The most serious challenge to US based commercial shark diving since the Farallones final shark diving policy last month is now unfolding in Hawaii. An angry crowd gathered this week to shut down a commercial cage diving effort on the island of Oahu - opening a renewed and heated conversation about shutting down existing operations as well.
We have said it before and we'll say it again, commercial shark diving efforts must be guided by conservation efforts with a strong political game plan in the matrix. This recent commercial efforts failure was at the hands of poorly guided media output and a complete lack of local outreach and education efforts.
You fail to properly roll out a commercial shark diving company at your own peril.
Just how the owner of this new company ever manged to find himself in a room full of angry locals with the major media on site is a testament to poor planning and execution. Unfortunately the rusted can of anti-shark diving sentiment opened by this effort is effecting all operations in the region. We'll be following this closely:
Like blood in the water an angry crowd of about 200 people converged on a town hall meeting about shark tours.
The shark tour owner told them the business is done. Koko Marina already pulled his boat slip because of the controversy. At issue is the proposed shark tours and feeding them to bring them closer to spectators in cages. Iolani Lewis is the man with the plan. Its tough to say what's more intimidating, swimming with the sharks or facing a crowded cafeteria full of people looking to run him out of town.
"You have immense nerve coming in here telling us how to enjoy the ocean," scolded one unidentified man to Lewis.