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Emerging challenges to shark-diving tourism

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... Shark diving needs to be studied and monitored in order to ensure its sustainability; for the benefit of sharks, which are already highly vulnerable to a series of human impacts; and to guarantee the continuing delivery of ecosystem services that sharks provide through tourism (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Gallagher et al., 2015). Studies have been attentive to understanding and managing forms of shark diving that do not simply rely on the casual sighting of sharks but use attractants, including food and bait or chum (fish oil, fish blood, and various parts of fish carcasses) (Bentz, Dearden, Ritter, & Calado, 2014;Brena, Mourier, Planes, & Clua, 2015;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Hammerschlag, Gallagher, Wester, Luo, & Ault, 2012;Maljković & Côté, 2011). ...
... Shark diving needs to be studied and monitored in order to ensure its sustainability; for the benefit of sharks, which are already highly vulnerable to a series of human impacts; and to guarantee the continuing delivery of ecosystem services that sharks provide through tourism (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Gallagher et al., 2015). Studies have been attentive to understanding and managing forms of shark diving that do not simply rely on the casual sighting of sharks but use attractants, including food and bait or chum (fish oil, fish blood, and various parts of fish carcasses) (Bentz, Dearden, Ritter, & Calado, 2014;Brena, Mourier, Planes, & Clua, 2015;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Hammerschlag, Gallagher, Wester, Luo, & Ault, 2012;Maljković & Côté, 2011). The focus of these Delivered by Ingenta IP: 102.252.65.54 ...
... In this study, divemasters' and operators' noncompliance was reported by a large proportion of the scuba divers (up to 62%), with contact behavior, inappropriate use of chum, and feeding characterizing the main breaches. This result is not new (Bentz et al., 2014;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Gallagher et al., 2015;Richards et al., 2015). Importantly, this study shows that either scuba diving experience or working in the diving industry can be significantly correlated with exceeding certification limits and breaking the rules in shark diving. ...
Article
Shark diving tourism is an activity that can contribute significantly to coastal economies, while also offering tremendous help to shark conservation efforts. Nevertheless, like any form of wildlife-based tourism, shark diving poses management challenges revolving around ethical and safety considerations. Safety in shark diving normally focuses on operational self-efficacy and adherence to shark diving codes of conduct to prevent incidents such as shark bites and to minimize ecological harm. However, safety issues in shark diving can arise from personal choices to exceed standard certification limits. Any detrimental results are capable of casting doubts on the sustainability of shark diving, thus jeopardizing its future as well as shark conservation. This study addressed compliance with shark diving codes of conduct and standard diving safety by examining the knowledge, attitude, and behavior of people who engage in free scuba diving with predatory sharks. The research made use of mixed methods of data collection, including interviews with shark divers at two popular shark diving destinations in Southeast Africa (n = 86) and an online questionnaire survey among shark divers (n = 89). The results showed that divers had positive attitudes towards sharks and shark diving. However, a notable proportion declared that they had exceeded certification limits and broken codes of conduct during shark diving. In particular, diving experience and being a professional diver were correlated significantly with poor safety attitudes and behavior. The results highlight the need to create an understanding among scuba divers of the connection between shark diving safety and conservation, including the negative implications of safety breaches, whether big or small, for the future of shark diving tourism and of sharks.
... Consumption of bait instead of natural prey can result in decreased foraging on pinnipeds with high energy yields, which could have detrimental effects on white sharks that can have high feeding requirements (Semmens, Payne, Huveneers, Sims, & Bruce, 2013). These concerns have been articulated in recent studies (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Huveneers et al., 2018;Richards et al., 2015;Bruce, 2015) and white shark cage-diving has been identified as a potential threat to the recovery of white sharks in Australia (DSEWPaC, 2013). ...
... As white sharks linger around cage-diving sites, with increased local residency (Bruce & Bradford, 2013) and altered fine-scale swimming patterns , the need to investigate industry-induced disruptions to natural foraging patterns have been highlighted (Dubois & Fraser, 2013;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018). As the FA profiles and levels of individual FA tracers were not detectably different, it indicates that the diet of white sharks at the Neptune Islands includes prey in similar proportions to other regions frequented by white sharks prior to visiting the Neptune Islands. ...
... These findings provide the first insights into the nutritional effects of white shark cage-diving, a need highlighted in scientific literature (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Huveneers et al., 2018;Bruce, 2015) and in management strategies (DEWNR, 2012). Australia's white shark recovery plan (DSEWPaC, 2013) and the Neptune Islands Marine Park management plan (DEWNR, 2012) specifically states the importance of investigating the impacts of wildlife tourism, as regional managers need to balance ecology, protected species conservation, industry, economics, and the ecosystem functionality and conservation capacity of the Neptune Islands as a marine park. ...
Article
Shark and ray tourism is growing in popularity and often necessitates attractants like bait and chum to encourage close encounters. Such practices remain contentious amongst stakeholders as they may affect the species they target. We used lipid and fatty acid profiles to investigate the effects of South Australia's cage-diving industry on the diet and nutritional condition of white sharks Carcharodon carcharias (n = 75). We found no evidence of dietary shifts or reduced nutritional condition after a >3 week period of tourism-exposed residency at the Neptune Islands where the cage-diving industry operates. White sharks fed on a variety of prey groups, similar to other populations around Southern Australia that are not exposed to ecotourism provisioning. These findings indicate that current cage-diving operations in South Australia do not alter white shark diet and nutritional condition where prey resources are abundant.
... The deliberate feeding of large predators is suspected to lead to detrimental effects on the target animals, their environments, and humans (Dobson 2006;Newsome and Rodger 2008;Hammerschlag et al. 2012). These effects can range from decreased physiological condition to behavioural alterations that could cause cascading effects throughout the marine ecosystem, or increase the risk for humans, resulting in injuries due the learnt association between humans and food (Orams 2002;Huveneers et al. 2013;Gallagher and Huveneers 2018). ...
... With the increasing popularity of shark-diving tourism, we are in need of management strategies that will ensure the sustainability of the industry (Gallagher and Huveneers 2018). The use of bait to attract sharks is a popular method to ensure reliable encounters with these elusive predators (Clua and Séret 2010). ...
... Shark feeding operations may also cause an increased level of aggression toward conspecifics, other species of sharks, and humans (Burgess 1998;Gallagher and Huveneers 2018). An example can be found off Bimini, Bahamas where great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) have been provisioned since 2013. ...
Article
Full-text available
The development of adaptive responses to novel situations via learning has been demonstrated in a wide variety of animal taxa. However, knowledge on the learning abilities of one of the oldest extant vertebrate groups, Chondrichthyes, remains limited. With the increasing interest in global wildlife tourism and shark feeding operations, it is important to understand the capacities of these animals to form associations between human activities and food. We used an operant conditioning regime with a simple spatial cognitive task to investigate the effects of reinforcement frequency and reward magnitude on the learning performance and memory retention of Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni). Twenty-four Port Jackson sharks were assigned one of four treatments differing in reward magnitude and reinforcement frequency (large magnitude–high frequency; large magnitude–low frequency; small magnitude–high frequency; small magnitude–low frequency). The sharks were trained over a 21-day period to compare the number of days that it took to learn to pass an assigned door to feed. Sharks trained at a high reinforcement frequency demonstrated faster learning rates and a higher number of passes through the correct door at the end of the trials, while reward magnitude had limited effects on learning rate. This suggests that a reduction in reinforcement frequency during tourism-related feeding operations is likely to be more effective in reducing the risk of sharks making associations with food than limiting the amount of food provided.
... Management assessments and impact mitigation traditionally focus on target species, while calls within the literature detail the need to include nontarget species (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Higginbottom et al., 2003;Rizzari, Semmens, Fox, & Huveneers, 2017;Meyer et al., 2020;Trave et al., 2017). To facilitate their inclusion, we have extended the same framework factors developed for target species to nontarget species (Table 1). ...
... Cage-diving with white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) is a globally popular tourism industry with many associated challenges for industry, managers, and policy makers (DEWNR, 2016;Meza-Arce et al., 2020). White shark cagediving in South Australia has been the focus of numerous studies on the socioeconomic benefits of the industry (Apps, Dimmock, Lloyd, & Huveneers, 2017Huveneers et al., 2017) and its ecological impacts on target white sharks (Bruce & Bradford, 2013;Huveneers et al., 2013;Meyer et al., 2019) and nontarget species, including trevally (Pseudocaranx spp.), yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi), ray spp., and other teleosts (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Meyer et al., 2020;Rizzari, Semmens, Fox, & Huveneers, 2017) is an ideal case study to demonstrate the use of the assessment framework (Table 1, Figure 1). ...
... for nontarget species (Table 1, Figure 1a), as this is a small (three operators), highly-regulated industry with area camera surveillance and mandatory daily-activity logs, leading to a history of compliance with temporal closures and restrictions on attractant type, quantity, and use (DEWNR, 2012;DEWNR, 2016). The polarized local and global public view of white shark cage-diving remains an ongoing challenge (Apps, Dimmock, Lloyd, & Huveneers, 2016;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018), which limits tractability, socioeconomic values, and potentially the extent of conservation outcomes (Figure 1). Similar to tractability, the socioeconomic values from the target white shark is very high (+0.80), ...
Article
Full-text available
Wildlife tourism is growing in popularity, diversity of target species, and type of tours. This presents difficulties for management policy that must balance the complex trade‐offs between conservation, animal welfare, and pragmatic concerns for tourist satisfaction and economic value. Here, we provide a widely applicable, multidisciplinary framework to assess the impacts of wildlife tourism focusing on industry tractability, socioeconomic values, and their effects on conservation, animal welfare, and ecosystem impacts. The framework accommodates and quantifies the complexity of factors influencing wildlife tourism management, including direct and indirect effects on target and nontarget species, and identifies priorities for future biological, socioeconomic, and cultural heritage research. When applied to white shark cage‐diving as a case study, the output demonstrates the utility of the framework for researchers, managers, and policy makers, and highlights the benefits of undertaking the assessment as an inclusive workshop to facilitate a more multidisciplinary assessment of wildlife tourism industries. The use of a universally applicable assessment framework will enable the identification of relevant factors to account for when managing wildlife tourism, provide an inventory of current knowledge, identify research needs, and semiquantitatively compare categories and target and nontarget species, leading to improved conservation outcomes for species and ecosystems.
... Following such examples, the need for research assessing the effects of resource subsidies (provisioning in this case) on non-target species has been highlighted in recent reviews (Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018;Gallagher et al., 2015) and management frameworks (Higginbottom et al., 2003). ...
... This work is the first insight into the dietary effects of tourism-associated provisioning on non-target species, following recommendations in numerous reviews (e.g. Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018;Patroni et al., 2018;Trave et al., 2017) and tourism management frameworks (Higginbottom et al., 2003). Eight non-target species had altered diets owing to the consumption of bait and chum from the white shark cagediving industry at the Neptune Islands, South Australia. ...
