Over the last year we have detailed, time and again, the need for local shark operations to lead the way into shark conservation. Either by on site educational programs, or funded research efforts. Our job as commercial shark operators does not end at the bank.
Which leads me to this years DEMA show in Vegas. On the spur of the moment I hopped a flight for a one day walk about of the show and bumped into "Da Shark" owner of Beqa Adventure Divers. I had been hoping to meet him in person as online we seemed to be of the same mind on a lot of issues facing our industry. The conversation turned to conservation efforts and I came to discover the depth of BAD's commintment to on site shark research and conservation. I also came to quickly realize "Da Shark" was not your ordinary shark diving operator. The pleasure of his company on that day was all mine. His operation in Fiji is a case of leading by example, enabling great people, and fostering conservation efforts which to date have been impressive. But I digress.
The real reason for any conservation program is to educate and enable others to effect change. This "idea", for lack of a better word, was aptly demonstrated this week in an email I got from Kathryn Howe. She wanted to know about booking a shark expedition with us. She said she wanted to become a marine biologist with a focus on sharks. I was curious as to what got her started and here was her response. Once again-proof positive-that on site efforts not only work, they are essential to each and every operation:
I went with a company that has two components. One is just learning to scuba dive, sail and other fun adventures and it's called Broadreach. The other component is educational and students are able to receive college credit and that's called Academic Treks. There are language immersion, marine biology, and other biology adventures. We went diving at Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Pacific Harbor with Beqa Adventure Divers and helped them collect data and then did our own small research projects.
Ever since my Fijian adventure, I have realized that sharks are so misunderstood so I try to spread my knowledge to my friends, family, and anyone who makes a comment about shark attacks. But they don't see the majesty of sharks underwater. They only see the horror movies and hear the stories of attacks but don't understand how rare they are.
Patric Douglas CEO