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Sharks, Wildlife Tourism, and State Regulation

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Research on the development of marine wildlife tourism has tended to focus on the growth and economic importance of the whale-watching industry and its management via self-regulation. However, a number of other species are also utilized as attractions by the marine wildlife tourism industry. There has been increased targeting of a range of, potentially aggressive, shark species as attractions. Areas, such as South Africa [the Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)], Florida and the Caribbean [Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas), and Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi)] have developed shark-based tourism. This has raised numerous ethical objections, both anthropocentric and biocentric in nature, leading to the intervention by the state in the form of various regulatory frameworks. This article utilizes a case study approach to assess the issues that surround the introduction of state regulation in South Africa and Florida in order to manage the shark-based tourism located there. The article highlights the complex issues facing those tasked with implementing state regulatory frameworks. It concludes that the difficult task of attempting to integrate issues of stakeholder involvement, enforcement, and the balancing of anthropocentric and biocentric concerns results in any framework only being able to be seen as a "best fit" solution for managing shark-based tourism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.
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