macpherson_comprOrganizers: Rick MacPherson/Douglas Seifert/Ian Campbell/Elena Salim Haubold
Affiliations: Sustainable Shark Diving, Pelagia Consulting/Global Shark Diving/WWF South Pacific, Fiji/Shark Business
Lead contact: Rick MacPherson

Description: The shark dive tourism niche is a rapidly growing business within the diving community and there is no sign of this trend slowing down for this expanding segment of adventure tourism. Shark dive tourism affords a unique opportunity to leverage the interest in sharks as a draw for diving into a deeper appreciation and concern for sharks from a conservation perspective. It is also an avenue for novel partnerships between shark researchers and the private sector. New shark dive operations appear each year, yet until recently no standardized best practices has emerged nor system for evaluating business performance against a standardized rubric. This session provides an overview of global shark tourism and the launch of new tools to assist shark dive businesses in achieving safer, more sustainable, and science affiliated operations. Attendees will explore the breadth, diversity and growth potential of shark/ray tourism globally; Understand what divers and researchers are looking for in a potential collaborations; and, Access most current best practices for operators interested in offering shark dive tours.

Expected Audience: This session would be relevant to the research community, conservation practitioners, as well as private sector/civil society. The opportunities for shark dive tourism operators to partner with the conservation or research community afford mutually beneficial outcomes.