Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baited Shark Dives?

Associating humans with food?

I must say, I really did like this.
Check it out - hat tip: Underwater Thrills.

My call?
This controversy will never go away and it is good for us not to divert and obfuscate but to tackle it head on instead, like Mark Addison does truthfully and I find, rather brilliantly.

The opposition is of course spot on.
We do aggregate Sharks and we obviously do condition the Sharks to lose some of their fear of humans, both of which can obviously lead to more and closer interactions and thus, conceivably but not at all necessarily as they are getting "tamer", to a higher likelihood of Shark strikes.
That's both a fact and also, painfully trivial.

But that is of course not the whole story.
Please re-read this - I mean, the stuff between the rant at the beginning and the rant at the end. :)
Anyway, the long story short is that I believe that Shark baiting (and outright feeding like we do) is neither inherently Good, nor that it is inherently Bad.
It can be either, and this very much based on how it is being done - and when it comes to that, there's certainly the Good, the Bad and the outright Ugly, and I spare you the links!

We here really do spend an inordinate amount of time on always re-evaluating our protocols and obviously believe that we're doing it right - this always under the premise that we do want to attract the Bull Sharks which are extremely shy, and that so far, the scarce peer-reviewed science on the subject has failed to conclusively show any harm that provisioning is inflicting on the animals.
Should the latter change, we will change our procedures - and that's a promise.

And what about the enhanced risk of Shark strikes?
That obviously remains a distinct possibility, at least in theory - but if things are conducted responsibly, it is so low to be really negligible. The Fact is that there are NOT more Shark strikes in the vicinity of baited Shark dives. The overwhelming majority of Shark strikes occur completely elsewhere and are being triggered by completely different circumstances, two of the principal ones being people splish-splashing at the surface and spear fishing.

And the ultimate zero-risk strategy?
Do not bleed and Don’t swim in less than six feet of water!

Or, just stay put on your couch - how about that!

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