One of the hopes for regional shark fin bans and set aside shark sanctuaries is that commercial shark diving development will be allowed to re-purpose local fishermen from unsustainable fisheries into sustainable commercial shark diving.
The shark tourism numbers are eloquent, in places like the Maldives sharks are worth $6.00 to local fishermen, where a live shark at a tourism site might be worth $30,000 over the lifetime of the site, and that's just one shark.
In the Bahamas a $78 million dollar shark tourism industry safely introduces thousands of divers to the world of sharks each and every year.
So, reading the recent discussions on the senate floor about a proposed shark fin ban in Guam yesterday is a bit dis concerning as it would appear that at least two Senators are seeking a complete ban on shark chumming as well.
A complete ban on shark chumming would preclude the second act for regional shark conservation efforts allowing fishermen to capitalise on a growing international shark tourism marketplace.
During floor discussions, Sen. Respicio proposed an amendment that would also prohibit the practice of shark feeding, which has been used to lure the animals.
Cruz said he supported the amendment.
"The intent of this bill was to allow nature to be nature," said Cruz.
He said that bringing sharks closer to shore was "unnatural" and dangerous.
Sen. Chris Duenas also rose in support of the amendment.
"It is the experience of many fishermen as they go fishing is that there are a lot of sharks," said Duenas. "But there's no question that when you add fish parts to the water … you would artificial attract sharks to a location, fishermen have a hard enough time off there fending off sharks."
Sen. Judith Guthertz called the practice of attracting the animals through fish parts "very dangerous." She said the bill wanted to prevent dangerous commercial activities that would attract the animals to cages.
"It's inappropriate and unfair to the animals," she said.
Sen. Ben Pangelinan said the practice throws the ecosystem off balance.
"You can train a dog to wear a skirt and sit up and bark. Or pants for that matter," said Pangelinan.
He said that the practice has meant that sharks have been conditioned to follow the sounds of boats -- because the animals know that the sound may mean food.