Shark-watching may pay more than shark fishing
Shark tourism could be a bigger moneymaker than shark fishing, a new study suggests.
Interest in observing wild sharks has grown, with shark-watching hotspots popping up in Australia, Africa, Central America, and Asia. To find out how much revenue these tourism activities generated, a research team searched for data in scientific journals, reports, news articles, and databases.
Based on data from 31 sites, they estimated that roughly 590,000 people participate in shark-watching each year, spending $314 million. The number of visitors has grown by 27 percent annually, suggesting that spending could reach $785 million in the next two decades, the team says in Oryx. In contrast, shark fishing generates $630 million per year and is waning.
The news is encouraging for shark conservation — but ecotourism comes with its own problems. Flocks of visitors could disturb the animals and hurt coral reefs, the authors note. Some shark-watching tour operators also feed the sharks, a practice that “has been questioned because of possible effects on shark behaviour,” the team writes. — Roberta Kwok | 6 June 2013
Source: Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M. et al. 2013. Global economic value of shark ecotourism: implications for conservation. Oryx doi: 10.1017/S0030605312001718.
Image © Kavun Kseniia | Shutterstock.com
Why are Gulf of California seabirds heading north?July 3rd, 2015
Pet owners won’t admit their cats harm wildlifeJuly 2nd, 2015
Algae spill their secrets to aid oil cleanupJune 30th, 2015
Will warmer winters mean fewer winter deaths?June 26th, 2015