As expected on a vote of 11-2, the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board approved a resolution calling for a statewide ban on shark-feeding tour operations. This is the "opening salvo" of a long term battle for the right to dive commercially with sharks in Hawaii. Currently there are two existing operations who are under siege.
This battle will be won or lost in the mainstream media. Unfortunately the operators on island have been slow to realize this and have done little to change the current anti-shark diving media platform of:
Where operators should focus is on the economic benefits of commercial shark diving on a statewide, regional, and local level. Following the shark diving tourism dollars as they flow through the worst economic downturn in 30 years is a media point that few politicians want to argue against. The pro-shark diving media platform of:
As with all media campaigns timing is everything and as the weeks drag into months and neighborhood groups band together gathering political and media steam - the likelihood of changing the media's focus becomes more and more distant.
The commercial shark diving industry saw this same anti-shark diving roll out in Florida from 1999-2001. Let's get to work.