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Divers Riding Whale Shark

Discussion in 'Marine Science and Physiology' started by Jack Hammer, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Definitely my philosophy too and something I appreciate from others when I'm walking my dog.
    caydiver likes this.
  2. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    And this is precisely the issue. There are far more human impacts on the ocean than ever before in history. It is simply a consequence of a growing human population. 50 years ago, a whale shark encountering a human in a particular place was probably a very rare event. Today, there are so many more people in the water that any whale shark entering a marine park will experience a higher probability of encountering humans. If the whale sharks are congregating in a particular area because it's a good feeding or mating resource (as they do), and humans figure this out (as we have), then the sharks are experiencing repeated exposures. Of course we can argue whether or not whale sharks at this particular Indonesian park are experiencing high rates of human exposures, but the basic fact is that there are more people in the water today and more chances for encounters. So, back to @Sh0rtBus's original quote, I agree, one encounter, even with divers riding a shark, probably isn't going to matter much. But with more people in the water, encounter rates go up. For terrestrial systems, volumes have been written about the impacts of increased human activities on plant and animal populations. For example, this: A systematic assessment of threats affecting the rare plants of the United States - ScienceDirect. Sadly, the research on marine systems is far behind the terrestrial work. Until research shows that increased encounter rates with whale sharks and other charismatic mega fauna don't have a negative impact, I'll err on the side of caution.
  3. Jay_Antipodean

    Jay_Antipodean Need to dive more!

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Melbourne, OZ.
    It doesn't matter what you (or I etc) believe, think, feel ....

    Nope, the burden of proof belongs the other way around.

    You (one) has to consider why is one diving in the first place. Is it to observe, to be fascinated, to explore etc, or is it to use amateur opinions or beliefs to initiate interaction with marine life. As @caydiver said, and you'll feel the vibe of this forum, its for reasons of/aligned to the former and not the latter. I too would not want to be anywhere near an amateur diver who believed in the latter.

    Perhaps questions prior to that might be (for a different OP / topic) are 'under that circumstances, conditions, etc do qualified marine scientists interact with marine life when they are not conducting scientific experiments'? I have a feeling that their mandate would say 'not permitted' / don't etc.

    When a curious manta swims towards me, I don't regard that as a sign of it wishing me to interact with it. I'm just there to observe.
    Joneill, outofofficebrb and caydiver like this.
  4. Sea Buddy

    Sea Buddy Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Hong Kong
    I personally do not touch marine life. But I have to agree with some of you stating that interactions with marine animals might not cause any harm. There’s no evidence they won’t enjoy harmless interactions with humans like playing with a dog. It might seem cruel when you pull the toy ball from a doggies mouth. It enjoys the fight. Dogs are so common so most ppl think it’s an acceptable behavior. There are not many whales around. I think this comes down to "perception". How people perceive an incident through their objective perceptions. IMHO the divers dont look too ridiculous. May be it’s a group of them holding onto the whale. Everything might seem fine if it’s jut one diver holding onto the whale.
  5. Jack Hammer

    Jack Hammer Solo Diver

    I'd like to point out that for all the folks saying there is "no evidence" it harms them that there is equally "no evidence" it doesnt harm them.
    RyanT, caydiver, scubbygirl and 3 others like this.
  6. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Virginia
    That is exactly the issue here (to me) and I would put money on it that is why their law is the way is it. If you tell ten people that it's ok to "touch" them...five out of ten are going to interpret "touch" to mean literally touch only, three are going to interpret that to mean grabbing/groping are ok, and two are going to interpret that to mean that riding the animal is ok. Once mob mentality takes over (people see one or more people acting badly)...the others in the group are going to say "ooh, ooh....I was to ride it too!"

    To me...this type of thing/peoples behavior falls into the category of "that is why we can't have nice things." I think it would be awesome just to be able to touch one. However, I'm willing to forego that privilege if it means deterring people from riding one.
    outofofficebrb and caydiver like this.
  7. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    As such, we should err on the side of caution and just not touch if we are not sure of either.
  8. WeRtheOcean

    WeRtheOcean Nassau Grouper

    You were mistaken from the first sentence. Specifically, you were mistaken when you used the word "nobody." There are plenty of people who, indeed, have a problem with all of these behaviors. Of course, the mainstream dismisses such people as extremists, presumably in order to continue engaging in these behaviors...

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