Luring great white sharks no longer OK
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 December, 2014 - Strict rules have been imposed to ensure great white sharks are not harmed by underwater cage diving operations around Stewart Island. Great white sharks are a protected species and about 100 frequent Foveaux Strait each year between December and June.
Over the past few years, businesses have developed allowing tourists to view sharks from a cage attached to a boat. Two existing tourism businesses have now been issued new permits by DOC setting rules around how and where they can conduct operations.
Concerns have been raised that sharks are being encouraged with the use of bait and decoys to attack cages, causing permanent injury or behaviour changes. The new rules also limit the activity to one location to minimise the impact on commercial paua divers who have also expressed concerns the operations may put them at risk of shark attack.
Conditions include a ban on feeding of the sharks or the use of decoys, controls on commercial filming and also restrict viewing to one area off Motunui/Edwards Island, a few kilometres from Stewart Island. Operators will be reviewed after a year to ensure they are meeting the conditions.