Diving with Sharks
Respecting the Ocean's Top Predators
Shark diving is a growing industry, and that is good news for sharks! Why? because the more interest and investment we put on observing these great and nearly prehistoric beasts of the ocean, the less is spent on killing them. Sharks are the top of the food chain in the ocean, and 3rd grade science teaches us that the food chain is imperative for maintaining the health of the ecosystem.
It is way better for the human condition to spend time studying and watching in awe, at over 1000 species of shark than to eat shark fin soup! (Yuck anyway!)
What are the safest and most effective ways to shark dive and the most productive ways to save the species? Let's take a look!
Photo credit: Willy Volk
Living in Harmony
A Delicate Ecosystem
See this? Some fish thrive on keeping sharks free of parasites. A codependent relationship of the healthy kind.
Shark "finning" is the illegal practice of removing the shark's fin and discarding the rest. Sharks are thrown back into the water alive, without their fins, to suffocate to death. Not only is it torturous for the shark, but it is resulting in the rapid loss of our shark population. Sharks are late bloomers and have few offspring. This combination makes them more in danger of extinction if the rate of killing continues.
If sharks continue to be killed at the rate we are going (50 million a year) we'll wipe them out completely in this millennium, if not sooner! Without sharks in the ocean, there will be bazillions of smaller fish, which could literally choke our oceans and leave us all short of breath!
Makes me think of my one shot at owning an aquarium. Within a few months my few little fish were overcome by tons of guppies which were so grossly abundant in that little two gallon tank that it was more like a minnow farm than the nice peaceful scene I envisioned. That's the way the ocean could be if we rob it of the natural selection tool that sharks give us.
By shifting our fascination of sharks to diving with them instead of eating them, we save not only their existence, but our own peace of mind, and perhaps, the very lives of our own descendants. Can you imagine a world taken over by too many fish in the sea? At the very least it would be pretty smelly!
It's all about perception anyway. I cannot imagine that shark fin soup tastes all that great really. It's got to be the fact that it's a delicacy. An exotic draw. We can have that same exotic experience (for much cheaper when you think about it) by spending some time in harmony with them in their own habitat. The experience would be much more meaningful, and the memory would last way longer than the satisfaction of a meal!
The Crown Jewel of Ocean Health
Safe Shark Diving Tips
Respect your Shark's Environment
Before signing on to a dive tour, ask if and how they bait. The safest ways are with frozen bait which gradually thaws and does not draw too many at once, or with a trained diver in a special suit who disburses bait at a safe distance from the dive site. Do not bait sharks yourself.
Compiled from a list by wicked diving.
1. The ocean itself is more dangerous than any shark. Be aware of your surroundings.
2. Enter the water quietly. A controlled, seated entry works best.
3. Behave like a guest in the shark's living room. It is after all part of the wild kingdom! Keep your hands to yourself.
4. Avoid staring directly into the shark's eyes. Watch carefully from the corner of your eye, but do keep your eyes on the shark at all times.
5. Move as little as possible. Try to become part of the natural environment.
6. Stay horizontal as much as possible. This is the more natural position to sharks. If you cannot remain horizontal, crouch down as low as possible. Vertical height is more unnerving to the shark than length.
7. Leave the water carefully and slowly, but deliberately if your shark seems agitated. " quick, jerky movements; pectoral fins held stiffly downward; abrupt change in swimming style; overall increase in muscular tension - or otherwise begins to swim in an erratic manner'
8. Likewise above if the fish in the immediate area duck suddenly for cover. They are more sensitive to the shark's erratic behavior than you and can give you a good warning sign.
Which came first? The Soup or the Fin? - Soupfin Sharks: What an Unfortunate name!
Actually these long and lean sharks have several names. Soupfin tells it pretty much like it is though. These guys move in schools, and are a big haul when scooped up in a fisherman's net. After many years of heavy fishing, their population is seriously depleted.
You can help! Don't eat sharkfin soup, don't buy shark cartilage vitamins. These boys'll be back in no time if there is no reason to catch them!
Awesome Shark Stuff!
I love this poster! It seems to have every kind of shark in the sea!
Whitetip Reef Shark, Great Barrier Reef
Keeping Track - Shark Finning
It does not seem to be going away. This is a difficult thing to report, but it's important that the world knows what's going on. Killing a shark in such a cruel way (smothering it to death basically) and for such a small part... it's cruel and ridiculous. We do not need them dead to survive. In fact, we need them alive. Sharks keep the ocean in balance. If we kill off sharks (and we already are killing off some species, thanks to these horrible "finning" practices), we kill our oceans. Oceans and the waters of the world are 3/4 of our planet. Without our oceans, the whole planet dies. Is that really worth it for some silly soup? Have chicken noodle!
- 2,000 sharks slaughtered for fins off Colombia
About 2,000 sharks appear to have been slaughtered for their fins in a Pacific Ocean marine sanctuary off Colombia, the Guardian reports. - USATODAY.com Shark Fins being processed - Taiwan
We continue to find sharks the most fascinating of sea creatures. I, for one, am in awe of them, and will always try to see them underwater. No creature has their grace or pure power and there is an undeniable thrill in meeting one. In their element, they are our superiors http://snipurl.com/17nicn
The Shark Free Initiative - This is my world!
And My world needs sharks!
Blue Shark - Beautiful in the Water
Once a blue shark is caught and killed, his beautiful blue color turns to a dull gray. The threat to blue sharks is not so much direct fishing, but they frequently get caught as "bycatch". Bycatch is an unintentional catch from long line fishing. They are kept and sold, but not specifically sought.
Baby Great White Shark - Saved by a Surfer!
Do you think Sharks are in Danger of Extinction? - Or should we not worry about shark-fin soup?
Before you answer, here's another question: Do you think this photo of a shark behind a diver waving and smiling is real or photo shopped?
Do you think this photo of a shark behind a diver waving and smiling is real or photo shopped?
If you think it's photo shopped, then you are.......... Correct!
Cute picture though, isn't it?
Okay - let's see what everyone thinks about the state of the shark population of the world!
Are sharks in danger of extinction from finning and other poaching activities?
More on Shark Diving - And Preserving the Delicate Ocean Ecosystem
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Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on September 6th, 2011In a major victory for sharks, the California Senate appr
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- The Shark Diving International Team Blog
Shark Diving Experts
- The Shark-Free Marina Initiative
SHARK-FREE MARINAS: Reducing worldwide shark mortality.
Or what do you think about sharks in general? I appreciate your comments!