Wednesday, May 16, 2012

White Shark Cage Diving Australia - Reprieve?

All's well that ends well, sort of.

As you know we have been following the twists and turns of the State Governments decision to cut two commercial shark diving operations from Neptune Island in Australia.

A recent research study that suggested commercial white shark operations were in fact changing the behavior of the animals on site the decision was, as industry observers have noted, not greeted with much enthusiasm.

The good news is all the operations have received five year extended permits, the bad news is they have all been reduced to 5 days a week, dropping 288 collective days from operational calendars.

What makes this decision notable is the shark research component. For years commercial shark diving operations have extended an open door policy towards research teams seeking to study sharks.

Is it time to reconsider this policy when single point research data impacts operations?

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DaShark said...

I don't think so Patric.
It behooves us to sponsor research and sometimes, we may not like the results - but such is the nature of the game.

Barry Bruce is one of the most credible researchers and his findings are sound. Actually, it is good to see that the data have not been biased by the fact that he is close to the operators.

If we are honest and are not in it only for the $$$ but because we really care about the animals, we should certainly heed any substantiated warnings that what we do may harm them - and I'm pretty sure that people like Andrew are happy to get that information and equally happy to adapt their procedures accordingly.

Maybe there would have been other solutions to avoid increasing the residency of those Sharks without this rather draconian measure - but I'm too far removed to really be able to comment.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Good points Mike. I am all for research as you well know, the question stands, or rather might be rephrased as this:

"Do researchers have any responsibility to operators if help is given to acquire data?"

I might suggest that data is, as we both know, in the eye of the beholder. Once policy makers get a hold of fisheries data all manner of bizarre outcomes happen.

Is this the best solution?

Could the researchers suggested another course?

Like you I am far removed from this one and know little aside from what I have read.

If there is a true cause and effect then something had to be done.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

BTW I am also a fan of Barry.

DaShark said...

Agree that when possible, the researchers should first consult with the operators who ideally should be given the chance to self-regulate.

But as far as I know, in this specific case the researchers are Government-sponsored - so I guess this was not an option.

But again, I'm speculating.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Again as little is known except for the mainstream media all I have to riff on is the S.A anti-shark diving take on this paper which has not been good.

Funny thing about data, once it is out of the box without any kind of shepherding, every group with an agenda get's a crack at it.