Article
Marine wildlife tourism is growing in popularity and in the number of studies examining its impacts. These studies focus nearly exclusively on the industry’s target species, overlooking a myriad of non-target organisms that may also be affected. Here, the dietary effects of bait and chum input from the white shark cage-diving industry were assessed for eight non-target species from different functional groups (pelagic fishes, reef fishes, and rays), across two sites with different intensity of wildlife tourism, and compared to a control site with no wildlife tourism. Stomach content, fatty acid profiles, and nitrogen stable isotope values revealed site-specific diets for all eight species, consistent with the consumption of bait and chum at both cage-diving sites. However, these dietary shifts were incongruent with the extent of bait and chum input at North and South Neptune Islands. Species within each functional group responded differently to bait and chum, demonstrating the complexity of understanding the effects of wildlife tourism on non-target species. We suggest that appropriate management comprises an ecosystem-approach inclusive of non-target species.
... Cage dive operators often attract sharks to the cage to enhance the experience of their customers. In many states and countries, it is illegal to attract sharks using food because of a fear of substantially altering the behaviour of the shark over the long term, and operators often use the smell of food as an alternative (Gallagher and Huveneers 2018). This raises the question as to what reinforcement regime would entice the shark enough to interact with cage divers, but not so much to cause dependency on the provisioned food. ...
Article
Full-text available
450 million years of evolution have given chondrichthyans (sharks, rays and allies) ample time to adapt perfectly to their respective everyday life challenges and cognitive abilities have played an important part in that process. The diversity of niches that sharks and rays occupy corresponds to matching diversity in brains and behaviour, but we have only scratched the surface in terms of investigating cognition in this important group of animals. The handful of species that have been cognitively assessed in some detail over the last decade have provided enough data to safely conclude that sharks and rays are cognitively on par with most other vertebrates, including mammals and birds. Experiments in the lab as well as in the wild pose their own unique challenges, mainly due to the handling and maintenance of these animals as well as controlling environmental conditions and elimination of confounding factors. Nonetheless, significant advancements have been obtained in the fields of spatial and social cognition, discrimination learning, memory retention as well as several others. Most studies have focused on behaviour and the underlying neural substrates involved in cognitive information processing are still largely unknown. Our understanding of shark cognition has multiple practical benefits for welfare and conservation management but there are obvious gaps in our knowledge. Like most marine animals, sharks and rays face multiple threats. The effects of climate change, pollution and resulting ecosystem changes on the cognitive abilities of sharks and stingrays remain poorly investigated and we can only speculate what the likely impacts might be based on research on bony fishes. Lastly, sharks still suffer from their bad reputation as mindless killers and are heavily targeted by commercial fishing operations for their fins. This public relations issue clouds people's expectations of shark intelligence and is a serious impediment to their conservation. In the light of the fascinating results presented here, it seems obvious that the general perception of sharks and rays as well as their status as sentient, cognitive animals, needs to be urgently revisited.
... Shark diving industries play important economic roles for the regions where they occur [11,18] and can help improve the image of these animals by dispelling myths and raising public awareness about their importance to healthy marine ecosystems [1,12]. The increased popularity of shark diving among wildlife tourists over the last decades and the multiple impacts of tourism reported across species [13,39,44] has raised concerns about whether these activities have been appropriately managed [27,33]. ...
Article
Wildlife tourism can assist species conservation through community-involvement and education, while contributing to regional economies. In the last decade, shark diving has become increasingly popular among wildlife tourists worldwide, including cage-diving with white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). In Australia, birthplace of the white shark diving industry, an adaptive management framework has been developed to minimise potentially detrimental effects on white sharks. We monitored the residency of 135 white sharks using acoustic tracking over eight years (2013–2021) at the Neptune Islands Group Marine Park to assess the efficacy of management regulations put in place in 2012, which limited the number of operating boats to three and a maximum of five weekly days of activity. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to investigate possible differences in shark residency as a function of number of acoustic receivers used and their corresponding distances to long-term monitoring stations. Similar residency patterns were observed independently of the number of receivers used or their deployment locations, suggesting that the monitoring design was adequate to monitor shark residency. White shark yearly residency decreased following the implementation of new regulations in 2012 and returned to baseline levels by 2013–2014. Our results highlight that white shark residency can recover from tourism-related changes and showcase how adequately-developed and -implemented regulations can enable the successful management and long-term sustainability of one of the oldest shark tourism industries. This adaptative framework (problem identification, development and implementation of policies, efficacy monitoring and performance evaluation) is broadly applicable to management of other tourism industries.
... In marine systems, the ecological costs of provisioning of sharks and rays for tourism has become a focus of this debate, due to the rapid global growth of this industry. In some instances, detrimental effects on target species of provisioning for tourism have been clearly identifiable, whereas in many others, impacts are far less obvious or remain to be determined (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018). ...
Article
Provisioning of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) for tourism at Oslob in the Philippines is a controversial issue. Recent studies that claim negative impacts of this industry on the ecology of whale sharks are characterised by a lack of baselines, limited methodological approaches and poor interpretation of results. They do not provide robust evidence for management or for advocacy that seeks to prevent provisioning. Furthermore, these studies cannot be used to draw conclusions about the ethics of tourists visiting Oslob or the motivations of the local people running the tourism operation.
... They are globally distributed, with hotspots in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and the United States (Jorgensen et al. 2010, Kock et al. 2013, Nazimi et al. 2018. They generate significant public attention and study from researchers , evidenced by a study bias in many areas (Hammerschlag et al. 2011, Ducatez 2019, and they are a primary target of a lucrative global tourism industry , Gallagher & Huveneers 2018. White sharks are protected throughout all of these hotspots and are listed on Appendix II of CITES. ...
Article
Empirical evaluations of how overexploited marine fishes respond to capture stress (physiologically and behaviourally) have become increasingly important for informed fisheries management. These types of studies are, however, lacking for many protected species. Here, we conducted a novel study on the physiology of juvenile white sharks Carcharodon carcharias (139-325 cm fork length), a globally protected and ecologically important predator, in response to a standard fishery interaction using shark-management-alert-in-real-time (SMART) drumlines as part of a bather protection program. Specifically, we assessed the influence of short-term capture duration (average: ~30 min; range: 10-75 min) and other biological (size) and environmental (temperature) variables on blood plasma amino acids and fatty acids, which play essential roles as energy substrates as well as in maintaining physiological functions. None of the assessed amino acids or fatty acids were affected by capture duration, but some were influenced by shark size and water temperature. Our results support the notion that white shark physiology is robust to capture at short capture durations, which has important implications for the fate of released individuals.
... Approximately 40% of all shark sighting tourism [6] are using provision as a method to interact with sharks. The controversy for shark provisioning has been existed since the practice were introduced in 1980-1990s, most notably due to its animal welfare critics, fitness and bioenergetics factors, and shark watcher safety [7]. Despite its potential bite risks [8] during shark diving or watching, behavior shifting on a specific reefshark -e.g. ...
Conference Paper
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As part of conservation means, ecotourism on shark watching activities has been popular for the last 10 – 25 years. Achieving rank fourth in the shark tourism world, shark watching tourism in Indonesia begins to play as an economically important for gross national products (GDPs). Morotai, as one of the prominent shark diving and shark research site in Indonesia is became popular in recent years. However, the precise number of blacktip reef shark living in Morotai’s most famous dive site, blacktip point is unknown. The knowledge of shark individual marking and their number is important for developing ecological assessment, shark diving carrying capacity, and shark behavior observation. DOV (Diver Operated Video) is employed to visually identify the blacktip reef shark’s fin marking, its patterns and its changes over time. Analysis of hundreds of photographs and video of the Carcharhinus melanopterus during SCUBA diving – from February 2015 to March 2019 – reveals the precise number of these blacktip reef shark living in the proximity of blacktip point area. Study also shows that the photo identification shark fin’s natural marking can be used effectively to recognize unique individual of blacktip reef shark.
... Provisioning of food to attract animals may affect behaviour, diet, animal health and condition and reproductive success [95,98,184,[252][253][254][255][256][257]. As a consequence of the increasing evidence of the impact of tourism activities on wildlife, ethical concerns have been raised regarding these activities [94], and codes of conduct are being developed for the different activities, areas, and species involved [75, 258,259]. Moreover, it has been documented that uncontrolled ecotourism activity may indeed impair the expected positive consequences of the reduction in extractive uses [19]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Marine megafauna has always elicited contrasting feelings. In the past, large marine animals were often depicted as fantastic mythological creatures and dangerous monsters, while also arousing human curiosity. Marine megafauna has been a valuable resource to exploit, leading to the collapse of populations and local extinctions. In addition, some species have been perceived as competitors of fishers for marine resources and were often actively culled. Since the 1970s, there has been a change in the perception and use of megafauna. The growth of marine tourism, increasingly oriented towards the observation of wildlife, has driven a shift from extractive to non-extractive use, supporting the conservation of at least some species of marine megafauna. In this paper, we review and compare the changes in the perception and use of three megafaunal groups, cetaceans, elasmobranchs and groupers, with a special focus on European cultures. We highlight the main drivers and the timing of these changes, compare different taxonomic groups and species, and highlight the implications for management and conservation. One of the main drivers of the shift in perception, shared by all the three groups of megafauna, has been a general increase in curiosity towards wildlife, stimulated inter alia by documentaries (from the early 1970s onwards), and also promoted by easy access to scuba diving. At the same time, environmental campaigns have been developed to raise public awareness regarding marine wildlife, especially cetaceans, a process greatly facilitated by the rise of Internet and the World Wide Web. Currently, all the three groups (cetaceans, elasmobranchs and groupers) may represent valuable resources for ecotourism. Strikingly, the economic value of live specimens may exceed their value for human consumption. A further change in perception involving all the three groups is related to a growing understanding and appreciation of their key ecological role. The shift from extractive to non-extractive use has the potential for promoting species conservation and local economic growth. However, the change in use may not benefit the original stakeholders (e.g. fishers or whalers) and there may therefore be a case for providing compensation for disadvantaged stakeholders. Moreover, it is increasingly clear that even non-extractive use may have a negative impact on marine megafauna, therefore regulations are needed.
... However, in Mexico there is no formal evaluation that explores how to find solutions to the management challenges that exist mainly due to the contrasting interests of the actors involved in the WSOA. For example, academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and managers have expressed concerns on the wellbeing of the sharks, disruption of ecological interactions among species, impacts to shark fitness and bioenergetics through the use of baits (also expressed and explored elsewhere, see Ref. [39]). Managers at the RBIG, specifically have concerns on their lack of personnel for surveillance, lack of financial resources, and compliance with rules by tourist operators and tourists (Results from the WSOA Workshop, February 01, 2018). ...
... Based on the long residency periods of some sharks 15 and the major shift in depth use and water temperature leading to an increase in the expected metabolic rate presented here, it is clear that provisioning alters the behaviour of the whale sharks frequently visiting Oslob. Provisioning of elasmobranchs continues to be a debated topic, with the general understanding that a lack of baseline data on the biology, ecology, and physiology of these species complicates the interpretation of findings from provisioning sites 6,64,65 . However, indication that such activities might have detrimental effects to the physiology and ecology of endangered species should prompt management to follow the precautionary principle. ...
