The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released guidelines entitled “Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice.” It aims to create well managed shark and ray tourism operations, conserve species and benefit local communities. The guide bases its findings on a case study basis which interestingly, do not include any of the common shark diving sites in the Bahamas, whilst suggesting that the interaction regulations in place during Mexico’s whale shark aggregation are adequate.
This comes on the heels of a study showing that shark ecotourism in the Bahamas generated US $113.8 million. Whilst this figure suggests that the industry is benefitting local shark conservation attempts, it is also important to note that much of it is not accruing to local people. For example, liveaboard vessels do not benefit the local economies in the same way that land based charters do.