Shark Watching Growing More Popular than Shark Fishing
A new report shows that ecotourism wins over sport fishing with shark watching outgrowing shark fishing everywhere, including the Caribbean!
There are plenty of sharks in the Caribbean sea.
We have spotted a great white ourselves whilst sailing close off the south side of St. John, USVI.
Occasionally we have even come across a sleeping nurse shark whilst poking around in underwater caves and rocks.
We are always being asked about ideas for new businesses in the Caribbean. People considering moving to the islands, do not always want to buy into an existing business. Since tourism is the mainstay of many of the islands, this new ecotourism opportunity adds good value to the existing industry. Many more tourists and their families would prefer the thrill of watching our sharks in their natural habitat and maintaining the balance of nature, to seeing them speared to death.
There have been dolphin and whale-watching tours for many years in the Windward Islands, around Dominica, Bequia, Grenada and St. Lucia, but also in the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica. The expertise and infrastructure is in place to value-add a shark-watching tour to the menu. Rising bookings throughout the world show that interest in shark-watching is growing and will soon generate more revenues than shark-fishing. There are already a small number of shark-watching guided tours and trips including the Bahamas.
Based on international data the new study which supports this growing ecotourism industry, estimates that roughly 590,000 tourists participate in shark-watching each year, spending $314 million.
The number of visitors has grown by 27 percent annually, whilst shark fishing generates $630 million per year and is waning.
This is good news for sharks; and even better news for entrepreneurs in the ecotourism boating and dive industry looking for new trips to offer to their visitors.
Photo : Benjamin Miller
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