Shark Plans Boost For Scuba Divers

Scuba-divers could be delighted with news that five Pacific States have agreed to conserve shark population numbers.

Since the mid-nineties shark tourism has been popular, as underwater enthusiasts eagerly try to get up, close and personal with the animals. However, Hollywood portrayals of sharks as vicious killers could have cultivated a culture of fear towards the misunderstood animals. New Zealand Tourism Institute Professor Mark Orams explained that fear and apathy among the general public could be contributing to the lack of concern towards dwindling shark populations. While only an average of five people die from shark attacks every year, millions of sharks are the victims of human fishing. But in September an agreement for shark conservation was reached as part of the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS), which was developed at a United Nations-backed meeting in February. Mr Orams described how shark tourism can boost the programme for the animals' conservation, while local economies will benefit from the continued flood of enthusiasts. But despite the economical and conservational benefits of shark tourism, research has indicated interaction with humans can alter the animals' behaviour. Palau, Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are some of the most popular hotspots among shark tourists.

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