From my sneak copy of the program of Sharks International.
Tropho-spatial consequences of tourism-related shark feeding: impacts on reef sharks and sympatric fish communities
Maljković, Aa & Côté, IMa aSimon Fraser University, BC, Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com)
Shark feeding, as a tourist attraction, is seen as either an economic incentive to conserve sharks, or an activity detrimental to shark behaviour and human safety.
Despite the debate surrounding shark feeding, and the popularity of shark diving, few studies have examined the impact of shark feeding on the species provisioned, or on sympatric fauna.
We used a combination of direct observations, acoustic telemetry and stable isotope analysis to measure the impact of provisioning on the behaviour and trophic signatures of a population of Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) in the Bahamas.
In addition, we conducted visual surveys of reef fishes at various distances from a shark feeding site to elucidate the eff ect of shark provisioning on reef-fish assemblages.
Of the sharks that regularly attended feeding events, only a few of the largest ones were successful at acquiring bait.
Bait consumption was reflected in the 15N isotope content of the muscle tissues of these sharks, but it had little effect on ranging behaviour. Fed sharks exhibited residency times at the feeding site and daily travel distances that were similar to those of unfed sharks in two control groups.
Reef fishes at the shark feeding site were more abundant and diverse than at adjacent sites, and the abundance of species targeted by fishers decreased with increasing distance from the feeding area.
Shark feeding therefore appears to have little impact on shark behaviour but shark aggregations at feeding sites may influence reef fish communities, perhaps through competition between sharks and fishers.
Bloody awesome - and pretty much what we in the Industry have been saying all along!
More as I get my hands on the paper.