Dive, dive, dive

Oris takes to wa­ter with the Ham­mer­head Lim­ited Edi­tion, part of its long-term con­tri­bu­tions to ma­rine con­ser­va­tion.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Contents - Words by Ja­son Tan

‘AU­THEN­TIC­ITY’ NOW AC­QUIRES new depth of mean­ing be­cause of fake news and care­less so­cial me­dia shar­ing. So it’s re­as­sur­ing when a com­pany re­mains con­sis­tent, and even heart­en­ing when it chooses to con­trib­ute to a greater cause that keeps with its brand. Oris is an in­de­pen­dently owned Swiss watch man­u­fac­ture that con­tin­ues to sup­port ma­rine con­ser­va­tion with its diver’s watches that it has made since the 1960s.

Now, at a crit­i­cal junc­ture for life on earth, Oris’ stated mis­sion is to con­trib­ute to the sur­vival of en­dan­gered species, par­tic­u­larly ma­rine life. The sur­vival of hu­man­ity and na­ture is an in­ter­de­pen­dent re­la­tion­ship, thus when one goes ex­tinct, all life on earth is in­evitably af­fected.

Like the Oris Red Sea, Great Bar­rier Reef and Staghorn Restora­tion Lim­ited Edi­tion, the new Oris Ham­mer­head Lim­ited Edi­tion is the com­pany’s con­tri­bu­tion to ma­rine con­ser­va­tion and its public aware­ness. The dive watch will help it raise funds for a shark con­ser­va­tion project run by the non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Pe­la­gios Kakunjá, which is sup­ported by Oris am­bas­sador pro­fes­sional diver and doc­u­men­tary maker, Jérôme De­lafosse. (Meet Pe­la­gios Kakunjá’s great team and watch some brief but jaw-drop­ping videos on face­book.com/Pe­la­gioska.)

One of Pe­la­gios Kakunjá’s projects is to un­der­stand the mi­gra­tion routes and pat­terns of apex preda­tors, the species who sit at the top of the food chain. Specif­i­cally, its lat­est project seeks to learn more about mi­gra­tion routes of the en­dan­gered Scal­loped Ham­mer­head shark ( Sphyrna lewini) in the East­ern Pa­cific. The global pop­u­la­tion of Scal­loped Ham­mer­heads has de­clined by up to 90 per cent over the last 30 years, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates by the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture.

The Scal­loped Ham­mer­head shark, which can also be found off the coast of Sabah in East Malaysia, is not pro­tected un­der the coun­try’s Fish­eries Act (although ex­ports are dis­al­lowed un­der the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species, to which Malaysia is sig­na­tory). This is be­cause its pop­u­la­tion is deemed to be healthy. How­ever, the Malaysian au­thor­i­ties have plans to list the Sphyrna mokar­ran (Great Ham­mer­head shark), Sphyrna

zy­gaena (Smooth Ham­mer­head shark) as pro­tected species un­der the Act. Lead­ing ocean con­ser­va­tion ex­perts who have tracked the de­cline of the world’s shark pop­u­la­tion over the last 50 years be­lieve sharks may be ex­tinct in as soon as 40 years.

Pe­la­gios Kakunjá’s project sci­en­tists will tag Scal­loped Ham­mer­heads us­ing MiniPAT satel­lite trans­mit­ters funded by Oris. The sci­en­tists hope to track the sharks for six to nine months be­fore the trans­mit­ters are au­to­mat­i­cally re­leased on a set date and float to the sur­face, from where they will trans­mit col­lected data to satel­lites. The plan is to arm sci­en­tists with data, so they can un­der­stand sharks bet­ter and ad­vise gov­ern­ment agen­cies on best fish­ing prac­tices. Fish­ing is one of the great­est threats to sharks, which can be­come en­tan­gled in nets while feed­ing. This is in ad­di­tion to those caught for the shark fin busi­ness. The re­ported catch of sharks and rays in the East Malaysian state of Sabah last year was 1,788.46 tonnes which is in fact part of a fall­ing trend, partly be­cause East Malaysia’s se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion has led to a re­duc­tion in fish­ing ac­tiv­ity.

Oris am­bas­sador De­lafosse will join the Pe­la­gios Kakunjá ex­pe­di­tion with fel­low con­ser­va­tion­ists Dr James Ketchum, Pe­la­gios Kakunjá di­rec­tor of ma­rine con­ser­va­tion; shark spe­cial­ist Dr Mauri­cio Hoyos (who shot the largest Great White so far caught on film); and record-break­ing free­d­iver and un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­pher Fred Buyle.

“We have to do some­thing about the de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion of the world’s sharks,” says De­lafosse, who has spent the last 20 years ob­serv­ing the world’s shark and dol­phin pop­u­la­tions. “Sharks play a vi­tal role in the life of our oceans and we must do ev­ery­thing we can to en­sure their fu­ture. It’s our duty to pro­tect them, and I’m thrilled to be work­ing with Oris and Pe­la­gios Kakunjá on this fan­tas­tic project.”

Very few peo­ple are killed each year by sharks, mag­ni­tudes fewer than those who are killed in road ac­ci­dents, for ex­am­ple. But the pop­u­lar per­cep­tion of sharks is that they are killers. The an­i­mal is 400 mil­lion years old: if sharks are so wanton, there shouldn’t be many other species left in the wa­ter, and far fewer divers, surfers, snorkellers and beach lovers as well. Each year, an es­ti­mated 100 mil­lion sharks are caught and killed around the world.

Oris Malaysia launched the Oris Ham­mer­head Lim­ited Edi­tion in Langkawi ear­lier this year, giv­ing lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional guests, in­clud­ing jour­nal­ists, the priv­i­lege of ap­pre­ci­at­ing the quiet wa­ters and nat­u­ral sur­round­ings of the is­land on the plea­sure ves­sel, Blue Dol­phin. It was just the set­ting for the prod­uct, and the cause. To demon­strate the high-per­for­mance of the Oris Ham­mer­head Lim­ited Edi­tion, it was thrown over­board, then re­trieved sev­eral days later by two mas­ter divers. Des­mond Tey, 8TV host, joined the divers on the search op­er­a­tion. All were met with warm ap­plause when they even­tu­ally resur­faced with the al­most-lost trea­sure. Men and watch were in­tact, the watch much more im­pres­sively so.

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