So OCEARCH, and all the controversy and unknown damage they brought to our coast has now thankfully gone. The sham of a hearing subsequently commissioned by the Cape Town Local Government to investigate… what exactly, was so lame it didnt even make the news. 1000′s mourned and attended David’s memorial, tens of thousands lit the social media networks alive with their cries for a proper inquiry, people were in uproar, but slowly the anger subsided.
But the chumming goes on daily, with big toothy fish continually being lured with food to cages filled with nervous human beings in wetsuits.
Frustrated with the fact that money talks, that scientists will take the money, that the experts are in bed with the culprits?
If public outrage alone is not going to do it, then hit them at the source, the marketing that brings the punters.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not oppose shark cage diving entirely, just the use of chum, people and cages. Change that and we’ll be quiet.
1. Brochure collection
The shark cage dive industry is heavily marketed, with brochures advertising their tours at every petrol station, backpackers, info-kiosk and tourist hotspot. These brochures are free to the public, so take advantage of this by collecting these cool brochures, every single one on the rack. Its a nifty way of building a sweet collection of freely available material. For those not into hoarding, the brochures make excellent firestarters, paper aeroplanes, and even can double as emergency loo-roll on the dawn-patrol. But please people, we have enough litter in our country, so make sure unwanted waste does end up in the bin. Unfortunately most of the brochures are printed on plastic coated paper, with very toxic inks, so they cannot be recycled
2. The Click of Death
The internet is THE biggest form of advertising, and completely conducive to social activism. Ever heard of Google AdWords? In a nutshell, its where advertisers can ‘bid’ a certain amount for each time someone clicks on their link in the search results or websites (see diagram below). The advertiser with the highest bid, will have the highest rank, but usually all set a daily limit to maintain cost-effectiveness. So say for example, ‘Eco-Chumps Charters’ has a running bid of R5 per click on their ad, and has set their daily budget to R50, then after 10 clicks on their ad it will magically disappear from the results until the following day! They put the ads out there for you to click on, so do it, check out their websites, again and again.
3. The Hoot to Hand Signal – a personal favourite
When on the roads between Cape Town and Mosselbaai, searching for peaceful surf experiences as you do, it is quite common to pass by a busload of adrenalin-pumped shark-diving tourists, who often have no idea that their activity has any negative impacts (due largely to repeated brainwashing by the cage dive company’s marketing guerrillas). What better way to say hello whilst simultaneously putting the seed of doubt into their heads, than to pull the ‘hoot to hand signal’, heres how it works.
Whilst driving down the road and spotting the shark-bus, hoot your car’s horn vigorously to gain the occupants attention, once engaged, give them the universal shark diver’s greeting. The greeting mimicks the shark fin by extending the middle finger and punching the fist in the air, much like a breaching white shark. The move is best pulled whilst overtaking the shark-bus, but can be effective if coming from opposing directions simply by adding aggressive flashing of your brights in unison with the hooter. Extra points if you have surfboards on the roof.
So with these three simple techniques we can all make a (rather satisfying) difference by making a stand against an industry that does not care about us or its ramifications. We regular ocean users are the only losers in this game, and by doing nothing you accept defeat. Its through the power of the individual that things change, and there’s alot of individuals out there!