Scuba divers and the Greynurse shark: beliefs, knowledge, and behavior

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Apps, K, Dimmock, K & Lloyd, DJ 2015, 'Scuba divers and the Greynurse shark: beliefs, knowledge, and behavior', Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An International Journal, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 425-439.

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The critically endangered Greynurse shark (Carcharias taurus) is a popular attraction for scuba divers in Australia. However, there are concerns about diver behavior and impacts on the species. While conservation efforts focus on species biology and ecology, research into human behaviors affecting these sharks is absent. The theory of reasoned action was used to examine the divers’ beliefs at two habitat aggregation sites on Australia’s east coast. Results showed some divers were intent on approaching sharks in ways that may breach regulations and guidelines. A lack of knowledge about appropriate behavior was evident for many divers. The study revealed dive staff influence diver behavior and could provide persuasive messages that communicate appropriate behaviors and understanding of sharks and their environments. Such management strategies are important in supporting Greynurse shark conservation.

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