Cherie McCosker recently blogged about her eco tour experience with Whale sharks in Donsol, Philippines.
Her article is right on target but misses the larger point of the purpose of shark tourism in many regions worldwide:
"My German companion came back on the boat exclaiming, "You should have seen it, you could see the Whale shark get angry. All of a sudden it thrashed about and dove down to the depths of the sea".
As was blogged about a few months ago these animals were once hunted in that region. With the advent of high dollar Whale shark tourism the hunting stopped. Unfortunately local fishermen still kill sharks for squalene (kudos Diveshopp Blog) but these are deep water species that will probably never be monetized by shark tourism. In region after region worldwide when local populations see a financial incentive to keep sharks they do and the catalyst for that sea change is usually shark tourism.
Ms. McCoskers article talks about people touching and molesting Whale sharks under the guise of shark tourism and she has a solid point. But in the larger picture of animals no longer killed in the region one could argue that while imperfect, shark tourism does stop the killing of sharks.
We'll take that as a win.