Is shark diving beneficial for the sharks?


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With the recent coverage of the cage diving accident at Guadalupe, a lot of people have commented that shark diving should be banned.


Obviously my view on that may be biased, since I own a shark diving business, but I have some facts that may change your view on shark diving.

Did you know that shark diving operations have prevented poachers from fishing for sharks at Guadalupe? At this point, everyone knows there are great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, including the poachers. If we would stop shark diving there, the poachers would have easy access.


Did you know that shark diving created a National Marine Park in Fiji? The efforts of Beqa Adventure Divers, have directly led to the creation of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. When they started diving there, they went to the local fishing village that were the traditional owners of that reef and made a deal with them. They would receive a levy from every shark diver in return for a promise from the village to not fish on that reef. Beqa Adventure Divers also hired and trained their Divemasters, Instructors and boat Captains from that village. After 10 years of diving there, the number of fish species on the reef increased from around 280 to over 480. In 2014 that reef became an official National Marine Park, the equivalent of a National Park in the US.

Shark Reef Marine Reserve
Did you know that Shark Diver donates a significant portion of it's proceeds to research? We primarily support the Marine Conservation Science Institute who created and maintains the photo ID database of all the sharks at Guadalupe Island.

Did you know that Shark Diver started Shark Free Marinas?

Did you know that Shark Diver works to get fishing tournaments to have catch and release divisions, instead of all kill? This is actually something we have been criticized for by people who don't want to see shark fishing tournaments at all. Well, I don't like them either, but catch and release is far better than catch and kill. One step at a time!

Shark Diver is just one company among many operators who actively uses the business to support conservation. We try to emulate our buddies in Fiji. Beqa Adventure Divers who state that they are a "Conservation project, masquerading as a dive operation" We have a long way to go, but we are working on catching up.

So how about the issue of conditioning the sharks, by providing them with food? I leave the answer to that question to DaShark who wrote a blog about that issue a while back.
The late Rusi feeding his sharks.

He writes:
Conditioning via Positive Reinforcement, the big no-no.
Yes, I confess, this is precisely what we do!
We reward the Sharks whenever they approach, very much in the hopes that over time, more and more of them will turn up for a meal - which of course, being smart Apex Predators, they do!
We do so in order to show them to our clients - as opposed to, as I shall never tire to repeat, Fishermen who do exactly the same thing in order to catch and then kill them.
Get the hint? Who has the way biggest, and most negative impact on the animals? Are we going to abolish fishing as a consequence? I wish!


Just to remind you, this comes from the guy who was largely responsible for creating that national marine park I mentioned above.

There are many, many more reasons I could list that show that shark diving, when done properly can greatly benefit not only the sharks, but the ocean in general. It is easy to just oppose shark diving with often unsubstantiated claims, without taking into consideration what the alternative would be.

How many of you would be interested in sharks, or aware of them, without all the pictures and videos on TV and social media? None of those would be around, if not for shark diving?



Weather you agree with my stand on shark diving or not, let's agree on something. Just offering our opinions on social media and criticizing others is not saving a single shark. Only actions can do that. Let's be activists, not slacktivists and keep in mind who is killing sharks. It's the fishing industry, not shark divers!

Let's go shark diving! Or clean up a beach or.....

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver
   
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Is shark diving beneficial for the sharks?


Instagram
With the recent coverage of the cage diving accident at Guadalupe, a lot of people have commented that shark diving should be banned.


Obviously my view on that may be biased, since I own a shark diving business, but I have some facts that may change your view on shark diving.

Did you know that shark diving operations have prevented poachers from fishing for sharks at Guadalupe? At this point, everyone knows there are great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, including the poachers. If we would stop shark diving there, the poachers would have easy access.


Did you know that shark diving created a National Marine Park in Fiji? The efforts of Beqa Adventure Divers, have directly led to the creation of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. When they started diving there, they went to the local fishing village that were the traditional owners of that reef and made a deal with them. They would receive a levy from every shark diver in return for a promise from the village to not fish on that reef. Beqa Adventure Divers also hired and trained their Divemasters, Instructors and boat Captains from that village. After 10 years of diving there, the number of fish species on the reef increased from around 280 to over 480. In 2014 that reef became an official National Marine Park, the equivalent of a National Park in the US.

