AARON'S BLOG: Bom dia from Mozambique!
Hello, bom dia and welcome to the first my first blog for Sport Diver. For those of you wondering why you should listen to me spout off on a regular basis, I’ll start with an introduction. My name is Aaron Gekoski and I’m a photographer, writer and marine filmmaker. I have just been involved with filming a documentary on Mozambique’s shark finning crisis - entitled Shiver - which you may have read about on this very website. A shiver, for those of you who don’t know, is actually the collective noun for sharks. Other ‘interesting’ collective nouns include a “troubling” of goldfish, a “crash” of rhinos, and my personal favourite, a “parliament” of owls. If you like pointless trivia such as this, I hope you will enjoy reading my regular posts.
Tofo beach, Mozambique
The documentary saw myself and the team from Moz Images and Sangue Bom in Mozambique follow Carlos Macuacua - the country’s first dive instructor - as he embarked on a campaign to save Mozambique’s sharks. The aim of the film was to lobby government and educate Mozambicans on why we need to protect our apex predators. We also wanted to alert fishing communities on the dangers of eating shark meat laden with the toxin Methylmercury. I will soon be writing a follow up article on the impact the film has had, as well as our plans to shoot a groundbreaking follow-up for a worldwide audience. The article will document our proposed presenter of the English version, Dave Charley, living in a remote shark finning camp, with the rest of the crew. Shark fishermen are vilified by divers the world over. However, many fishermen have been forced to target sharks, given that traditional catch has plummeted. These waters are hammered daily by industrial vessels which operate illegally, far out at sea, relentlessly hoovering up everything in their way.
A fisherman's hut
This piece will show the human side of these small communities and paint a picture of people will very little money, living difficult lives, braving rough seas (armed only with small rowing boats) in order to put food on their tables.
Don’t worry though, not every blog will be this depressing. I’ll also give regular updates on the work of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, run by world-renowned scientists Dr Simon Pierce and Dr Andrea Marshall, two of the most dedicated, selfless individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. The pair - and their lovely team of researchers - are doing great work protecting the species they love. Congratulations to them for attaching their second satellite tag to a juvenile male whale shark yesterday (nicknamed Gene), in poor conditions. Stay posted to see the depths to which this jolly blue giant plunges and where he heads on his merry journey.
I love Mozambique and don’t need an excuse to write about it. The people here are simply beautiful. So expect many updates on all things African, Mozambican and wet; the problems with overfishing, what is being targeted, new legislations, diving hotspots and answers to the most important questions such as whether Laurentina is a preferable beer to Manica. But I will mainly try and keep it related to diving (Laurentina gets my vote). I will also keep readers posted with the latest shark finning developments around the world, as well as updates on our new film, which we believe will be the biggest on sharks since Sharkwater.
To view Aaron’s work, visit www.aarongekoski.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To watch Shiver, visit www.vimeo.com/17295966.