"If you're going to keep rewarding animals in the Pavlovian sense, they're going to associate you with food - which you never taunt, bait or feed a wild animal. It's one of the basic tenets of ecotourism and yet cage-diving flouts this all the time."
A recent quote featured in S.A by a member of the small but vocal anti-shark diving community.
It we had a nickle for every time we read this exact quote, regurgitated by hysteria mongers, we might have retired by now.
Why is it that the anti-shark diving folks fail repeatedly to drum up industry facts when the facts about baiting and sharks are readily available from a number of fresh studies?
Anti-shark diving folks like a good controversy but do not care about facts. To them each surfer attacked, each swimmer nibbled, and each diver chased back into his boat is proof positive that our industry is the root cause.
No mention of the myriad of individual reasons that sharks behave like sharks, and that sharks are fish. Not terrestrial mammals. Which is another mistake the anti-shark diving folks always make. Equating terrestrial tourism with aquatic tourism with this, our favorite of all sub quotes:
"you never taunt, bait or feed a wild animal. It's one of the basic tenets of ecotourism."
Our global $400 million dollar industry is not perfect by any means and it still has some evolving to do, but there are industry leaders who are seeking solutions and moving our industry in directions never before imagined, until recently. New research data on chumming from around the world is showing that sharks are far more evolved then the CW of "pavlovian responses" and we are not training sharks to attack people.
Sadly those that hate our industry will continue to do so, seeking ways to prohibit what we do with sharks, without any attention to the many first rate conservation, research, long term monitoring, and site preservation efforts that shark tourism brings to the world.
We could go on, but our industry record stands, the data is all there, all you have to do is get away from the small minded media bytes, and look.