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Researchers: Shark Cage Diving Operations Off Hawaii Are Safe; 'No Increase In Shark Attacks'

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MANOA, Hawaii -- A study by five university researchers—including four from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa—concludes that existing shark cage diving enterprises in Hawai‘i have a negligible effect on public safety.

The paper, “Seasonal cycles and long-term trends in abundance and species composition of sharks associated with cage diving ecotourism activities in Hawai‘i,” is authored by Carl G. Meyer, Jonathan J. Dale, Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Nicholas M. Whitney and Kim N. Holland, and has been published in the online section of the Environmental Conservation journal.

Meyer, Dale, Papastamatiou and Holland are researchers with the UH Manoa Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology at Coconut Island, while Whitney works at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida.

The scientists collected and analyzed logbook data from two O‘ahu shark cage diving operations from 2004-08 to obtain “useful insights into shark ecology or ecotourism impacts.” Those impacts on public safety were deemed to be “negligible,” due to factors such as remoteness of the sites, and conditioning stimuli that are specific to the tour operations and different from inshore recreational stimuli.

The study also notes that there has been “no increase in shark attacks on the north coast of O‘ahu since cage diving started.”

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Reader Comments

3 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Congratulations to the team of Carl G. Meyer, Jonathan J. Dale, Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Nicholas M. Whitney and Kim N. Holland. The commercial shark diving industry is under assault in Hawaii by a well run anti-shark diving campaign based on the fear of sharks. Hopefully this study will help diffuse the irrational fear of safe cage diving commercial operations that reside 3 miles off the coast. For the anti-shark diving folks sharks=fear=attacks. For the commercial shark diving industry sharks=tourism=economy. Let's hope calmer heads prevail in Hawaii. Cheers, Patric Douglas CEO 415.235.9410
   comment# 1   - Shark Diver · California · Jul 15, 2009 @ 11:39am

The UH shark tour study is extremely misleading. The UH scientific team admitted food was used to reward sharks that come to the viewing cages. This is illegal in Hawaii. Shark tour operators in Hawaii chum the waters to bring the sharks out. This is illegal in Hawaii. The UH scientists also said shark tour operators in Hawaii supported/funded the study. It is a biased study. It is hard for the community in Hawaii to take this study seriously when illegal activities were a part of the study.
   comment# 2   - Hawaii Resident · Hawaii · Aug 16, 2009 @ 4:48pm

There are some really informative web sites available where you can get the facts on shark cage diving in Hawaii;
   comment# 3   - Hawaii Resident · Hawaii · Aug 22, 2009 @ 11:06pm
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