The Pros and Cons of Shark Cage Diving in South Africa
Great White Shark cage diving is one of South Africa’s greatest attractions. Pioneered by a South African and Australian partnership, cage diving has quickly become the perfect excuse to take a dip even if you are not a diver.
A reinforced cage keeps divers safe from the curious sharks, and it also means that anyone can do it. Unlike most shark diving in South Africa, when you are diving in a cage, you don’t need diving experience or any type of certification. And just like any kind of diving, there are some pros and cons.
The age of social media and viral videos is making more and more people question the ethics surrounding shark cage diving. As always, only the worst videos, depicting sharks thrashing around and appearing to be injured seems to be shared and people will, of course, come up with the worst conclusions based on what they see.
What many people don’t know is that shark cage diving is not something that appeared overnight and has been going on without any thought about the safety of the sharks. With so few of these great beasts left in our oceans, you’ll find that those offering the shark cage experience are utterly dedicated to the protection of the species and would do nothing to harm them.
The Great White population has decreased quite drastically over the years with the population numbers now standing at 3500 sharks. They are difficult to see up close and it is up to the tour operator to ensure that both the sharks and the divers are kept safe. This is why it is so important to do a background check on the shark dive company you are considering. Read all the reviews you can and contact the company to discuss their practices.
South Africa and Australia are the two best places to go shark cage diving. As the pioneers of this type of dive, we are fully dedicated to the protection of the sharks we see. But this is not the case when it comes to other countries offering this unique dive. Some tour operators are so desperate to make some quick cash that they tie bait to the cage, potentially injuring the shark they lure. These same operators are known to the tug the cage away from the shark. Sharks cannot swim backwards and the result is them struggling.
The next issue that industry leaders have noticed is that the diving is becoming overly commercial. Dives are rushed so that more money can be made in a day. While guests will get to see what they have come to see, the trip is cut short. This rush also means sharks are viciously baited.
And now for the positives
The biggest positive take away that shark diving offers, is that it helps to keep the Great White protected. As this is a very popular tourist attraction, especially as tourists don’t need a skill of any kind, the cage diving keeps sharks alive.
This activity can also break the fearsome stigma that sharks have endured for years. It is because of the lack of understanding of the species that so many people have an unrealistic fear of sharks. When people go shark cage diving, they are able to see the sharks in their natural habitat. This goes a long way towards helping people learn more about the sharks.