Commercial shark diving operations in South Africa are discovering the "industry media rule" first hand this week in a series of high profile media hits on baiting sharks and current S.A regulations.
"Thou shalt not allow or enable images and video that depict operations doing bad things with sharks"
Simple enough rule and yet too many industry members seem to forget that we live in a hyper connected media environment. An environment where videos and images of sharks smashing into cages, or worse, are transmitted around the world to waiting agenda based groups, and on to agencies tasked with providing the frame work and guidelines for our industries continued existence.
This weeks series of videos featuring white sharks thrashing against shark cages are another reason for operations to take a hard look at how they bait animals and why they are doing it.
Shark diving, done right, is a first class educational tool for thousands of divers worldwide. Additionally shark research efforts in tandem with operations helps the species with regional protections based on solid data.
Our industry has much to offer sharks in a time of profound shark crises. But only if operations can find their way past cheap stunt work with sharks and see the broader vision of sustainability.