We know several things about both Hawaii Shark Encounters and North Shore Shark Adventures.
Both are solid, reputable commercial shark diving operators, and both are facing the chopping block unless our "industry" get's off it's collective ass and jumps in to the rescue.
It is rare to ask for help, it is industry leadership to offer it and see it through.
So, any takers out there? Is there one operator, dive group, website, chatroom, gear site, or individual that will take up the cause for these guys and push back against the tidal wave of anti-shark diving sentiment in Hawaii?
We had some ideas about what might be done immediately this week. It is not too late.
Nishiki offers bill to ban shark tours.
By BRIAN PERRY, City Editor.
POSTED: July 8, 2009.
WAILUKU - Maui County has no tours available for visitors to plunge into the
ocean and watch sharks cruise by from the safety of submerged cages.
And Maui County Council Member Wayne Nishiki wants to make sure such an
activity doesn't come here.
"I think we need to take precautions," he said, adding that he's concerned
that if shark tours become established in Maui County waters, then surfers,
swimmers and everyone else who enjoys the ocean could be endangered.
Nishiki said he particularly objects to outsiders coming to Maui to exploit
a business opportunity without regard for the lifestyle or safety of residents.
"All they're interested in is the big buck and that's it," he said Tuesday.
Nishiki said he's seeking a county ordinance that would ban shark tours in
Maui County. He said the county has the power to do so by blocking business
licenses for the activity.
The South Maui council member introduced the shark tour prohibition during a
meeting Tuesday. The matter was referred to the council's Economic
Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee, chaired by Jo Anne Johnson.
Nishiki said that although he would like the state Legislature to pass a
ban, he doesn't know how long it will take for the state to take action.
Nishiki's proposal included a copy of a Honolulu City Council resolution
urging the passage and enforcement of state legislation to ban commercial
shark-viewing tours and related activities.
He said he didn't want to see the Maui County Council pass only a resolution
because it would not have the force and effect of law.
Shark-viewing tours attract paying customers on Oahu's North Shore, but
there's a growing statewide movement to stop the tours from operating. Some
Native Hawaiians consider sharks to be ancestral gods, and they find it
offensive to have tourists feeding and viewing them for entertainment.
Surfers and environmentalists worry that shark tours might have the ocean
predators linking people with food, and scientists say luring sharks to
certain areas could disrupt the ecological balance in near-shore waters.