In May, a dive instructor was bitten by a shark on the site of the white valley in Faa’a, a Tahitian site renowned for being a place of shark feeding.
Fortunately, the instructor, obviously already known to have had incidents while feeding sharks, gets away with an operation and a few stitches on his hand. This is not an attack but a shark error that has been attracted by the smell of blood soaked in the glove serving for the shark feeding and who wanted to snatch it.
What is shark feeding ?
It is a practice of feeding sharks tolerated (outside lagoons more than a kilometer of them) but not regulated. Other rules might exist in the rest of the world.
If shark feeding is very clear in attracting sharks to observe them (and to please the customers), it presents obvious risks such as seeing sharks deemed more aggressive (tiger shark, hammerhead sharks, etc.) Fear of human beings and / or jostle them to attack them. While some people regularly use and benefit from this shark feeding practice, others are worried about new incidents involving divers, fishermen or swimmers. Accidents that would then be attributed to sharks too accustomed to these practices of shark feeding.
Some time ago during a dive in Moorea, for the first time I witnessed a form of shark feeding (without being warned in advance that the dive guide would use this practice!)
In a fairly poor marine landscape near Cook Bay, one of the guides responsible for a 12-year-old child and another beginner was curiously well surrounded by a multitude of small reef sharks above us. As I followed this dive from a distance with my buddy, I observed the guide and realize that he was wielding a small tube of plastic pierced with a multitude of holes. I quickly realized that this tube contained pieces of fish that attracted sharks and made them nervous.
Several times the guide had to push violently away the little sharks that went so far as to touch him.
At the end of the dive, one of the two guides accidentally dropped his tube as we finished the deco stop. It was impressive and surreal to see this horde of sharks hammering on a 30 meter background on a ridiculous plastic tube. Our guide, despite the end of the deco stop and as we finished a second successive dive on the morning went down to look for his “magic tool” …
What is the impact for us ?
The accident in Tahiti in May must make us think of the consequences and drifts of certain practices that nevertheless serve to satisfy us of the dive we paid …
Even if shark feeding is not prohibited, it seems that it is important to legislate to reduce the risks of this practice without waiting for a more dramatic accident.
How to react ?
And if we keep in mind that the “rendez-vous” with nature does not exist ?
Should we not accept to finish a dive without having been able to see what we hoped for and abandon those practices that attract sharks for our immediate pleasure but without being able to always measure the consequences sometimes dramatic?
In this way we can always safely enjoy magical places like the magnificent shark wall of Fakarava. And this does not arouse in these animals aggressive behavior caused sometimes by the lack of food usually brought by the followers of shark feeding.
Post a comment below … and tell us what you think about Shark Feeding
Good bubbles and do not forget to be happy 🙂