"The times, they are a-changing." There seems to be a subtle but growing shift in strategy among many conservation organizations. In the face of past regulations/prohibitions or designated protected areas for endangered animals that have often proven less successful due to lack of resources for effective enforcement, greater attention is being turned towards eco-tourism as a means of increasing public support and providing a more attractive economic model for government and commercial entities to endorse.
I have been honored to assist SharkDivers.com with providing consulting expertise for shark tourism and the film/television industry. As a marketing communications and media production professional, I look forward to the opportunity to advance the cause of responsible shark eco-tourism as a means of providing effective support to shark conservation.
As new strategies emerge, there will be challenges to address - ecological impact, potential behavioral changes, shifts in third world economies, tourist/diver impact, safety issues for both people and animals, and more. But shark tourism - carefully planned - holds great promise. It can generate enlightenment in people, preserve marine ecosystems that depend on their predators as vital members of the aquatic community, and it can provide economic proof that a living shark is infinitely more valuable than a dead one.