An admirable industry lament these days - especially if you are famed S.A shark diver Mike Rutzen. Seems that we are one of the few industry people to point out the growing trend of "cageless without a point". The headlong rush by members of our community to get in close and dangerous with large predatory sharks, for the sheer pleasure, and media of it.
Mike Rutzen's ongoing media line "I do it to prove these critters are misunderstood"- fails to move us.
Until today and an article in the iAfrica.com that rang with conservation messaging worthy of any NGO:
Mike Rutzen dives with great white sharks — without a cage. While he isn’t the first to do it, he’s taken shark diving to a previously unimagined level. He does it not for fun, to win bets or for the adrenaline rush, but to prove a point. And the point is that great white sharks have a gentle side to their nature.
It’s largely to campaign for the removal of the nets that that Rutzen wants to change the image of sharks.
Great Googly Moogly, famed shark diver Mike Rutzen has a conservation message and one that makes sense - now we're talking.
For a moment, an all too brief moment, we were about to pass on a Kudo to the man and his cageless with a point message in S.A. Unfortunately we read the rest of the article and it's devolution into a bunch of ridiculous half baked industry clap trap about the "quest for tonic immobility", "communicating with sharks through body language" and a series of other half brained media nuggets that do little but marginalize the one time beauty and imagery of interactions with big predatory sharks.
As Mike sums up at the end of this article all too well - once and for all destroying the initial pro shark conservation message:
"We’ve just done the longest dorsal fin ride I’ve ever ridden. It’s surreal, it’s super-peaceful. It feels like you want to stay there.”
Did anyone ask the sharks opinion of this uninvited simian fin rider? Mike, stay on message and drop the PT Barnum act. Getting the media stage with the activity is the easy part. Getting a real and lasting conservation message to stick is the hard part.