Article
Full-text available
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) tourism is increasingly popular at predictable aggregations around the world, but only a few use provisioning to ensure close interactions. Understanding the effects of provisioning on the behaviour of this endangered species is critical to manage this growing industry. We recorded the diving behaviour and habitat use of juvenile whale sharks (n = 4) for a mean of 49.5 provisioned and 33.8 non-provisioned days using temperature-depth-recorders. We found that time spent at the surface (< 2 m) between 6 am and 1 pm increased ~ sixfold, while timing of deep dives shifted from 4-10 am to 10 am-2 pm, i.e. near or at the end of the provisioning activities. The shift might be related to a need to thermoregulate following a prolonged period of time in warmer water. These changes could have fitness implications for individuals frequently visiting the provisioning site. Based on recorded amount of time spent in warm waters and published Q 10 values for ectotherms, we estimate a 7.2 ± 3.7% (range 1.3-17.8%) higher metabolic rate when sharks frequent the provisioning site. The observed behavioural, habitat use, and potential fitness shifts should be considered when developing guidelines for sustainable tourism, particularly in light of new provisioning sites developing elsewhere.
... Human disturbances, including wildlife tourism, have a history of recorded impacts on species' behaviour, activity, and physiology (reviewed in Brena et al., 2015;Patroni et al., 2018;Trave et al., 2017). Work highlighting the effects of repetitive disruptions on individuals, and subsequently populations, advocates for research to further the understanding of how nutritional condition is impacted by tourism (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Pirotta et al., 2018). The previous study in question used muscle lipids and fatty acids (FAs) to indicate a lack of detectable change in white shark Carcharodon carcharias L. 1758 diet and nutritional condition after interactions with the cagediving industry (Meyer et al., 2019b). ...
Article
Following a lack of detected change in white shark Carcharodon carcharias L. 1758 diet and nutritional condition attributed to interacting with the cage‐diving industry, Lusseau and Derous (2019) cautioned the use of muscle lipids and fatty acids in this context, advocating for other biomarkers. Here, we provide additional evidence from the literature to contend the usefulness of elasmobranch muscle fatty acid profiles to detail diet and habitat use. We also present findings from a controlled experiment on captive Port Jackson sharks Heterodontus portusjacksoni (Meyer 1793), whereby long‐term (daily for 33 days) 3‐minute exhaustive chase exercise changed muscle lipid class profiles, supporting its use to infer nutritional condition following activity such as interactions with wildlife tourism operators. Conversely, the unaltered muscle fatty acids and lipid content suggests their use in trophic ecology is not confounded by activities such as interacting with tourism operators, remaining useful indicators to investigate diet and habitat use. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Barnett et al., 2016;Huveneers et al., 2018). This information is, however, crucial to understand the effects of wildlife tourism (Brown, Gillooly, Allen, Savage, & West, 2004;Brunnschweiler et al., 2018;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Wilson et al., 2006). A study on whitetip reef sharks, Triaenodon obesus, at Osprey Reef (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) demonstrated that sharks subjected to regular feeding events showed elevated activity levels during the day when they would normally rest, resulting in a ca. ...
Article
Tourism-related feeding of wildlife can result in detrimental, human-induced changes to the spatial distribution, social behaviour and health of target species. The feeding of sharks as part of shark-viewing activities has become increasingly popular in recent years to ensure reliable and consistent encounters. A common limitation in determining how feeding affects individuals or populations is the lack of baseline data prior to the establishment of a feeding site. Here, we documented the residency, spatial distribution, activity patterns and daily metabolic rates of juvenile lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris, prior to initiating daily feeding for 27 days to assess the effect of short-term feeding. We implanted acoustic transmitters equipped with accelerometers to record movement and activity in six lemon sharks. Sharks progressively anticipated the feeding events during the 27 days of daily feeding, as shown by a change in activity and increased time spent near the feeding site 1 h prior to feeding events. Shark behaviour did not fully return to baseline levels within the documented 90 days of postfeeding recovery. However, neither spatial distribution outside the refuge nor mean daily activity was affected by feeding. Sharks decreased their metabolic rates over the course of the study, but this was probably due to falling water temperature rather than the effect of feeding. Overall, our study shows that anticipatory behaviour in juvenile lemon sharks can occur within 11 days of daily feeding events, but behavioural changes seem confined to fine-scale movement patterns and may not affect these sharks' daily energy needs. The ability to assess the effects of daily feeding at a site where tourism has not been occurring previously provides new information for operators and managers of wildlife tourism to account for and minimize potentially detrimental effects on the target species.
... [4][5][6] White sharks also provide fiscal benefits to the South African economy. 8 For example, the Gansbaai shark cagediving industry raised USD4.4 million in 2003 and brings an estimated USD2 million into False Bay annually, excluding multiplier effects (e.g. hospitality industry). ...
Article
Full-text available
A decline in sightings of a top predator, the white shark (Carcharadon carcharias), in South Africa was quantified in order to identify possible causes for this decline. White shark sightings data across 8 years (2011–2018), recorded from a cage-diving vessel in Gansbaai are reported. A significant decline in mean total white shark sightings per boat trip (>6 in 2011 to <1 in 2018) and a 69% reduction in the probability of a sighting were found. Correlating with this decline in sightings is a rise in sightings of sevengill sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) in False Bay and copper sharks (Carcharhinus brachyurus) in Gansbaai, as well as substantial ecosystem changes. The effects of lethal conservation measures such as the use of shark nets in KwaZulu-Natal; the direct and indirect effects of overfishing including a reduction in smoothhound (Mustelus mustelus) and soupfin (Galeorhinus galeus) sharks; and novel predation on white sharks are discussed as possible causative factors for this decline in white shark sightings.
... reduced fecundity, increased mortality) is mostly unknown. For example, increased anthropogenic disturbance may cause animals to use riskier environments that increase predation risk (Wittmer et al., 2007), or behavioural changes due to human disturbance may reduce the time and energy allocated to important activities such as foraging, resting, or breeding (Barnett et al., 2016;Frid and Dill, 2002;Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018). Further studies are needed to determine how short-term behavioural changes in response to anthropogenic disturbance translate into long-term, biologically significant impacts on individual fitness, performance and community composition. ...
Article
COVID-19 restrictions have led to an unprecedented global hiatus in anthropogenic activities, providing a unique opportunity to assess human impact on biological systems. Here, we describe how a national network of acoustic tracking receivers can be leveraged to assess the effects of human activity on animal movement and space use during such global disruptions. We outline variation in restrictions on human activity across Australian states and describe four mechanisms affecting human interactions with the marine environment: 1) reduction in economy and trade changing shipping traffic; 2) changes in export markets affecting commercial fisheries; 3) alterations in recreational activities; and 4) decline in tourism. We develop a roadmap for the analysis of acoustic tracking data across various scales using Australia's national Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Animal Tracking Facility as a case study. We illustrate the benefit of sustained observing systems and monitoring programs by assessing how a 51-day break in white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) cage-diving tourism due to COVID-19 restrictions affected the behaviour and space use of two resident species. This cessation of tourism activities represents the longest break since cage-diving vessels started day trips in this area in 2007. Long-term monitoring of the local environment reveals that the activity space of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) was reduced when cage-diving boats were absent compared to periods following standard tourism operations. However, white shark residency and movements were not affected. Our roadmap is globally applicable and will assist researchers in designing studies to assess how anthropogenic activities can impact animal movement and distributions during regional, short-term through to major, unexpected disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Scavenging crows also spread to coastal beaches in Australia when human food was no longer available (Gilby et al., 2021 [this issue]). Many species that are routinely fed during wildlife tours (e.g., sharks (Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018)) have not had access to this supplementary food due to drastically reduced tourism. This appeared to drive a change in the abundance and types of species that were detected at sites in the Bahamas during the lockdown period (Appendix 4, Table A4, StudyID 67). ...
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The global lockdown to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic health risks has altered human interactions with nature. Here, we report immediate impacts of changes in human activities on wildlife and environmental threats during the early lockdown months of 2020, based on 877 qualitative reports and 332 quantitative assessments from 89 different studies. Hundreds of reports of unusual species observations from around the world suggest that animals quickly responded to the reductions in human presence. However, negative effects of lockdown on conservation also emerged, as confinement resulted in some park officials being unable to perform conservation, restoration and enforcement tasks, resulting in local increases in illegal activities such as hunting. Overall, there is a complex mixture of positive and negative effects of the pandemic lockdown on nature, all of which have the potential to lead to cascading responses which in turn impact wildlife and nature conservation. While the net effect of the lockdown will need to be assessed over years as data becomes available and persistent effects emerge, immediate responses were detected across the world. Thus initial qualitative and quantitative data arising from this serendipitous global quasi-experimental perturbation highlights the dual role that humans play in threatening and protecting species and ecosystems. Pathways to favorably tilt this delicate balance include reducing impacts and increasing conservation effectiveness.
... In combination, the ubiquity of social media users, presence of shark related social media content, and the demonstrated impact of social media on attitudes and perceptions suggest social media may be an underutilized avenue for reducing fear and misconceptions about sharks (Beall et al., 2022). Very few people have firsthand interaction with sharks in the wild, thus making shark related media content a primary source for shark related information for many (Gallagher and Hammerschlag, 2011;Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018). It is therefore critically important to understand the framing of this content and the impacts this content may be having on public perceptions. ...
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Sharks, a critical component of marine ecosystems, represent one of the most threatened taxa globally. Shark conservation efforts are constrained by public fear and misperceptions. Positive social media-based outreach may provide one cost effective means to reduce fear of sharks and change misperceptions about shark bite intentionality. Using framing theory, which suggests that the ways in which information is presented influences how it is processed and the changes in perceptions that result from it, we experimentally evaluated impacts of positively and negatively framed YouTube videos on fear of sharks and perceptions of shark bite intentionality among participants from the coastal state of North Carolina (NC), USA in Spring 2020. Respondents took a pre-test, followed by a randomly assigned positive or negative video treatment consisting of ~15 min of shark week videos. Pre/post-test comparisons suggest positive YouTube content decreased fright by 24%, perceived danger by 27%, and perception of shark bite intentionality by 29%, whereas negatively framed media did the opposite. Positively framed media resulted in fewer respondents blaming shark bites on sharks, and resulted in more respondents blaming swimmers or no one. Positively framed media decreased support for lethal responses to shark bites, such as shark nets, hunting down sharks that bite people, and drum lines. The positive treatment increased support for responding with research, leaving the shark alone, and education. Negatively framed media decreased support for responding by leaving the shark alone or doing nothing and increased support for some lethal responses to shark bites (i.e., drum lines and hunting down sharks). When positive and negative treatments had different effect sizes, the positive treatments tended to be more impactful. Collectively these results suggest social media may be a valuable tool for leveraging the power of communication to promote shark conservation.
