Shark_Divers_Cage_DP

Some SCUBA diving operators use bait or chum to attract sharks so that their customers can get a. Now there’s a new bill introduced in Congress that would make this practice illegal in all U.S. waters.

Section 3 of S. 3099, the “Access for Sportfishing Act of 2016,” contains the following provision:

“it is unlawful for any person—

“(1) to engage in shark feeding; or

“(2) to operate a vessel for the purpose of carrying a passenger for hire to any site to engage in shark feeding or to observe shark feeding

By definition, the term ‘shark feeding’ means “the introduction of food or any other substance into the water to feed or attract sharks for any purpose other than to harvest sharks.”

Some supporters say that attracting sharks with bait is the only way to ensure that scuba divers will get to see them on their outings. Critics fear that shark feeding can result in changing sharks’ natural behaviors, and may teach them to associate humans with food.

The latest bill won’t affect divers in Florida; feeding sharks is already banned in the state.  Some Florida dive operators have circumvented this ban by taking their customers farther offshore and into Federal waters, which would no longer be legal if this new bill becomes law. It’s not clear how this bill will affect American-owned companies engaging in shark feeding outside of U.S. waters.

You can track the progress of this bill by visiting here.