New Policy for Great White Shark Tourism in Australia
RDA sides with three shark dive operatorsPublished by Port Lincoln Times, 20. March 2012
REGIONAL Development Australia (RDA) Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula has lobbied the state government to allow three local shark cage divers to keep their licences instead of the two the government has proposed as part of a change to the licensing structure.
The RDA has made a submission to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the proposed shark cage licence cuts, which are due to be enforced at the end of the month.
RDA Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula chief executive officer Mark Cant said three of the current four shark cage dive operators had contributed significantly to the world famous tourist attraction.
He said Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions, Calypso Star Charter Tours and Adventure Bay Charters all offered completely different packages for shark dive experiences, as well as different price points to customers.
He said it was important for the industry that all three operators remain in business.
“The board’s position is we support three licences being issued by the department,” he said.
“They are the three operators that have been active in developing the industry.
“The other operator has not been active in the development.”
Mr Cant said the RDA also did not agree with the policy put out by the government to cut the number of licences.
He said the policy talked only about restricting the number of operators as well as the number of days operators were allowed to run activities out at Neptune Islands, rather than addressing the issue of shark behaviour.
“It doesn’t matter if you have one or three boats out there (shark diving), the sharks have already been introduced with the activity,” he said.
Mr Cant said for businesses such as Calypso Star Charter Tours and Adventure Bay Charters, who have other avenues of adventure tourism weaved into their business such as swimming with southern bluefin tuna, it was unfair if the government took away a portion of their business.
The four Port Lincoln shark cage dive operators will find out at the end of the month if they will get to keep their shark cage diving licence, with the changes to come into place on April 1.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Expressions of interest
On 1 February 2012 The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) commenced an expression of interest (EOI) process seeking submissions to carry out boat based great white shark related tourism at the Neptune Islands Conservation Park, in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula tourism region. At the conclusion of the process DENR will issue a maximum of two licences, for a term of up to five years to attract, observe or interact with great white sharks at the Neptune Islands Conservation Park.
For further information an EOI package is available at the Tenders SA website. The package comprises four parts: the invitation and EOI rules, draft licence conditions, the Great White Shark Tourism (Neptune Islands Conservation Park) Policy and a response template.
The closing date for submissions is 14 March 2012.
More Information (PDF) : Great White Shark Tourism (Neptune Islands Conservation Park) Policy