With the success and media coverage of the 3rd annual Outcast Mega Shark Tournament in Florida we decided to pull a post from last month.
The fact is Florida is moving in a direction with it's sharks that is completely contrary to world tourism - using a natural resource in a non sustainable manner. Harvesting a 450+ pound Tiger shark for a one time thrill is the poorest use of a resource since the clear cutting of the Amazon rain forest.
We see images like this one in places like Mexico and Thailand and we say "how third world":
Millions of tourism dollars are sitting off the shores of Florida and no one can get to them.
We're taking tourism and sharks. Since the outright ban on commercial shark diving in Florida's waters in 2001 - the Bahamas has enjoyed an absolute monopoly on tourist dollars pouring into that country seeking safe shark encounters.
We have come a long way since 2001 in both the understanding of sharks and shark diving protocol. Far enough one might argue to review the ban on commercial shark diving in Florida and perhaps begin the process of reversing that ill-fated policy.
It comes down to numbers and economics. This year 29.1 million viewers tuned into Discovery Channels Shark Week which for the most part was shot almost entirely in the Bahamas and South Africa.
For anyone in the tourism industry that marketing effort-based solely on the power of sharks-is something to be in awe of. Perhaps Florida should reconsider their anti-shark diving policy...before Cuba opens up and they have no chance of creating, sustaining, and benefiting from tourism with sharks.
Patric Douglas CEO