Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shark Tourism - On The Media "Today Show"

Question: Are the media pro shark or anti shark?

Answer: Anti shark

For commercial shark diving operators worldwide the answer to this question would seem obvious. For the past decade the media has shown little interest in correcting the ongoing and rampant shark killing stigma of the Jaws Legacy.

When it comes down to hype and the media's lifeblood, advertising sales, nothing compares to a shark attack on a human. These gruesome media packages dive slow news cycles and explode worldwide with the speed of Santa Ana wildfires.

Knowing this there is absolutely no excuse for shark diving operators who allow negative shark images and video to be presented to the media without any direction or industry leadership. In a word this is, "criminal behaviour" towards the very animals that we as commercial shark diving operators spend years attempting to show in a different light.

If the commercial shark diving industry is to continue with operators enjoying offshore operations in countries that are not their own such as the Bahamas and Mexico this kind of blatant, inexcusable and criminal media mismanagement must end.

The future of two of the western hemispheres best known shark sites absolutely depends on it...and we are losing this battle. A veritable flood of questionable images and video have come out of the Bahamas, Tiger Beach site recently. This dive site is still under a C and D that all but demands shark protocols for operators and is still under regulatory decision making by the Bahamian government.

Why operators are allowing disturbing video's and images that abjectly defy this Cease and Desist order to be posted on public sites, with little thought towards blow back, will most likely be discussed (heatedly) when this site is shut down.

For commercial shark diving operators whose media skills are not up to the task you have two options.

1. Leave the industry.
2. Clean up your act.

Case in point the Today Show on MSNBC this morning recycling a horrific cage breach video from Isla Guadalupe. This mornings show was watched by 5,998,000 people in the USA alone. Major media is not to blame here. Without the negative images and video we provide them with they cannot skillfully move forward with their well know agenda.

Having a commercial shark diving operation present them with a video now used to promote and highlight anti shark agendas in Australia will lead to the death of sharks. The true horror of negative shark media.

Responsibility for what becomes anti shark media begins and ends with the operator:


Capt Dave Richards said...

That pretty much sums it up.

Any word on the Bahamas yet?

Shark Diver said...

Hi Dave,

It's under review, the Bahamas moves slowly but they do move.The C and D is still "in force" as far as we know.

Anyone who operates without even attempting to follow the set guidelines put forth in that C and D makes the chances of this site being shut down more likely.

You have seen the images and video coming out of here over the past 6 months.

The one thing operations fail to understand is that these waters are not theirs, these sharks not theirs. Policy is not directed by us, neither are the site protocols. When a C and D is issued by a Bahamian body with set guidelines you say "yes sir, how can we help".

Arrogance my friend, or just stupidity, not sure which is greater.

It's a slap in the face to the Bahamas to go from a C and D that demands cage protocols to yahoo's throwing poles at sharks and trying to sit on them as well. Those videos and images do not need to be on You Tube or posted anywhere.

As far as I can see no effort on the organic media side has been made to assure the Bahamians that this site is self policed, in fact as you and I have discussed it's going in the opposite direction.

When Burgess can make the claim that this site is a "three ring circus" he get's all of his info from images and video floating around, and the few blog posts that state same.

I give this site a 25% chance of surviving as it is today. We'll be very lucky if the final verdict is "cages only".

Care to make the bet? A bottle of Chateau le Fete 1964?

Capt Dave Richards said...

Yes, I will take that bet, you still think you'll be there?

Shark Diver said... If they make the call to shut it all down we'll go out with the bathwater.

Sad really, this site is ours to win or lose and we are losing badly for the short term gain.

Maybe if we photoshop cages in the background of all those images...with big banners on the side that read "Vacation in the Bahamas!"

All joking aside.

Anonymous said...

Why dont you idiots strop talking about this and make it worse.

Shark Diver said...

Hi Anonymous,

Good question indeed. This blog is read by a wide assortment of people. Many of them are industry. Your feelings about sweeping this all under the rug is "old industry" and small minded.

Today's media is a living, breathing, monster that needs to be fed 24/7. Should we as commercial shark diving operators decide to feed that beast with self generated negative shark media, we should be called to the mat for it.

Our company included in statement.That's where industry leadership comes in. Standing up and defending our actions or better yet, the very sharks we make a living from is an important part of that news cycle.

One of our goals here is to inform and document. 90% of commercial shark accidents and poor media is avoidable. As an industry how will we deal with this?

Ignoring it is one way to deal with it. Highlighting is another.

By the time close to 16 million people have been impacted by a negative industry event our little blog posts amount to nothing more than "The street cleaner at the end of an Elephant parade".

Someone needs to be there so the next generation of operators can have a road map to work with.

We're not perfect, we're not even right all the time...but we're here.