Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Shark Diving Tourism - Paper!

Absolutely agree! 


I say, this is as good as it gets!
After years of frustration at the various stupidities about our industry that have been proffered by an motley array of researchers and other bloviators with little personal experience but obvious agendas, here comes a paper written by people who being Shark divers have been there and done it, and obviously understand what they are talking about.
And... nice to see the frankly surprising cooperation! :)
Required reading!

The global code of conduct and scoring system?
Absolutely agree! 
Developing a meaningful code that is not too generic will be a huge challenge in view of the highly diverging circumstances in terms of legal framework, location, species etc. - but on top of the general statements (= e.g. don't harass), one could envision sub-categories (e.g. provisioned or not) that could lead to the necessary specificity. Plus, there will have to be considerable industry buy-in - so guys, talk to us!
And when it comes to the rating which I strongly advocate, the challenge will be to avoid the obvious issues of liability for the rating agency - but again, it can, and should be done.
And guess what - people are already working on both issues! :)

So, does this paper make me 100% happy?
Of course not! :)

Precautionary approach?
Like I continue to state, we've been enduring decades of unsubstantiated slander despite of having built one of the safest tourism activities anywhere - and I am really sick an tired of that.
Our track record speaks for itself and with that in mind, I do not at all buy into the recommendation that we need to adopt a precautionary approach on all those assumed potential risks pending more in-depth analysis by the intelligentsia.
E.g. Ben and Cristina have been hand feeding those Reefies for what feels like time immemorial, and this with zero documented side effects and owing to their protective gear, zero incidents. With that in mind, it makes zero sense for them to discontinue anything only because somebody proffers some hypothetical caveat - but at the same time, should somebody come up with hard evidence, I am equally convinced that Cristina would be the first to implement the necessary changes!
So once again - stop speculating but show me the fucking evidence instead!

Or the bloody ban of flash photography!
This stupidity has been the "mainstay" of sustainable Whale Shark snorkeling procedures, see e.g. here. Methinks it was likely once developed by some tree hugging do-gooder and then simply copy/pasted uncritically, and it has been my pet hate ever since. 
I mean, seriously: eye trauma? How does the intensity of an electronic strobe compare to those gasquillions of bursts of UV-saturated sunlight that are hitting the eyes of a WS when it basks at the surface? 

And no - regulation is the very last resort!

But yes I'm digressing.
Not 100% happy - but 99.5% I am!
This is spot-on both in scope and content, and I cannot but applaud the authors for an exhaustive, thorough, unbiased and what is more important, accurate analysis of the issues at hand.

Bravo - job well done!

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