Worldwide, over 400 shark diving businesses operate every day of the year, logging millions of hours of dives with safety records that surpass the vast majority of recreational activities. We at Shark Angels believe that, when done responsibly, shark tourism and shark diving – whether scuba diving or freediving - produces ambassadors for sharks as well as providing a strong economic alternative to shark fishing, making it one of the most powerful conservation tools we have to protect them.
Additionally, multiple studies have concluded that shark tourism provides far more revenue to the local economy than shark fishing, making sharks more valuable alive than dead. A 2012 study of the economic value of shark tourism in Palau (1) found that the shark diving industry accounted for at least 8% of Palau's GDP. Theoretical comparisons estimated that a fished shark would generate just .006% of the revenue provided by that same shark as a living, non consumptive resource.
While strongly supporting shark tourism, we also believe that there are best practices for all parties involved - both divers and operators. And that divers should fully understand the responsibility that comes with diving with sharks – for the sharks, for themselves, and for others who many wish to dive. Shark diving can be surrounded by significant controversy. We aim to reduce that through education, understanding, and some suggested best practices. Our collective experience with sharks is expansive and diverse, having spent thousands of hours underwater with a vast number of species all over the world. Our members include freedivers, shark scientists, professional filmmakers and photographers, scuba industry professionals, shark naturalists who spend most of their lives in the water with sharks, operators, and shark diving enthusiasts.
Shark Angels does not certify diving operations, and it is not our place to organizationally pass judgment or dictate what is right or wrong in terms of method. Each dive site will present it's own specific challenges and protocols, and as with all dive environments, from one day to the next a number of variables will come into play. The key is responsibility – in this case, for you as a diver.
Shark diving and dive operators are under a lot of unfortunate scrutiny due to the many myths and misconceptions that exist about shark diving. While we are working hard to change this perception, it is critical that all of us participating in the sport operate as responsibly as possible. We believe that all divers - with or without tanks - should take personal responsibility for their behavior by going into any prospective shark encounter well educated and prepared, and we believe operations should constantly take measures to ensure their own best practices are being followed while also striving to improve their interactions and decrease their footprint.
People tend to protect the things they understand, and sharks are largely out of sight, out of mind. Establishing a better understanding of sharks is critical for their survival, and operating on a positive set of guiding principles is instrumental in providing safety for both divers and sharks. We believe that following certain best practices can help protect shark tourism, and that those safe and positive encounters will go on to foster favorable views from the public regarding shark diving operations, and sharks themselves. As we continue to deplete populations and chase sharks to the brink of extinction, it is more important than ever to encourage people to care about sharks and gain an appreciation for their true character while making them much more valuable to local communities alive than dead. Shark diving does just that.
Telephone: +1 917 546 6618
315 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization