Understanding the perceived benefits of shark-marine tourism
As global shark populations decline due to the impacts of overfishing, there has been an increased interest in the economic benefits of shark-marine tourism (SMT). Many promote SMT as an effective method to conserve sharks by giving them a higher economic value alive versus dead. Despite increasing popularity of SMT programs across the world, the links and benefits bwteeen tourism and shark conservation remain unclear from both biological and social perspectives, with little known about how success is perceived and evaluated. By interviewing those who have been directly involved in SMT initiatives, we hope to better understand how and under what conditions tourism can be beneficial to support shark conservation.
Specific aims of the project include:
Understand the perceived outcomes of SMT programs and the factors that influence those outcomes, whether they are successful or not
Identify the measures of success used to evaluate the effectiveness of SMT programs in improving conservation outcomes for sharks.