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What kind of shark is this?

Discussion in 'Shark Forum!' started by hammet, May 15, 2018.

  1. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
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    Scary video. A few thoughts:

    1.) I doubt it's accurate to equate feeding a wide range of predators, such as morays, barracuda, reef sharks, tiger sharks, gators, bears... There are common themes, but the real world impact is likely to vary. A hand-fed grizzly and a hand-fed tiger shark may not pose identical risks to non-participating civilians.

    2.) Shark feeders would seem to be at greatest risk.

    3.) People participating in these dives (which I've done a little) make an informed decision to take on some presumed added risk to add a valued special experience to their lives, though such may seem foolish to some onlookers. Much like solo diving, cave diving, rock climbing, skiing, motor cycling...

    I'm not suggesting 2.) or 3.) 'deserve' to get bitten, or are 'asking for it.' Just that they're making adult decisions for themselves, with some trade-offs.

    After that, the risk issue is harder to call. Concerns raised before...

    4.) Alter natural behavior/distribution. Haven't heard of this established with tiger sharks. Was told by a St. Croix guide that they quit feeding lionfish directly to reef sharks because the reef sharks formerly seen around 80-90 feet deep were now frequenting shallower waters - it was concerning they were changing habitat.

    5.) Lead to sharks heading in to check out other humans (e.g.: swimmers, snorkelers, divers not involved in the activity) in hopes of a hand-out, and maybe attacking someone. I've heard of reef sharks doing pass-bys for this reason (pretty sure I've seen it). Haven't heard of tiger sharks doing this. With the hordes of swimmers in Florida's waters, and the shark feeding done off-shore (at least 3 miles off) out of Jupiter and nearby, I'm glad it doesn't seem to be causing more trouble for the uninvolved public.

    6.) Spearfishermen. We had a forum member who had concerns about sharks coming around spearfishmen more, but it was indicated shark populations have likely rebounded. Spearfishermen also engage in an activity that can attract sharks and theoretically might lead to association of food with humans; it's not the same has handing them hunks of fish, but I think we're talking different shades of gray. Some spearos shoot cobia practically off the backs of bull sharks.

    7.) Aiding shark fisherman - this one gets brought up with bull shark diving at a place in Mexico. If sharks are conditioned to gather in a place (whether chumming or feeding), someone who wanted to kill them could find them. Of course, he could probably just chum it himself awhile. To be judging on a case-by-case (regional) basis.

    There are serious theoretical potential consequences to shark feeding; I'm interested over time to see which & to what extent these pan out in reality.

    Richard.
     
  2. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

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    I like to dive with sharks acting naturally and yes, that too could get me bit or worse.

    Because of my antipathy towards feeding dives, I've never been on one. That said, I've observed first hand, sharks' behaviour change due to being fed (lionfish). It's far more frightening to dive with two or three of those sharks than it is with 100s not suffering from that behaviour change.
     
    Altamira likes this.
  3. psibar

    psibar Solo Diver

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    Most reputable marine biologists are against hand feeding sharks, I think I will defer to their judgement. If it looks, sound, smells, or swims like a bad idea, it most likely is.
     
  4. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Miami
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    Yes, because there's a lot of fearmongering associated with it. "Conditioned maneaters," etc.

    My first experience with a shark feed was back in 2005 at the Bimini Biological Field Station run by Dr. Samuel "Sonny" Gruber. Actually, on the field course syllabus it was termed a "Reef Fish Extravaganza" to preclude the University of Miami's liability people from crapping bricks. We pulled up to the site and sure enough, we had Caribbean reef and blacknose sharks turn up as soon as the engines cut out. Technically speaking we weren't supposed to get in the water until after the bait cooler was emptied, but about 2/3rds of the way through the load of chopped barracuda Doc waved us in on the trailing line behind the boat. The impression I came away with was that they were like a bunch of cats; as soon as the food stopped dropping over the side they split. We had just snorkeled through the same area without bait a few days earlier and only saw Caribbean reef sharks at a distance. If they are conditioned, it seems that they're damned specific about it.

    Is it perfectly safe? No. Any time you put bait, people, and sharks in the same chunk of water accidents can happen and the clip in the original post on this thread is a near-miss in that regard. That said, unless you're in a natural feeding aggregation like the sardine run off South Africa or an area with a very high density of sharks, you put bait in the water to bring them in.

    See above mention of where I had my first shark-feeding experience. Generally speaking the feedback I've gotten is that yes, you are running an elevated risk of a bite ("You play with fire, you can get burned"); however, there's nothing to support hysteria like "conditioned maneaters."
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  5. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

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    Happily for me, I've neither compared the practice to that of feeding bears nor have I called sharks with the changed behaviours "maneaters".
     
  6. psibar

    psibar Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: United States
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    You are more than welcome to rationalize a stupid practice, but in the end, any objective observer will agree that it is indeed stupid to hand feed sharks.
     
  7. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
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    Ironically, you don't sound objective. Objective in the context of being how informed? Many people will have a knee-jerk antagonism to it on first acquaintance, yes. That someone reviews the evidence and comes to a different conclusion than yours doesn't indicate rationalizing.

    Years ago, I would've bought into what seemed the contemporary view; sharks were near mindless generalist 'eating machines' apt to attack anything smaller than themselves, and if blood or thrashing were introduced, it could set off a 'feeding frenzy' of berserk sharks. In the context of that perspective, going on a dive to watch sharks hand-fed would, indeed, have seemed insane. Women diving on their periods would've sounded dangerous, diving with a cut risky, and spear fishing borderline suicidal (bloody, thrashing fish).

    Over the years, listening to discussions from people with observations who've also learned from others, and seeing conventional wisdom on sharks evolve (they're not mindless, women can dive all month, etc...), my perspective changed. Since I wanted to go on some of these dives, and did, one could argue I'm 'not objective' - but if someone doesn't want to go on the dives and thus may see no potential benefit, only risk, one could offer the same criticism.

    My wife thought solo diving was stupid. How many parents of young children would like to hear their sole-breadwinner spouse has developed a passion for rock climbing or flying small, private planes? My wife used to ride a motor cycle; I wasn't entirely comfortable with that, but she's an adult.

    Shark feed diving on Scuba Board reminds me of a pet turtle forum I spent time on years ago where some members were dead set against collecting pet turtles from the wild for personal use, even healthy populations of common species. Every thread on the topic became a soap box. Thankfully the discussion climate on shark feed diving is more civil.

    Richard.
     
  8. hammet

    hammet Barracuda

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    jeez, you guys fight over everything.
     
  9. Saniflush

    Saniflush ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    NO WE DON'T! Wait, what?
     
  10. psibar

    psibar Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: United States
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    So far I have only read some pablum about personal choice and unrelated analogies, but no legitimate reasons why hand feeding sharks is a good idea. What is the end purpose? Conservation education can be accomplished through a well crafted and delivered pre dive briefing. Tourism? Again, shark dives can be conducted without hand feeding. The only reason I see for hand feeding sharks is grandstanding which hardly seems to be an intelligent decision.
     

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