Thursday, January 29, 2009

Florida and Commercial Shark Diving

It's a commercial shark diving industry sore point we have harped on for a while now.

The ban on chumming and shark diving in Florida waters was poorly conceived back in 2001. This complete ban was conducted under a negative media storm by a well organized anti-shark diving lobby.

At the time a nascent US shark diving industry was comprised of just two operations.

Today Florida's waters teem with commercial shark diving species. An estimated 10-20 million dollar tourism industry sits idle as hotels and restaurants across the region shut down under one of the worst recessions in recent history.

Meanwhile, Florida's sharks are relegated to weekly news reports that do little to dispel the Jaws mythos with recent titles like "Shark Frenzy Caught on Tape" and the ever popular "Shark Alert". The state of Florida's-state of sharks-is at an all time low with an ever present perception that the waters of Florida are filled with rapacious predators waiting to strike.

The reality could be further from the truth and only the commercial shark diving industry can, if given a chance, work to dispel that media fabrication about sharks.

It is high time Florida reconsidered commercial shark diving operations off it's waters. Done right, with serious and lasting species interactive protocols, and even the threat of fines for industry infractions, Florida could ramp up a shark diving industry in less then two years that would feed local communities desperately needed tourism dollars.

If the ban on shark diving in Florida was in part done to stop the fear of shark attacks on humans, we would suggest the bans goals have failed. It is time to rethink sharks in Florida.

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