An animal encounter you can feel good about
Shark cage diving is considered one of SA’s fastest-growing animal encounter experiences, with tourists and locals alike, travelling to meet our Great Whites face-to-face. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be missed – but at what cost?
With the decline of ocean landscapes and an increasing awareness around some of the issues that conservationists and aquatic animals face, consumers need more information. We all want to know that we aren’t harming the environments that are home to our fierce and fang-toothed friends, or fostering any negative behaviours in the sharks.
At Shark Bookings, we are conservationists at heart and fortunate enough to work with ethical, law-abiding shark cage diving companies that adhere to strict regulations around ethical encounters.
But, can we support these claims? Here’s what you need to know.
Feeding sharks can change their behavioural patterns
By feeding sharks, there is some research to indicate that you are messing with the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem and fostering some aggressive behaviours. Not only can feeding sharks create a dependency but it can also create an expectation – this is called the ‘Pavlovian Effect’. Sharks lose the will and ability to hunt for themselves and become dependent and expectant on divers and boats to feed them.
Another way to ensure that no Pavlovian Effect develops is by luring sharks in different areas so that there isn’t enough frequency to help create that response.
Sharks aren’t big on sharing
In instances where two or more sharks are competing for the same food, you’re going to have a problem. It might surprise you to know that sharks don’t like sharing their food and aren’t made for hunting or eating in shivers. This leads to biting and, while it’s mostly between sharks, we don’t want them to harm each other or for scuba divers to get caught in the middle.
Chumming over feeding
That’s why ethical shark luring is done with a legal chumming method that simply lures the sharks with the scent of prey but has no noticeable effect on their behaviour over time. The sharks are NOT fed by any of our operators. In fact, we take as much precaution as possible to ensure we make minimal impact on their environment whatsoever.
Is shark cage diving ecotourism?
In many ways, shark cage diving is about education and respect. There are many benefits to enjoy from giving the public access to various oceanic creatures. However, this means adhering to conversational rules, having the necessary experience and permits, and always fostering a spirit of learning and symbiosis.
At Shark Bookings, we partner with ethical shark cage diving companies that adhere to these foundations, offering you the experience, while minimizing the harmful effects that you may worry about. Book with us today or contact us if you have any questions.