We have been updating you on the Georgia Aquarium's efforts to bring the public to their captive Whale Sharks in a new and some say...yes we say-ridiculous manner, with the addition of paying "thrill divers".
Those in world of commercial aquariums dance a fine line between captive animal ambassadors and commercial exploitation.
Monterey Bay Aquarium has managed that fine line with their ground breaking white shark program. If there was ever a road map to follow this program would be it. Unfortunately the folks over at the Georgia AQ have not seen this map.
Meanwhile the rest of the research and whale shark community remains unimpressed and in some cases in open rebellion:
Georgia Aquarium invitation riles some conservationists
Isla Holbox, Mexico — Georgia Aquarium officials want to hold the next international whale shark conference in Atlanta, but some conservationists bristle at the idea because the world's largest indoor aquarium exhibits the huge polka-dotted fish.
Editors Note: One look at the Georgia AQ website and the Monterey Bay AQ website shows how P.R is won and lost by pushing the envelope from captive animal ambassadors to commercial exploitation. Georgia AQ needs to make a decision fast. Either break with traditional aquaria completly and become a full fledged commercial operation, or cease allowing "thrill divers" into captive whale shark enclosures. Clearly there's little room for a hybrid operation that seeks to maintain credibility within the research and traditional aquarium communities.