Conservation education in shark ecotourism
Golby, Craig Allan
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Sharks, as top predators, are vital a healthy marine ecosystem. Sharks regulate species abundance, distribution, and diversity, which in turn can impact the health of marine habitats. The biggest issue relating to the endangered status of many shark species is the unsustainable international trade in shark fins, used as a delicacy in shark fin soup. Ecotourism is one strategy that can help foster conservation, increase protection, and educate the public about sharks. Shark ecotourism can provide a range of education and conservation benefits for visitors, foremost education about human threats to sharks. This study examines the role of dive operators and guides in Playa del Carmen, Mexico in regards to shark conservation education. This study will help to develop a pre-dive instructional process that will better inform tourists and the diving industry. Furthermore, this process can lead to improved strategies for shark education and conservation that can be applied globally.
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