Responsible shark and ray tourism guidelines presented at diving expo

Posted 23 January 2018
Diving expo
Diving expo
© WWF-Hong Kong
The struggle to preserve shark populations takes many forms. WWF-Hong Kong has worked with stakeholders including caterers, corporations and the public over the years to reduce shark’s fin consumption. However, responsible consumption alone will not be enough to conserve these beautiful creatures. The organisation has also taken the complementary approach of inspiring awe and respect for sharks and rays through encouraging best practice in operating shark ecotourism.

In December 2017, WWF participated in the Diving Resort Travel Expo Hong Kong (DRT Hong Kong) to showcase the success of WWF-Hong Kong's shark conservation story. The organisation’s Shark and Ray Initiative Leader Dr Andy Cornish gave a talk at the expo introducing best practice for shark and ray eco-tourism.

The numbers show that the potential value of a living shark is much higher than a dead one used to make shark’s fin soup. Shark ecotourism across the world generates US$314 million a year and it is believed that annual revenue could more than double to US$780 million in the next 20 years. It’s a different story for the fishing industry. The current landed value of global shark fisheries is US$630 million and has been declining for a decade.

While shark and ray tourism is a potential conservation strategy, it’s essential that it’s well-managed. WWF-Hong Kong believes well managed shark and ray ecotourism can help to conserve these species, raising the awareness that protects them, and bringing direct and indirect economic benefits to local communities. The organisation has worked with Project AWARE® and The Manta Trust to help tourism operators, NGOs and local communities develop and maintain well managed shark and ray tourism operations. Together they have released the world’s first-ever guidelines for shark and ray tourism operators: Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice, which combine science with practical recommendations.

The guidebooks were introduced and distributed at DRT Hong Kong. WWF-Hong Kong hopes shark and ray tourism operators will be inspired by the guidelines to become responsible operators and help to educate their customers to be responsible divers.  

Learn more:
Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice
Diving expo
Diving expo
© WWF-Hong Kong Enlarge