... Similarly, southern stingrays, Hypanus americanus, exposed to provisioning tourism at Grand Cayman exhibited several negative physiological consequences, including lower haematocrit and body condition, reduced antioxidant capacity and altered intake of essential nutrients (Semeniuk et al., 2007(Semeniuk et al., , 2009(Semeniuk et al., , 2010Hoopes et al., 2020). Given increasing discussions framing ecotourism activities as a conservation tool, it is important to understand the physiological and behavioural impacts that provisioning has on wildlife populations, especially for threatened species (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018). ...
Article
While a growing body of literature has shown that tourism provisioning can influence the behaviour of wildlife, how physiological state might be related to the nature and magnitude of these effects remains poorly understood. Physiological state, including reproductive and nutritional status, can have profound effects on an individual's behaviour and decision making. In the present study, we used multiple physiological markers related to reproductive (testosterone, 17β-oestradiol and progesterone), metabolic (corticosteroids) and nutritional ecology (stable isotopes and fatty acids), integrated with ultrasonography and passive acoustic telemetry to explore the possible relationship between physiological condition and space use of tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, exposed to dive tourism provisioning. Large, nongravid female tiger sharks, with higher plasma steroid levels (i.e. testosterone, 17β-oestradiol, relative corticosteroid), enriched δ¹⁵N and elevated nutritional status (in terms of fatty acids) spent proportionally more time at food provisioning sites compared to conspecifics. Testosterone levels also were positively correlated with the proportion of time spent at provisioning sites. Based on these results, we speculate that physiological condition plays a role in shaping the spatial behaviour of female tiger sharks within the context of food provisioning, whereby larger individuals, exhibiting higher testosterone levels and elevated nutritional status, show selective preferences for provisioning dive sites, where they outcompete conspecifics of relatively smaller size, lower testosterone levels and depressed nutritional state. While more studies are needed to explore whether sharks are making these decisions because of their physiological state or whether spending more time at provisioning sites results in altered physiological state, our findings highlight the importance of considering animal life stage, endocrine regulation, and nutritional condition when evaluating the biological impacts of provisioning tourism.
... e evaluation is made from the angle that is most beneficial to the decision-making unit, and the evaluation result is true and credible [6,7]. For each additional input or output item, the new input-output ratio will reduce the discrimination of DEA model [8,9]. e traditional DEA directional distance function model is used to analyze the ecological efficiency of China's tourism considering carbon emissions. ...
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The rapid development of tourism in China has also caused a lot of energy consumption and serious environmental problems. In the context of sustainable development, low-carbon tourism has become the consensus of management departments, relevant industries, and academia. In environmental-related fields, DEA is considered as an excellent efficiency analysis tool because of its powerful optimization ability. The final variable of DEA method is weight. In order to avoid the influence of human factors with predetermined weights in tourism analysis, this paper studies the evaluation of tourism ecological efficiency based on DEA model. China’s overall tourism ecological efficiency showed a fluctuating upward trend, rising from 0.853 in 2018 to 0.906 in 2021. The national average efficiency over the past four years is 0.855, which is at a low level, indicating that the construction of tourism ecology is still in its infancy, and there is still much room for improvement in the future. As the tourism industry system involves many aspects, such as natural ecology, humanities, economy, and so on, it is an extremely complex system. The research on the ecological efficiency of tourism cannot simply rely on the knowledge system and thinking of a single discipline. Therefore, combined with the relevant theories and knowledge of tourism, management, industrial economics, regional economics, industrial ecology, and other disciplines, this paper makes a systematic study on the problems and countermeasures of Qiaozhai.
... Currently, social media represents an under-explored avenue for promoting public tolerance of sharks. While shark tourism is a growing field, relatively few individuals out of the global population engage in activities which directly expose them to sharks (Gallagher & Hammerschlag, 2011;Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018). Thus, social media may present a practical means of enhancing support for conservation efforts by engaging large audiences. ...
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Sharks are often depicted in the media as violent killers that actively seek out opportunities to harm humans. This framing may impact human tolerance and support of shark conservation, underscoring the need to identify strategies that counteract these negative representations. Social media, given its widespread use, could be an effective platform for shaping public tolerance for sharks and other wildlife species. In this experimental study, we conducted an online pre‐post survey in Spring 2020 to determine how viewing shark‐related YouTube videos impacted tolerance for sharks among residents (n = 335) in the coastal state of North Carolina (NC), USA and neighboring states. The study employed framing theory, which suggests that the ways in which information is presented influence how it is processed and the actions that result from it. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two video treatments where sharks were framed positively or negatively. Each video treatment impacted tolerance for sharks in the direction of their framing: positive framing influenced positive changes in tolerance (70% more positive attitudes toward sharks, a 130% increase in acceptance of sharks and a 46% increase in intended shark conservation behaviors), and negative framing influenced negative changes (25% more negative attitudes toward sharks, a 18% decrease in acceptance of sharks and a 3% decrease in intended shark conservation behaviors). These findings suggest positive messages about sharks on social media promote tolerance of sharks and can be more impactful than negative messages. At least one form of social media, YouTube, appears to be a valuable tool for encouraging tolerance for sharks. Differences in change in attitudes, change in acceptance, and change in intended behaviors toward sharks between the positive shark video and negative shark video treatment groups. Change in each variable was calculated by subtracting the pre‐test score from the post‐test score for each variable. Significance levels: *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001 for Welch’s t‐test comparing magnitude of change between the negative and positive treatments, adjusted with the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. The dashed line represents a baseline of no change.
... Although shark and ray ecotourism is not without its challenges (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018), under the right circumstances it can have a net conservation and economic benefit (Gallagher et al., 2015) and may be appropriate for countries with low reconstructed catches and high CoR (e.g. Colombia). ...
Article
Chondrichthyan fishes are among the most threatened vertebrates on the planet because many species have slow life histories that are outpaced by intense fishing. The Western Central Atlantic Ocean, which includes the Greater Caribbean, is a hotspot of chondrichthyan biodiversity and abundance, but has been characterized by extensive shark and ray fisheries and a lack of sufficient data for effective management and conservation. To inform future research and management decisions, we analysed patterns in chondrichthyan extinction risk, reconstructed catches and management engagement in this region. We summarized the extinction risk of 180 sharks, rays and chimaeras, including 66 endemic and 14 near‐endemic species, using contemporary IUCN Red List assessments. Over one‐third (35.6%) were assessed as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered, primarily due to overfishing. Reconstructed catches from 1950 to 2016 peaked in 1992, then declined by 40.2% thereafter. The United States, Venezuela and Mexico were responsible for most catches in the region and hosted the largest proportions of the regional distributions of threatened species, largely due to having extensive coastal habitats in their Exclusive Economic Zones. The quantity and taxonomic resolution of fisheries landings data were poor in much of the region, and national‐level regulations varied widely across jurisdictions. Deepwater fisheries represent an emerging threat, although many deepwater chondrichthyans currently have refuge beyond the depths of most fisheries. Regional collaboration as well as effective and enforceable management informed by more complete fisheries data, particularly from small‐scale fisheries, are required to protect and recover threatened species and ensure sustainable fisheries.
... As a regional leader in shark and ray ecotourism, it boasts the Ormond et al., 2016). Although shark and ray ecotourism is not without its challenges 953 (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018), under the right circumstances it can have a net conservation and 954 economic benefit (Gallagher et al., 2015) and may be appropriate for countries with low 955 reconstructed catches and high CoR (e.g., Colombia). ...
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Chondrichthyan fishes are among the most threatened vertebrates on the planet because many species have slow life histories that are outpaced by intense fishing. The Western Central Atlantic Ocean, which includes the greater Caribbean, is a hotspot of chondrichthyan biodiversity and abundance, but is historically characterized by extensive shark and ray fisheries and a lack of sufficient data for effective management and conservation. To inform future research and management decisions, we analyzed patterns in chondrichthyan extinction risk, reconstructed catches, and regulations in this region. We summarized the extinction risk of 180 sharks, rays, and chimaeras using contemporary IUCN Red List assessments and found that over one-third (35.6%) were assessed as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered largely due to fishing. Reconstructed catches from 1950 to 2016 reached their peak in 1992, then declined by 40.2% through the end of the series. The United States, Venezuela, and Mexico were responsible for most catches and hosted large proportions of the regional distributions of threatened species; these countries therefore held the greatest responsibility for chondrichthyan management. The abundance and resolution of fisheries landings data were poor in much of the region, and national-level regulations varied widely across jurisdictions. Deepwater fisheries represent an emerging threat, although many deepwater chondrichthyans currently find refuge beyond the depths of most fisheries. Regional collaboration as well as effective and enforceable management informed by more complete fisheries data, particularly from small-scale fisheries, are required to protect and recover threatened species and ensure sustainable fisheries.
... From an ecology perspective, some of the effects from tourism have been investigated in South Africa and Australia where changes in behavior, residency, activity, and space use were noted (Laroche et al., 2007;Sperone et al., 2012a;Bruce and Bradford, 2013;Huveneers et al., 2013aHuveneers et al., , 2018aTowner et al., 2016). Whether these changes affect energetic budget (e.g., Huveneers et al., 2018a) or are detrimental to individuals or populations is mostly unknown, and has been identified as a priority requiring further investigation (Brena et al., 2015;Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018). The scarcity of easily accessible white shark aggregations without associated tourism has made it difficult to assess the effects of wildlife tourism due to the lack of control sites. ...
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White sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, are often described as elusive, with little information available due to the logistical difficulties of studying large marine predators that make long-distance migrations across ocean basins. Increased understanding of aggregation patterns, combined with recent advances in technology have, however, facilitated a new breadth of studies revealing fresh insights into the biology and ecology of white sharks. Although we may no longer be able to refer to the white shark as a little-known, elusive species, there remain numerous key questions that warrant investigation and research focus. Although white sharks have separate populations, they seemingly share similar biological and ecological traits across their global distribution. Yet, white shark's behavior and migratory patterns can widely differ, which makes formalizing similarities across its distribution challenging. Prioritization of research questions is important to maximize limited resources because white sharks are naturally low in abundance and play important regulatory roles in the ecosystem. Here, we consulted 43 white shark experts to identify these issues. The questions listed and developed here provide a global road map for future research on white sharks to advance progress toward key goals that are informed by the needs of the research community and resource managers.
... Shark-diving tourism has, in certain contexts, played a key role in demonstrating a new paradigm for viewing sharks as a renewable, socioeconomically valuable, and non-consumptive resource when compared to fishing [26,28,65]. The economic benefits brought by shark diving may provide strong incentives for the implementation of management strategies that seek to maintain healthy populations of sharks [68]. ...
