And that's a good thing!
The season is in full swing - and so far, no bitching!
Looks like last year's lessons have been learned, and that everybody is simply trying to experience those magnificient Great Hammers, get along and work towards making this a rewarding season for everyone involved - as it should be!
And, there has been leadership!
The Sharklab has published information about their ongoing GHH research and is asking all divers to report their sightings via the following questionnaire - click for detail.
And the Bimini Tourism Advisory Board has issued a document that provides guidelines and etiquette on best shark diving practices and reads as follows.
Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) Diving in Bimini, Bahamas Guidelines and Etiquette, as put forth by the Bimini Tourism Advisory Board (BTAB)
Attracting and Feeding the Sharks
- There shall be no hand-feeding of the sharks. Bait should be presented in a way that does not directly relate divers as food-providers.
- There shall be no unnecessary touching or handling of the sharks.
- Only fish (Fresh or Frozen) shall be used to feed the sharks. No ‘human food’ or other non-related animal products.
- Bimini’s reef fish should not be harvested to be used as bait.
- Bait should be presented down-current from divers.
Navigation and Anchoring
- Sites used should be in areas that do not damage or disturb nearby reefs, seagrass beds, or other sensitive marine habitats.
- All boats should make sure their anchors are set in sand.
- If necessary, divers should set anchors in place on the bottom to avoid dragging.
- When available, boats should use permanent moorings.
Related Etiquette and Protocol
- Visiting boats should contact the Bimini Tourism Advisory Board (BTAB) prior to their arrival and report the duration of their stay, number of divers, etc. Email VisitBimini@gmail.com
- Visiting boats should coordinate via VHF radio to ensure each boat has plenty of space to operate safely and comfortably. BTAB suggests a minimum of 0.5 miles between each boat when more than one boat is in the area.
- Visiting boats should be willing to report sightings and observations to the researchers at the Bimini Biological Field Station (SharkLab)
- “Diver Down” flags should be displayed at all times when divers are in the water.
Regulations and Restrictions
- All non-Bahamian vessels must comply with Bahamas Customs & Immigration regulations.
- All production crews must acquire proper permits from the Bahamas Film Commission
- All vessels must comply with the Fisheries Regulations of the Bahamas
- All visiting researchers must acquire a proper research permit prior to their arrival.
- All divers and operators should be in possession of necessary certifications and permits.
I say, great stuff!
May this be the best season, ever!