Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is Tourism Good for South Africa’s Great White Sharks?

Gansbaai, South Africa — Sharks have taken a big hand in the fortunes of this fishing village on the southernmost coast of Africa.

Fishing used to be the lifeblood of Gansbaai (meaning Goose Bay), and to an extent it still is. But nowadays some of the smartest boats slipping out of its rudimentary harbor at high tide in the morning bear tourists who want to experience the thrill of close-up encounters with sharks, particularly of the great white variety.

Shark cage-diving has become big business, luring visitors from all parts of the world. It is also carried on along other parts of the South African coast. But the reason for Gansbaai’s success in particular is that the bay it overlooks is claimed by marine biologists doing research there to have the world’s biggest year-round concentration of great white sharks.

Complete story here.