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Shark-diving tourism is an emerging industry in the Azores Islands. However, this industry directly competes with fishing, as both exploiting the same highly migratory shark species. This study quantifies the commercial value of the Azorean shark-diving industry based on a survey of dive tourists and local dive operators and the potential of this industry to further generate funds for implementation of direct conservation actions. The economic contribution of the shark-diving industry to the regional economy of the Azores in 2019 was estimated to be just over USD $ 1 Million. The results of a spiked censored interval data model of contingent valuation indicated that implementation of an extra conservation fee per dive trip, to be paid by dive tourists, could potentially yield over USD $ 103,000 per year to be used for management and enforcement of a proposed MPA for sharks around the dive sites. Our analysis suggests that the emerging shark-diving industry in the Azores Islands has potential to grow throughout the Macaronesian archipelago, thereby increasing tax revenues and the number of jobs and income to Azorean local communities, potentially promoting conservation and sustainable use of the shark populations. However, expansion of this industry into a robust contributor to the archipelago’s economy would require a concomitant strengthening of industry regulation, and support by the government, to protect businesses and investments. This could be partially obtained through improving in fisheries management, implementation of a functional MPA and adequate enforcement.
... Management of Shark Bay dolphins suggests that significant progress could be made by working closely with dive operators and managers to refine tourism activities for other areas and species. In addition, such studies emphasize the importance of understanding the complexities of species responses to provisioning at both the individual and population level, which has implications for human safety, and is particularly important for social species (Gallagher and Huveneers, 2018). For shark dive tourism, these group-level responses remain largely unexplored. ...
Article
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Shark dive ecotourism is a lucrative industry in many regions around the globe. In some cases, sharks are provisioned using bait, prompting increased research on how baited dives influence shark behavior and yielding mixed results. Effects on patterns of habitat use and movement seemly vary across species and locations. It is unknown, however, whether wide-ranging, marine apex predators respond to provisioning by changing their patterns of grouping or social behavior. We applied a tiered analytical approach (aggregation-gregariousness-social preferences) examining the impact of provisioning on the putative social behavior of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) at a dive tourism location in The Bahamas. Using network inference on three years of acoustic tracking data from 48 sharks, we tested for non-random social structure between non-provisioned and provisioned monitoring sites resulting in 12 distinct networks. Generally considered a solitary nomadic predator, we found evidence of sociality in tiger sharks, which varied spatiotemporally. We documented periods of both random (n = 7 networks) and non-random aggregation (n = 5 networks). Three of five non-random aggregations were at locations unimpacted by provisioning regardless of season, one occurred at an active provisioning site during the dry season and one at the same receivers during the wet season when provision activity is less prevalent. Aggregations lasted longer and occurred more frequently at provisioning sites, where gregariousness was also more variable. While differences in gregariousness among individuals was generally predictive of non-random network structure, individual site preferences, size and sex were not. Within five social preference networks, constructed using generalized affiliation indices, network density was lower at provisioning sites, indicating lower connectivity at these locations. We found no evidence of size assortment on preferences. Our data suggest that sociality may occur naturally within the Tiger Beach area, perhaps due to the unusually high density of individuals there. This study demonstrates the existence of periodic social behavior, but also considerable variation in association between tiger sharks, which we argue may help to mitigate any long-term impacts of provisioning on this population. Finally, we illustrate the utility of combining telemetry and social network approaches for assessing the impact of human disturbance on wildlife behavior.
... Direct feeding, especially of sharks or marine mammals, is the most contentious of marine wildlife tourism activities (Gallagher & Huveneers, 2018;Healy et al., 2020;Newsome & Rodger, 2008), which may lead to illegal activities. For example, Cape fur seals Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus are illegally fed and trained to take fish from a human's mouth for the purposes of eliciting monetary donations from international tourists in Cape Town, South Africa (Kock, personal observation). ...
Article
Wildlife tourism uses various stimuli to attract species and facilitate close encounters. Such activities are often referred to as provisioning, however the term is used interchangeably, and sometimes erroneously, with attracting, feeding, luring, and chumming, all of which lack consistent definitions. Here, we review the current use of provisioning-associated terminology in marine bird, teleost (bony fish), marine mammal, marine reptile, ray and shark tourism, within the scientific literature and on tourism operator webpages. We then propose to reclassify provisioning into Feeding, Attracting, and Modifying habitat, providing eight specific terms that reflect: (1) if the stimulus exploits wildlife appetite or search for preferred habitat; (2) the nature of the attractant (consumable or not); (3) the intention of the activity if using consumable attractants (direct, indirect, or incidental feeding) or modified habitat (intentional or repurposed modification); and (4) which species are affected by the activity (target or non-target species). We applied these terms to wildlife tourism around the world to gain better insight into tourism practices across taxa. Clarifying the terminology describing these wildlife interactions ensures they can be accurately described in the scientific literature, which will in turn help resource managers and industry groups to systematically assess these diverse activities.
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Wildlife tourism (WT) is an emerging sector of tourism, majorly meant to view and/or encounter wildlife in the wild, captive, and semi-captive settings. Because of the new emerging economies, there is an increased demand for wildlife destinations in both, developing and developed nations. However, a comprehensive study is lacking in WT. In this context, the present study seeks to bring together and discuss the key findings on WT from the present literature and propose new approaches to research using co-citation, co-authorship, and co-occurrence analyses. Further, the study also considers research on WT conducted so far like attitudes, bird-watching, conservation, economics, hunting, mammals, management, marine monitoring, negative impacts, positive impacts, captive wildlife, and guidelines. A data set is created that includes authors, article titles, citations, countries, co-authorship, institutions, publication years and sources, keywords, and abstracts by collecting the bibliographies from Scopus and Web of Science (WoS) indexed journals with keywords search “Wild Life, Jungle and Tourism.” The study collected 1,519 and used 1,259published articles from 1990 to 2020, and analyzed employing VOS viewer software, which has enabled us to understand the relationship and structure of the literature.
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Marine wildlife tourism is increasing in popularity, with operations targeting a wide range of taxa globally. While previous studies have mostly focused on assessing the effects of provisioning from tourism on focal species, non-focal species that unintentionally feed on supplemental food sources have largely been overlooked. This study improves our understanding of the effects of shark-cage-diving tourism on the movements and behaviours of a non-focal pelagic fish. We used acoustic tracking to determine the effects of shark-cage-diving tourism on the residency and space use of 17 yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi at the Neptune Islands, South Australia. We revealed that while cage-diving did not affect the overall or weekly residency and space use of kingfish, daily time spent at the islands and location of kingfish was influenced by the presence of operators. Acoustic attractant did not affect kingfish behaviours, but operators using food-based attractants increased the average time spent at the Neptune Islands by ~27% (from 230.6 ± 6.8 to 293.8 ± 5.5 min). Kingfish were also observed closer to operators using food-based attractants (217 ± 4.82 m from vessel) compared to an acoustic attractant (412 ± 29.5 m from vessel). Our findings identify changes in the daily behaviour of kingfish at the Neptune Islands as a result of food-based attractants from shark-cage-diving, which demonstrates that non-focal large pelagic species can be affected by shark-diving tourism. These effects may lead to long-term effects on the physiological condition and energetic responses of these individuals.
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El objetivo general del Programa de Acción para la Conservación de la Especie Tiburón Blanco (PACE) consiste en establecer una estrategia integral de investigación, protección y conservación del Tiburón Blanco en aguas mexicanas, que permita incrementar el conocimiento de la especie, robustecer las medidas de manejo para su aprovechamiento no extractivo sustentable y prevenir y mitigar las posibles amenazas para la especie y su hábitat.
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Anthropogenic activities are dramatically changing marine ecosystems. Wildlife tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry and has the potential to modify the natural environment and behaviour of the species it targets. Here, we used a novel method to assess the effects of wildlife tourism on the activity of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). High frequency three-axis acceleration loggers were deployed on ten white sharks for a total of ~9 days. A combination of multivariate and univariate analysis revealed that the increased number of strong accelerations and vertical movements when sharks are interacting with cage-diving operators result in an overall dynamic body acceleration (ODBA) ~61% higher compared with other times when sharks are present in the area where cage-diving occurs. Since ODBA is considered a proxy of metabolic rate, interacting with cage-divers is probably more costly than are normal behaviours of white sharks at the Neptune Islands. However, the overall impact of cage-diving might be small if interactions with individual sharks are infrequent. This study suggests wildlife tourism changes the instantaneous activity levels of white sharks, and calls for an understanding of the frequency of shark-tourism interactions to appreciate the net impact of ecotourism on this species’ fitness.
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Predators play a crucial role in the structure and function of ecosystems. However, the magnitude of this role is often unclear, particularly for large marine predators, as predation rates are difficult to measure directly. If relevant biotic and abiotic parameters can be obtained, then bioenergetics modelling offers an alternative approach to estimating predation rates, and can provide new insights into ecological processes. We integrate demographic and ecological data for a marine apex predator, the broadnose sevengill shark Notorynchus cepedianus, with energetics data from the literature, to construct a bioenergetics model to quantify predation rates on key fisheries species in Norfolk Bay, Australia. We account for the uncertainty in model parameters by incorporating parameter confidence through Monte Carlo simulations and running alternative variants of the model. Model and parameter variants provide alternative estimates of predation rates. Our simplest model estimates that ca. 1130 ± 137 N. cepedianus individuals consume 11,379 (95% CI: 11,111–11,648) gummy sharks Mustelus antarcticus (~21 tonnes) over a 36-week period in Norfolk Bay, which represents a considerable contribution to total predation mortality on this key fishery species. This study demonstrates how the integration of ecology and fisheries science can provide information for ecosystem and fisheries management.
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A radio-acoustic positioning system was used to assess the effects of shark cage-diving operators (SCDO) on the fine-scale movements of a non-focal species, the smooth stingray Bathytoshia brevicaudata. The results revealed that the time spent in the array was individually variable, but generally increased when SCDO were present and that the presence of SCDO may have the capacity to elicit changes in the space use of B. brevicaudata. These results indicate that the effects of marine wildlife tourism may extend beyond the focal species of interest.
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Shark-diving is part of a rapidly growing industry focused on marine wildlife tourism. Our study aimed to provide an estimate of the economic value of shark-diving tourism across Australia by comprehensively surveying the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus), and reef shark (mostly Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and Triaenodon obesus) diving industries using a standardised approach. A socio-economic survey targeted tourist divers between March 2013 and June 2014 and collected information on expenditures related to diving, accommodation, transport, living costs, and other related activities during divers’ trips. A total of 711 tourist surveys were completed across the four industries, with the total annual direct expenditure by shark divers in Australia estimated conservatively at $25.5 M. Additional expenditure provided by the white-shark and whale-shark-diving industries totalled $8.1 and $12.5 M for the Port Lincoln and Ningaloo Reef regions respectively. International tourists diving with white sharks also expended another $0.9 M in airfares and other activities while in Australia. These additional revenues show that the economic value of this type of tourism do not flow solely to the industry, but are also spread across the region where it is hosted. This highlights the need to ensure a sustainable dive-tourism industry through adequate management of both shark-diver interactions and biological management of the species on which it is based. Our study also provides standardised estimates which allow for future comparison of the scale of other wildlife tourism industries (not limited to sharks) within or among countries.
