We were been on this subject pretty hard in 2008. For shark conservation efforts to succeed in 2009 local efforts must get the ball rolling.
The days of waiting for an NGO to swoop in and take control of local shark conservation are essentially over. It's up to the dive operators and vested interests in the region to save their shark populations.
Case in point, and Kudo's as well, to the Banyan Tree Resort Conservation Lab located in the Maldives. They recently went head on with the Maldives government all but demanding protection for all sharks in Maldives waters:
"According to Stevens, a year and a half ago, six resorts rallied together in order to jointly tackle the problem of shark hunting."
This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do shark conservation. It takes "One" with enough guts and forward thinking ( beyond just this year and perhaps next year) to create local and regional game changers that in the end save shark populations. The Maldives are a template for places like South Africa and the Bahamas where recent shark kills have raised awareness-but little real action in terms of multiple operators and a broad consensus efforts.
As a commercial shark diving operator where will you stand next year with real and lasting regional shark conservation efforts?
As a diver who pays operators to show them sharks where will you be spending your money?
2009 will be a watershed year for answers to both of these questions. It's a win-win for the sharks and an "awakening" for an entire 200 million dollar industry.
Happy New Year!
Patric Douglas CEO