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#398803 - 01/28/11 11:29 PM Touching the sharks and rays
Tranquilo Traveler Offline
It is illegal to touch or feed the fish at Shark Ray Alley, no? It says it in the http://www.holchanbelize.org/rules.html Hol Chan rules and regs, but is shark ray alley outside the reserve boundary? Or is it a law that nobody follows as tourists fondle the nurse sharks and probably infect their skin with fungus ... ?

#398804 - 01/28/11 11:47 PM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
seashell Offline
Just say no . . .
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#398814 - 01/29/11 12:20 AM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
GwenA Offline
Geesh! I get more fungus just hanging out! Whhhaa?

#398821 - 01/29/11 12:36 AM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
klcman Offline
I've always been under the impression that SRA is a legal part of HCMR. And, constantly amazed at the licensed guides who handle critters. mad
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

#398835 - 01/29/11 04:12 AM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
Tranquilo Traveler Offline
These guys seem to brag about touching the animals: http://www.ambergriscaye.com/unitytours/art/sharkrayalleyxc.jpg

#398836 - 01/29/11 04:19 AM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
collyk Offline
A cool little video which may be relevant. Cool little video about messing with marine life.
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#398844 - 01/29/11 10:53 AM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
Gaz Cooper Offline
Shark Ray Alley is located in Hol Chan Marine Reserve and therefore the rules say no touching etc however it is a law that is obviously not enforced.

Touching and feeding Marine Life is a very controversial subject which has and will be a hot topic for years to come.

My personal opinion is at a place such as SRA all the Sharks and Rays are conditioned over years and years of daily feeding so you have a situation that if it stops overnight will it be detrimental to the animal life and those sharks that have been fed daily for close to 15 years.

Gaz Cooper

#398846 - 01/29/11 01:11 PM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
TravelinMan1 Offline
It is my opinion that the the touching and feeding of marine life in a controlled environment such as SRA is a service to the public. It allows people to get a different view of what these creatures are and gives them a certain degree of respect and appreciation for them.

You should keep in mind that those who have banned shark feedings etc. still have dolphins and just about every other form of marine life in captivity so that humans can come by and look at them through glass for a profit. All in the name of research.

The live, wild and somewhat controlled interaction with marine life is just another tool to educate people about the plight of these creatures.

If you all think we should ban something then lets get together and free the thousand of dolphins held captive around the world so that little Timmy can pay $300USD to have it drag him around a tank in the name of research. Remember that the Sharks and Rays are free!

And that is all I have to say about that (for now)!

Edited by TravelinMan1 (01/29/11 01:11 PM)

#398852 - 01/29/11 02:56 PM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
collyk Offline
In the UK the display of captive dolphins and whales was banned in the 90's.

I agree that habituated marine animals would suffer if the feeding stopped. I wish the tour guides would use the interaction as an opportunity to educate more, rather than just a form of entertainment and a way to get tips. I also wish that the tourists were better supervised.

If it were clearly explained to tourists that the area has been a feeding site by fishermen for years and that this is a highly unusual situation, which enables the lucky few to have these interactions and that this sort of thing, in any other circumstance would be wholly unacceptable, it would be a very useful educational experience for people.

Tourists should be briefed on what is acceptable in respect to interactions with the marine life and guides should set a good example. Unfortunately, on my many trips to Hol Chan/Shark Ray Alley, with 'reputable' guide companies, I've had none of this. Just a 'look at the sharks, jump on in!' and then the showing off stuff with the marine life, which certainly does us no good in terms of our reputation as an eco destination.

I think others have mentioned the illegal harvesting of conch and lobsters by some guides too.
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#398854 - 01/29/11 03:24 PM Re: Touching the sharks and rays [Re: Tranquilo Traveler]
elbert Offline
Education is the key.
Collyk's video ends with a great point , the kids know and understand better than the adults. Teaching them will change the demand and the market follows.
Were just starting to get requests to not go to locations where feeding and touching is going on.
The guides education is also important but the guides are trying to make money and entertain, what makes money and entertains will change.
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