Quite frequently, the question arises if it is ever ok for scuba divers or freedivers to touch sharks while diving.
Most divers are well versed in the no-touch rule which emphasizes a hands-off approach to interacting with marine life while diving. However, for whatever reason, there seems to be a natural allure to want to touch. This is especially the case when it comes to interacting with sharks.
There appears to be two sides to this dilemma. Conservationists tend to advocate touching to a degree. Their argument is that this practice can demonstrate that sharks are not bloodthirsty creatures. However, they do understand that they may be inadvertently encouraging other divers that are not quite as familiar with sharks to go out on a limb and try to do the same. Understanding that it only takes a single bad encounter to further damage the reputation of sharks, they don’t really advocate the practice of touching sharks.
Read on below for conservationist, Julie Andersen’s, take on this dilemma.
I’ve received much criticism from those with a strictly hands-off policy when it comes to nature. Personally, I don’t care. I find sharks to be intelligent, curious and even social. So interaction is common, and nothing I would consider invasive or abusive, particularly given how tough a shark’s skin is and how resilient they are. When I think about how brutally sharks are treated — from gaffing poles to steel wire wrapped around their heads — and how many thousands die on a daily basis for their fins, I am reminded there are bigger issues facing sharks.
Even so, I do not advocate touching sharks — and these days, I do my best to avoid it, regardless of how much those incredible moments fuel my drive. Why? It’s simple: As divers, we assume a very important responsibility when we enter the water with sharks.
Another conservationist, Ocean Ramsey, with similar views about touching sharks was interviewed on by Jeff Probst show in the video below. She loves swimming with Great White Sharks. Watch Ocean Ramsey’s Interview about touching sharks below.
So with all of this discussion about touching sharks from a conservationists perspective what do you think about these divers? They seem to display no trepidation about feeding and playing with sharks in the name of ecotourism. Hummm….
Watch these guys feeding and actually petting sharks in an amazing video below.
One of our previous posts highlights the unforeseen consequences of feeding lion fish to sharks that could potentially put both divers and sharks in more danger. In fact, this shark feeding practice has altered the behavior of local sharks to see humans as potential sources of food. Therefore, divers can actually become startled and retaliate by misunderstanding the motives behind a shark’s approach. Click here to read more details about the unintended consequences of feeding sharks .
Further evidence that sharks are more than just viscous killers …
A National Geographic camera crew discovers that sharks are not mindless eating machines in the following video as they attached a crittercam.
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