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Due to rapid declines of shark populations across many species and regions of the world, the need for large-scale conservation measures has become widely recognized. Some coastal states have opted to implement ‘Shark Sanctuaries’, which prohibit commercial shark fishing and the export of shark products across large areas, typically their entire Exclusive Economic Zones. Although shark sanctuaries cover almost as much area globally as marine protected areas (MPAs), their success has yet to be evaluated. Here, key features and regulatory details for eleven shark sanctuaries (covering 3% of global ocean area) are summarized, highlighting their commonalities and differences. Catch data are then used to shed light on the impact current shark sanctuaries could have on shark catch, foreign fleets, trade and abundance. Based on this comparative analysis, recommendations are made to implement program evaluation measures within existing and future shark sanctuaries that would explicitly outline goals and measures of success or failure. In summary, although shark sanctuaries may have the intended effect of reducing shark mortality, there appears a need to address bycatch within shark sanctuary regulations, and to collect baseline data that can be used to monitor sanctuary effectiveness.
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Despite rapid growth in the marine tourism sector, the impacts of recreation on the marine environment are generally not well understood. Most existing studies of marine recreation ecology have focused on behavioural changes resulting from direct interactions between humans and wildlife including provisioning. However, non-consumptive, non-provisioning human impacts may also result in persistent behavioural impacts to shark populations. In this study, we examined differences in residency, abundance, and behaviour of reef sharks at Palmyra Atoll in response to long-term SCUBA diving activity, using a combination of survey techniques including baited remote underwater video systems and multi-year passive acoustic monitoring. In most locations with recreational diving operations, some level of human impact is pervasive, but on Palmyra, extractive fishing is prohibited, and scientific diving activities are concentrated on just a few sites that house long-term monitoring projects. These sites experience relatively intensive diving, while the majority of the island is entirely undived. Evidence from elsewhere has shown that sharks behaviourally respond to people in the water over short time scales, but our results indicate that this response may not persist. We did not detect differences in reef shark abundance or behaviour between heavily dived and undived locations, nor were there differences in shark residency patterns at dived and undived sites in a year with substantial diving activity and a year without any diving. Our results suggest that humans can interact with reef sharks without persistent behavioural impacts, and that well-regulated shark diving tourism can be accomplished without undermining conservation goals.
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White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) cage-diving tourism is a controversial activity that provokes emotional and often opposing points of view. With increasing demand for shark tourism since the 1990s, the un- derlying determinants driving this growth in participation remain unclear. This paper adopts a qualitative approach to investigate beliefs underlying tourists’ choice to observe white sharks while cage-diving at the Neptune Islands, South Australia. Elicitation surveys gathered responses from a sample (n = 86) of cage-diving participants. Content analysis of the responses revealed the decision to cage-dive with white sharks is driven by factors including education and the perceived naturalness of the experience. The findings of this study indicate an opportunity for cage-dive operators to pro- vide in situ education and interpretation with potential for increased tourist satisfaction and shark conservation outcomes.
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While shark-based tourism is a rapidly growing global industry, there is ongoing controversy about the effects of provisioning on the target species. This study investigated the effect of feeding on whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) at a provisioning site in Oslob, Cebu, in terms of arrival time, avoidance and feeding behaviour using photo-identification and focal follows. Additionally, compliance to the code of conduct in place was monitored to assess tourism pressure on the whale sharks. Newly identified sharks gradually arrived earlier to the provisioning site after their initial sighting, indicating that the animals learn to associate the site with food rewards. Whale sharks with a long resighting history showed anticipatory behaviour and were recorded at the site on average 5 min after the arrival of feeder boats. Results from a generalised linear mixed model indicated that animals with a longer resighting history were less likely to show avoidance behaviour to touches or boat contact. Similarly, sequential data on feeding behaviour was modelled using a generalised estimating equations approach, which suggested that experienced whale sharks were more likely to display vertical feeding behaviour. It was proposed that the continuous source of food provides a strong incentive for the modification of behaviours, i.e., learning, through conditioning. Whale sharks are large opportunistic filter feeders in a mainly oligotrophic environment, where the ability to use novel food sources by modifying their behaviour could be of great advantage. Non-compliance to the code of conduct in terms of minimum distance to the shark (2 m) increased from 79% in 2012 to 97% in 2014, suggesting a high tourism pressure on the whale sharks in Oslob. The long-term effects of the observed behavioural modifications along with the high tourism pressure remain unknown. However, management plans are traditionally based on the precautionary principle, which aims to take preventive actions even if data on cause and effect are still inconclusive. Hence, an improved enforcement of the code of conduct coupled with a reduction in the conditioning of the whale sharks through provisioning were proposed to minimise the impacts on whale sharks in Oslob.
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The use of olfactory stimuli and the provision of food are a common practice to prompt artificial aggregations of emblematic wild species and ensure the economic viability of the wildlife-watching industry. Several elasmobranch species have been targeted by such operations in a variety of locations for over four decades. A recent review succinctly addressed the potential effects of shark diving tourism, including shark provisioning, on shark individual behavior and ecology, but the general paucity of data on the ecology of elasmobranchs precluded general statements. By using a functional framework, we reviewed the findings of the 22 available studies that investigated the behavioral, physiological, and ecological response of 14 shark and three ray species targeted by artificial provisioning. Focusing on the underlying processes that rule the response of targeted elasmobranch species, we report further effects acting beyond the individual-scale and their cross-scale relationships. We suggest that the most commonly described alterations of individual movement patterns have cascading effects through the group and community-scale, ultimately resulting in altered health condition and individual behavior toward humans. We conclude by stressing the potential for provisioning activities to support the investigation of complex ecological and behavioral processes in elasmobranchs.
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Whale shark tourism is a growing niche market within the marine wildlife tourism sector. Increased visitation and declining whale shark numbers at some tourism sites worldwide raise questions over the long-term sustainability of this industry. This study examines the social and potential biological impacts of “swim-with” whale shark tourism on Isla Holbox, Mexico. A total of 397 tour participants completed a self-administered questionnaire regarding perceived crowding, reported encounters and encounter norms, as well as self-reported physical contact rates with whale sharks. Relatively high physical contact rates suggest that tourism may cause some harm to sharks. Users who encountered more swimmers than their norm felt significantly more crowded and were more likely to perceive the industry as having a negative impact on the sharks and surrounding environment. However, the results suggest that the number of boats in the whale shark viewing area may have a greater influence on crowding than number of swimmers. Management interventions to improve the sustainability of the industry include improved interpretation and guide intervention, achieving higher compliance with existing guidelines, and limiting the number of boats allowed in the whale shark viewing area.
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There is no conclusive evidence of any nonhuman animal using the sun as part of its predation strategy. Here, we show that the world’s largest predatory fish—the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)—exploits the sun when approaching baits by positioning the sun directly behind them. On sunny days, sharks reversed their direction of approach along an east-west axis from morning to afternoon but had uniformly distributed approach directions during overcast conditions. These results show that white sharks have sufficient behavioral flexibility to exploit fluctuating environmental features when predating. This sun-tracking predation strategy has a number of potential functional roles, including improvement of prey detection, avoidance of retinal overstimulation, and predator concealment.
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White sharks Carcharodon carcharias aggregate at specific times of the year at localities along the South African coast. At Mossel Bay, on the southern Cape coast, four sites were sampled (Seal Island, Hartenbos, Kleinbrak and Grootbrak) to investigate spatial and seasonal patterns in relative abundance and life-history composition. These are known aggregation sites within the bay, each having particular physical and/or biological characteristics. Sightings-per-unit-effort data were collected from February to December 2008–2010. Sighting rates demonstrated significant seasonal and interannual variation at the four sites. The highest mean sighting rate was recorded at Seal Island and the lowest at Hartenbos, which might be a consequence of differences in prey availability. The greatest interannual variability was recorded at Kleinbrak, followed by Seal Island, with little variability at Grootbrak and Hartenbos. White sharks appeared to concentrate at Grootbrak and Kleinbrak in summer and autumn, at Seal Island in winter, and at Hartenbos and Seal Island in spring. All life-history stages were present year-round but their occurrence was influenced significantly by season (p < 0.05), although not site. Few adults (325–424 cm total length) were seen, with the highest frequency being in spring, whereas that of young-of-the-year (≤174 cm) was in autumn. Juveniles (175–324 cm) constituted 78% of the animals sighted, indicating that Mossel Bay is an important aggregation site for this life-history stage.
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This study investigated memory retention capabilities of juvenile gray bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium griseum) using two-alternative forced-choice experiments. The sharks had previously been trained in a range of visual discrimination tasks, such as distinguishing between squares, triangles and lines, and their corresponding optical illusions (i.e., the Kanizsa figures or Mu¨ller–Lyer illusions), and in the present study, we tested them for memory retention. Despite the absence of reinforcement, sharks remembered the learned information for a period of up to 50 weeks, after which testing was terminated. In fish, as in other vertebrates, memory windows vary in duration depending on species and task; while it may seem beneficial to retain some information for a long time or even indefinitely, other information may be forgotten more easily to retain flexibility and save energy. The results of this study indicate that sharks are capable of long-term memory within the framework of selected cognitive skills. These could aid sharks in activities such as food retrieval, predator avoidance, mate choice or habitat selection and therefore be worth being remembered for extended periods of time. As in other cognitive tasks, intraspecific differences reflected the behavioral breadth of the species.
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Amid declining shark populations because of overfishing, a burgeoning shark watching industry, already well established in some locations, generates benefits from shark protection. We compile reported economic benefits at shark watching locations and use a meta-analytical approach to estimate benefits at sites without available data. Results suggest that, globally, c. 590,000 shark watchers expend > USD 314 million per year, directly supporting 10,000 jobs. By comparison, the landed value of global shark fisheries is currently c. USD 630 million and has been in decline for most of the past decade. Based on current observed trends, numbers of shark watchers could more than double within the next 20 years, generating > USD 780 million in tourist expenditures around the world. This supports optimistic projections at new sites, including those in an increasing number of shark sanctuaries established primarily for shark conservation and enacted in recognition of the ecological and economic importance of living sharks.
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The attraction or provisioning of sharks for the purpose of tourism is a lucrative and popular industry that remains controversial regarding its possible risks to target species and impacts on local ecosystems. The long-term impacts of such activities on the behaviour and movement patterns of sharks have typically been difficult to establish as most studies investigate contemporary behaviour concurrent with existing operations and thus have no comparative base from which to compare effects. We compared patterns of residency and behaviour of acoustic-tagged white sharks at the Neptune Islands in South Australia between periods before and after an abrupt and sustained doubling of cage-diving effort that occurred in 2007. The number of sharks reported by cage-dive operators significantly increased after 2007. Comparisons also revealed there were significant increases in sharks’ periods of residency, the periods spent within areas where shark cage-diving operations occur and changes in sharks’ diel pattern of habitat use. Changes were site-specific with no significant differences in shark behaviour revealed over the same period at an island group 12 km from regular shark cage-dive sites. The results suggest that cage-diving operations can lead to long-term changes in the site-specific behaviour of a highly vagile shark species which may need to be considered in the context of their conservation and in managing the impacts of the industry.
