government processes, changing industry regulations, getting stuff on the water to happen, technologies research, kind of all happens within five year windows, and generally speaking, best practices is that when fisheries do an environmental risk assessment, so when they assess the overall snapshot of the fishery, and what's going on to what species in what spaces are at high risk that should be mitigated, and what species are at low risk and find that, in theory, best practice should happen anywhere between every two to five years. So that's enough time to capture changes in the environment. It's enough time to capture changes in management, changes in law, and even changes in social attitudes as well. So, yeah, predicting 10 plus years out, it's really hard. But if we look at five years time, we'll put it this way, by 2024. We've managed to secure commitments from Australia's largest fishery. So that's the stuff that I mentioned earlier, the southern and eastern scale fishing shark fishery, secured commitments from WA, as well as secure commitments for Queensland, that by 2024, there should be independent monitoring in their fisheries. And that's a fundamental to any form of sustainable management because it means not only, you know, do we have accurate reporting, but the data we get is accurate, it's more robust so that we can better fine tune our management, so that we're not forced to use these big broad strokes and rules, which complains about what it's like, well, you're complaining about it, you're complaining that there's not enough data and the data is not good enough and that you want more data? Well, then, why the fuck are you against independent monitoring in the first place? Just what it's all. So when the when the when he comes home to roost and all these problems occur, it's like, it's frustrating. So. But yeah, in the next by 2024, we're hoping to have independent monitoring across a lot of Australia's high risk fisheries. And then after about two years of that, once the data comes in, we'll get a real picture of what's happening with target fish that we sell for seafood. But we also get a better picture of what's happening with threatened endangered species and the numbers that are being caught. And because there's under reporting is just rife in Queensland. And so that takes us to our 2026. So then, hopefully, by 2030, we've gone Okay, the next eight years, we've got all this information, like, let's fix what we haven't fixed previously. That's maybe overly simplistic, but that's the best way I can put it, because it's always a moving feast, throw in the complications of climate change, throwing rotating governments, the best you can do is just just keep up the good fight and make sure you make those incremental improvements over time.

Matt Waters:

Well, soon as you thought that was gonna be a struggle to answer a 10 year window. I think you've done it bloody well. You covered everything. Oh, that's right. And what's Well, that's that's what's that's what's predicted for the sharks and the fishes. What's, what's the prediction for? Dr. Leo? What are you going to do for the next 10 years more or the same

Leo Guida:

next two years? Wow, love this? Well, I'll definitely be at IMCs for at least the next two years, doing the shark campaign decade shark campaign there. I wouldn't mind down the track dabbling in international trade, probably pivoting into international trade of shark products. And then with that experience, maybe further down the track, just international trade in seafood and fisheries in general. That's very loose. But to be really honest, I've had a few people ask me this question, and I've asked what do you plan to in the next five years what you think is taking you? I genuinely feel like I'm where I'm meant to be. Yeah. I feel like I have the privilege and the luxury of now just being able to enjoy the ride. So I did my university studies, I did my PhD and after I finished my PhD in 2016, and that was studying sharks and rays. You know, for two years old soul searching because, you know, I was managing a bar full time and I was like, I didn't do this to manage a bar full time. Like don't get me wrong. I love the cocktails and I love the pretty ladies that come in and but You know, I want to be, I want to be a shark. So I just want to work with sharks. In 2018, when I started with AMCs, you know, my PhD, quote unquote, paid off, it gave me street cred, so to speak. So I'm not just conservationist, but working in shark conservation, but I've got a doctorate like, I know what I'm talking about. Yeah, I've got the network's like, you know, opponents can say that I'm writing green as much as I want to go make I know what I'm talking about pure and simple. Yeah. I really want to push my buttons. And I won't lie. I do love the big budget.

Matt Waters:

You don't get it get those boxing gloves on.

Leo Guida:

Yeah, I did that once. That was fun. But, um, but yeah, I feel like I'm where I'm meant to be. And the risk of tooting my own horn, like, I feel like on a personal level, very fulfilled, and like, I've arrived, yeah, I'm at the place where I wanted to be when I was a kid, I am a shark scientist, and I'm saving sharks. And what's better is, I have all these amazing opportunities to talk to people about it, to to, you know, to be in the newspapers, to talk about it on TV, to be on podcasts like this with yourself, meet all these amazing people in the free diamond community, the diving community scientists, it's just, it's not just the fact that I've been lucky enough to follow a dream and live it. It's I feel like I'm reaping the rewards only just now. And that is, and it's not the financial rewards. Not that at all. It's my work is fulfilling. I feel like I'm impacting in a positive way, the environment and people's lives. But not just that, but the amazing people and opportunities that I've gotten to meet that I've gotten to experience and will experience. And the best best best part is, like I said before, is being able to give back. That is the most fulfilling part. So I'm lucky to just right now, I think it's a very fortunate position in life. Where I can just enjoy the ride, I don't, there's no other rungs on the ladder to climb, like, I'm here. And I can just enjoy the ride, and be able to take or pick and choose what opportunities come my way and see what might be. It's just crazy. The only I'm a competitive person by nature. But the only competition I feel at the moment is just within myself. And that is to quite literally be a better person tomorrow than I was today. And the way in which I do that is through my shark conservation work, and bringing people along the journey with me.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. And it's people like the ear that brings that information to people that are unaware. And that's the big thing. In all of this sheer muzzle of what you know, the world is right now. It's information and people's lack of information. And we combine the two, three people like yourself that are well informed, and it's their own people people's eyes makes it a brighter day.

