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Group: Bahamas Shark Feeding Tours Endangering Others; Calls On Government To Prohibit Feeding
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MIAMI, Florida -- Shark feeding tours to The Bahamas – like the one that ended last week in the tragic death of an Austrian diver – also pose a threat to island visitors not involved in these expeditions, said a spokesman for a Florida-based marine conservation group.

Bob Dimond, president of the Marine Safety Group (MSG), said that shark feeding places other ocean enthusiasts at risk – even those far removed from feeding sites. “Once a shark learns to associate boat arrivals and/or people in the water with dinnertime, those associations are remembered for a long time and taken with the shark wherever it may wander – a recipe for disaster”, Dimond explained.

Observations of seasoned dive operators support these claims. Randy Jordan of Emerald Charters (Jupiter, Florida) told reporters that aggressive sharks still approach his boat whenever he pulls up to a particular dive site, even though feeding was stopped at that site 6 years ago.

The web site of Bimini Undersea Adventures reports that the same response (sharks swarming an arriving boat) “has been observed … (at) virtually every location throughout the Bahamas that has, or still does, conduct shark feeding dives.”

Veteran marine biologist Dr. William Alevizon (MSG scientific advisor) agrees that shark feeding dives are a bad idea. “This is classic conditioning of the worst kind – deliberately changing the behavior of large predators in the wild, where they are free to interact with an unsuspecting public”, he said. “Active shark feeding sites are scattered all over The Bahamas and no one but the feeders knows exactly where most of these sites are located. How are visiting boaters supposed to avoid them?”, Alevizon asked.

Such concerns are not idle speculation. Dr. Denise Herzing, a marine animal behavioral specialist and Assistant Professor at Florida Atlantic University reports being unexpectedly swarmed by large aggressive lemon sharks at a Bahamas research site that she and students had worked for years without incident. The reason became clear when Herzing learned that a Florida live-aboard dive boat had established a feeding site about a mile away. The newly conditioned sharks did not seem particular what boat pulled up within their new feeding territory – to them, it was simply the signal for dinnertime.

Dimond noted that in 2000, a swimmer had half his leg removed by a shark while swimming off the beach at a popular Bahamian resort in Lucaya (Freeport), only about a mile from an active shark feeding site.

“I often wonder how many so-called ‘unprovoked’ shark attacks have been committed by sharks whose behavior had been altered by feeding dives” Dimond said. “It’s time for The Bahamas to put a stop to them, as have the Cayman Islands, Florida and Hawaii.”

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

5 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Just to enlighten your readers... The Marine Safety Group is comprised of a bunch of yahoo spear fishermen, who have decided that interactive marine feeding is to blame for sharks showing up and interfering with their catch. If their focus was in fact conservation, they should also be calling for ban on all other activities that probably are more to blame for attracting sharks, including spearfishing and fishing activities in general. Also for the record, the individual referenced in Dimond's letter, who lost his leg while swimming off the Lucaya, was swimming right near a local fish and conch cleaning station, which probably had more to do with his accident than the shark diving operation located more than a mile away from where he got hit. As the a survivor of a near-fatal shark attack, I at least can talk from experience and blame the fact that I was spearfishing when I got hit. I have also participated in numerous shark dives since my accident and fully support most of the operations that don't physically hand-feed the animals. It is how I came to terms with what happened and has turned me into an advocate for their preservation.
   comment# 1   - Kent Bonde · Miami Shores · Mar 11, 2008 @ 6:54am

STUPID!!! Any less than intelligent person that gets in the water for the purpose of messing with sharks for any reason deserves to be attacked. STUPID!!!
   comment# 2   - William · ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ · Mar 18, 2008 @ 2:02pm

shark feeding should be banned, we have to many of our own making a living in the water,their lives already in enough danger. STOP SHARK FEEDING........
   comment# 3   - Renee · Bahamas · Aug 8, 2009 @ 4:24pm

Thanks for your support. Stop Shark Feeding Tours in Federal waters from linkedIn post July, 2016 http://bit.ly/2a39Iit The Illegal Feeding of Florida’s Sharks from the May, 2014 issue of Undercurrent http://bit.ly/1taawBJ We ask divers to boycott boats, captains, instructors, divers and businesses that break Florida law by feeding or baiting fish for amusement and to avoid shark education awareness scams, etc. Report violations of law to the FWC by calling the Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-3922. You can also text or email Tip@MyFWC.com. We need volunteers for legislative action, fundraising and legal action. Please make financial donations to us at: http://bit.ly/1kQ4phl Florida Association of Diving Instructors your friend John Russell, Detective, Dive Industry Professional, Consultant
   comment# 4   - John Russell · Orlando Florida · Aug 16, 2016 @ 10:24am

Stop Shark Feeding Tours Please contact your US Representatives bit.ly/2ixq2vf and US Senator bit.ly/2ioSEs5 and ask them to vote YES on S.3099 http://bit.ly/2jvKta2 By U.S. Senator Bill Nelson bit.ly/2isEv86 Shark Detective John Russell http://bit.ly/sharkdetective
   comment# 5   - John Russell · Orlando · Jan 15, 2017 @ 1:33am
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