Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ridicule, Not Revenge

David Shiffman has a new article in Scientific American where he quotes Mike Neumann and Chris Neff on the threats the shark diving industry would face if sharks were to respond to the harassing touches of certain operators who have taken to "riding, prodding, grabbing, excessively handling and otherwise harassing sharks."
“These close interactions with large predators are always dangerous,” Neumann says. “Highly experienced people may possibly limit those risks through adequate behavior and safety protocols, but the increasing number of inexperienced copycats makes me fear that somebody will end up having a bad accident.”


Neff expressed concerns that media coverage of an accident resulting from risky diver behavior would likely be inflammatory. Such coverage could be damaging to the scuba industry by scaring potential customers away, and harmful to public perception of sharks by perpetuating false stereotypes of them as seeking out humans to eat.
I do not agree. Sharks are already biting back and the video has already played on Shark Week. Stupid people being stupid results in ridicule, not revenge.

A few years ago Erich Ritter was filming a show for Discovery Channel Shark Week, expounding on how sharks don't want to attack humans. While standing in waist deep water in the Bahamas, he explained to the host, "All you have to do is remain calm and......arghh!" As if scripted by a Hollywood producer, a large bull shark chomped down on his calf.

There was no call to cull the bull sharks in The Bahamas. Rather, they went ahead and created a shark sanctuary protecting all sharks in their exclusive economic zone.

And then there is Dave Marcel down in Florida who made it a habit on his dives to give nurse sharks a big kiss to impress the tourists. That is, until a shark bit him on the face.

Read the comments below both Youtube videos and you will see that the general response is, "what idiots!".

So no, when the shark molesters get bitten, and they will, it will not negatively impact shark conservation. Those morons, however, will be ridiculed for the rest of their lives. I only hope they bring a camera so the rest of us can watch them remove themselves from the gene pool.


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