Shark Tourism - Biopixel Research

Shark tourism is a growing multi-million dollar industry worldwide, with many dive companies marketing trips specifically to feed sharks. Shark tourism can encourage conservation through education and creating public awareness, however, tourism also has the potential to adversely affect a target species by altering an animal‘s natural behaviour.

Limited information available shows that feeding sharks, or tourism in general, can affect the natural behaviour of individuals in some species, yet, there is still little understanding of whether behavioural changes have consequences for health and fitness.

We aim to contribute information to help develop best practices, so businesses can operate in a way that’s environmentally sustainable and socially responsible, while still being commercially viable.

For further information see 'Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice' - HIGH RES (23MB) - LOW RES (4MB).

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Effects of Tourism

Investigate if tourism has long-term effects on shark behaviour and health.

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ENCOURAGE BEST PRACTICE

Providing the science to help develop best practices for shark tourism operators.

Publications

Abrantes KG, Brunnschweiler JM, Barnett A (2018) You are what you eat: Does Provisioning Tourism Affect Shark Diets? Biological Conservation 224: 300-308

Brunnschweiler JM, Payne NL, Barnett A (2017) Hand feeding can periodically fuel a major portion of bull shark energy requirements at a provisioning site in Fiji. Animal Conservation

Macdonald CC, Gallagher AJ, Brunnschweiler JM, Barnett A, Shiffman DS, Hammerschlag N (accepted 2017) Conservation potential for apex predator tourism Biological Conservation

Trave C, Brunnschweiler J, Sheaves M, Diedrich A, Barnett A (2017) Are we killing them with kindness? Evaluation of sustainable marine wildlife tourism. Biological Conservation 209: 211-222

Barnett A, Payne NL, Semmens JM, Fitzpatrick R (2016) Ecotourism increases the field metabolic rate of whitetip reef sharks. Biological Conservation 199:132-136

Brunnschweiler JM, Abrantes KG, Barnett A (2014) Long-term changes in species composition and relative abundances of sharks at a provisioning site. PLOS ONE 9: e86682

Brunnschweiler JM, Barnett A (2013) Opportunistic visitors: long-term behavioural response of bull sharks to food provisioning in Fiji. PLOS ONE 8:e58522

Fitzpatrick R, Abrantes K, Seymour J, Barnett A (2011) Variation in depth of whitetip reef sharks: do shark feeds change their behaviour? Coral Reefs 30: 569-577

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