Galapagos sharks seen off the North Shore of Oahu.
Although it is legal to bait sharks to kill them. Misguided people are attempting to ban offshore shark encounters. These sharks are pelagic animals and do not hunt in shallow water or on reefs.
They are already dangerous predators. Few humans spend time in their open ocean habitat.
It always amazes me that people can legally slaughter marine life wholesale, but when businesses arise to allow people to see these animals alive and in their element opposition always arises.
I would suggest these people lobby to end longlining, shark fishing, and overfishing.
My concern is that these people are acting out of fear and ignorance. There is no research or evidence that suggests these encounters have been detrimental to sharks or humans. Keep in mind that this occurs over three miles offshore in open water. These sharks are already habituated to the area because of the bait used and discarded by crab fisherman for decades.
The operators are only taking advantage of an unusual situation where these types of sharks can be reliably encountered. The operations are extremely conservative and safety oriented. The cages are built to overkill specifications.
What I like about the operation (and hate as a photographer), is that it is totally geared to the average tourist. You don't need to be a diver. This makes this an unique opportunity for the average person to see pelagic sharks in the wild. This is a rare chance for some good public relations for animals that are much maligned and in severe need of protection.
© 2008 Scott Sansenbach, All Rights Reserved