Saturday, 12 April 2008

the tiger and the wolf

Here is an image of my good friend Wolfgang Leander, and one of his lifelong companions, a tiger shark. Wolf is a true man of the sea, at one with its creatures, and at home below the surface. I was honoured when wolf invited me out to Aliwal Shoal to dive with him, and to meet his giant, much maligned friends, those big broad tiger sharks.
Image courtesy of Rob Allen.

My initial concern was, how would this part of my documented journey to better understand sharks, and why people do what they do to them fit with my previous learning experiences that i had received in Ecuador and in the UK? As i will describe later in more depth, Ecuador sees sharks only from a fishing perspective, and my journey to Europe, to seek out a model of marine conservation was met with great dissapointment when i discovered that the EU has worse shark protection law than Ecuador. So how did flying off to the sun to jump in with tiger sharks fit with that thesis? The answer is that South Africa is host to some of the best shark tourism in the world. The very idea that people want to dive and interact with these most magnificent creatures means that there exists a premise on which to protect them, and the revenue inversion from that need means that sharks have a lot higher unit value whilst still alive, rather than dead.
I am always filled with a sense of nausea to talk about any kind of natural wonder as if i were some kind of futures broker, yet sharks are victim to a multi million dollar industry, that of harvesting their fins, so it is imperative that every aspect of their existence, both commercial and aesthetic be used to promote their wellbeing and long term conservation.

1 comment:

Shark Diver said...

Amazing writing, love your blog posts.

Wolf is an original.