[Coral-List] whale shark captivity

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed Oct 15 11:23:42 EDT 2008

Dear Coral-Listers,

 Please excuse one additional intrusion into this forum by an outsider.

It seems to me that like it or not, your distinct community has responsibilities
thrust upon it by society as a whole. You are the shepherds of the marine 
ecosystem and we rely on your voices as purveyors of enlightenment.
This issue might pale in comparison to the impact of climate change 
or coral reef degradation, but still your input is necessary, 
called for, and equally vital. The pressure your opinions assert often bring 
change for the better. If conditions exist that inhibit debate, accountability is evaded.

Great aquariums certainly benefit conservation, but they also have the potential 
to stray from their ideals. At the very least please consider amongst yourselves 
if whale shark captivity meets the accepted criteria of appropriate activities in this regard.
If so, should serious scientific research include commercial swim and dive encounters 
with captive whale sharks or does this invite rebuke? 

I haven't accumulated data or done the necessary studies to justify my assertions,
but somehow, on a base level, these situations simply don't seem right.

Allow me to paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart's attempt to explain his perspective on a
totally unrelated topic:

 "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . 
but I know it when I see it . . . "


Steve Mussman
sealab at earthlink.net
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

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