Shark Reef Marine Reserve
Did you know that Shark Diver donates a significant portion of it's proceeds to research? We primarily support the Marine Conservation Science Institute who created and maintains the photo ID database of all the sharks at Guadalupe Island.

Did you know that Shark Diver started Shark Free Marinas?

Did you know that Shark Diver works to get fishing tournaments to have catch and release divisions, instead of all kill? This is actually something we have been criticized for by people who don't want to see shark fishing tournaments at all. Well, I don't like them either, but catch and release is far better than catch and kill. One step at a time!

Shark Diver is just one company among many operators who actively uses the business to support conservation. We try to emulate our buddies in Fiji. Beqa Adventure Divers who state that they are a "Conservation project, masquerading as a dive operation" We have a long way to go, but we are working on catching up.

So how about the issue of conditioning the sharks, by providing them with food? I leave the answer to that question to DaShark who wrote a blog about that issue a while back.
The late Rusi feeding his sharks.

He writes:
Conditioning via Positive Reinforcement, the big no-no.
Yes, I confess, this is precisely what we do!
We reward the Sharks whenever they approach, very much in the hopes that over time, more and more of them will turn up for a meal - which of course, being smart Apex Predators, they do!
We do so in order to show them to our clients - as opposed to, as I shall never tire to repeat, Fishermen who do exactly the same thing in order to catch and then kill them.
Get the hint? Who has the way biggest, and most negative impact on the animals? Are we going to abolish fishing as a consequence? I wish!


Just to remind you, this comes from the guy who was largely responsible for creating that national marine park I mentioned above.

There are many, many more reasons I could list that show that shark diving, when done properly can greatly benefit not only the sharks, but the ocean in general. It is easy to just oppose shark diving with often unsubstantiated claims, without taking into consideration what the alternative would be.

How many of you would be interested in sharks, or aware of them, without all the pictures and videos on TV and social media? None of those would be around, if not for shark diving?



Weather you agree with my stand on shark diving or not, let's agree on something. Just offering our opinions on social media and criticizing others is not saving a single shark. Only actions can do that. Let's be activists, not slacktivists and keep in mind who is killing sharks. It's the fishing industry, not shark divers!

Let's go shark diving! Or clean up a beach or.....

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver
   
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Is cage diving safe?


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A lot of you have seen the news coverage of 2 recent cage diving incidents and are wondering, "Is cage diving really safe?"

First of all I want to point out that neither of these incidents happened involved our company. We have been operating safe and sane shark dives for 16 years, without any incidents.

In the latest video you can see that the shark is going after a hang bait that is just laying in front of the cage. This is mistake by the bait handler. The bait was too close to the cage and should have been removed. Excerpt from the regulations for Guadalupe: The permit holder shall ensure that the bait line is immediately removed from the water if the white shark following the bait approaches within 6.5 feet (2 m) of the vessel.



When the shark was going after a bait, it rolled it's eyes back and lunged for the bait. When it did that, it was essentially blind and it's momentum carried it into the cage. Since it can't swim backwards, it just started thrashing around blindly, eventually coming out of the top of the cage.

There is nothing wrong with using hang-baits. Responsible use of hang-baits actually enhances safety, as it allows us to direct the shark. The shark typically follows the bait and when it lunges for it, the follow through is in the same direction. Proper use allows us to lead the shark parallel to the cage instead of into it, as happened in the video above.

You don't have to have the bait close to the cage to get great shots.




In addition to adhering to all the established safety standards, our cages are made out of round tubing which is both stronger than the square one and safer for the sharks, since it doesn't have any sharp corners. We also only use surface cages with a redundant air supply, that are securely attached to our vessel.

Back to the general safety question. While nothing is ever 100% safe, so far in innumerable cage dives around the world, there have been zero fatalities, which is to say, it is far safer than recreational SCUBA diving.

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

I was surrounded by bull sharks!


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I just got back from my 4th annual trip to Fiji, diving with the "BAD" (Beqa Adventure Divers') bull sharks of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. It is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by lots of these awesome predators.


We saw a shark or two
What really fascinates me is not the sheer number of sharks though.  The really interesting part is that I'm starting to recognize some individual sharks, not only by distinctive marks on them, but by their behavior.

Doing a lap, showing everyone that she got a tuna head.

