Thursday, November 26, 2015

Shark Bites in Moorea - Paper!

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.

Totally agree!
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!

Seriously, WTF? 
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!

Enjoy! :)


Shark Diver said...

That was not the first time Elke dove with Kazma. Anyone that knows him, is aware that he's drinking before his shark dives. I agree that she shares some responsibility. Operators like him give the rest of us a bad name.

DaShark said...

Anyone that knows him, is aware that he's drinking before his shark dives.


Nice avatar btw! :)

Shark Diver said...

Wow indeed. Horrible operator!

What blows my mind though is that people who are aware of this, still dive with him. Her complaint states that he was intoxicated while chumming, so she was actually aware of it and still dove with him.

DaShark said...

And had him obviously drag the Sharks in front of her camera, as eager clients would ask you to do!

Unknown said...

Hey two pennies worth! I agree that this is obviously one crazy operator (drinking before the dive!, manhandling makos?) and he should indeed be held responsible.....BUT as a regular participant in baited shark dives and a photographer myself I feel that the diver is equally to blame.
As stated, she new before entering the water that the guy was drinking and i'm sure that until she got bitten it was not really a problem. Getting up close for images was obviously the priority. At the time, I saw pictures of the bite and it was a pretty bad wound to the leg. Maybe this person was too busy looking through the viewfinder and got hit from behind?
She had also been out with the guy more than once before and even posted how exciting it was and how close she got etc etc.....
Of course it is very unfortunate what happened and a disaster for the people trying to promote responsible shark diving, but she made the choice to go out with this guy and then something went wrong. She knew what she was getting into and to then turn around and sue the guy seems a bit dodgy to me.

DaShark said...

Ahhh, now I see - and here's the report - and yes, OF COURSE she had to proudly post it to social media, cuz if it ain't on FB it actually didn't happen!

Oh well, same old same old.
Idiot operator with idiot pushy customer!

And judging by the recent heroic news about those dudes jumping in with a 900-lb Mako off the Cali coast, and this equally on snorkel, the learning curve remains flat, to wit
Said Poe via email: “Basically the guys freaked out about the experience and they want to do their whole next-year season with me!”
And yes, we can expect plenty more heroic copycats once it airs!

Just great ain't it.

jsd said...

Re the 'heroic news': hard to tell the size of that mako but judging from the moving images it hardly looks 11 feet.

I still think Jim has the best calm-and-collected UW footage of a big mako:

DaShark said...

Yup, calm-and-collected - best description of Jimmy, ever! :)