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Arguments for conservation of sharks based on their role in the maintenance of healthy marine ecosystems have failed to halt the worldwide decline in populations. Instead, the value of sharks as a fishery commodity has severely reduced the abundance of these animals. Conservation may be assisted by the development of an alternative approach that emphasizes the economic value of sharks as a non-harvested resource. Our study quantifies the value of a tourism industry based on shark diving. Using data collected from surveys, as well as government statistics, we show that shark diving is a major contributor to the economy of Palau, generating US$18 million per year and accounting for approximately 8% of the gross domestic product of the country. Annually, shark diving was responsible for the disbursement of US$1.2 million in salaries to the local community, and generated US$1.5 million in taxes to the government. If the population of approximately 100 sharks that interact with tourists at popular dive sites was harvested by fishers, their economic value would be at most US$10 800, a fraction of the worth of these animals as a non-consumptive resource. Fishers earn more selling fish for consumption by shark divers than they would gain by catching sharks. Shark diving provides an attractive economic alternative to shark fishing, with distribution of revenues benefiting several sectors of the economy, stimulating the development and generating high revenues to the government, while ensuring the ecological sustainability of shark populations.
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Basic understanding of the fundamental principles and mechanisms involved in learning is lacking for elasmobranch fishes. Our aim in this study was to experimentally investigate the learning and memory capacity of juvenile Port Jackson sharks, Heterodontus portusjacksoni. Sharks (N = 30) were conditioned over a 19-day period to associate an underwater LED light or stream of air-bubbles [conditioned stimulus (CS)] with a food reward [unconditioned stimulus (US)], using three procedures (delay, trace and control). During experiments, the CS signalled at a random time between 180 and 300 s for 30 s (six times per day). For the delay the US overlapped in time with the CS, for the trace the US delivered 10 s after the CS and for our control the US was delivered at random time between 180 and 300 s after the CS. H. portusjacksoni sharks trained in all procedures improved consistently in their time to obtain food, indicative of Pavlovian learning. Importantly, the number of sharks in the feeding area 5 s prior to CS onset did not change over time for any procedures. However, significantly more sharks were present 5 s after CS onset for delay for both air-bubble and light CS. Sharks trained in the delay and trace procedures using air-bubbles as the CS also displayed significantly more anticipatory behaviours, such as turning towards the CS and biting. Sharks trained with the light CS did not exhibit such behaviours; however, trace procedural sharks did show a significant improvement in moving towards the CS at its onset. At 20 and 40 days after the end of the conditioning experiments, some sharks were presented the CS without reward. Two sharks trained in the delay procedure using air-bubbles as the CS exhibited biting behaviours: one at 20 and the other at 40 days. This study demonstrates that H. portusjacksoni have the capacity to learn a classical conditioning procedure relatively quickly (30 trials during 5 days) and associate two time-separated events and retention of learnt associations for at least 24 h and possibly up to 40 days.
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Ecotourism operations which provide food to large predators have the potential to negatively affect their target species, by conditioning them to associate humans with food, or by generally altering their behavioural patterns, This latter effect could have potentially detrimental consequences for the ecosystem inhabited by the predator, because any behavioural changes could affect the species with which they interact. We present the results of an experimental study conducted from June to October 2004, which examined the effects of provisioning ecotourism on the behaviour of white sharks around a seal colony on a small island in South Africa. Although ecotourism activity had an effect on the behaviour of some sharks, this was relatively minor, and the majority of sharks showed little interest in the food rewards on offer. It is unlikely that conditioning would occur from the amount of ecotourism activity tested, because even those sharks identified supplying most of the data presented here (which may be more strongly predisposed towards conditioning, as their persistence around the boat is what allowed them to be identified) showed. a nearly ubiquitous trend of decreasing response with time. Furthermore, even the sharks frequently acquiring food rewards typically stopped responding after several interactions. Consequently, moderate levels of ecotourism probably have only a minor impact on the behaviour of white sharks, and are therefore unlikely to create behavioural effects at the ecosystem level.
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Wildlife tourism has become increasingly popular and is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry. A radio-acoustic positioning system was deployed to monitor the fine-scale movements of 21 white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and investigate the effects of shark cage-diving activities on their swimming behaviour and space use. This study contributes towards improving our understanding of the complex relationship between wildlife tourism and its effects on sharks, and assesses how tourism targeting sharks affects behaviour at a finer spatial scale than previously investigated. Our study demonstrated that shark cage-diving operators (SCDO) influenced the fine-scale three-dimensional spatial distribution and the rate of movement of white sharks at the Neptune Islands. White sharks stayed more than 30 m away from the SCDO on 21 % of the days detected, but spent a significant amount of time in close proximity to the SCDO on the remaining days. Individual variation was detected, with some sharks behaviourally responding to SCDO more than others. The degree of variation between individual sharks and the different levels of interaction (e.g. presence, proximity to SCDO, and consumption of tethered bait) highlights the complexity of the relationships between SCDO and the effects on sharks. To improve our understanding of these relationships, future monitoring of shark cage-diving operations requires proximity to SCDO to be recorded in addition to the presence within the area. Further work is needed to assess whether the observed behavioural changes would affect individual fitness and ultimately population viability, which are critical information to unambiguously assess the potential impacts of wildlife tourism targeting sharks.
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Over 100 million sharks are killed annually, putting enormous pressure on shark populations worldwide. Sharks have traditionally been considered a detriment to coastal tourism, but since the early 1990s, shifts in attitudes amongst divers have led to growth in the popularity of shark watching as a tourist activity. An estimated 500,000 divers a year find, photograph, feed, and swim with sharks, contributing millions of dollars to local and regional economies. This paper examines whether the economic value attached to shark watching can provide enough incentive to reduce consumptive exploitation levels. Although the economic value attached to shark watching has led to greater protection of sharks in some locations, analysis of available data suggests that incentives do not appear large enough to encourage a significant reduction in fishing pressure appropriate to the scale of threat facing sharks. Growth of the shark watching industry is constrained by a number of factors including perceived risks and benefits, declining shark populations, and government regulations. However, conservation strategies for sharks involving tourism can be envisaged, involving varying levels of non-consumptive and consumptive uses of sharks. Three kinds of interaction between the non-consumptive and consumptive use of sharks are outlined along with implications for shark conservation.
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1. The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a popular focal species within the global marine tourism industry. Although this has contributed to increased protection being granted to the species in several countries, tourism itself can be detrimental to the sharks in the absence of appropriate management. Potential impacts can be mitigated, at least in the short term, by adherence to well-designed interaction guidelines. 2. A burgeoning marine tourism industry based on swimming with whale sharks has developed at Tofo Beach in Mozambique. However, no formal management is currently in place at this site. 3. The behaviour of whale sharks during interactions with boats and swimmers were recorded during 137 commercial snorkelling trips run from Tofo Beach over a 20 month period. Whale sharks were encountered on 87% of trips, which operated year-round. 4. Boat proximity and shark size were significant predictors of avoidance behaviour. No avoidance responses were recorded at 420 m boat distance. 5. The mean in-water interaction time between sharks and swimmers was 8 min 48 s overall. There was a significant decrease in interaction times during encounters where sharks expressed avoidance behaviours, and also in cases where sharks had expressed boat avoidance behaviour before swimmers entered the water. 6. It is suggested that mean encounter times can be extended through adherence to a basic Code of Conduct for operators and swimmers that enforces minimum distances between the sharks, boats and swimmers. Using encounter time as a measure of the 'success' of interactions holds promise, as longer encounters appear to be indicative of lower impacts on sharks while also providing higher customer satisfaction for swimmers.
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Ecotourism represents a highly popularised activity which has exhibited global growth in recent years. In the present paper, we examine the distribution, frequency, and economic value of shark-based ecotourism operations worldwide. A total of 376 shark ecotour operations across 83 locations and 8 geographic regions were identified. Here we describe the global and regional scope of the industry; determine the species utilised in shark ecotourism activities; and examine the recreational usage values of sharks. Further, we conducted a case study of a shark tourism operation based in South Africa by analysing 12 years of demographical and economical data, revealing increasing trends in the total number of customers served and cost per trip over the sampling period. We also compare consumptive and non-consumptive values of shark resources and discuss the potential research and conservation implications of the industry to sharks worldwide.
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ABSTRACT Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are seasonal visitors to four sites in the Western Caribbean, 3 of which are encompassed by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Predictable encounters with the world’s largest fish have raised this species’ profile globally and led to several research and conservation efforts that aim to elucidate the need for information for the species management and balance the growing demand for highly lucrative encounter tourism. Tagging studies have demonstrated that the whale shark population is relatively small and likely forms a single population. Individuals move throughout the region between 3 of 4 known feeding sites and are capable of timing their movements to pulses of productivity. Whale shark tourism’s dramatic growth has led to a range of protective measures and scientific studies both precautionary and reactionary that require better harmonization throughout the region to be effective. This paper will provide an overview of the status of whale shark research and conservation efforts in the Western Caribbean and identify future management needs to minimize anthropogenic impacts and enable continued whale shark visitation at key feeding sites.
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This study examines tourist compliance to the Code of Conduct for whale shark (Rhincodon typus) interactions and assesses impacts of tourists on whale sharks in Donsol, Philippines. Whale sharks feed in Donsol's nutrient rich waters between November and June, drawing up to 7100 visitors annually. Tourist, tour operator, and whale shark behavior were examined during human–whale shark interactions (n = 777) on 117 boat trips (March, April and May) in 2004, and on 76 boat trips in 2005 (n = 620). Average compliance to Code of Conduct regulations in 2004 and 2005 was 44% for the minimum distance kept; 82% for no touching, no path obstruction and a maximum of six swimmers per whale shark; 89% for a maximum of one boat per shark, 99% for no flash photography and no SCUBA, scooters, and jet-skis. Significant predictors of whale shark's directional changes were path obstruction and proximity of swimmer to whale shark, while for whale shark's dive response it was first-time sighting and whale shark feeding. The significant predictor of a violent shudder behavior was touching. Generalized linear modeling evaluated change in direction, dive response and violent shuddering variables, and found that touching, flash photography, and swimmer diving towards the whale shark significantly affected the magnitude of disturbance. Tourism impacts on whale sharks can be minimized through adaptive management that monitors tourism and alters interaction regulations to reflect tourist and tour operator actions that have detrimental effects on whale sharks.
