Tiger Shark Eco-Tourism: It Could Bite!

By March 31, 2012 Ocean News

Close Call with Tiger Shark

A diver in the Bahamas that was taking part in an Eco-Tourism excursion last week had a very close call with a large tiger shark. Check out the video to see how close it was:

The excursion was part of an underwater adventure where SCUBA divers (around 10 of them at a time plus a divemaster) experience the closeness of a number of sharks around them without a cage. The Eco-tour is known for attracting tiger sharks using boxes of chum. Bait are added to a box and laid on the Ocean Floor in an effort to attract sharks nearby. The Eco-tour promotes sharks as gentle creatures that will not harm divers, as by having divers around the sharks without any cages to protect them.

Some experts think exposing divers to tiger sharks can actually harm the new reputation of sharks. What I mean by new reputation one of gentleness and laid back type behaviour as opposed to its old reputation of feared predator and a human-eating machine. Experts say one mishap, i.e. shark bite on a diver, and the compassion that everyone is starting to have for sharks will be gone and its old reputation will quickly come back; therefore, losing much of the current momentum to protect and conserve sharks and perhaps Eco-tourism.

Eco-tourism is key buzzword in the Ocean Conservation Movement. The term recognizes that tourism often involves nature and nature is required to be intact for tourism to work. And this whole shark Eco-Tourism would be really cool if we could guarantee that no one will be harmed. But judging from the video we just saw, it doesn’t look as though things are guaranteed. I would love to look at the waiver form reading “May get ass bitten off by large tiger sharks”

As I diver, I would have to ask myself whether this excursion is really in my best interest. This is a risky tour! Yes, I think sharks have a bad reputation as crazy man eaters, but I don’t think they are just these gentle creatures. I feel we need to respect the fact that they are predators and they can bite my leg off if they so desired. If it were me, I would want to be in a cage, just in case something went wrong.

Question Of The Day:
Do you think this Eco-Tour is safe for the divers?

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Todd Barber says:

    I have to ask myself when considering this question….WHY are the sharks there? Using Chum to attract wildlife is no different than feeding the bears at Yellowstone. It causes the sharks to suspend their normal feeding behaviors (is that good?)…to become dependent on humans (is that good?)….to be aggressive around humans that may not have food in trying to seek food (is that good?) and to train scuba divers that the wonder of scuba diving is made of man made excitements instead of the rich beauty of the incredible diverse ecosystems to be found underwater. And oh by the way, any chum not eaten if discarded anywhere close to a coral reef will create toxic algae blooms that harm the reef. And hey…no cages…well that cuts costs too LOL.

  • Emily says:

    Uncaged diving is surely risky, but if divers can give the sharks enough space it would decrease the risk. This diver that was almost bitten by a tiger shark flashed a picture of the shark, and that must be very frightening and unusual to the shark! Then, they got in the tiger shark’s way and started touching it too much, which increases their risk of being injured. I am surprised this shark did not really injure the diver. Also, this shark may have been trying to process it’s surroundings. Because sharks do not have great eyesight, they touch with their mouths (they nibble on the things that they are curios about). So, this shark may have been curious of the diver and simply trying to figure out what the diver is. Divers must remember that when they dive into the ocean, they are in the shark’s territory. If divers get too close and invade these shark’s space, then it is dangerous!

  • […] contribute almost $2 million for the Pacific island nation over its lifetime through the growing eco-tourism industry and visitors desire to experience these “fierce predators” first hand.  This study has lead […]

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