Dive industry calls for greater shark protection

Posted: 10/16/2011 in all marine news

Nick Dalton – 

Sharks are worth more alive than dead. That’s according to a report which has found the live-aboard dive sector is worth at least $16 million a year in the Far North, with shark sightings rated the highest experience among divers.

The dive industry is backing the report showing the high economic value of sharks and is calling for their greater protection.

One operator, Passions of Paradise, is providing research grants to university students to study sharks.

A James Cook University study by Dr Alastair Birtles and his team of five found that live-aboard divers travelling to the Reef valued shark sightings more highly than other wildlife.

“While tourists travelling to different parts of the Reef, or on other kinds of trips, might feel slightly differently, sharks are obviously important to this industry sector,” team member Natalie Stoeckl said.

She said the elite divers were willing to pay more for a “guaranteed” shark sighting than they would be for a “guaranteed” sighting of large fish, marine turtles or a wide variety of wildlife.

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