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Marine Life & Conservation

How Shark Diving can help save sharks

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by: Sean M. Cleary

Shark diving is considered one of the fastest-growing animal encounter experiences. Tourists and locals alike travel to meet sharks face-to-face and for many, this is an unmissable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Unfortunately, it may become a rare encounter in more ways than one.

There is a decline of shark populations around the world, largely due to the rising demand in Asia for shark-fin, a costly delicacy. Shark finning is the act of cutting off a shark’s fins, then throwing the shark’s body back in the water. The shark is then eaten alive by other fish…or it drowns. All for a bowl of fin soup.

Shark diving can perform an important ecological service as it shows the reality of a misunderstood animal suffering from modern industrial fishing. Consumers need to know that they can help the environments that are home to our fierce friends.

An ethical animal attraction you can feel good about 

For sharks to be protected, they need to be worth more alive, in the ocean, than dead. Consequently, authorities will do more to protect them. Ethical and responsible shark diving is a great tool for achieving this. It educates people about the importance of sharks while helping remove fear.

According to research, shark tourism is worth over $314 million per year and this tourism is expected to generate over $780 million worldwide within the next 20 years. Shark diving is a good way of promoting their protection and conservation and can be enjoyed with a variety of shark species at amazing destinations.

“The only way many people come to know sharks is through movies. But when you’re in the water looking at these animals calmly swimming around, you go through a transformation. You understand sharks, see what they really are. Chances are you’ll walk off a shark diving tour as a proponent for sharks,” says Sean M. Cleary, an avid Florida diver who has obtained his scuba certification before becoming a lawyer.

Divers are blessed with the chance to see what only a few others see; the heart of the underwater world. At every shark dive, you can encounter a wide variety of mysterious depths and this beautiful, endangered animal.

Up to 73M sharks are killed each year by shark finning. It’s illegal in most countries but, due to the lack of funds to patrol the waters, enforcement is sparse in many nations. Therefore, promoting shark tourism and encouraging more adventurers to swim or dive with sharks is one of the most important ways to save them.

The funds generated by diving with sharks can then be used to patrol the waters and keep the shark finners out.

Shark diving in Florida 

When thinking of shark diving in the US, most people think of great white shark cage diving in California. But the variety of sharks that can be seen in Florida is among the best on the planet. If you consider the number of shark-human interactions, you’ll notice the state that wins is Florida.

Off the coast of California, tourists can see great white sharks and even the odd blue. Although there is only a small chance to see a great white shark in Florida, the list of shark species that can be admired is huge. Among others, these include the hammerhead shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, bull shark, lemon shark, blacktip shark and tiger shark.

With that selection comes a variety of options for shark interaction, you can:

  • Swim with sharks. On some tours, you will be swimming with sharks.
  • Snorkel with sharks. When you add a snorkel you can get more personal with them.
  • Scuba dive with sharks. This is a common scenario in which, while you dive, a divemaster attracts the sharks with bait.
  • Cage dive with sharks. This type of diving is an option as well.

Almost everyone can go shark diving in Florida, whether they’re certified or not. If you go shark spotting from a boat you don’t even have to know how to swim.

The pre-dive safety check 

Before diving, there are a great number of standard safety procedures that have to be followed. There must be a dive protocol, and an instructional period before all the divers enter the water. There should be a buddy system that’s followed. There should be an emergency recall signal. All of these need to be discussed before anyone enters the water.

Whether you have just started scuba diving or are an experienced deep-sea diver, there is always something new to learn about diving. Take full advantage of every opportunity to learn and bring safety, awareness and positive attitudes to recreational scuba diving operations.

Shark diving is, in many ways, about education and respect. As stated, there are many benefits to enjoy from giving the public access to sharks. However, this means always fostering a spirit of learning and symbiosis and having the necessary experience and permits.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Marine Life & Conservation

White Shark Interest Group Podcast #007 – with ROB LAWRENCE

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Seventh in an exciting podcast series from Ricardo Lacombe of the White Shark Interest Group.

Episode 7 of the White Shark Interest Group Podcast, Facebook’s’ largest White Shark specific group, covering science, conservation, news, photography, video and debate.

This episode features Ricardo and Dirk speaking with the White Shark pioneer Rob Lawrence – the man who practically put False Bay, South Africa on the map for White Shark breaching behaviour.

If you have ever seen an image from South Africa of a white shark breaching from the water, be it on Airjaws, Nat Geo, BBC, Shark Week, or any photographs online and in books, you have Rob Lawrence to thank. He has worked behind the scenes with all those film crews and photographers to get them to where those sharks are, on a regular basis.

With his highly successful company African Shark Eco-Charters he has worked with hundreds of thousands of people to visit and dive with Great Whites and see the natural predation behaviour that False Bay is famous for. He has, without a doubt, been to Seal Island, False Bay, more than ANY other human being alive! He is here to share his experiences and knowledge – including the much talked about topic of where the White Sharks may have gone in the last couple of years.

This is a MUST LISTEN podcast and a rare chance to spend an hour in the company of a true pioneer and advocate in the shark world.

Click the links below to listen to the podcast series on the following audio channels:


Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/whitesharkinterestgroup/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/whiteshark_interestgroup/

Website: www.whitesharkinterestgroup.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Reef Rescue Network launches new interactive map

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The Reef Rescue Network (RRN) was established in 2017 by the Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) as a network of non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses committed to improving the condition of coral reefs by restoring populations of corals and other species that will build coral reef resilience. Since then the RRN has grown to include nearly 30 coral restoration sites in partnership with 25 local partners from 9 islands within The Bahamas as well as Aruba and St. Lucia. Through this partnership between coral reef scientist’s local conservation and education organizations and private businesses in the dive industry, the RRN is making significant advances in restoring coral and building reef resilience.

Visitors and locals can now immerse themselves in coral restoration activities at a partner location within the Reef Rescue Network. The network has coral nurseries that offer coral restoration experiences throughout The Bahamas, Aruba & St. Lucia. PIMS has developed a PADI Reef Rescue Diver Specialty Course that dive shops throughout the Reef Rescue Network are teaching. To participate, you must be a certified open water diver and at least 12 years old. The course takes one day and consists of knowledge development and two open water dives at a coral nursery.

You can learn how to assist with maintaining the nursery and get a hands-on experience or you can just scuba or snorkel the coral nursery as a fun dive to just observe and enjoy the nursery and marine life that it attracts. Another option is to scuba or snorkel one of the many restoration sites to view the corals that have been outplanted and witness for yourselves this habitat restoration and the marine life it has welcomed.

To find out more about the Reef Rescue Network, watch this video:

To visit the new Reef Rescue Network Interactive Map click here.

To learn more about the Reef Rescue Network visit their website by clicking here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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