Anyone thinking that "a bull shark is a bull shark" should come to this place and see for themselves. These sharks have very different "personalities", some very mellow and cautious, others not so much. Of course you need to do more than just one or 2 dives to notice these differences. The first few dives your are simply going to be blown away by the sheer number of sharks and and by how close they'll get to you.

Up close and personal!
Common wisdom holds that when it comes to sharks, size matters. The big shark always wins over a smaller shark. What I found is that this is not always the case. Some sharks think they are a lot bigger than they really are and compete with the bigger sharks for the tuna heads on offer. "Top Sail" for example is not one of the bigger sharks, but is very adept at getting more than her fair share of tuna heads.

Top sail getting a tuna head.
Another thing that totally surprised me is how cautious these sharks are, even when food is offered to them. Some sharks will not approach the feeder who's holding a tuna head and some sharks will only take a tuna head from a specific feeder. I would have thought that these bull sharks would pretty much go for any tuna head that is offered to them.


If all the bull sharks are not enough for you, just when you think the dive is over, there is the safety stop. Far from a boring hanging on to a line, waiting for the 3 minutes to pass, you are face to face wit a bunch of hungry white- and black-tip sharks, being fed by one of the divemasters.


I'm still very partial to "my" white sharks at Guadalupe, but I'm getting more and more taken by the bull sharks of the SRMR and can't wait for next year.

Sam face to face with a hungry white tip shark.
Thanks to all the guys at "BAD", (Beqa Adventure Divers) for your hospitality and another unforgettable trip. You are simply the best! Vinaka vakalevu!

Blacktip shark at the safety stop
In the coming weeks we'll be posting a special offer for next year's Fiji trip. My descriptions and pictures don't do these sharks justice. You'll have to come and experience them yourself.


Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Update from Guadalupe Island





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We just completed our 4th expedition to Guadalupe this year and the sharks have been amazing. Unlike in previous years, we are seeing more juvenile females than males this season. There have been over 10 new sharks already and every trip we encounter more new "friends". On each expedition, we encountered over 18 different sharks, swimming along with seals, turtles and dolphins.

One of our new visitors

 As for the regulars, they have been slow to show their faces. So far we have seen "Joker" and "Chugey", who looks amazing by the way. His injuries from a few years ago show fewer and fewer remaining scars.

"Chugey" on 8-11-2016

As a reminder, here is what he looked like 2 years ago.


On our last day of our most recent expedition, Bite Face, another long time regular at Guadalupe Island made an appearance for the first time, but most of the sharks we've seen so far have been more recent additions to our database. Amiria, Freya, Screaming Mimi, Andy, #198 and Micks are among those encountered so far.

One of our new sharks inspecting the cages

Tonight we are heading back to Guadalupe where I hope we'll encounter more of our old friends. This is my 16th season diving with these sharks and I'm more excited to head down there than I was on my first expedition.

If you would like to join us on a future expedition or just want some information, contact us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com 

I hope to get to introduce you to the amazing great white sharks at Guadalupe Island soon!

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Update from Guadalupe Island





Instagram 
We just completed our 4th expedition to Guadalupe this year and the sharks have been amazing. Unlike in previous years, we are seeing more juvenile females than males this season. There have been over 10 new sharks already and every trip we encounter more new "friends". On each expedition, we encountered over 18 different sharks, swimming along with seals, turtles and dolphins.

One of our new visitors

 As for the regulars, they have been slow to show their faces. So far we have seen "Joker" and "Chugey", who looks amazing by the way. His injuries from a few years ago show fewer and fewer remaining scars.

"Chugey" on 8-11-2016

As a reminder, here is what he looked like 2 years ago.


On our last day of our most recent expedition, Bite Face, another long time regular at Guadalupe Island made an appearance for the first time, but most of the sharks we've seen so far have been more recent additions to our database. Amiria, Freya, Screaming Mimi, Andy, #198 and Micks are among those encountered so far.

One of our new sharks inspecting the cages

Tonight we are heading back to Guadalupe where I hope we'll encounter more of our old friends. This is my 16th season diving with these sharks and I'm more excited to head down there than I was on my first expedition.

If you would like to join us on a future expedition or just want some information, contact us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com 

I hope to get to introduce you to the amazing great white sharks at Guadalupe Island soon!

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.
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