It is important to mention that there's some controversy surrounding the practice of diving with sharks. The major concern is that as sharks see more people, the sharks become more accustomed to humans and tend to attack more often. The logic behind this argument is that when boats bring bait for the sharks, the sharks will begin to associate boats and people with food. It's the same logic wildlife parks use when they insist that you avoid feeding the wild animals [source: Shark Savers.org].
The majority of scientific research does indeed show an increase in shark attacks, but it has very little to do with the practice of diving with sharks. The first of two main reasons behind the increase is that many more incidents are being reported than have been in the past. Therefore, there is simply more data to feed the statistics. A second reason is that as the world's population increases, so will the number of times that humans and sharks are in the same areas. It follows that the more times a human is in contact with a shark, the higher the chance of an attack [source: International Shark Attack File].
In respect to a conservationist view of diving with sharks, many groups tasked with protecting sharks fully support the activity. Diving with sharks increases exposure of the creatures, allows humans to see the gentle side of the sharks and provides a great opportunity for researchers to gain valuable information.
All told, diving with sharks is as safe as hiking through the woods. There will always be some risk of danger, but if you are careful, prepared and remember that you are a visitor to a wild animal's home, it can be a wonderful experience. If you'd like to learn a little more about sharks from the safety of your computer screen, then head over to the next page for some great links and other information.
More Great Links
- Africa Diver. "White Shark Cage Diving." 2006. (August 5, 2010).http://www.africadiver.com/White_Shark_Cage_Diving_Cape_Town.html
- Alaska Mining and Diving Supply. "Diving." 2010 (August 11, 2010)
- Anderson, Julie, et al. "Debunking myths about shark diving." 2010. (August 5, 2010)http://www.sharksavers.org/en/education/shark-myths/550-debunking-myths-about-shark-diving.html
- Burgess, George. International Shark Attack File. January 2010. (August 5, 2010)http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/isaf/isaf.htm
- CNN News. "Anderson Cooper free dives with great white sharks in South Africa." December 2008. (August 11, 2010)
- Hayes, Rob. "Shark Adventure." ABC News/Yahoo Video. 2007. (August 5, 2010)
- Martin, R. Aidan. "Diving in the Company of Sharks." Reefquest Centre for Shark Research. 2007. (August 5, 2010)http://www.elasmo-research.org/research/diving.htm
- SharkDiving.us. "Cage Shark Diving." 2006. (August 5, 2010)http://www.sharkdiving.us
- Shark Diving International. 2010. (August 5, 2010)www.seesharks.com