Shark Tourism: Shedding the Stigma The pros and cons of shark tourism


Artcile by Mary Gordon

Is there any better way to spend a hot summers day than floating on your back in the cooling waters of the ocean, being gently rocked by the waves? Enjoying the sea breeze amongst the distant echo of children’s laughter as they play and build sandcastles on the beach. As you breathe in the freshness of the salty ocean air and relax to the soothing rhythm of crashing waves, suddenly a piercing scream jolts you out of your trance, followed by a shout, just one word, “Shark!”  

The word sends shivers down your spine and evokes chilling images of a bloodthirsty predator, silently stalking the depths of the ocean. A sleek body with black beady eyes and razor-sharp teeth, able to remain completely undetected until BAM! 

It truly makes for the perfect horror story, one that has been told over and over through blockbuster hits such as Jaws, the Shallows, and the ever so awful Sharknado. 

But what do you know about these creatures really? 

If you had the chance to come face to face with a shark, would you do it? 



In reality, sharks are rather shy creatures which play a crucial role in supporting marine ecosystems, and currently, a quarter of shark species are under threat 

The stigma surrounding sharks makes it challenging to promote their conservation, which is now more important than ever. 


Sharks are keystone species in marine environments, meaning they have a significant impact on the ecosystem. Sharks exhibit a top-down control over other species in the community through predator-prey interactions.  


Okay, to simplify this I’ll give you an example. Sharks eat sea urchins, and urchins feed on kelp forests which provide habitat for many other species. If shark numbers were to decline, the number of urchins would increase, leading to the overgrazing of kelp and reduction of species that rely on kelp for food and habitat. In this chain reaction, sharks play a crucial role in balancing the system which in turn benefits people in terms of supporting the fishing industry and allowing us to enjoy marine environments and the ecosystem services they offer.