DEMA has announced that it is opposing moves by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to ban the feeding of sharks in the federal waters of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
While the move seems initially well-intended and aims to ban fishermen from using “chum” to attract sharks and then capture them, a closer look reveals other considerations. DEMA argues that by imposing a blanket ban on all shark feeding activities, tour operators who use chum to attract sharks for recreational divers to photograph them would suffer a severe economic impact.
As part of its argument, DEMA submitted research highlighting the minimal environmental and safety impact that “provisioning ecotourism” has on the species. DEMA cited several research sources as well as highlighting a paper offering a better, more sustainable solution.