[Coral-List] Shark Feeding Question

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 13 11:40:58 EST 2014

   It seems to me that there is a clear understanding that in general feeding
   animals in the wild is considered bad form.
   That said, why is it that shark feedings and the growing popularity of
   staged shark interactions seem to be viewed as (almost) being sanctioned by
   a number of papers that conclude that there is no evidence that provisioning
   has any measureable (detrimental) impacts on the sharks involved, adjacent
   communities and ecosystems?  In fact it is often suggested that long-term
   monitoring  of sharks and other marine life at provisioning sites will
   likely provide much needed temporal data that will benefit apex-predator
   conservation efforts and protected area management strategies.

   Are we therefore wrong to simply assume that in general feeding animals (and
   physically interacting in such ways) in the wild is to be discouraged? Are
   aquatic animal interactions somehow innately different from terrestrial
   encounters? Is it best to only make species-specific assumptions on the
   appropriateness  of such activities? For example, is food provisioning
   (following  accepted  protocols  in areas where it is allowed) somehow
   considered acceptable for sharks, but not for other marine animals?

   Finally, I have found a few papers on the impacts of provisioning on sharks,
   but  none on other aquatic species. Can anyone direct me to additional
   studies that could help shed some light on the broader issues involved?



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