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Between 1997 and 2003, there were 2088 natural predations by white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) on Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) and 121 strikes on towed seal-shaped decoys were documented from observation vessels at Seal Island, South Africa. White sharks at Seal Island appear to selectively target lone, incoming young of the year Cape fur seals at or near the surface. Most attacks lasted < 1 min and consisted of a single breach, with predatory success rate decreasing rapidly with increasing duration and number of subsequent breaches. A white shark predatory ethogram,composed of four phases and 20 behavioural units, is presented, including four varieties of initial strike and 11 subsequent behaviour units not previously defined in the literature. Behaviour units scored from 210 predatory attacks revealed that, for both successful and unsuccessful attacks, Polaris Breach was the most commonly employed initial strike, while Surface Lunge was the most frequent second event, closely followed by Lateral Snap. Examination of video footage, still images, and tooth impressions in decoys indicated that white sharks at Seal Island bite prey obliquely using their anterolateral teeth via a sudden lateral snap of the jaws and not perpendicularly with their anterior teeth, as previously supposed. Analysis of white shark upper tooth morphology and spacing suggest the reversed intermediate teeth of white sharks occur at the strongest part of the jaw and produce the largest wound. White sharks predatory success at Seal Island is greatest (55%) within one hour of sunrise and decrease rapidly with increasing ambient light; the sharks cease active predation on seals of sunrise and decreases rapidly with increasing ambient light; the sharks cease active predation on seals when success rate drops to +/- 40%; this is the first evidence of cessation of foraging at unproductive times by any predatory fish. At Seal Island, white shark predatory success is significantly lower at locations where frequency of predation is highest, suggesting that white sharks may launch suboptimal strikes in areas of greatest intraspecific competition; this is the first evidence of social influence on predation in any elasmobranch. Idiosyncratic predatory behaviours and elevated success rates of known individual white sharks at Seal Island suggest some degree of trial-and-error learning. A hypothetical decision tree is proposed that models predatory behaviour of white sharks attacking Capr fur seals at the surface.
Article
Wildlife tourism is a growing industry, with significant conservation and socio-economic benefits. Concerns have however been raised about the possible impacts of this industry on the long-term behaviour, health and fitness of the animal species tourists come to see (the target species), particularly when those species are regularly fed to improve the tourism experience. Information on the contribution of food rewards to the diet of the target species at feeding sites is critical to assess the dependency on handouts and to identify possible health/fitness problems that might be associated, if handouts become the main part of animals' diets. Here, we use stable isotopes (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N) to evaluate the importance of handouts for a marine predator, the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas), at a feeding site (Fiji) where shark feeds occur 5 days/week and sharks (up to 75 individuals/dive) are fed ~200 kg of tuna heads/day. There was no evidence of incorporation of food provided, even for individuals that regularly consume food rewards. Results, when combined with those from previous studies on bull shark movements and feeding rates at our study site, show that current levels of provisioning likely have no long-term impacts on bull shark diet or behaviour. This study also demonstrates the applicability of stable isotope analysis to assess and monitor the contribution of food rewards to wildlife, and highlights the benefits of using multi-sources of information to gain a holistic understanding of the effects of provisioning predators.
Article
Although wildlife tourism is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, the industry has a potential to affect the fauna it targets. A variety of methods are used to monitor the activities and impacts of wildlife tourism. In South Australia, mandatory logbook reporting and the ability to photograph and identify individual sharks provides two industry-based data sources to monitor how cage-diving tourism may impact white sharks. Findings show that both methods can assess shark populations, and detect seasonal sex-biased changes in white shark abundance. Photo-ID significantly underestimates effort days and number of sharks sighted, and is considerably more labour-intensive, but allows accurate identification of individual sharks, facilitating additional analysis. The continued use of logbook reporting is the optimum long-term monitoring method, although we recommend the maintenance of a photographic database for periodic extraction of individual information. Combining these methods will facilitate an ongoing adaptive management framework, aiding the long-term sustainability of the industry.
Article
Wildlife tourism is often promoted as an activity which supports conservation by enhancing environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour through interpretative messaging and personal experiences with wildlife. Despite these potential linkages, evidence to support such claims is limited. In order for wildlife tourism operators to build a motivated constituency supporting conservation, elements of the tour which contribute to positive attitudes and environmental behaviour must be identified. This study investigated the attitudes and environmental behaviour of 136 wildlife tourists following a white shark cage-dive experience in South Australia. Responses to an online survey revealed a significant increase in participation for seven of the eight conservation-related behaviours explored, and a positive shift in participants’ understanding, awareness, attitudes, and concern for sharks following the tour. Results suggest that emotional engagement during the tour is associated with enhancing participants’ knowledge and attitude towards sharks. Recommendations for complementing the emotional response to viewing wildlife, with interpretative communication, are discussed.
Article
In recent decades, public interest in apex predators has led to the creation and expansion of predator-focused wildlife tourism. As wildlife tourism has become an increasing topic of study for both social and biological scientists, researchers have debated whether these activities serve conservation goals by providing non-con-sumptive values for wildlife. Discussion of predator tourism requires additional recognition of predator-specific biological and ecological characteristics, consideration of human safety concerns, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. By reviewing tourism activities centered on both aquatic and terrestrial predators from diverse taxa (sharks, crocodiles, and big cats), we evaluate the potential benefits and conservation challenges associated with predator tourism. Our review suggests that positive conservation outcomes are possible, but not assured given historical, cultural, and ecological complexities. We explore some of the factors which determine whether tourism contributes to conservation outcomes, including (1) effective protection of animals and habitats, (2) avoidance and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, (3) quality of associated educational interpretation and outreach, (4) collaboration with local stakeholders, and (5) use of generated funds to advance conservation goals. Our findings suggest tourism is most likely to support predator conservation and/or recovery when the industry has both public and political support and under conditions of effective regulation focused on management , monitoring and enforcement by local, national, and international bodies.
Article
Wildlife tourism is often extolled for its contribution to conservation. However, understanding the effects of tourism activities on the health of target animals is required to fully assess conservation benefits. Shark tourism operators often use food rewards to attract sharks in close proximity to tourists, but nothing is known about the contribution of these food rewards to the energetic requirements of target species. In this study, hand-feeding of bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas was directly observed on 36 commercial shark watching dives in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve (SRMR), Fiji. Mean number of tuna heads consumed per dive by focal individuals ranged from 1.3 to 3.7. Monitored bull sharks consumed an average of ~ 0.74 heads per provisioning day, and bioenergetics modelling suggests that some sharks might periodically be meeting their full energy requirement from provisioning at the SRMR. Knowing how much individual sharks consume at provisioning sites and how this relates to their energy requirements is crucial in order to better understand the effects of wildlife tourism and its contribution to conservation.
Article
Knowledge of the diel spatial ecology of wild animals is of great interest to ecologists and relevant to resource management and conservation. Sharks are generally considered to be more active during nocturnal periods than during the day; however, few studies have empirically evaluated diel variation in shark habitat use and how anthropogenic disturbances may influence these patterns. In the western central Atlantic Ocean, tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are highly abundant in the shallow waters of the Little Bahama Bank, Bahamas. Within the northwest edge of the Bank, there is an area nicknamed “Tiger Beach,” where tiger sharks are provisioned year-round at spatially discrete ecotourism dive sites spanning ~ 1.5 km². In this study, we used an array of acoustic receivers encircling an area of 102.4 km² to evaluate for potential differences in diel spatial habitat use patterns for 42 tagged tiger sharks at Tiger Beach and the surrounding area. Using tracking data from 24 June 2014 to 13 May 2015, we evaluated spatial and diel patterns of shark activity space, centers of activity, residency and the daily proportion of sharks detected within the array. Sharks were detected during both day and night with no significant diel differences in habitat use metrics across the array, although spatial differences in residency existed. Four sharks accounted for 53.8% of residency data throughout the tracking period, with the majority of sharks primarily entering and exiting the array, except during summer months when the most of the tagged tiger sharks were absent from the array. We also found limited empirical support for hypothesized effects of provisioning tourism on tiger shark habitat use. However, additional research at finer, individual scales, may be needed to better resolve the potential influence of provisioning on tiger sharks at Tiger Beach.
Article
Traditionally, the ‘social licence to operate’ (SLO) refers to the societal expectations imposed on corporate and commercial activities, often displayed by the willingness for corporations to go beyond the requirements of formal regulations. Alternatively, this paper investigates the emerging influence of the SLO in shaping government decisions regarding the use and impact of the marine environment and its resources. Using expert interviews, text analysis and case study analysis, this research delineated the contemporary SLO as it has manifested in Australian marine governance, with the results indicating that this is potentially occurring at a pace faster than can be systematically reacted to within the current political decision-making processes. Under these emerging conditions, the risk has been identified that traditional government decision-making and stakeholder consultation processes are lagging in their capacity to adapt to ensure that public policy processes can support and engage in this shifting dialogue and ensure the influence of information is appropriately weighted. This research highlights an emerging adjustment of community presence in marine governance and the immediate complexities and challenges this creates for government decision-making. In particular, it begins to explore the interaction of differing information, how this information is carried through communication channels, stakeholder behaviour, approaches to withholding or granting a SLO and the responsibility this carries.
Article
Wildlife tourism has been shown to cause behavioural changes to numerous species. Yet, there is still little understanding if behavioural changes have consequences for health and fitness. The current study combined accelerometry and respirometry to show that provisioning whitetip reef sharks (Trianadon obesus) for tourism increases their daily energy expenditure by elevating activity levels during periods when they normally rest. Field metabolic rate increased by 6.37% on provisioning days compared to non-provisioning days. Since metabolism is a key parameter influencing most biological and ecological processes, this represents some of the clearest evidence to date that ecotourism can impact critical biological functions in wild animals.
Article
The role of learning in behaviour is well known for many animal taxa, including teleost fishes, insects, birds and mammals. However, its importance to sharks in everyday behavioural processes has rarely been considered. Almost 50 years ago the first learning experiments on sharks were conducted; our first section discusses these studies and places them in a framework of associative and non-associative learning. These experiments showed that sharks were capable of different forms of learning, such as operant and classical conditioning and habituation. Sharks could learn associations as rapidly as other vertebrates and also remember training regimes for several months. However, much of this experimental evidence was based on small sample sizes and few shark orders, such as Carcharhiniformes and Orectobliformes, leaving large gaps in our knowledge of the general learning capabilities of other shark orders. We also examine recent research that has tested for, or inferred learning in behavioural processes. This section reveals that sharks, like teleost fishes use learning to improve prey search and capture to potentially navigate and orientate in their home range and recognize conspecifics, heterospecifics and mates. Learning is also discussed in relation to ecotourism and fisheries. Findings indicated that these activities may lead to conditioning of sharks and that considerable effort should go into investigating what impact this could have on the shark species involved. Finally, we discuss the importance of combining laboratory experiments with field studies, the use of new experimental techniques, the role of model species and research priorities for future work.
A review of Cage Diving Impacts on White Shark Behaviour and Recommendations for Research and Industry's Management in New Zealand. Report to the Department of Conservation
  • B D Bruce
B.D. Bruce, A review of Cage Diving Impacts on White Shark Behaviour and Recommendations for Research and Industry's Management in New Zealand. Report to the Department of Conservation, New Zealand, CSIRO Publishing, Hobart, Tasmania, 2015.
Human perceptions and attitudes towards sharks
  • C Neff
C. Neff, Human perceptions and attitudes towards sharks, in: E. Techera, N. Klein (Eds.), Sharks: Conservation, Governance and Management, 2014, pp. 107-131.