Lonely Planet - No1 Eco-Friendly Destination to Swim with Sharks!!!
This weekend we were totally stoked to receive the Lonely Planet Traveller magazine in the post and find out we are named as Lonely Planet - No 1 Eco-Friendly Destination to Swim with Sharks!!! The article is written about the plight of sharks around the globe, their declining numbers and how people can swim with them in various destinations. The worldwide issue of the shark finning industry was also highlighted, which is great to see in mainstream media. See the January 2014 issue of Lonely Planet Traveller magazine
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Lonely Planet - Shark Article[/caption]
The article suggests that one way to help is getting people up close and personal to sharks. Although there are also warnings (and rightly so) about choosing a responsible operator and checking their interaction policies. A top-5 destinations spread follows and the no1 entry was Basking Shark Scotland, beating operators in South Africa, Galapagos, Belize and Fiji!!!! How stoked are we about this news! We are really happy that our code of practice policies have been recognised in an eco-friendly manner as we work hard to ensure this is a big part of what we do. With Shane's background in Marine Biology it also gives us an unique opportunity to combine the tourism side of our operation with contributing to science.
Code of Practice
We have seen many shark diving operations world-wide and we can use an example of Whale Sharks in the Maldives as an example of how shark operations shouldn't be run. Not all operations are like this - we are only sharing our experience!!
Imagine one large Whale Shark (10m+), with around 10 boats and over 50 people in the water swimming to keep up with it. People were getting pushed out of the way, kicked in the head and it wasn't a place to be if you were not a confident swimmer! The whale shark seemed to be oblivious to the melee and in the end just swam into the blue when the reef came to an end. Being a massive destination for tourists, you could only imagine that this practice happens day after day and so a case could be put forward for continual disturbance of these giants. There are growing calls for more regulation over these operators at this destination and hopefully this will be implemented soon.
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Swimming Mayhem With Whale Sharks in the Maldives[/caption]
Compare this to our own practice with the Basking Sharks, small numbers, maximum 4 people in with a shark, accompanied by a guide. Silent entries, minimal splashing, time limits with individual sharks and our contribution to ID and scientific projects.We believe the way we operate ensures that no disturbance is caused to the sharks and at the same time contributing to the overall understanding of the species. You can see more about our code of practice
This also sits with the bigger picture of creating more public interest in shark conservation and changing perceptions of sharks in general (although ours just eat plankton!!). Along with getting people great interactions with these gentle giants and promoting new dynamic tourism in the Argyll area and Scotland.
Scotland has some of the most prolific 'cold water' (and its not that cold...) marine environments in the world and we are on a mission to promote the amazing wildlife and in-water based adventures you can have here!
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Correct Practice with Basking Sharks[/caption]
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Swimmer getting a Great Interaction with a Large Basking Shark[/caption]
Check out our 2013 highlights here!!! We had a LOT of fun this summer - why not come and join us in 2014!