Emerging challenges to shark-diving tourism

Austin Gallagher, Charlie Huveneers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shark-diving tourism has become a global phenomenon and is widely promoted to contribute to pro-conservation attitudes by dispelling myths and exposing tourists to sharks in their natural habitat. It has also resulted in a stimulating scientific literature identifying pros and cons of practices, elucidating potential biological effects on associated species, and evaluating social implications. With the worldwide popularization of shark tourism in recent years, a set of new challenges facing shark-diving tourism is starting to emerge. Here, we offer our thoughts on four topics that have developed into challenges for shark-related wildlife tourism: animal welfare, ecological interactions, fitness and bioenergetics, and public safety. Our discussion primarily involves perspectives on white shark operations, and, to a lesser extent, whale shark tourism. We contend that our opinions do not necessarily reflect the most important issues to shark-diving tourism; instead, we suggest that they are timely and that this paper should be considered an ‘open letter’ to researchers and policy-makers. Consideration of emerging challenges to any field are important for adaptive management and as such will be of interest to operators and resource managers tasked with ensuring sustainable practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-12
Number of pages4
JournalMarine Policy
Volume96
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Diving
  • Ecotourism
  • Marine
  • Provisioning
  • Wildlife tourism

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