Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bimini - Video!

For the sake of photos, videos, or bragging-rights, see below!

Nice video!
Aren't these just magnificent animals!

And because this is such a precious resource.
Let me cite from Grant's excellent letter, re-posted by Jillian the Shark Girl.
Due to the rarity of interacting with these sharks, and the incredible potential for research opportunities on an IUCN Redlisted species, local guides and tour operators have resisted the exploitation of this yearly “hammerhead season” around Bimini. It was decided that research should be the priority surrounding this event, rather than commercialization. 

For better or for worse, and against the wishes of many of those involved with developing this phenomenon, that all changed in 2012. 
An off-island SCUBA operator caught wind of the situation around Bimini and convinced a former SharkLabber to show him the basics of how-and-when-and-where to attract these incredible sharks. A year later, after the wide publicization of that promised “one time only” expedition, we now have at least 10 off-island dive operations converging on Bimini to experience this event. 

Anyone coming to dive with these sharks around Bimini needs to accept that there is considerable amount of responsibility that comes with your expedition. 
You hold in your power the ability to do an enormous amount of damage to the reputation of this island and to this endangered species of shark, and hopefully you do not take this lightly. I’m a firm believer that under the right circumstances and with the proper insight, any species of shark can be safely encountered in the wild. 

That being said, I would imagine there is little to no agreement on exactly what those circumstances and insights are. 
But if you think its acceptable to put yourself, or your guests, or the sharks, at any elevated risk for the sake of photos, videos, or bragging-rights, you are wrong. If you or your guests get hurt around Bimini because of your own recklessness, the tourism industry on this island could face irreparable damage, as could the public perception of these sharks, and we want people to take that very, very seriously.
Let me reiterate this.
Somebody needs to take on the leadership role there.
There is indeed considerable dissent in what may constitute the best Shark diving protocols, and because of that, somebody in Bimini needs to come up with a precise, detailed code of conduct. My suggestions are here but in the end, only a local will know what is best in those specific circumstances.

This needs to happen right now.

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