Leo Guida:

Thank you and at the risk of going down a rabbit hole. The other problem is is that there's so much information that there is a real challenge of people in general, having the skills to critically think about what information is accurate and doesn't come from a reputable source.

Matt Waters:

I saw I saw it on Tik Tok. It's fact that dude was on Tik Tok. He was wearing a doctor's stethoscope. It's a fact. You know, you've got to drink water with lemon in the morning to lose 10 kilos a day. Done.

Leo Guida:

How's that gone? Wrong? You look great.

Matt Waters:

Oh, yeah, I could do another 20 kilos mine.

Leo Guida:

Yeah, that that's that's definitely a challenging one. And look, I don't think it's anyone's fault, per se. It's just we're bombarded with so much information that becomes reinforcing. And you live in your own little bubble. And that is your world. Yeah. And there's, you know, any psychologist will tell you that you get reinforced information from your own little bubble. And you'd literally see that as the world like that is what's happening. Which is why you can't you can't argue or convince people with facts alone. Yeah, if we did that, Well, shit. Climate change wouldn't be a thing would be fine. So it's really a challenge where you've actually got to empathise with people understand their values, their worldview, and try and sort of communicate through that and then drop the facts in. And that's and that's an art form. It's something I'm learning, because coming straight out of academia, it's very much dry. Here are the facts, therefore, this should happen. Yeah, that doesn't work in the real world, so to speak. In the real world. It's like so many different competing interests and so many different points of view. You've got to try and find the value that speaks to a certain person and and work through that. So if I'm told Until commercial Fisher, there's no point me saying, oh, sharks are declining in such a way that I've got to go, okay, mate? How can we work this out where you can have a profitable business into the future, and I can improve your social licencing and marketability, because you're taking every step possible to reduce interactions with threatened species. All of a sudden, we're having a conversation about conservation without talking about conservation. Whereas, you know, if I'm gonna speak to a bunch of primary school kids, yeah, I'm gonna drop all these cool, amazing facts and big numbers, because shit, that's really interesting. Wow, I didn't know that I'm gonna go home and tell mom and that. Versus if I'm talking to someone at the pub, you know, I'm going to get them to speak to me, and then work out what their interests are. And go, Hey, let me show you this awesome photographer on Instagram him out of these pictures, or, you know, check this out and then through that aesthetic input. So I've got why is that like that? Well, let me tell you about the particular place in the world and why it's like this. So it's speaking through different values and dropping the facts in bit by bit. Yeah, that's that's the best way to convince someone but again, it can be used for powers of good or powers of evil.

Matt Waters:

Yeah. Well, thankfully, you're doing the good bits, not the bad bits. Hey, one thing before we round up after round off, I've literally I'm flying out on Sunday to Indonesia and had my lunch behind the show. And I've I've tried to fill anatomy face ocular run at the dentist in about half an hour, 45 minutes, whatever. So before, bugger off. I've always I've been chasing this information for a number of years now. Loose cystic hammerheads. Do you know of any location in the world where you can see loose cystic hammer hits? No, because I do. I do you? Yeah.

Leo Guida:

I don't know if you want to divulge your secrets over a podcast but I'd be definitely keen to know because hammerheads are on my bucket list. Ready to dive with? Yeah, I've seen him. I've seen him on the end of the fishing line. But not underwater, free swimming on my bucket list.

Matt Waters:

Which we'll talk after the show because I'm reopening my my travel agency as well. So maybe we could organise a trip in the future where Dr. Leo comes along, and we go and find some hammerheads. This sounds like a plan, mate. Yeah, yeah, that sounds good. Yeah, I'll tell you after the show. 100% I've got the I've got the location.

Leo Guida:

Done deal. I'd be that'd be amazing. I'm just just out of curiosity. I'm assuming you've you might have informed a few scientists on it.

Matt Waters:

I've spoken to a few people very quietly I'm very I'm very careful. I don't want to give it away. You know? Yeah,

Leo Guida:

my seal permit.

Matt Waters:

What lips the seal? Yeah. Now the latest I heard was a few years ago. Now when I was looking at it in a bit more depth. And I think it was it would have been seven or so from now. It would have been nine years ago. When one was seen upon the northern coast of Australia. That's the only that's the only thing I've found. Yeah, anywhere in the world.

Leo Guida:

Geez, that'd be an absolute trip scene. One of those. You like seeing a ghost?

Matt Waters:

It is like I've got video footage. I'll send it to you.

Leo Guida:

Oh please do

Matt Waters:

tell me about maybe 10 seconds or so. But 10 seconds is a long time when you think about it. Oh yeah. Especially when you're when you're out in the water and your artists twitching I'd be nice Leo. I'm gonna have to sign off and like go to the dentist get this sorted out so you can call me Holly Bob's so thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you. Thank you, man.

Leo Guida:

I had a ball and um yeah, happy to come on another time we're going to catch up or be have a chat. And maybe you're going to have to try and get me to shut up because sharks with me mates is not

Matt Waters:

going to that's all right. It makes make him making episodes of podcasts are very easy when people just want to talk is Fanta and he told me passion so it makes it even better. Thank you. Thanks again. And just stay on line. We'll have a little chat chitter chatter afterwards. Thank you very much for joining the show and I hope you enjoyed. Look forward to see you next time. Bye for now. Thanks, everyone. Happy diving. Got a podcast for the inquisitive diver.