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A global review of elasmobranch tourism activities, management and risk

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 21:29 authored by Healy, TJ, Nicholas HillNicholas Hill, Barnett, A, Chin, A
Elasmobranch tourism is a rapidly expanding global industry. While this industry can provide community and conservation benefits, it presents risks to target species, environments and humans when inappropriately managed. To ensure appropriate management is implemented, there is a need to identify the prevalence of elasmobranch tourism globally, the types of operations occurring and the controls used to mitigate risk. This study undertook a global literature review to develop an industry activity typology and establish the types of management controls present across elasmobranch tourism operations. In total, 151 unique species-activity-location conditions were identified, with four broad activity types categorised: diving, snorkelling, provisioning and cage diving. Spanning 42 countries and 49 different species, 32% of conditions identified lacked evidence of management. Further to this, many of the prevailing management controls in place (e.g. MPAs, shark sanctuaries, protected species status), were secondary in nature, having not been designed or implemented to manage elasmobranch tourism explicitly. Therefore, avoidable risks are likely widespread throughout the industry. Encouragingly, the application of activity specific management controls is likely to be effective at reducing risks across activity types. The theoretical case studies and management tools investigated herein provide operators and industry managers with guidance on how to reduce risk and safeguard industry benefits. With the elasmobranch tourism industry likely to continue expanding, it is important that appropriate management and regulatory frameworks are in place so that marine wildlife tourism can continue in a beneficial and sustainable manner.


Publication title

Marine Policy



Article number









Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Environmentally sustainable commercial services and tourism not elsewhere classified

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