Regulation of shark-cage diving discussion paper released Thu 4 October 2012 Wes Ford General Manager, Water and Marine Resources DPIPWE The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) today released a draft background and issues paper relating to Shark-Cage Diving and the Use of Berley for Fishing and Ecotourism. DPIPWE General Manager, Water and Marine Resources Division, Wes Ford said that the paper was developed to canvass the views of stakeholders and the community in relation to the regulation of shark-cage diving and associated activities. "There has been speculation regarding the possible development of a shark-cage diving tourism operation in south-east Tasmania," Mr Ford said. "While there is no commercial operation at present, the possibility of such an operation raises the issue of actively seeking to attract sharksâ€”something that is done by other users of the marine environment for the purpose of fishing." Shark-cage diving involves observing large sharks at close proximity under the water from the safety of a cage attached to a vessel, the Great White Shark being the targeted species. There are questions about the risks associated with using berley to attract large sharks or habituating sharks to popular areas. User groups that may overlap with shark-cage diving operations include eco-diving operations; recreational divers (extractive/non-extractive); commercial divers (such as abalone divers); and swimmers. "There are no rules under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 that restrict shark-cage diving, but there are powers under the Act that could be used to restrict or prohibit shark-cage diving," Mr Ford said. "The introduction of any such legislation would need to follow the processes stipulated by the Act, including public consultation." Copies of the paper are available from www.fishing.tas.gov.au Comments should be sent to: The Director Marine Resources GPO Box 44 HOBART TAS 7001 Email: Fishing.Enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au Attention: Director, Marine Resources, Shark-Cage Diving Comment Comments must be submitted by Wednesday, 31 October 2012.