With some alarm we watched the following ABC news piece this morning on Australia's white shark tourism industry. Well known for "doing things right," leading the rest of the global industry with initiatives that run the gamut from embedded research to advances in cage diving technology.
It would appear that Australian government scientists are now releasing data showing that white sharks are being impacted by these operators and that this data will be used to drop two operations from the area and reduce the number of days the last surviving operations can operate.
Is this institutionalized bias?
We tend to think so as we have seen this same brand of anti-shark diving creep before. Most notably at the Gulf of the Farallones islands off the coast of California where laws and regulations make it impossible to attract white sharks in any manner save static decoys and have enforced a 164 foot rule as of 2009.
Operations must now stay 164 feet away from white sharks at this site at all times.
We will be keeping a wary eye on events as they transpire in Australia as elsewhere with white shark commercial operations. Australia, with folks like Rodney and Andrew Fox remain beacons within an industry often maligned and attributed with all manner of institutional and media bias.
What happens in Australia resonates across the rest of the planet for our industry, and this weeks news is not good.