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Shark tourism: Wikis


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Shark tourism is a form of ecotourism rooted in having communities appreciate that local shark species are more valuable alive than dead. Instead of opting for a one time economic benefit of harvesting sharks for their body parts, communities are made to assist interested tourists who may want to see live sharks.

Shark tourism is divided into 4 main branches. Viz: 1.Great White sharks - surface viewing in cages mainly. 2.Tigers, Bulls and other less harmful [but potentially dangerous]sharks - in open - offshore water and referred to as Pelagic diving. 3. Ragged Tooth / Sand Tiger / Grey Nurse sharks who tend to congregate at certain reefs at certain times of the year. 4. Basking and Whale sharks - Harmless plankton feeders.

Great White viewing is popular in Australia,South Africa, off Mexico at Isla Guadalupe, and New Zealand - where Great White sharks are viewed using shark cages to keep the diver safe. The industry was founded in the 70s by pioneer Australian diver and Great White victim Rodney Fox in south Australia, and he was the sole operator until the South African industry was founded in early 1989 by Pieter van der Walt. He was joined shortly thereafter by pioneer diver and underwater photographer George Askew who handled promotions and put South African cage diving "on the map" with the publicity he got - until they split in Jan 1992, after they together with famous Australian divers Ron and Val Taylor did the worlds 1st dive amongst Great White sharks without a cage. A huge milestone in diving.

The Bahamas is a favourite region for Category 2 sharks. While divers in the Bahamas experience Reef Sharks and Tiger Sharks while they are hand-fed. Isla Guadalupe located in Mexico has been named a Bio-Sphere Reserve in an effort to control the shark diving activities there. Although the practice of shark diving proves to be controversial, it has been proven very effective in attracting tourists. Whale Sharks, while not traditionally harvested for their fins but are sometimes harvested for their meat, have also benefited from Shark Tourism because of snorkelers getting into the water with the gentle giants.

Passive and active forms of shark tourism are believed to conserve the species by generating commercial value to their lives in the natural world.



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