Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poor Shark-feeding Operations

People send me the coolest stuff.

Like this op ed (click to read) by David Diley from the British Dive magazine.
It really is an excellent overview and I could not agree more with its conclusions, tho knowing the diverse array of industry actors out there, I very much doubt that the suggested single, global, governing body will eventuate anytime soon - let alone, that anybody would then accept to defer to its rulings! But the concept per se is of course spot on and many of the opinions expressed in that piece dovetail perfectly with what this blog has been advocating all along.
Bravo David!

Talking of which, I finally came across Phil Lobel's Diver Eco-Tourism and the Behavior of Reef Sharks and Rays which you can download right here. Phil dove with us one year ago and I was pleased to read this.

The unifying scientific question in terms of understanding how dive operations may or may not be impacting sharks and rays and the associated diver safety issues is whether the individual sharks and rays are local residents and thus able to learn and habituate to divers. Alternatively, if these sharks and rays rarely reside for long-term in the same areas, then they are much less likely to become accustomed to a site-specific feeding dive.
I base this on my own experiences, especially with the grey reef shark Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos. I have observed that sharks unfamiliar with divers are more aggressive and less predictable than those that have habituated to the presence of divers, such as we now see in numerous marine protected areas such as Blue Corner, Palau, and Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji.


Good to see that at least in some, more enlightened places, the conversation is progressing away from the old, tired and stupid stereotypes!

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