Socio-economic aspects of the tiger shark diving industry within the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area, South Africa
AbstractUnderstanding socio-economic aspects of the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier diving industry, including information on participant expectations, experiences and expenditure, is necessary for the effective management of the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area on the east coast of South Africa. Between January and December 2007, a total of 2 133 tiger shark dives was conducted by 1 065 divers (95% CI = 946–1 198). Data were collected by means of the administration of a semi-structured survey questionnaire to 197 (18.6%) dive participants. Respondents indicated that the direct value of tiger shark diving to the Aliwal Shoal region was R12 405 274 (95% CI = R10 777 324–14 228 541). A total of 1 000 Monte Carlo simulations was used to estimate confidence intervals. On a ranking from one (poor) to five (excellent), the average participant response to overall quality of dive and standard of dive operator was 4.6 and 4.7 respectively. The majority of divers (98.0%) observed a tiger shark, at an average of four per dive. Although tiger sharks approached to an average distance of 1.6 m from divers, the majority (95.9%) felt safe and enjoyed the experience. The majority of interviewees (88.5%) supported the use of chumming for a closer ‘tiger shark experience’.
Keywords: Aliwal Shoal; marine protected area; socio-economic; South Africa; tiger shark
African Journal of Marine Science 2009, 31(2): 227–232