Pretty grim - and these bites are merely superficial! Click for detail.
From the Abstract.
- Introduction: Shark-based ecotourism is significantly developing around the world, often without appropriate management of risk. This activity involves a risk of accidental bites on divers that can be quite severe or even fatal.
- Objectives: To determine if ecotourism companies’ liability can be engaged in the context of bites on scuba divers in presence of hand-feeding practices, supporting the legitimacy of financial compensation for the victims.
- Methods: We analyzed the development from the mid-eighties to 2010 of shark-based ecotourism through artificial provisioning practices in Moorea Island (French Polynesia) and more specifically the features and motivation of two bites on divers by Sicklefin Lemon sharks.
- Results: The specific practice of hand-feeding can be considered as a facilitating factor for accidental bites on divers, potentially involving the diving operator’s responsibility.
- Conclusions: Our findings should support the technical work of experts that might be called in such cases.
Didn't I tell you that the last paper had an agenda!
This one, titled Determining the Role of Hand Feeding Practices in Accidental Shark Bites on Scuba Divers is by one of the previous authors, my pal Eric Clua, and by, I believe, anthropologist Frédéric Torrente. It describes the history of the chaotic and now largely defunct Shark diving industry in Moorea along with two of the numerous non-predatory strikes by provisioned Sicklefin Lemons, see pic at top. It comes to the general conclusion that in certain cases, Shark diving operators may bear some responsibility and may even be liable should a client be injured.
Like I've stated for many, many years, baited commercial Shark diving is not SCUBA diving, and the clients have a reasonable expectation that we operators keep them safe. Yes, we make them sign liability waivers which should hopefully exclude the most frivolous complaints - but when operators are clearly negligent, it is only fair that they be held accountable!
But having said that, Elke obviously likes to get real close and undoubtedly bears her share for the fiasco. Having been at the receiving end many a time, I can attest to the pressure those eager image hunters will bring to bear - not easy to handle in an industry where client satisfaction and word-of-mouth recommendations are critical to one's financial survival!
Long story short?
Good one Eric - and for you out there who STILL don't understand what it means to conduct Shark tourism dives, re-read a) these 90-odd posts about our industry and then, b) these 80-odd posts about the need for proper procedures!